With every passing year, retailers witness the “greatest number of shopping app downloads to date.” According to Buildfire, the total number of apps on the Google Play store peaked at 3.5 million in Q1 of 2018, and shopping apps were among the top contenders for largest number of downloads. In-app advertising is the primary way for app developers to monetize their highly lucrative product. With thousands of new apps released each year, the number of mobile app advertising opportunities is growing exponentially.
The consistent growth of the app industry provides retailers with a unique opportunity to reach consumers where they spend the most time. But savvy retail brands are past the point of asking whether or not to advertise within mobile apps. The real question is: How can you execute a flawless mCommerce advertising strategy that drives a significant increase in engagement, awareness, and sales? These crucial benefits of in-app advertising can be paramount to a retailer’s success in a mobile-first market.
5 Benefits of In-App Advertising and How to Achieve Them
- Specific, scalable targeting
Most in-app advertising opportunities work similarly to a PPC campaign—you only pay for the number of views on your video, or the number of clicks your banner ad accrues. This makes the mobile app an infinitely more cost-effective advertising channel than traditional commercials or even print ads, which are both priced by total production as opposed to total conversion. This advertiser-friendly pricing structure makes in-app advertising an infinitely scalable marketing activity for retailers. You only pay for what actually makes you money.
Many apps also offer the ability to narrow your target audience to incredibly specific demographics. For example, Facebook allows you to specify your target audience as California-residing females between ages 34-38 who have already visited your page at least once. By targeting those highly individualized market segments who are most likely to convert, you have the potential to raise engagement rates over other marketing channels. This targeting process, combined with the cost-effective “pay-per-play” pricing structure, has the potential to make in-app advertising the highest ROI activity on your roster.
- Ability to reach even larger audiences
The goal of every advertising campaign is to reach larger audiences and thus claim a greater share of the market for your own product. In the past, doubling or tripling your traditional advertising spend would be enough to capture the attention of a significantly larger number of people. However, in today’s media-saturated market, it’s more important to meet your customers on a greater number of media outlets than to flood a select few channels with content.
Now, more than ever before, most target audiences spend a significant amount of time per day using mobile apps. By placing ads within these apps, retailers have the opportunity to spread awareness amongst greater numbers without incurring proportional increases in effort or cost. In-app advertising also bypasses the challenge of traditional browser-based ad blockers, which increases your potential reach even further.
- Engage customers in stores and online
The truth is, your target customers are already using mobile apps in store aisles. They’re checking social media while waiting in line to checkout. They’re comparing prices with eCommerce sites and other retailers in your area. Instead of hunting down a sales associate seven aisles away, they’re Googling their product questions. Mobile apps already act as in-store digital shopping assistants, so they’re perfectly primed locations for strategic advertising.
Try using your proprietary or third-party retail apps to send personalized greetings to customers when they enter your store. Then, capitalize on their attention with other proximity marketing strategies, in-app video advertisements, and strategic ads in their social media feeds. These efforts can compound with your existing in-store marketing programs to secure greater product awareness and higher sales revenue.
- Higher engagement rates
One of the greatest innovations of the app industry is the concept of “native” advertisements—banner ads that blend in with the existing UX of an app. The native concept actually goes against the traditional advertising best practice: the idea that ads should stand out, grab your attention, and distract you from whatever you might be doing or thinking. Native ads take an entirely opposite approach. Unlike interstitial display ads, which can feel jarring and intrusive, native ads blend in and beckon to curious users to take a look if they so choose.
Native advertising works particularly well because today’s consumers have grown weary of traditionally intrusive advertising. They’re tired of commercial gimmicks and despise pop-ups. With modern practices like native in-app advertising, you don’t have to slap consumers across the face with every product placement. Instead, you now have the opportunity to introduce your product in subtle ways that garner higher engagement rates and leave the consumer with a positive impression of your brand.
- Powerful opt-in opportunities
In a similar vein, the most valuable in-app advertisement opportunities are those that are tied to low-cost yet high-value consumer rewards. Take an in-game rewarded video, for instance. A player runs out of lives and has the option to watch a brief advertisement in exchange for another chance at keeping their spot in the game. This creates voluntary ad engagement, which increases video completion rates overall and leaves consumers feeling more trust toward your brand as a whole.
Third-party retail rewards apps provide another unique opportunity for brands to connect with a willing audience. Shopkick gamifies the shopping experience by turning retail errands into scavenger hunts. Customers earn rewards by entering stores, scanning product UCPs, and engaging with opt-in advertisements directly in store aisles. These opt-in experiences incentivize key behaviors along the buyer’s journey and become powerful factors influencing consumer decision making. Strategic rewarded ads work to engage your most bottom-of-the-funnel customers with advertisements in the very location where they’re most likely to make a purchase.
The quality of these advertisement experiences is key.
The quality of these advertisement experiences is key. Consumers who experience endless buffering or delayed reward allocation could associate those negative experiences with your brand. Iron out any existing UX issues with developers for your proprietary apps, and partner with the highest-quality third parties to ensure your rewarded advertisements build a positive reputation for your brand.
The Future Impact of In-App Advertising
When Apple launched the App Store in 2008 with 500 hand-picked applications, no one could have guessed that by 2018, shopping app downloads alone would exceed 5.7 billion. The number of mobile app advertising opportunities—both in the shopping sector and elsewhere—has grown so significantly that retailers would be remiss not to take advantage.
Keep your eyes open for promising new opportunities for in-app advertisement. There are always new apps to partner with, and potentially valuable advertising opportunities arise every single day. The future of advertising is mobile. It’s time to get on board and develop a powerful mobile marketing strategy that capitalizes on all the crucial benefits of in-app advertising.
Shopkick helps retailers and brands engage with consumers in new ways through our innovative shopping app. Contact us to learn more about how our partners use third party retail rewards app to augment their in-app advertising strategy for increased brand awareness and market share.
Image courtesy of Roman Samborskyi