When display advertising is mentioned in conversation, it's usually in reference to websites. Many companies that own advertising networks tout the vast expanse of these networks, with the largest reaching the majority of all global Internet users across hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of websites.
What's missing from this picture is the mobile apps. Since smartphone and tablet users typically access the Internet through a mobile app — rather than the Web browsers on their devices — businesses aren't as likely to find them through a traditional display network. Among these networks, however, the most innovative entities are already making mobile apps a priority by building out mobile application networks where display ads can prosper.
This is a great opportunity for businesses, particularly going forward as mobile applications take on a more significant role in online commerce. Here are three key reasons companies should already be thinking about mobile app display advertising.
1. Mobile Usage Has Surpassed Desktop Activity
Mobile apps aren't just attracting greater online usage — they're quickly taking over traditional desktop computing as the primary means of accessing the Internet. According to new data from comScore, mobile applications accounted for 51 percent of all digital consumption in May 2014. Including mobile Web browsers, that figure rose to 60 percent, up from 50 percent last year.
This growth trend shows no signs of turning back or even leveling off. Consumers are gradually weaning themselves off traditional Web browsers and opting instead for mobile apps. As this consumer trend changes, marketers must adapt to continue reaching a relevant audience. The in-app user experience is much better for consumers and marketers for many reasons, including the ease of use and information shared. When consumers download apps they share information that can be utilized by marketers to provide an optimal user experience. Additionally, in-app users can easily access their desired app content without ever visiting a Web browser.
2. In-App Revenues Are Rising Fast, With No Signs of Slowing
As mobile app usage increases, ad revenues through apps are soaring. According to VentureBeat, the advertising revenues coming from in-app ads is expected to surpass PC display ad revenue by 2017.
In the past year, the number of in-app ads grew by about 60 percent. That number is expected to make a big jump in each of the next three years. Mobile app usage will increase, as will advertising opportunities. Businesses, in turn, will allocate ad money to mobile apps because the opportunity will be ripe.
3. Mobile App Targeting Is a Cinch
For advertisers who want to target consumers within mobile apps, simple campaign tools are at their disposal. Targeting consumers through mobile applications is now just as easy as setting filtering preferences through display networks — you simply choose the apps or app categories where you want to build a presence, and you can launch campaigns exclusive to those properties. This is a particularly smart solution for companies that share a client base with a certain app. And, if there are specific apps in a category where you don't want to spend on advertising, you can easily exclude those as well.
Mobile applications have become the primary mode of activity on smartphones and tablets, so as these platforms go, so will your app-based campaigns. Because you can maintain the same level of targeting refinement while reaching new, highly relevant consumers, there's no reason this mobile campaign can't work for you.