Brand Advertising

Why the Gap Between Mobile Use and Mobile In-app Advertising?

Sep 8, 2022

The pandemic precipitated a massive spike in the use of mobile devices and apps. While there’s been a growing gap between consumer engagement and brand investment in mobile, the distance between the two is now wider than ever.

Thanks to lockdowns and school closures, mobile engagement is not only growing, it’s crossing generations. Parents are ordering clothes and groceries on their phones, grandparents are now experts in video calls, and everyone is spending more time gaming. 

Moreover, consumers are looking for different types of mobile experiences today. Behaviors have changed during the pandemic. Where premium categories in the past included business, news, and finance, that set widened as the mobile phone became the go-to device for everything from communication to weekly shopping to food delivery.  

So, why the gap between mobile usage and mobile in-app advertising spend for brands?

Where are the advertisers?

Brands are starting to catch on, but uptake is slow. Marketers may not understand that mobile in-app advertising is inherently brand-safe — assuming they take the time to review their app lists and inventory. Unlike standard display ads on the “traditional web” which may appear adjacent to undesirable or controversial content, apps are more predictable. A game won’t suddenly include controversial news items, nor will a weather app suddenly feature user-generated content. 

Marketers should also know in-app ad formats are not only brand-friendly, they really do drive engagement. Mobile in-app rewarded video, for example, is inherently viewable and liked by consumers.

What’s the takeaway about mobile in-app advertising?

Ultimately, marketers need to understand that mobile is a unique channel that plays a key role in most customer journeys today. That role needs to be understood for every segment, and a strategy needs to be developed to support it. 

Mobile may have been considered “the third screen” for many years, but it’s important to treat it as the unique channel it is. It’s not used in the same way as a desktop or TV, so ads for those channels shouldn’t be shoe-horned into mobile as an afterthought. In fact, given the amount of time consumers are spending with their mobile devices today (around 4 hours 30 minutes a day of non-voice usage), taking a mobile-first approach to advertising campaigns might be the better route. 

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