Understand these 5 app trends and stay ahead

Understand these 5 app trends and stay ahead

Smartphone subscribers were expected to comprise 46% of the global population by the end of 2016 according to Forrester. The market opportunities will decrease quickly, but those who understand the trends will stay ahead.

2017 is not so much about new as it is about the increasing intimacy of our relationships with smartphones. This will only continue as mobile payments, wearables and AR/VR technology become more accessible and adopted.

But it’s not the trends that are important, it’s the core truth they are grounded in. The question to ask is, what do the trends tell you about how users are engaging with their phones and what they expect from it? Now on to the trends…

Trend 1: App stores will remain the hub of app discovery but…

Google is beginning to roll out Instant Apps to a limited number of users, opening an additional channel for app discovery. Instant Apps are the sample toothbrushes that you get from the dentist of the app world.

You don’t have to install the app to use it and when close it, the app is gone. Consequently, none of the device’s storage has to be sacrificed to test an app or for one that won’t be used often, e.g. booking app.

How will this bode for the future of app development, especially the small- and mid-cap apps built to drive income? On one hand, Android users will be able to find suggested apps to go with their Google search.

On the other hand, you will be investing a lot of resources in creating an app that isn’t truly able to be monetized just for the opportunity to entice the user to download the full version while still running the risk of losing them within 90 days.

Trend 2: Aggregation apps will become increasingly popular

How many blog posts do you think are produced each day? If you guessed around 2 million, you’d be right. That’s just blog posts and doesn’t take into account other forms of content such as infographics, videos and social media.

With brands entering the content fray and technology providing users the means to efficiently create all forms of content, user eyeballs will become evermore saturated with content. The solution? Aggregator apps.

These apps satisfy the two requirements of apps: to make users’ lives easier and to entertain them. And they are getting better at what is fast becoming a third requirement: other- and self-personalization.

Get these three requirements right and you might just provide enough incentive for the user to download and keep your app. How do you accomplish the third? Use data for the former and provide tools and features for users to accomplish the latter.

Trend 3: Churn baby churn

Churn will continue to be a problem for app developers as 80% of users continue to leave apps within the first 90 days. The margin for error is even tighter considering that the majority of in-app time is spent within a small number of apps.

How can app developers/publishers beat the average? The Localytics research referenced above indicates that rich push notifications and in-app messaging are essential to encouraging engagement…and they must be personalized.

See those couples and groups of friends physically occupying the same space but with their noses firmly placed in-screen? The digital world will not only enhance the real, but it will replace many aspects of it.

But users are still humans with human needs…we will expect the same from the digital world. In this case, we will expect that our devices and apps know us to such a degree that they will even be able to predict our wants and desires.

Trend 4: Your app is only as good as your data and segmentation

Enter data: 2.5 quintillion bytes of it are created. Daily. How many zeroes are in a quintillion? 18. Simply put: that’s a lot of data. Money may make the world go ‘round but data makes the money go ‘round.

Luckily for you, your app is the perfect data-capture solution: users willingly hand over data for access to your app. This provides you a unique opportunity to personalize the in-app experience.

The trick for you will be collecting data in a non-threatening way. Specifically, the permissions you request need to be relevant to the in-app experience. It’ll be the difference between your user feeling taken care of or interrogated…

…no one likes to feel interrogated. Back to the data; you’re getting a lot of it and you will need to segment it to make any sense of it. Only through effective segmentation will you be able to realistically provide a personalized experience.

Trend 5: Be one with the platform and use discretion

Remember those rich push notifications we covered in Trend 3; why are they more likely to encourage engagement than a textual notification? The technology. The technology we use shapes our expectations.

After all, if your users were accessing your app through a feature-phone, their expectations would be different. Let’s consider how to work with the current technology while drawing from what worked in the past.

The record-breaking pre-registration numbers for the Nokia 3310 are not just the result of nostalgia, they are the result of something else: design. Its elegance lies in its purpose-built simplicity, complexity produced anxiety.

Hint: it’s not complexity that users expect. Ask why rich push notifications engage users? Answer this and you’ll get to the core truth of the technology; then you can ask how you can implement it into other app facets?

So, what core truth are these app trends grounded in?

There’s no question that you have your work cut out for you; you face greater competition and other external pressures in capturing and maintaining users for your app. Luckily, the opportunities have never been greater.

Be aware of what is happening, yes; but dig deeper to understand where each year’s trends are grounded in. In fact, review the trends of the past few years and you’ll see that they are all grounded in one core truth.

So, what is the core truth of these 5 trends? The smartphone is a dynamic device that is more an executive assistant than phone. They become our extensions due to their knowledge of us and how they use that knowledge…to give us what we want before we even know it.


Sound off, let the community members know where you see the app trends pointing and start a discussion!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Combat ad fatigue and save your app

Combat ad fatigue and save your app

By 2020, Ad Fatigue (ad lassitudinem) is expected to cost digital publishers $27 billion. Although the in-app environment has been largely immune to Ad Fatigue, this will change as mobile ad budgets continue their migration to apps. Additionally, app users are active on other platforms.

Therefore, they are either symptomatic or already susceptible to Ad Fatigue. Only by taking measures to ensure a good user experience can publishers prevent Ad Fatigue from developing within their user base and extending to the greater digital environment.

What is ad fatigue and what causes it?

Ad Fatigue (AF) is a psychobehavioral syndrome with genetic, cultural and environmental factors. Clinically, it is is characterized by affect instability, increased ad disturbance and decreased ad engagement.

Unfortunately, every internet user appears to possess a genetic predisposition to Ad Fatigue and culture can mediate its development. Additionally, changes in the macro digital environment have contributed to its prevalence since the release of the first digital banner in 1994.

Acutely, the micro digital environments that users visit, i.e. apps and websites, cause Ad Fatigue. For instance, properties that overexpose their users to ads either in number or frequency are particularly toxic.

Progression and prognosis

AF’s progression has three sequential phases: ad irritability, banner blindness and ad hostility. Left untreated, Acute Ad Fatigue progresses into Chronic Ad Fatigue Syndrome (CAFS).

Once a user develops CAFS, they typically employ ad blocking technology. Desktop and mobile web publishers are provided a glimmer of hope: users can be convinced to stop using the technology.

But app developers have no such hope: users will abandon the app altogether. Coupled with an abandonment rate of 25% from healthy users, Ad Fatigue presents app publishers with an existential threat.

An existential problem for app publishers

The bad news? AF has evolved to pandemic proportions. All users are exhibiting the symptoms of one of its three stages. The good news? You can take steps today that will prevent the majority of your users from developing its chronic form.

While most of the onus has been put on advertisers to prevent Ad Fatigue, ad networks need to provide publishers the tools to effectively combat it. After all, their app/s are on the chopping block once users develop AF.

To combat Ad Fatigue, publishers need an ad network that works with premium advertisers and provides an SDK equipped with engaging formats and tools to control for ad exposure.

Your ad network’s SDK is your primary tool

Relevant, non-intrusive ads ensure engagement and engagement is inversely related to Ad Fatigue. Reward Video and Native Ads are the latest research-supported ad formats that demonstrate high rates of engagement.

However, no matter how engaging the ad, users will quickly develop Ad Fatigue if they are exposed to ads too many times. Thus, publishers need to specifically control for redundancy and frequency.

With adaptive targeting, publishers can control for redundancy by preventing their users from seeing additional ads for products they’ve converted on. For frequency, day and lifetime capping allow publishers to decide how often and long users will see the same ad.

Prevent in-app Ad Fatigue today or pay for it tomorrow

Like one’s physical health, the actions that publishers take today will determine their app’s health tomorrow. Only through consistent monitoring and application of knowledge will they be able to maintain their app’s health over time.

The decisions publishers make over how they arrange their formats and control for exposure will be unique to their individual user base. Nonetheless, one thing is certain in this cross-device world: less is more and the ad network publishers partner with should allow them to do more with less.

Give your app and ad network’s SDK a check-up today. Otherwise, the only indication that your user base has developed AF will be when their numbers have inexplicably and unexpectedly plummeted…never to return.

Update: Here’s some advice on how to effectively battle ad fatigue with some of our new and engaging formats. Read about native advertising and how we gave our site-under a serious facelift.


Sound off; let the community know how you beat Ad Fatigue and add to the discussion!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.
Is your network’s SDK undermining app engagement?

Is your network’s SDK undermining app engagement?

At the end of the day, the metric most important for you is engagement. Otherwise, you won’t build, maintain or sustainably monetize your user base. Engagement is the soil that everything grows from and if you don’t tend to it, nothing will grow.

The good news is that you’ve got a hearty app. The bad news is that the ad network SDKs you are using to monetize that engagement are likely doing more harm than good.

The qualities of a good SDK? It’s light, it plays well with others and provides ads that actually help to engage your users. With the Adcash SDK 2.3, we’ve kept it light, kept it friendly and added a load of “nutrients” to do just that.

You reap what you sow

The ad formats you choose will make or break your monetization strategy. Shown too frequently, your users will leave your app for another. Shown too infrequently, well what are you displaying ads for anyway?

The same goes for if they are too intrusive. If the ads you display are unnoticeable, you won’t get the clicks, installs or other actions that provide revenue. Luckily, there are two formats that solve both issues.

Rewarded video: Give your users a little control

Opt-in, highly engaging video ads that provide a reward to the user for viewing. Users only interrupt their in-app experience when they are ready. You might be concerned about how often the user will decide to do this.

Don’t worry, rewarded video ads will actually increase your ad revenue…at least your contemporaries think so. In fact, rewarded video ads may even help to increase in-app purchases.

Native ads: To intrude or not to intrude, is there a question?

Your users don’t want to be interrupted; it’s that simple. It’s not the ad that they have an issue with, it’s the intrusion. But there is a fine line between noticeable and intrusive.

With native ads, the ad is integrated within the content, avoiding both banner blindness and interstitial intrusion: priceless. With the Adcash SDK 2.3, you can display ads as part of a content wall, stream or feed.

Redundancy, overexposure and latency: the 3 sins to growth

No matter how engaging the ad format, if it commits any of these three sins your user will run and not look back. With the Adcash SDK 2.3, we’ve absolved your monetization strategy of them.

With adaptive targeting, users that convert through an ad will not see it again. After all, they’re in your app for personalization and seeing the same ad for the same product/service that they just converted for is a little impersonal.

Overexposed users result in an underexposed app and an underexposed app results in paltry revenue. With day and lifetime capping, you decide how exposed your users will be to the same ad.

And…latency. Those dots are probably less than the amount of time your ads have to load before your users become frustrated. We’ve further optimized our SDK so that ads are loaded in the blink of an eye.

Growing seasons are time bound, make yours count!

You don’t have much time; every second you spend optimizing your app for your ad network is one you’re not tilling your soil and preparing it for optimal growth.

With the interstitial smart zone, you no longer have to create two zones for what is effectively the same format: static and video interstitial formats. Now, our zone will select the one with the highest yield.

With our eCPM floor, you decide the value of your traffic. If you don’t want to sell your traffic for less than a specific amount, you don’t have to. After all, you cultivated your traffic…you know its worth.

Video ads are the Miracle Grow of monetization strategies as the internet is becoming one giant video stream. But even if your app doesn’t provide video, you should be able to provide video ads. You can with us.

The Adcash SDK 2.3 does all this and is even easy to handle

Engagement, your soil. The quality of your soil will determine whether you grow and retain your user base or not. The choices you make for an ad partner can undermine those efforts. Make it count and choose a partner that understands it so well that they can talk about it in gardening terms.


With such a large network, there are bound to be a few great insights out there. Don’t keep them a secret! Add to the discussion and comment below!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Where Should Your Mobile Ad Budget Go?

Where Should Your Mobile Ad Budget Go?

We’ve received many requests to discuss each comparison of our recent infographic on in-app and mobile web channels in greater detail. It’s taken a little while, but what follows is a detailed treatment that will help you decide where to allocate your mobile ad budget.

When allocating your budget, it can feel like there is a multi-front battle taking place. At first glance, everything looks like it holds the same level of importance, making it difficult to decide which front to address.

What to do, what to do? Admittedly, it will never be a simple black and white answer. If you wanted black and white, you should’ve gone into accounting. Alas, we’re in advertising and operate in shades of gray.

Reach

People spend more time in-app than mobile web…quite a lot more. While great for publishers, session length is not always of great importance for advertisers. For instance, most advertisers implement frequency caps that limit the number of times an ad is shown to the same user.

What is important for all campaigns? Reach

Mobile users appreciate the convenience that mobile web browsers provide for accessing content. Specifically, users like that they can access the majority of their content without the need to switch between apps.

Meanwhile, the Google-spearheaded AMP project to make mobile pages load faster is demonstrating promising results. As convenience is maintained and load times reduced, it is likely that mobile browsers will continue to give greater access to unique and varied users.

However, there is a trade-off: campaign impact. It is like adjusting the nozzle of a water hose. You can adjust the nozzle to spread the water over a greater area, but it will lose pressure. You may reach more people, but your message will have less impact.

Winner — Mobile Web…with a trade-off

Targeting

Ad targeting is a function of precision and persistence. The more information, the more precise your targeting; the more persistence, the greater amount of information you can gather.

Smartphones have a Unique Device Identifier (UDID), a permanent serial number for each handset. Due to privacy concerns, advertisers have access to semi-permanent proxies, known as advertiser IDs.

These IDs anonymize user while recording their in-app behaviors. This data can be sliced, diced, and sold to advertisers who use it to tailor their ads to the user. Apps also provide the user’s precise longitude and latitude.

Coupled with the granularity of demographic and behavioral information, apps provide incredible targeting opportunities to advertisers

Meanwhile, mobile web browsers rely on network-based IP addresses. These addresses provide relative approximations of who and where the user is. For example, many users can have the same IP, such as in office buildings.

Of course, when a user completes an action, a proxy ID can be created and the user is “identified”. However, the user can’t be removed from the ad pool because the proxy ID is attached to the network IP.

Advertiser IDs are also more persistent. Although users can change them and limit ad tracking altogether, the majority of users don’t appear to care to so long as some benefit is provided.

Cookies are still the standby for mobile web browsers and, are less stable and persistent than advertiser IDs…they typically don’t last for more than 30 days. The result? Less information to target with.

Winner — In-app

Engagement

Targeting precision and environment are the keys to engagement. Advertisers can tailor their ads better when more information is provided. A well-tailored ad is like a bespoke suit, it fits better.

Even if apps and mobile web provided the same level of targeting, mobile web can’t match the app environment. The app environment is curated and immersive — this encourages greater engagement.

When features are added to an immersive environment, the features become an extension of that environment. The best amusement/theme parks do this, turning goods into features of the environment.

The same is true for in-app ads, especially video. Think back to an in-app game you’ve played; it probably imposed game breaks through video ads. How are they designed? They may or may not have CGI sequences, but all provide examples of gameplay.

Even if the video has a different micro theme, e.g. genre, the macro theme is identical. Thus, it is psychologically camouflaged and considered less intrusive because of its theme congruence.

Coupled with targeting, in-app ads can possess both micro and macro theme congruence, encouraging even greater engagement. It’s simple, if we like something, the worst we can feel is neutral toward similar things.

Winner — In-App

Conversion

There are a number of factors that influence conversion. Ad format, design and copy quality, targeting and timing are only a few of them. However, at the end of the day, we’re talking about engagement.

These and other factors underly engagement, which underlies conversion

Generally, app conversions are on another planet than mobile web. Why? Apps are like prime real estate; the space is limited, the location ideal, and anything within it derives value from the space. Likewise, the value of the space can be enhanced by what is placed within it.

Ads within the app derive value from the mere fact that they are within the app and ad quality also influences app value — the relationship is bidirectional. For example, if two apps provide the same functionality, features, and number of ads, the user will choose the app that has higher quality ads.

We can also infer the user’s affinity for an app from the amount of time he uses it. Remember from above, we tend to feel positively towards things we consider similar to those we like.

We also tend to feel positively towards those things that are liked by the things we like — it borrows credibility. An ad is essentially borrowing credibility from the app, which makes us more likely to engage with them…and remember…

Engagement produces conversions

Winner — In-App

Conversion Tracking

A draw is a draw…Let’s leave it at that and continue.

Winner — Draw

Budget

Aside from having less advertising space than mobile web, fewer formats are available in-app and the popular formats have high conversion rates, such as interstitial video.

As discussed in Targeting, in-app provides better targeting. With better targeting, traffic quality improves. Additionally, app store approval processes are stringent and apps are considered more brand safe as a result.

These factors drive prices upward.

Aside from the above, the mobile web market shares the same traffic pool with desktop. In general, if supply is saturated, prices will be lower. These factors drive prices downward.

Therefore, you get more bang for your buck when you advertise through mobile web. The further you stretch your budget, the more boost you get with  your reach as well.

Winner — Mobile Web

Ad Blocking

Ad blocking is here to stay, and advertisers are noticing. I won’t quibble over their level of impact here, but everyone can agree that there IS impact. Yes, ad blockers are available for both apps and mobile web browsers.

However, it’s unlikely that there will be widespread adoption in-app because people don’t like to pay for apps and likely never will. Although publishers can monetize their app through other strategies such as in-app purchases, paywalls, subscriptions, sponsorship, etc…it’s not enough.

It is partially due to a cognitive bias called anchoring, which directly impacts our perception. For instance, if two people are told that a building is around 200m and later asked to estimate its height, their estimates will “anchor” around 200m, regardless of its true height.

The app market anchor is 0…a big fat zero. What does this mean? No ads, no apps.

Winner — In-App

So, which channel wins the battle for your mobile ad budget?

If you just look at the score, it appears that in-app is superior to mobile web. But, appearances are misleading in this case. Mobile web still has a place in advertising and best practices would suggest that you should use both channels.

You have to generate leads and convert prospects. By using both channels, you have more opportunity to bring more people into the top of your funnel (lead generation) while sending more out of the bottom (conversion).

What we have here is not two opposing channels, but two sides of the same coin. Each channel has its respective role and the importance of that role will change as your goals change.

If your goal is to grab more leads while stretching your budget, then you will tip the scale toward mobile web. If you’re happy with the top of your funnel and want to concentrate on the bottom, then you will tip your budget towards in-app.

But, when you change your goals, you change your balance. More likely, you will most often take a balanced approach with your mobile ad budget. So, the question isn’t where should you allocate your budget, it’s which channel should you give greater weight to now?


With such a large network, there are bound to be a few great insights out there. Don’t keep them a secret! Add to the discussion and comment below!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Use Ad Mediation or Get Left Behind

Use Ad Mediation or Get Left Behind

It’s simple; you need to work with multiple networks to maximize your app’s earning potential, which is a product of two measurements:

  1. Fill Rate — the rate at which ads are successfully shown to users.
  2. eCPM — a prediction of how much an ad network will pay per 1,000 impressions.

But, here is the catch…

 

Working with multiple ad networks can be a headache of migraine proportions. Of course, you can send manual requests to each network, but how will you know that you are choosing the network with the highest eCPM?

One solution is to create a back-end system that automates and optimizes the request process for you. Let’s take a high-level view:

  1. Gather historical data from each network to predict eCPM
  2. Create a request hierarchy with decision logic that is mapped to specific filters
  3. Optimize your request hierarchy according to eCPM and other network data
  4. Automate the system so that it does all of this in as close to real time as possible
  5. Maintain the system and update it whenever necessary, e.g. when you add a network.

Luckily there is an alternative…using a mediation platform

 

With a mediation platform, you create a “mediation stack” of the ad networks you work with and provide the parameters for how the platform will choose between them. Once the mediation stack is set-up, the platform will send ad requests to the networks according to their relative position until the requests are filled.

Mediation Diagram

The mediation platform maps the requests against filters, such as geo. It also optimizes the mediation stack for eCPM and other key network data for you. Therefore, you can be certain that your requests are filled with the most relevant, highest paying ads.

Maintenance is simple and usually a matter of clicks. Ultimately, your monetization strategy becomes semi-automated, providing you more time to optimize your app or create others.

Why is Adcash talking about this?

 

Our goal is to make your monetization strategy as streamlined as possible and don’t think that you should have to choose between Adcash and other mediation-friendly networks. That is why we have recently created an adapter that allows our SDK to be integrated with Admob and Mopub mediation platforms.

Now, you can benefit from Adcash’s global ad network while ensuring that your requests are filled on the rare occasion that we are unable to provide demand for your traffic. Our SDK and integration guides can be found here. Get our SDK today and stay ahead of your competition with Adcash!


Add to the conversation! With such a large network, there are bound to be a few great insights out there. Don’t keep them a secret. Comment below!

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

In-App and Mobile Web: A Comparison [INFOGRAPHIC]

In-App and Mobile Web: A Comparison [INFOGRAPHIC]

In-app time will continue to eclipse mobile by a ratio of almost 4 to 1 in 2016. With such an imbalance, it may seem like there is an obvious choice when deciding between in-app and mobile web…but, not so fast. Users have mixed feelings about when it’s best to use apps and mobile web.

Consequently, both environments will continue to have their place for advertisers in the foreseeable future. Ideally, you should probably be advertising within both. Alas, we don’t live in an ideal world where we have unlimited budgets to play with. More often than not, your budget will place constraints on your campaign goals and force you to make a tough call.

So, how do you decide when faced with an impossible choice? We don’t like tough calls either.

That is why we put together a quick comparison chart depicting where each environment typically outshines the other. As with anything else, this tool is dependent on context and that context is your budget and campaign goals. Factoring both with this chart will help you create a better strategy and know when to shift environments.

In-app and Mobile Web Quick Chart

 

in-app and mobile web

If you enjoyed this infographic and want a more detailed discussion about each point of comparison, check our blog post out here

Kyle Buzzell

Kyle Buzzell

Content Manager

Psychology, sales and now marketing…Kyle uses his background and love of writing to create informative, engaging content for Adcash.

Pin It on Pinterest