Dark Cloud Hanging Over In-app Advertising Ecosystem

This is an excerpt from AdMonsters Playbook: Balancing In-App Ad Quality With Revenue, brought to you with the support of GeoEdge. Download the full report here.

The app economy reached new heights in 2020/2021.

According to App Annie’s annual State of Mobile 2021 report, consumers worldwide installed 208 billion apps in 2020 and spent $143 billion from their mobile devices, a new record. These milestones speak to the growing importance of the mobile app in creating a truly omnichannel customer experience.

Over three-quarters of apps count on advertising to generate revenue. Some leverage it to enhance the user experience, such as games that offer in-game currency in exchange for watching an ad. The exchange is mutually beneficial: users spend more time in the app, creating more revenue opportunities for the app publisher.

But there’s a dark cloud hanging over the in-app advertising ecosystem: poor ads that harm the user experience, prompt users to uninstall apps and leave bad reviews in the app stores and damage the brand’s reputation.

These concerns aren’t theoretical.

Some 78% of app publishers we surveyed said that ads with the potential to damage their reputation have appeared in their apps.

93% said that those ads led users to leave bad reviews about their apps in app stores—reviews seen by countless other users, many of whom were targets of costly UA campaigns.

Another 71% said that poor ad quality has prompted users to uninstall their apps.

Although poor ad quality is a significant threat to the health of their apps, 71% of publishers say they have “some’’ or “little” control over the ads that appear, but not enough to ensure the level of brand safety they want and need.

Beyond brand safety is the issue of brand suitability. Publishers have a keen interest in the types of ad units as well as the content of the ads that are suitable to their user base.

For instance, many gaming apps welcome ads for other games, because they encourage users to keep playing games in general. As a result, independent research from GeoEdge shows that 90% of ads that appear in games are for other games. Non-gaming apps, such as utilities, tend to receive the brunt of the worst ads.

Going forward, the industry needs to provide app publishers with tools to provide visibility into the ads that appear within their apps, along with controls to enforce brand-suitable advertising to promote a positive user experience.

The Balancing In-App Ad Quality With Revenue playbook, created in partnership with GeoEdge, dives into the results of our publisher survey, highlighting trends, challenges, and solutions.

Download your copy of the Balancing In-App Ad Quality With Revenue playbook!