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Fyber asked 500 companies why don’t they invest more in in-app advertising

Even though numerous reports and forecasts tell us that spend on mobile advertising will surpass other media channels such as TV, many companies are still hesitant to increase the budgets for [...]

January 18, 2019

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Even though numerous reports and forecasts tell us that spend on mobile advertising will surpass other media channels such as TV, many companies are still hesitant to increase the budgets for mobile. Over two-thirds of brand advertisers primarily user in-app ads to bring brand awareness and 52% have used in-app ads to generate sales.

In 2018, mobile surpassed TV by more than 6 billion USD. By 2020, the mobile channel will represent 43% of total media ad spending in the US – a greater percentage than all traditional media combined.

Fyber asked 500 people working in Media Agencies as well as Brands&Advertisers in August 2018 about their advertising channels, openness of their agency to buying in-app inventory, their mobile marketing budgets and challenges they face when they choose to advertise in-app.


77% of brand advertisers asked their agency to start buying in-app ads. But with increased traffic, market gets more competitive every day. First reason why they choose to advertise in-app (vs. mobile in general) is to build brand awareness, following with scale and demand generation.

For those who still haven’t started buying in-app inventory, the main reason they stated is the difficulty of measurement of the effectiveness of campaign and performance. Other reason for not buying in-app inventory is hard to measure viewability within app, or believing that their target audience is hard to reach with apps. Some find it hard to track users with the lack of cookies, others are worried about collecting user data because of GDPR.

But still, the majority of both groups asked believe mobile is the 1st most effective device for reaching their audience. And if we know that 80% of time spent on mobile phones is in-app, buying in-app inventory is the logical step forward. Still, only 41% of Brands&Advertisers and 35% of Media Agencies budgets was spent on mobile.

Main benefits of in-app advertising by Brands & Advertisers.

Both groups stated that the main benefits for investing in in-app advertising are targeting capabilities and better user engagement. For Brands & Advertisers that was followed by brand safety due to clean inventory, higher click-through rates, metrics for viewability and transparency. An important factor was also understanding which audience segments they can reach more efficiently.

Apps Media Agencies use as a part of their media mix for in-app advertising are equally dispersed among different fields, ranging from fashion/retail, beauty and sports to gaming and news.

Main challenges are similar to those who still haven’t started advertising in-app. Biggest problem is difficulty of measurement of effectiveness, lack of cookies for tracking users and concerns about brand safety. Brands & Advertisers also don’t think that their target audience is reachable through apps. They also find it hard to understand what data they’re allowed to collect after GDPR.

When asked about audiences, both Brands&Advertisers and Media Agencies consider 18-24 group and 25-34 group as the ones most likely to engage with in-app ads.

In-app advertising in mobile games

78% of Media Agencies advertised in mobile games, main reason for that is high scale and reach. ROI can be improved an average of 41%, but the top benefit for agency planners is better user engagement. Greatest gain for them are targeting capabilities. Apps are able to collect first-party data about their users with user consent, app publishers get valuable insight into the audience so they can reach their targeted audience.

User engagement is stronger in mobile games, according to 51% of brand advertisers surveyed. Another reason for investment in mobile gaming is scale and reach. Ads are not enough anymore. You need to deliver a seamless experience for a user – engaging him in a game from the ad – with playable ads. When playable ads were first introduced to the market, many see them as only a trend. But two years later they proved as an effective way for acquiring new users.

Who was surveyed:

Half of the audience surveyed works in a Media Agency, other half works for a brand or advertising. Majority of audience comes from United States, other come from Germany, France and the U.K.

They work in companies with annual gross revenue varying from 1M to 500M+ USD. Majority of people in the audience were Managers, but other than that their current job titles are C-Suite, VP/SVP or Directors. Most of the Brands&Advertisers work in retail industry, following with financial and lifestyle industries. Out of Media Agencies interviewed, most accounts come from retail, following with accounts coming from financial and gaming industry.


Even though by latest forecast mobile already surpassed TV, brands, advertisers and media agencies are still hesitant toward buying of in-app ads. Mobile channel will represent 43% of total media ad spending in the US by 2020 – more than all traditional media combined. Content like news, sports, even entertainment content is starting to move mobile. Last year 6 out of 10 worldwide top mobile apps by user spend were streaming services.

While the world is going mobile, many agencies and advertisers still slowly enter the market of in-app ads. Main challenge is measuring campaign performance and effectiveness, following with difficulty of tracking users and concerns for brand safety. Today we have different solutions for overcoming these obstacles like tools for attribution or tracking the revenue on user level that was recently launched by IronSource. User Level Ad Revenue tracking will only become more important in the nearby future with more advertisers and brands realizing the importance of in-app advertising.

Fyber’s article: https://blog.fyber.com/charting-in-app-advertising-a-survey-of-brands-and-agencies/

We are an award-winning marketing agency specialized in mobile apps & games. We help scale products that people love, keeping the attention on data and results. Have questions, need help? 🤗 Email us at hello@udonis.co!

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Slavica Grgić

I'm Slavica, Social Marketing Manager at Udonis. If I'm not writing new blog posts, I'm making sure that everything is picture perfect.


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Slavica GrgićTravis BrooksKyle LewisBrenda Anderson Recent comment authors
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Brenda Anderson
Brenda Anderson

As expected – people are still slow in investing in-app advertising!

Kyle Lewis
Kyle Lewis

I can understand that tracking is harder for apps – but with modern tools it shouldn’t be the problem!

Travis Brooks
Travis Brooks

Wow, I didn’t know that the mobile is so big, but when I see the numbers, it totally makes sense!