Mobile App and Brand Spending: The New Power Couple?


Driven by the rapid shift from video viewing to apps, the prevalence of mobile games and social media, and the availability of inexpensive handsets and data plans, consumers in APAC are spending more time in entertainment environments than ever before. apps, writes Emily Yri, senior marketing manager, APAC at PubMatic.

In 2021, Android users in Asia-Pacific spent more time on mobile apps than in previous years: average 5.4 hours in Indonesia, 5.0 hours in Korea, 4.7 hours in India , 4.5 hours to Singapore and 3.2 hours to China. In fact, three of these countries are in the top five globally for total time spent with apps – in China, Android users spent 1.118 billion hours in app environments in 2021.

Where are the consumers going….

As consumers in APAC spend more time on mobile apps, it’s no surprise that advertisers have also turned to the format. Our recent study, The State Of In-App Advertising In APAC, which we commissioned from Forrester, found that mobile in-app advertising would get the highest percentage of budget allocation from media buyers over the Next 12 months: 20% vs. 17% for mobile web, 16% for connected TV (CTV) and 15% for desktop.

More than performance

Mobile apps have traditionally been the domain of performance advertisers, but the format is increasingly being used by brand advertisers to drive higher funnel metrics such as brand alignment and customer engagement.

According to the study, APAC advertisers indicated that their top reasons for investing in the programmatic app are:

So far, so good. Corn…

Don’t miss the opportunity

Despite this heightened interest from brand advertisers, many app publishers have an unwelcoming monetization environment for brand spend.

Brand advertisers typically seek to spend their money programmatically – our research found that 80% of advertisers and media buyers in the Asia-Pacific region frequently or every time use in-app programmatic advertising in digital media plans.

But app publishers haven’t rushed to adopt this technology…why? There are a few reasons.

First, unlike websites, which often focus the bulk of their revenue plan on advertising, mobile app advertising is often viewed as an add-on to another revenue strategy, such as in-game purchases. or subscriptions.

Second, many app publishers have strong relationships with ad networks and demand providers, which are often set up in a waterfall structure that does not allow brands to easily bid on individual impressions on a specific app ( what they want to do). And that could cause latency.

And, while websites have largely moved to header auctions (or unified auctions) to fix the obvious issues that were happening with page load speeds, apps don’t really have a header and often cache advertisements for a period of time, and thus the original solution that created a push for website owners was not there for app developers.

But things are changing

App publishers face a changing and uncertain world where technology and consumer behavior are changing rapidly and the need to engage and retain audiences is more challenging than ever. App publishers need to balance the need to grow their user base and revenue at the same time while ensuring they don’t have all their eggs in one basket and diversifying through multiple demand channels .

As they seek to diversify, brand spend as a revenue stream is a win/win for app publishers.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of brand spend is user experience. Brand spend has the benefit of not driving users away from the app. Thus, application publishers can increase their revenue without cannibalizing their user base. Increasing brand-based advertising on the site decreases the number of times an app user clicks on an ad and leaves. Most branded ads don’t have strong calls-to-action and can be more contextually integrated into the app environment, improving the user experience.

And while the demise of the IDFA for ad targeting hasn’t had quite the impact in Asia Pacific that it has in other markets, Google’s latest announcement about bin functionality testing Privacy Sand on Android has signaled to the industry that Android AdID is on borrowed time. This means the smaller screen won’t be as friendly for targeted campaigns based on conversions and clicks, giving publishers the impetus and opportunity to take a closer look at brand spend.

It’s not just about technology

To make the most of the brand spend opportunity, mobile app publishers need to take steps now to ensure they create environments that invite brand spend. In addition to embracing programmatic technology, app publishers should also think about implementing the global standards brands expect from their programmatic purchases.

Brands have struggled enough with quality control on the web before, and ads.txt solved many of their headaches. Therefore, brands are big fans of app-ads.txt for mobile apps. Yet many app vendors haven’t done this and haven’t implemented it. They literally miss deals because they are not authorized sellers.

Enough incentive

Brand advertisers have high quality standards and want to control their bids. Only programmatic, coupled with app-ads.txt, can provide the scale and reach needed to help app publishers attract brand-based demand.

After clinging to familiar but disappointing ad setups for so long, app developers may finally have reason enough to upgrade. It’s time for mobile app publishers to re-evaluate their monetization strategies and embrace technology and solutions that invite brands to spend or they risk being left behind.

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