In-app advertising

October 5, 2021 / Author: Gaydova Christina

We can still imagine life without a computer, but not without a phone. A smartphone is an inseparable part of our everyday life. 96.6% (+1,8% vs. 2020) of the population are mobile phone users, which continues to rise. Moreover, 92.6% of all internet users access the internet via mobile phone. Such a trend stimulates not only the production of mobile phones but also the development of mobile advertising. And it’s the first reason why advertisers like in-app ads. 

This variety of apps is another reason to use in-app ads. Earlier mobile ads were associated with arcades, dating apps, and social networks, but now the mobile app is a synonym to pocket version for all services we use: bank, music, taxi, gym, and health. All these things are available with just one touch of your phone’s screen. Using targeting, you can easily interrupt the audience of all these types of apps. 


In-app ads are an advertising format and opportunity for developers to monetize their apps. It’s not a sensation; in-app ads appeared in 2013 but became one of the effective ad channels just with a mixed-age internet audience. Children enter the world of gadgets earlier, and age ceases to hinder a new skill.

Principles of work are elementary: user encounters advertising, clicks on it, and turns out on the way to conversion. 


  • Wide audience
    There are plenty of various apps, and each has a unique audience. Moreover, the number of both is constantly growing, and there are only more potential buyers.
  • Unique targeting
    From one side, it can seem that in-app has too little targeting, but this is the peculiarity. We got used to patterning when the more detailed we describe the target audience, the higher the efficiency. But it doesn’t work like that with in-app ads because gender, age, and work position are unnecessary when focused on the app’s category. For example, if a user has installed apps from the “health, nutrition, and sports” category, you can safely target ads for health, nutrition, and exercise store.
  • Only real users
    Traffic quality is higher vs. other ads formats because only an actual human can use apps and watch ads. That’s why when running an in-app ads campaign, there are fewer bots and irrelevant clicks.
  • No ad blocker
    Technology is moving forward, but today it is still impossible to block ads in every app.
  • Information about users
    Based on the user agreement, apps independently collect information about users (age, gender, location, operating system, already installed applications), and it’s enough for accurate targeting.


There are three primary pricing models:
CPC — cost per click, the price for one click. 
CPM — cost per mille, the price for thousand ad impressions. 
CPI — cost per install, the price for install of an app.

Choice of pricing models depends on ads campaign goal, segment, and budget. And there is one of the disadvantages of in-app ads — high CPM. But all disadvantages can be on your side with a competent approach. 


Users dive into their content when using mobile apps, making ads’ integration into the app’s content more natural. Also, it turns annoying ads into relevant and helpful content and simplifies the communication with a user. There is a wide range of ad formats, and for every ad’s goal, the most effective one. 

Banner is a traditional advertising format that is very popular on the internet. Usually, banners are effectively used in the reach advertising campaign. A benefit of using banners in mobile is reducing the banners blindness effect. If we talk about desktop banner ads, of course, the user has plenty of screen space, and banners are perceived as one tiny element that can be unnoticed. In the case of in-app ads, the attention is on the screen, and ignoring banners is not easy work. 

Fullscreen (Interstitial) ads
These ads take over the screen during the break between the levels or apps loading. Small screen and focused users’ attention make fullscreen one of the most effective advertising formats. 

Native ads
It’s the most non-aggressive and high-confident format of advertising. Native advertising is like a chameleon: it adjusts and fuses with content; therefore, it looks like an app element. Usually is used on social networks and application download platforms (Google Play Market, App Store). 

Rewarded ads
After watching advertising, a user gets a reward: a promo code, sale, special offer, extra points in the game, or a free subscription. Rewarded advertising is always associated with gaming, but in practice, it’s used on shopping, music, and another type of apps. 

Interactive ads
Interactive advertising is a fullscreen ad with which users can interact with simple actions. For example, if we promote some food brands, we can use banners or native ads, and it will go well, but interactive ads will be more engaging. Instead of an image with food brand and sale condition, a quiz with dishes with promoted food items can be used. Such game elements easily capture users’ attention and engage in the process of using advertised items. 

Creating a clear, understandable, and catchy call to action is essential despite the chosen in-app ad format. And don’t forget about the quality of visual components because the user meets it first; it should not deteriorate on devices with different technical characteristics. 


Of course not. In-app advertising is not only about gaming, betting, and dating. It’s a universal instrument almost for all categories. At the beginning of the article, we said that nearly all services now have a mobile version, and demand creates supply.