It is all about mobile app marketing. Part 2

December 2, 2020 / Author: Elizabeth Boyarko

There is a high level of competition in the mobile games and apps market, which only continues to increase every year. This is due both to the multipurpose nature of modern smartphones, and to the growing processability of the apps themselves, in which you can accomplish a variety of tasks: monitor your health, order food delivery, or take an online course. 

There are hundreds of apps in app stores in general and in the thematic sections, in particular, that make it difficult to stand out. At the same time, it is important not only to attract new users but also to maintain the engagement of the existing audience. Various digital advertising formats and a conscious distribution of budget will help you solve these problems.  


In the rhythm of modern life, people have no time for a long prelude before getting acquainted with a brand, new service, or mobile app. The mobile-first world can be quite challenging for marketers who need to adapt to reality and put ad messages in a concise, understandable, and personalized form for each user. When promoting apps, it is important for mobile marketers to understand the specifics of the main advertising formats to effectively conduct their advertising campaigns. Here is a list of the most popular formats to interact with your users effectively. 

  • Video ads (in-app, web) 

A video ad can not only improve the conversion rate but also keep users’ attention. As a format of delivering an emotional message or an impressive story about an app, video ads are the best choice. However, it is also the most expensive one and there is always a chance that the user will skip an ad if they don’t like it.

  • Rewarded video

This is a type of video ad that encourages users to watch it for a reward. It is usually shown during an online game and gives players equipment for their heroes, additional bonuses or lives, virtual currency, hints, and so on for viewing ads. This format is good for high user engagement. OpenX found that 77% of users would watch a 30-second ad if they were rewarded with a discount from a retailer.

  • Banners (in-app, web)

One of the most popular mobile advertising formats and the easiest to implement is banners. They appear on the device screen while browsing the site or at a certain stage of using the app. Users view, click, and convert. Therefore, banners need to have high-quality graphics and a persuasive and clear call to action. They can be static, dynamic, and animated; unlike static banners, dynamic ones do a great job at getting and keeping audiences engaged. Banners have the lowest average CPA and CPI and can be a very good solution for short-term and flexible advertising campaigns. 

  • Native ads (in-app, web)

These are built-in ad blocks that can be easily integrated with the content of an app or site and become an organic part of it. This type of mobile advertising refers to formats that do not create discomfort for the user since they fit seamlessly into the main part of the text or video content. Moreover, some users share native ads accidentally, confusing them with the main content of the site. 

  • Interstitial ads (in-app)

Interstitial advertising, depending on how it was implemented, can be both very annoying and very appropriate. On one side, it occupies the entire screen of the mobile device and does not give the user a single chance to miss it. On the other side, you can’t skip it, and it can be very annoying for users, even to the point of deleting an app with annoying ads. Interstitial is an expensive format, but it is very good if the call to action requires special artistic expression and if it is used in suitable apps, such as multi-level mobile games.

  • Playable ads (in-app, web)

Playable ads give users a chance to try an app or game before buying it in app stores; it works like a free demo. This format allows users to have a look at the app before sending a call to action once their time is up. It can also influence retention because users can gauge their interest before installing an app. eMarketer research shows that playable ads are the most effective in-app format, followed by interactive ads and rewarded videos. 


The main pricing models used in mobile app advertising are CPC (Cost per click), CPM (Cost per mile) and CPI (Cost per install). 

Other price models (Cost Per Registration, Cost Per Reservation, Cost Per Purchase, etc.) are associated with a specific action taken with an app after users install it. On the stage of installation, users don’t need to make any financial commitment, it’s the least expensive action app mobile marketers want them to take.

CPI (Cost Per Install) is one of the most important app metrics to measure. 

Advertisers pay for each install of the mobile app after the user clicks on the ad, goes to the app store, and installs it. This model is attractive because the advertiser pays only for real conversions and effectively spends the budget. The disadvantage is the higher cost compared to other models, as well as the risk of getting motivated installations – people who want to earn money are paid for installs. Such users, unfortunately, quickly delete the app after receiving payment.

CPI depends on many factors and differs from country to country and type of mobile platform (iOS, Android). The average cost per iOS app install is $0.86 and $0.44 for Android globally. 

CPM (Cost per mile) is the price for 1,000 impressions of the ad. 

In the CPM model, it is quite difficult to measure the effectiveness of a campaign. This model mainly works on brand awareness, which in the long term reflects well on the company and product. This price model will be suitable if you have a high CTR, it will be more profitable for you to pay for impressions rather than for clicks.

CPC (Cost per Click) is the price for a click. 

In the CPC model, the advertiser pays only for clicks that users make on ads. Compared to the CPI model, CPC does not guarantee conversion: you only pay for clicks, the user can install the app, or they can leave.

The cost per click model is well suited for attracting traffic. Using this model, you need to track the CTI-the number of installs per click. In this model, the budget can be any, but to achieve efficiency, you will have to invest quite large amounts, since the competition is huge.


If you want to check something, you need a sufficient amount of data. In order to correctly measure metrics and draw conclusions for optimizing the campaign, you need several hundred installs.

If this is a large-scale project for a wide audience, then you need to attract a big number of users in different regions in order to collect representative statistics. You can determine the required number of installs based on your app’s target audience and market size. For example, if the number of potential users of your app is 10 million, then for full statistics you need to purchase several tens of thousands of installs since you will not understand anything about 10 users.

If your product is, for example, a financial tracker, then you will have a smaller market and narrow audience segments, and therefore you will need to purchase fewer users to get representative data.

Once you collect the data about your users, you can start optimization. This will let you reduce the cost of an action and increase their numbers for the same budget. The reason for that is the ability to target only highly engaged users and markets based on the data. Therefore it is recommended to launch an ad campaign for more than one month. 

Let’s calculate. An advertiser wants to get 1000 (500 on Android and 500 on iOS) installs at the first stage. His target market is the US, where the average CPI is $2.07 for iOS and $1.72 for Android. 

500*2.07+500*1.72=$1895. This is the approximate sum of money that you will need to start an ad campaign. The exact amount will be calculated individually for each app, depending on many factors, including its type, region that you want to target, competition on the market, client’s goals and many others. Usually, agencies and DSP platforms request from $2000 to $5000 USD to start collecting data about users.

Your mobile app should solve business problems, and then it will become a powerful marketing tool. Mobile app marketing is really effective, but use it correctly and give your users a portion of the necessary and useful content by choosing engaging ad formats and distributing and optimizing the budget.