In-App Advertising: Defining the Market and Its Unique Dynamics

May 6, 2016

The public is consuming media like never before and their media habits, activities, and preferences change rapidly. Today's consumer is increasingly mobile-first, spending more time in-app, watching a significant amount of digital video, and more open to viewing contextually relevant advertising, especially in exchange for content and access.

Given an abundance of media seeking to capitalize on these changing dynamics and attract consumer attention, marketers and publishers must adapt and evolve their media strategies to elevate their advertising message and engage consumers. This is particularly true for mobile. As consumers spend more time on mobile devices, marketers and advertisers seek to reach their ideal customers where they reside. In doing so advertisers and publishers face a number of new challenges:

  • Desktop methods and formats for delivering content do not translate directly to mobile
  • Few marketers, publishers, agencies, and providers have cracked the code on how to deliver data-driven targeted solutions on mobile
  • While not exclusive to mobile, marketers and publishers are hurt by corruption and ad fraud

As solution providers recognize these challenges, pain points are increasingly being mitigated through the development of ad formats that capitalize on changes in consumer media consumption as well as advertiser and publisher demand. One format is in-app advertising. As app developers seek to monetize their apps and consumers increasingly embrace an advertising-for-access value exchange, marketers and publishers are turning to in-app advertising. The highly effective forms of in-app advertising, such as reward based or opt-in video, go beyond traditional banners and desktop display formats; they are highly engaging, aligned to the changing consumption habits of today's consumer, and uniquely positioned to combat ad fraud.

The leading in-app advertising formats can empower advertisers, publishers, and app developers to meet their most significant objectives:

  • Advertisers can deliver content, capture audience data, generate insights, and target consumers with new content that provokes engagement and supports branding, awareness, acquisition, and loyalty
  • Publishers can drive traffic, acquire consumers, and get them actively engaged with digital content
  • App developers can monetize their applications with high value CPMs and quality brands that are aligned to the app and user

The increasing use of in-app formats and solutions to distribute content sits at the intersection of critical trends related to consumer content consumption and how developers create experiences that engage app users. It is the synergy of interests between these stakeholder groups and a focus on content distribution, engagement, and performance that has created a marketplace for delivery of content in-app. This makes the leading formats a highly attractive medium for advertisers, publishers, and app developers.

This paper seeks to define the in-app advertising market, identify the leading formats, use cases and marketer objectives, provide insight into the macro-level trends impacting the rise of in-app advertising and finally, offer predictions on the in-app advertising market's growth and evolution.

Download the full report by clicking the link to the right (or below if you're on mobile).


"In-App Advertising: Defining the Market and Its Unique Dynamics." Winterberry Group and Jun Group, Winter 2015.

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