App install ads
have become a big money maker in mobile for companies like Facebook. Now, Yahoo is getting in on the act by rolling out its own version of the format. The popularity of mobile ads promoting downloads
is underscored in new data from Millennial Media, which shows a third (34%) of all campaigns on its network teased app downloads in 2013.
That made downloads the most common type of
post-click action in ads last year, followed closely by the option to search an advertised site (29%). The latter is an especially popular feature of mobile ads from automotive brands, appearing in
three quarters of their campaigns. But the proportion of campaigns pitching app downloads and site search were about on par with 2012.
The biggest change was in ads featuring social
media elements, store location/mapping information, or hawking subscriptions. Campaigns with post-click actions involving social media increased to 18% from 8% of the total, while those with store
locators increased to 23% from 12%, and subscription-focused ads jumped to 19% from 8%.
Retailers were most likely to use the store locator feature in ads (29% of campaigns), while
CPG companies were most apt to rely on social media (19%) as a tactic for enticing users. Financial services companies were the most active in advertising for sign-ups, at 27%. Think off all those
credit card and discount brokerage ads.
Entertainment was again the top vertical on the Millennial ad network in 2013, in terms of spending, followed by retail, telecom finance and
consumer goods. The fastest-growing, however, was sports, where spending shot up 489%. The company doesn’t reveal spending by category, so it’s not possible to see what the base level was
for sports in 2012.
Other verticals that saw strong gains last year included employment (up 209%), energy and power (196%), nonprofits (170%), pharmaceuticals (139%), and consumer
When it comes to mobile platforms, Android increased its lead over iOS in 2013 in share of mobile ad impressions to 54% from 48%, while iOS slipped to 32% from 38% in
2012. BlackBerry plunged from 16% to 7%. The split of impressions by device didn’t change dramatically last year, with smartphones claiming 75%, up from 72%, and tablets increasing share to 24%
from 20%. Impressions generated by feature phones shrank further to 4% from 5%.
It should be interesting to see this year whether the roughly 75%/25% split between smartphones and
tablets remains constant through this year, suggesting tablet growth is leveling off after years of strong gains. Tablet shipments worldwide are expected to slow to about 19% from 52% this year,
according to an IDC forecast.
Separately, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Jordan Rohan issued a research note this week indicating Millennial Media plans to step up selling native,
video and rich media ads in addition to standard mobile banners. And, through its purchase last year of Jumptap and partnership with AppNexus, it can cross-sell mobile and desktop inventory.
With Google already dominating mobile advertising, and Facebook readying its own third-party ad network, the mobile ad market is more challenging than ever for Millennial. The
company’s stock closed at $7.35 Friday, well below its 2012 IPO price of $13 a share.