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Mobile App Or Mobile Web?

Programmatic dollars are rapidly shifting to mobile. The share of mobile Web and in-app inventory in the programmatic landscape has almost doubled in the past two years, and almost 20% of mobile video inventory is now sold via programmatic.

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As the importance of programmatic in digital media buying continues to grow, “the impact on mobile has been even greater, due to its more fragmented ecosystem providing a ripe breeding ground for intermediaries” says the chief strategy officer at the IAB, Tim Elkington.

ComScore data shows a predominant use of mobile apps vs. mobile Web within users. Smartphone users spend 88% of their time on mobile apps and only 12% browsing the Web. However, time spent is far from being equally distributed across the app market.

As 20% of the time spent on mobile apps happens on social apps, more specifically on Facebook, the media giant accounts for a huge amount of the dollars spent on mobile app inventory.

According to eMarketer, Facebook and Google control 50% of the U.S. in-app ad spending.

On one hand, it is expected that mobile app downloads will continue to grow as the channel expands. Ads on mobile app can drive engagement and interactions with active users. According to the mobile ad server Medialets, ads on mobile apps get 0.56% click through rates and perform 2x better than those on mobile web.

On the other, mobile Web ads can also contribute to achieve marketing goals. At the upper funnel, mobile Web searches can help raise brand awareness among locally relevant consumers and build long-term relationships.

Mobile search is the best source of instant information such as store location, reviews and product information. While most conversions are still happening offline, in-store searches play an important role in the offline conversion path.

In addition, social apps, such as Facebook and Twitter are significant referral sources that drive mobile Web traffic. According to the IAB’s report “Apps and Mobile Web: Understanding the Two Sides of the Mobile Coin,” 52% of smartphone owners say they tap links in mobile apps that take them to web articles they want to read sometimes or more frequently.

Finally, with increasing adoption rates of m-commerce, advertisers are focused on providing a better mobile user experience through responsive Web designs, which can eventually translate into more time spent on mobile Web.

eTail and WBR DigitaSince found that 59% of retailers are putting a high priority on improving their mobile Web and m-commerce efforts. M-commerce transactions are more likely to happen on mobile web than in-app, ads on mobile web can help generate sales. However, conversions are still higher on desktop as consumers perceive it as a safer channel.

Even though the majority of mobile time is spent essentially in apps, mobile Web still has the potential to drive and assist conversions. Based on their marketing goals, advertisers and agencies should focus on a combination of both channels.
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