Among all verticals, technology and gadget brands have invested the most heavily in mobile direct response over the past year.
As a result, this forward-leaning segment captured 24.3% of all ad dollars spent on performance campaigns during the second quarter, according to the latest findings from Opera Mediaworks.
Among those campaigns, the most successful have been for apps that offer daily utility to users, such as those that increase photo storage or track stocks.
While technology and quick-service restaurant sector captured the most annual spend, retail and e-commerce was the top category during the second quarter.
Taking another perspective, retail and automotive have shown the most consistent growth since the third quarter of 2015.
Yet, food delivery and QSR were not far behind, with 23.4% of annual ad spend.
Moving forward, however, these brands present a unique challenge for performance teams because they are often looking to optimize multiple KPIs at once, according to Jude O’Connor, Opera’s vice president of brand performance.
“These top QSR brands are looking to do much more than drive app installs at their targeted CPI rate,” O’Connor notes in the new report. “They’re measuring post install engagements, such as registrations and coupon downloads, with an ultimate goal of driving foot traffic to their brick-and-mortar locations.”
Also of note, ad spend from travel brands more than doubled from the first quarter of the year to the second quarter.
While this is mostly due to the summer travel season, O’Connor expects both travel and entertainment to grow tremendously -- the latter as we head into NFL season, which will boost fantasy sports apps, and fall television series, which will support streaming media apps.
More broadly, the amount of time that mobile users spend using the Top 100 apps that monetize on Opera’s platform is now 33.5 minutes a day -- up from 30 minutes, during the first quarter of the year. Average session length also increased by 10.8%, and is now 9.4 minutes.
News and information is now the leader in impression volume. Indeed, more than 1 in 4 ad impressions were served in apps with daily utility to users, such as weather apps and a mobile reader for Reddit.
The highest engagement levels are seen on ads run in the education and travel categories, with performance of 1.9X and 1.7X the average platform CTR.
And, while games are still the top converter, followed by sports, health and fitness and productivity have moved into the Top 5 for the first time.