The panel on in-app advertising was part of the UA Summit on Day 1 of GMIC SV 2014. Panelists included Ben Webley, VP, Ad Monetization & Business Operations, Zynga; Dave Madden, SVP, Global Media Solutions, EA, Mobile Games; Ashley Higgins, Sr. Manager, Sega; Christian Limon, VP, Growth & Advertising, Glu Mobile and Rhiannon White, Director Product Management (Advertising), Shazam. The User Acquisition (UA) Summit brought together leading UA professionals for a discussions on the key trends and topics surrounding user acquisition. Ben Webley, one of the Co-Founders of the Mobile User Acquisition Fellowship (MUAF) kicked off the panel discussion by introducing the panelists and spoke about the need for such a panel. Only 2% of the total user base of apps especially gaming apps pay for the usage and in-app advertising has emerged as one of the few effective ways of monetizing traffic and app usage.
Dave Madden shared that mobile gaming is one of the mediums which has incremental content, which works well for offering content in return for engagement with advertisements. When a user is rewarded with content of monetary/emotional value, they feel good as opposed to traditional advertising which is often annoying. Unlocking content though ads is a good model that has worked for many publishers. This trend is creating an ad model that users are happy about.
Holiday Season Marketing Strategies
Speaking about the holiday season marketing strategies for apps, the panelists shared that partner ad networks which look at the demand side of things, manage this well for them.
Competitor’s advertisements on apps and cannibalization
While most game publishers and developers wouldn’t want a competing app and user experience luring similar target audience, panelists seemed to agree that this is a huge monetization opportunity as competitors would be willing to pay a premium to advertise on their platforms. Christian Limon, VP, Growth & Advertising at Glu Mobile shared, “We are agnostic towards showing other apps, even competitors. You end up carving out a huge marketing opportunity.”
Although cannibalization from similar apps is a legitimate concern for game developers, there are technologies publishers can use to segregate and target their audience which can help mitigate this.
Christian Limon shared that his understanding of native advertising is in-timeline type of advertising, in which a type of ad unit that is authentic to the experience is used. Advertising which is very integrated with the content is considered native advertising. Dave Madden shared that he believes games offer a better way to use native ads and that native advertising should not translate to sneaking an ad in as content. The difficulty in native advertising is to make it authentic and match the content.
Protecting customers from bad ads
Panelists shared that they work with their ad network partners to make sure that black-listed categories do not show on their apps.