Why Mobile Banners Are Still Important For App Install Campaigns

Lorenzo Viscanti
September 6, 2022
Why Mobile Banners Are Still Important For App Install Campaigns

We know very well when running app install campaigns creatives are crucial to the campaign performance. Especially in the post-IDFA world we have less options for the optimization of campaigns, since we have no more audiences and the number of signals we get to segment users has largely decreased. Creatives become even more important as they allow some campaign optimization, based on ROI and LTV of the users.

There are many available ad formats for app install campaigns, videos and playable ads are among the most used. But there is another format, the oldest format for online advertising that is bringing good results. I’m talking about banners. Why are mobile banners still relevant? How are they performing against other newer formats?

Let’s have a look at some data from Mapendo campaigns during the last months. We have analyzed more than 20 campaigns Mapendo’s DSP has run in the US, in July and August 2022. Among the 20 promoted apps 12 were games (mostly in the casual games category), 4 were bingo and lottery apps, the 4 remaining were e-commerce apps. All the data shown here refers to iOS campaigns.

Let’s focus on some data that shows why a savvy mobile user acquisition strategy should still rely on banners.

  1. Mobile banners are cheaper than other ad formats. Our data show that eCPM for mobile banners are 20-30% lower than video and playable ads. This results in a lower Cost per Install (CPI).
  2. Reach is very high (in some cases the highest between the different ad formats). Mobile banners are integrated in many publisher apps, we have found that the reach of mobile banners is 5-8% higher than video ads. When comparing banners and playable/interstitial ads, banners’ reach’s 35% higher, as the reach of interstitial ad formats is still lagging behind. In the post-IDFA world we define reach as the number of unique pairs of IP and user agent that generated impressions on a given day.
  3. Conversion rates are lower than other formats, but balanced by the lower CPM rates and high reach. Video ads for gaming apps have 2x the conversion rates that we have seen for banners. But in the end we are seeing very good performances for app install campaigns based on banners.
  4. Higher number of publishers accept banners. Videos are powerful, but not all apps are accepting them. In the mobile gaming vertical category videos are used by virtually all the available publishers. When we move to other verticals, such as news and communities, videos are less common. In the United States we have seen 18% more publishers showing banner ads than publishers supporting also video. Please note that around 70% of the publishers accepting video ads are also accepting mobile banners.
  5. With banners you can test new creatives very quickly. Videos and playable ads require much more time working on creative and tend to cost a lot more for production. Looking at the data, our clients send us an average of 5 mobile banners and 3 mobile videos. Gaming app developers send us on average up to 5 mobile videos (and around 4 mobile banners). Mapendo is also supporting dynamically generated mobile banners that are created using assets from the store listing for the promoted apps. This lets us test much more variations for mobile banners than videos in a much shorter time window.

All the reasons listed above indicate that mobile banners are still a good option when running mobile app user acquisition campaigns, despite some problems such as banner blindness and low click through rates.

If we look at the data from the 12 gaming campaigns that we have examined there is only one big difference between mobile banners and videos: banners tend to generate a good number of installs but the in-app engagement is a bit lower. When comparing videos and banners, videos generated 20% bigger LTV, resulting in higher ROI. We are going to write an entire article dedicated to the comparison between ROI generated by banners and mobile videos for app install campaigns.