Which Mobile Ad Format is Best? Here’s What the Data Says

Video Ads

March 16, 2016

Person watching video ads on phone

It can be tough to figure out which mobile ad format to tackle first. Do you try one at a time, or as many as possible? What are people most likely to respond to?

Obviously, you want to figure out which formats give you the best ROI. There are also several key performance indicators (KPIs) that you will be tracking, not just click through rate (CTR).  Do certain formats lead to better conversion rates and customers with better long term value (LTV)?

We have read through a ton of stats and in this post we will give you the one format that is doing the best right now. I think you will find that the evidence is quite substantial.

Like anything else in app marketing, you have to test it out for yourself, to see what gets you the best results. But this is a really good place to start…

The Best Mobile Ad Format

You might think that we are a little biased towards video (because we are), but there is also a lot of data out there that shows that video ads are currently the best form of app mobile advertising. So let’s get into why marketers are so excited about mobile video ads right now.

Are Video Ads Effective?

Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room…

Do video ads really work?

A survey by AdColony, of some of their top publishers (including some of the biggest brands in the world) concludes that video is currently the most effective form of app install ads. You can see the results in this graph.

Which types were you considering? How about now?

Most effective mobile ad format

If you would like to see the whole presentation from AdColony, you can watch this slide deck. There is some really interesting data in this survey.

One thing that is particularly interesting is that many marketers are focusing on video and social, for app marketing. This may be perfectly logical to you, but if you need another reminder to build your social media channels and reach out to influencers, this is certainly it.

These results are certainly in line with industry ad spending over the next few years. A BI forecast shows that mobile video ads will become an increasingly bigger revenue source for ad networks and will grow almost five times faster than desktop. This graph shows the increasing value mobile video will have in marketing efforts.

Projected mobile revenue

Vungle has some great case studies on their site, but one of the best is the one from Pic Stitch. They were able to increase their revenue by three times and improved their conversion by a pretty staggering amount…through video ads.


Video case study

Video ads can not only drive conversion, but retention, which is ultimately what you are looking for. This case study by Unity Ads showed an increase in user retention, by using video ads to get rewards in the game.

The cool thing is that users actually wanted to watch more ads to get more rewards. They weren’t just watching for the sake of watching either, the conversion rate on the ads was 80%.

Those are just a few examples of how effective mobile video ads can be…and the market is still growing.

Want one of our awesome project managers to take a look at your app and send you a free script and our recommendations for your video ad? Get it touch here.

How Many People Really Watch Mobile Video?

Now that you have a good idea that video ads are effective, the next question you probably have is: Do a lot of people really watch video on their mobile devices? To answer this question, we turn to a study by Google and Ipsos.

Video watching stats

The study shows that people between 18 and 34 years old, primarily watch video on their smartphones. TV video was a close second.

But where TV could not compete (at least in this study) is in the level of video engagement. The study found that millennials are twice as likely to be focused on a video when they are watching it on their smartphone, than if they are watching it on TV.

Another study by eMarketer showed that the average adult in the US watches 5.5 hours of video content, every day. There was also an increasing percentage of people watching from mobile devices.

So these two studies show that mobile video is not only effective from an advertiser’s point of view, but more people are watching on mobile.

Why Do People Keep Watching Video Ads?

Now that we know that video ads are effective, and an increasing number of people are watching them on mobile, what kind of ads should you create? It depends on your app and your niche.

But there is some data that shows us what app users generally respond best to. Here is a study that was done by eMarketer, as to why people watch digital video ads.

This graph was made by AdColony and we are reposting it because it is the best representation of the eMarkter data. You can see their analysis of this graph here.

Reasons people watch video ads

As you can see, humor and entertainment value are the top reasons for people watching video ads. So if you can incorporate that into your video ads, that is a great place to start.

A good example of a funny ad campaign is the Boom Beach TV commercials…like this one.


The data clearly shows that videos are currently the best mobile ad format. This is because video ads convert well and people are watching an increasing amount of video content on mobile devices. Things will probably shift again at some point, but most companies agree that video will rule the foreseeable future of mobile advertising.

Video can be more expensive from production and ad cost perspectives, but that cost can be recouped through higher quality users, with better LTV.

To see what other app publishers are doing in their app marketing videos, watch some here. If you want to talk to us about creating your next app video ad, feel free to contact us.

Do you know of any other studies that we should include in this post? Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

Hugh Kimura

Hi, I'm Hugh and I'm passionate about helping you successfully market your apps. I'm surrounded by some of the top app marketers and app marketing companies, here in San Francisco. Follow this blog to see what I discover next...

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