eMarketer forecasts that globally mobile ad spend will reach $232.34 billion in 2019. Moreover, according to Statista, global mobile data traffic is projected to increase by nearly three times between 2018-2021, driven by increased consumer use of mobile phones and in particular, apps. In addition, 87% of mobile users spend the majority of their time in-app. 

Despite this, concerns about accurately measuring performance mean that many brands are reluctant to invest in in-app advertising. In the UK, due to apps’ technical imperfections or lack of proper tracking solution, many campaigns do not achieve the outcome from in-app retargeting they should. In fact, many cases show that in-app campaigns can bring even three-times higher conversion rates. With in-app traffic growing at such a rapid pace and e-commerce such a competitive sector, keeping up with consumer trends is vital to brand awareness and revenue generation. 

Mobile app vs mobile optimised website

Time spent in e-commerce apps reached 18 billion hours in 2018 globally, according to App Annie. Moreover, 85% of consumers favour apps over mobile websites, according to Compuware. Mobile apps provide consumers with features and functions that are impossible to build into mobile optimised websites. Firstly, apps run and upload faster compared to mobile websites. Secondly, access to apps only requires a single click. The ease of use of mobile apps that comes from these two simple factors means higher engagement rates compared to mobile optimised websites or desktop web viewing, and 100-300% higher conversion rates, according to TechCrunch. Furthermore, mobile app users complete the customer journey three times faster and see 4.2 times as many products compared to users from other channels, according to Bain & Co.

Mobile conversions  the real deal is coming our way

The good news is that as a result of advances in technology, the use of in-app advertising will grow by almost two-thirds (60%) in 2019, according to App Annie. However, there is scope to grow adoption further with the tactical adoption of in-app retargeting as opposed to more simplistic audience targeting. 

The e-commerce market is highly competitive, consumer expectations are high, and consumers are fickle. On average, apps are deleted within 5.8 days after the last use, according to Adjust, which analysed 8 billion app installs worldwide. Reasons for consumers deleting apps range from lack of mobile storage space, system failures, poor user experience, and lack of engagement. 

In order to capture and maintain consumers’ attention, and reduce the risk of rapid app fatigue, e-commerce brands need to evolve their approach to in-app advertising and create more personalised experiences, in much the same way as they do on desktop or mobile web. 

Don’t be afraid to change  integration is the easiest part

In the past, brands have steered away from using retargeting tools for in-app due to previous challenges with integration. Today’s developed retargeting technology companies have overcome challenges with integrations by creating bespoke integrations directly with suppliers and platforms as partners. 

In-app retargeting is often more effective than web retargeting. In fact, in-app retargeting follows similar principles of web retargeting: maintaining consumer engagement, reaches lapsed users, drives conversions and sales, and provides opportunities to serve personalised ads and relevant offers at the right moment. In addition, the same publisher information can be passed back, e.g. device ID, activity post-landing page, order value, meaning that the campaign can be optimised just as effectively too. 

Ultimately, there is no difference between mobile web retargeting and in-app retargeting, except the volume of consumers – which is higher for apps – and thus a wasted opportunity waiting to be taken.