For all the advancements in mobile app analytics, there's one thing even the most sophisticated products and services can't tell you: How many consumers took a look at an app or mobile game in an app store, thought about installing but for some reason changed their mind. That's part of the appeal behind a growing number of firms that are focused on increasing the exposure developers can provide to potential customers through mobile ads.
The idea of interrupting an app experience with an ad that comes between screens may be scary to developers, but consumers seem to be warming up to "interstitials," based on a recent report from InMobi.
Since the news broke last week that Facebook was acquiring Onavo for an undisclosed sum, there has been plenty of speculation about how the startup might play a role in the social networking giant's future ambitions. Onavo is a developer of apps designed to help smartphone users understand how much data apps are taking up on their smartphones and then compress that data.
Even with dozens of options available to them, the majority of developers say they're unhappy with mobile ad networks and similar marketing services, with trust outweighing cost among the most critical factors, according to a recent survey from Papaya Mobile. The company polled more than 1,000 developers for its report, which was published via its own app marketing and discovery service, AppFlood.
When you're deeply immersed in a mobile game or app, what would you rather see, an ad that pops up and blocks your view of the app's main interface, or some URLs that run somewhere on the periphery? Perhaps more importantly, if you're a developer, which would you rather your users see?
Developers can stop trying to figure out which marketing channel is best for their apps. According to AppsFlyer's Q1 report, social was the hands-down winner. The report was based on data the firm gathered by looking at "billions" of events across various marketing vehicles, countries, categories and other factors.
You can find out a lot about Candy Crush Saga when you watch the video trailer. There is footage of all the animated treats players need to match. Viewers are introduced to some of the game's main characters. And it's described as "delicious" and "sweet." All this, in only 16 seconds.
When most people experience the famous Twitter Fail Whale, they grimace and come back later. When a similar performance issue occurs on the average mobile app, however, consumers may be much more likely to drift away forever. That's what made Crashlytics so potentially valuable to app developers, and why it may become even more valuable to Twitter itself.
Gartner said worldwide mobile advertising revenue is set to reach $11.4 billion this year, with overall growth between 2011 and 2016 reaching 400 percent. However, the current economics of mobile advertising is such that, if they're not careful, developers could create a sort of "download bubble" that doesn't reflect the reality of what consumers are actually willing to pay.
Individual developers may feel like it's an uphill battle trying to get consumers to open their wallets, but taken as a whole, the market for mobile apps has grown an unprecedented amount.