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According to Juniper Research’s latest report, they forecast that over 160bn apps will be downloaded globally onto smartphones and tablets in 2017.

Although the UK is the most expensive country in the world to drive app downloads, with 58% of the country owning a smartphone and 19% owning a tablet, the UK represents a lucrative territory to crack now and increasingly so in the next four to five years.

Here we’ll take another look at InMobi’s App Insight Report, released last week, and reveal some key insight and advice on how your company can best drive app downloads on mobile and tablet.

Games for the win

Over 50m apps were downloaded across the InMobi network in 2013. Within this figure, games represented 64% of those downloaded apps.

It’s not too much of a stretch to understand why the games category holds the majority. The gaming industry has long surpassed the movie and music industries, with over $20.77bn spent on gaming in 2012 alone.

Research also reveals that almost all categories of sites delivered high downloads on games, suggesting that the audience for gaming is increasingly diverse and covers most demographics.

In other categories, sports and health & fitness sites delivered the highest figures for social app downloads and communication sites delivered the most downloads for entertainment apps.

Interstitials for the win

With all the different ad formats available to market an app (interstitials, banners, expanding ads etc), which format works best to drive in-app conversions?

Interstitials come out at the top with a 25% click through rate and 10% conversion. On Android, conversions are almost double that of other ad formats.

Interstitials take advantage of an already captive, engaged audience who are waiting to get to the next level of a game while it loads.

They also expand to take over the entire screen and 'provide a rich HTML5 experience'. Conversely it's also really easy to click through accidentally on an interstitial, having meant to skip it instead, and I wonder if this is taken into consideration when discussing click-through. 

Given that interstitials are one of the most annoying ad formats on the web at large, it's disappointing that they seem to be effective for mobile, though I wonder how many clicks were unintended, or by kids playing games. 

The method of marketing games on mobile and tablet also has much to do with this. It's common for so-called free games to be very basic versions, so anyone with an interest is almost forced to upgrade to experience the proper game. 

I suspect that, without this model, we'd see far fewer in-app conversions. 

It’s not just game developers that see a high conversion rate, comic apps also have an 8% conversion rate, and 5.6% for health & fitness apps.

However it’s probably best not to consign banners to the virtual dumpster just yet, as banners still provide a good conversion rate for non-gaming content. InMobi suggests rotating ad formats (banners with interstitials) as this can help reduce ad fatigue and ensure reaching the users of any model of smartphone.

How to win on tablets

Within two years, tablet ownership has increased from 28.3m users in 2011 to 126.2m users in 2013

According to Pew research, tablet users are a higher engaged bunch too, using a tablet for between 30 to 40 minutes longer than a mobile or desktop, and are three times more open to engaging with an ad on a tablet than on a smartphone.

Interstitials for the win on tablets too

A banner ad on a tablet app may not perform the same as the identical ad on a smartphone app. Knowing your target demographic on tablets and smartphones and what type of ads they engage with is important in designing a marketing strategy for tablet apps.

Comparing tablet click-through rates (CTRs) and ad network CTRs reveals that text ads don’t work well on tablets. However, interstitial ads deliver 46% higher CTR for tablet campaigns.

Here are InMobi’s further recommendations for making your tablet campaigns work:

  • Take time to optimise your ad size for tablets. Tablet optimised ads deliver three times higher conversions and ROI. 
  • Use 728×90, 300×250 and 468×60 slot sizes for best results on your tablet campaign.
  • Again, try rotating ad formats, as this will help reach the maximum number of smartphone devices.

For more data on mobile commerce check out our Internet Statistics Compendium. You can see the InMobi report here

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 21 October, 2013 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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