Playable ads drive 20x more installs than banners

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Playable ads drive 20x more installs than banners Duncan is an award-winning technology industry analyst, specialising in cloud computing, blockchain, martech and edge computing.


Liftoff, a growth acceleration platform for the mobile industry, has unveiled its sixth annual Mobile Ad Creative Index. The report analyses trends across four key app verticals: gaming, e-commerce, finance, and entertainment.

With increased competition, the report highlights the need for advertisers to optimize spending across platforms and ad formats. For e-commerce, the cost per install (CPI) on Android is lower across all ad types, with native ads offering the strongest value at $0.65. On iOS, banner ads deliver the most cost-efficient results with a $1.37 CPI. The data also revealed a substantial variance in video ad pricing between platforms, averaging $1.15 on Android versus over twice that at $2.83 on iOS.

The report is based on findings from over 602 billion impressions across 49.4 million clicks and 144 million installs between January 1, 2023, and January 1, 2024. 

Key findings include:

For gaming apps, native ads win on iOS, while playables conquer Android

When analyzing the CPI of ad formats across different platforms, native ads proved to be the most cost-effective on iOS at $3.09. In contrast, playables were identified as the best budget-friendly option on Android at $0.60. The cost of playables on Android was less than half the cost of native ads, at $1.22.

For gaming apps, playable ads are 20x more likely to drive installs than banner ads 

When it comes to mobile games, ad conversions can be tricky. However, gaming ads with a video or playable element have a much higher chance of driving an install than banner ads. They are 20 times more likely to do so. That said, native and banner ads still generate the most ROI 7 days post-install, with native ads at 20.26% and banner ads at 18.20%. However, the expectations of the game and the genre it belongs to can greatly affect the ROI outcomes.

For e-commerce apps, Android’s affordability wins with $0.65 native ads

When it comes to e-commerce advertising on mobile, there are some notable differences in performance and pricing between platforms. Overall, Android ads tend to be cheaper. Specifically for native ad formats, the best rate on Android is $0.65. For iOS, banner ads are the most cost-effective at $1.37. Looking at ad performance, video ads are significantly more likely to drive app installs compared to banners—by as much as 1400%. However, after an app is installed, native and banner ads are better at driving that critical first purchase. Install-to-purchase conversion rates for native and banner ads are over 30%, while video and interstitial ads see lower rates around 16%.

For finance apps, interstitial ads see 18x higher conversion rates compared to banner ads

When it comes to finance apps, there are major discrepancies in performance and pricing between platforms. Specifically looking at average install costs, Android hovered just under $1 across ad formats. However, three out of four formats on iOS exceeded $5, with interstitial ads costing over five times more than Android. For conversion rates, banner ads saw the lowest install likelihood for finance apps, while video and interstitial fared over 15 and 18 times higher, respectively.

UGC holds the key to unlocking advertising ROI

Liftoff’s top advertisers are employing user-generated content (UGC) for user acquisition (UA) and retargeting campaigns. UGC ads created by the Liftoff Influence team, which fosters direct relationships with influencers, assists with UGC ad production and scales UGC campaigns, exhibit a 20% lower CPI than other video creatives. Influencer UGC also showed a four times stronger return on advertising spend (ROAS) when tested against brand content, with a 152% increase on average in impression-to-install conversion rates.

Generative AI tools are already transforming ad technology and performance as well, with 91% of organizations expecting their productivity to increase from implementing generative AI, from using AI to source ideas to generating images.

Aidan Quest, Senior Director of Generative AI at Liftoff, said: “When it comes to creative, the name of the game is efficiency. Leverage Gen AI for faster, more scalable creative ideation and production. On the commercial side, AI automation can help you get sales and operations teams the information they need at unprecedented speeds.” 

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.

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