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Why mobile banners ads persist in a video and playable world

by AppLovin on Sep 19, 2019

Banner ads are now over 20 years old and for years, advertisers have been talking about its irrelevance for years. Back in 1998, the term “banner blindness” was coined yet now in 2019, banner ads still persist, even on mobile. But why is the banner ad so resilient? 

One reason is that advertising is very much a real estate play and that space becomes increasingly more valuable as it shrinks from a desktop monitor to a laptop and then down to a tablet or your smart device. As the screen gets smaller, so then must the banner reduce as well. While this may sound somewhat counter-intuitive, mobile banner ads actually perform better than the desktop version. Studies have shown message recall and ad recognition increase as the screen size decreases. 

If you look at the industry, myriad reports abound with the eye-popping numbers of video ads. 5x this and 300% of that. Yes, video ads are slick and the future and can convey so much more information. The number one objective of most ad campaigns is awareness, and you can just cram in everything to a 30-second video clip as opposed to a small banner at the bottom of the screen.

Why then, do we continue our long relationship with the banner in the face of much fancier video or playable ads? Interstitial cutscenes and rewarded videos are dynamic and sexy, but banners have their own advantages including:

  • Uninterrupted gameplay: Allowing players to play a game without being interrupted with a video or an interstitial ad.
  • Affordability: Mobile advertising spending will nearly double from 2016-2019 so there is certainly a decided concentration on the phone and banners cost only a fraction of videos to register the same amount of impressions.
  • Consumer familiarity: As the oldest type of internet advertising, the viewers know what they are seeing and can quickly digest the information from a banner, leading to higher rates of information retention. Because of their long tenure in our lives, banners have just come to be accepted. Consumers feel much less intruded upon than with a video, so the banner is less likely to cause a negative reaction.
  • Effective in-app action: While video ads have been shown to lead to a greater install rate, they are almost half as effective as banners when it comes to driving an in-app action. Depending on the intention of your campaign, one of these makes more sense.
  • Creativity: Banner ads don’t have to be boring any longer. There are more and more clever ways of sprucing up the tedious and mundane message. You can still do a lot with a little.
  • Testing: Banners are very easy to use for creative testing. The simplicity of the design lends itself perfectly to trying out different messages and finding the one that is the most effective.
  • Increased revenue: Combined with other ad formats, banners are an easy way to increase revenue from games.

In summary, banner ads aren’t always the correct choice for your campaign, but they certainly should not be ignored. With the limited space, you are forced to be clear and concise in your messaging, which leads to easier understanding by the viewer and an astonishingly high success rate for such an old school way of doing things.

Want to learn more about mobile game monetization? Check out our other monetization blog posts.