In-app inventory offers powerful tools for contextual advertising

October 15, 2020

Tags: Industry Perspectives, Marketers

in app inventory offers powerful tools for contextual advertising

With major privacy changes unfolding across the advertising ecosystem, contextual advertising — advertising based on the consumer’s current visit to a website or app content, without collection and retention of data about the consumer’s online activities over time — is likely to see a surge in popularity. Fortunately for advertisers, in-app inventory offers powerful tools for contextual advertising, providing a compelling option for targeting campaigns in the new privacy environment.

The latest of these changes is Apple’s consumer opt-in requirement in order for app publishers to pass the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFAs), dramatically reducing the scale of what has been the key parameter used to build and maintain audience profiles in mobile environments. This followed Google’s announcement earlier this year that third-party cookies would be removed from Chrome browsers in 2022. Both of these decisions illustrate the accelerating trend toward tighter privacy controls and the restriction of broad audience-level data distribution. 

Since contextual advertising is based solely on content of the website or app the consumer is currently visiting and not user-level data relating to the consumer’s online activity over time, we expect advertisers will turn to contextual advertising as a viable option for reaching key audiences. Using contextual advertising, there are powerful opportunities for marketers to leverage unique signals from the in-app environment including:

App category: 

This is a particularly useful feature; every app on the App Store and in Google Play is defined and organized by category. MoPub leverages data from third-party experts, like App Annie, to categorize apps on our exchange based on standardized app store or play store definitions. This helps to assure advertisers that they are reaching their audiences in a brand safe manner. Moreover, data shows correlation between app store categories usage and demographic attributes.

Gaming genres and sub-categories:

Further granularity can be achieved by focusing on sub-categories, such as “Strategy Games,” which nest under the general “Games” category. There are 16 subcategories within gaming, for example.

Audience type: 

It’s particularly helpful to better understand which audiences are playing mobile games, to determine, for example, which types of gaming genres are more engaging for women versus for men (like puzzle games vs. trivia). 

Content category:

This can be coupled with further information provided by the app stores, such as rankings, reviews, and download data; these can be combined to offer media buyers a strong signal for overall supply quality within specific types of content.

These signals help advertisers keep up with the in-app channel’s unique velocity. App stores are very dynamic; combining the signals above can help advertisers automatically keep their finger on the pulse of what's new and trending. 

With these targeting tools, advertisers can include or exclude entire categories as part of their campaign strategy, curating the overall pool of inventory to environments that align with their core message and brand safety considerations. MoPub has the ability to offer advertisers bespoke Deal IDs consisting of subsets of apps that meet specific targeting or brand safety parameters.

Contextual advertising has always been a challenge when it comes to in-app targeting, as desktop based solutions don't work when it comes to in-app. The MoPub contextual offering is really a great solution that allows us to accurately target the environment our clients are looking for.

Cadi Jones, Commercial Director EMEA Beeswax

Advertisers can curate custom inventory packages based on the the following contextual targeting signals:

App Store: Find iOS apps, Google Play apps, or both.

App Name: Use text search to find apps by name.

App Description: Use text search to find apps by keywords in the description from its app store. Most descriptions - but not all - are in English.

Category: Find apps that belong or don’t belong to specific Categories.

Last Version Update: Find apps that have been updated in certain date ranges.

Initial Release Date: Find apps that have been initially released on an app store in certain date ranges.

Company HQ: Find apps with a company headquarters in or not in specific countries.

Company Name: Find apps that are released, or not released, by specific companies or publishers.

Average Star Rating: Find apps by their all time Worldwide Cumulative Avg Ratings.

Downloads: Find apps that fall within a certain downloads threshold.

Downloads (Change %): Find apps that have increased or decreased by certain downloads thresholds.  

Revenue: Find apps that fall within a certain revenue threshold.

Monthly Active Users: Find apps that fall within a certain monthly active users threshold.

Daily Active Users (DAU): Find apps that fall within a certain daily active users threshold.

SDKs Installed on App: Find apps that have specific SDKs, or types of SDKs, installed.

SDKs Not Installed on App: Find apps that do not have specific SDKs, or types of SDKs, installed. 

Have questions? For more information or to learn more about our offerings for advertisers, you can reach out to us at 

About the author: John Egan, Head of Demand, EMEA

John leads the EMEA Demand partnerships team and is responsible for MoPub's buy-side partnerships with programmatic buyers and direct marketers. John joined MoPub in 2012 prior to its being acquired by Twitter, where he led publisher acquisition. Prior to MoPub, John developed implemented the ad monetization strategy for a number of gaming companies. He lives in Dublin, Ireland, and is an (internal) award-winning Twitter follow at @jegania.

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