July 31, 2023
As the mobile marketing world gets more competitive, many marketers are seeing lower returns on their user acquisition budgets, thanks in part to sheer ad fatigue. The average consumer sees 5,000 ads a day according to a 2020 G2 study1, and combatting this requires a creative, non-intrusive approach – which is why so many advertisers are redirecting their budgets2 toward native ads.
Sometimes called sponsored content, native ads match the style of the platform on which they appear; they might appear as a social media update, forum discussion, blog post, or video, though their full creative potential is still being realized.
Designed to be highly relevant to users’ interests and less disruptive than traditional advertising, native ads garner attention 53% more frequently than display ads. The question isn’t whether or not to use native ads, it’s how to find the right native advertising platform that is right for your business strategy. To that end, we’ve rounded up some of the top choices in the industry so you can find one that best fits your growth goals.
Mistplay doesn’t look like a traditional advertising platform, and that’s because it’s not. It’s actually a loyalty app that makes personalized mobile game suggestions to users and rewards them for playing and spending in these games. With the help of a sophisticated AI-driven recommendation engine, games appear natively in the app as a curated list which streamlines the user experience, allowing advertisers to tap into an already engaged audience and reach high-value users without disruption.
Not only does this help advertisers achieve their top-of-funnel user acquisition goals, it sets them up for long-term success. Mistplay’s rewards system lets players earn units the longer they play (and spend on IAP), which can then be traded for gift cards to popular retailers. This builds loyalty over time, and that’s the key to profitable growth3 in a tumultuous mobile industry. It’s a solution that’s both partner-centric and user-focused, helping mobile game marketers cut through that noise and find users who are already looking for something new to play.
In one example, Canadian developer East Side Games leveraged Mistplay’s capabilities to increase installs across their portfolio of games by 15% and boost day seven ROAS by 7.7%. To learn how, read our case study.
One of the most recognizable forms of native advertising is recommendations, which typically appear in discovery feeds of highly trafficked websites. These suggestions come from recommendation platforms like Outbrain and Taboola, which allow advertisers to create blog-like ad content tailored for the environment in which it appears. As a result, advertisers gain access to an engaged audience, driving results like 50% higher ROAS and hundreds of thousands of net new installs.
While both Outbrain and Taboola offer multiple creative formats and CPC pricing, there are some key differences between the two that will dictate how and when to use them depending on your campaign goals. According to an analysis by Advertongue4, both recommendation platforms drive brand awareness and app installs, but otherwise serve different campaign objectives. Outbrain’s other objective specialties are traffic and conversions, while Taboola is ideal for lead generation, purchases, and website engagement.
As one of the leading affiliate marketing platforms in the industry, PerformCB focuses on outcomes — so much so that it named its proprietary solution the Outcome Engine. PerformCB pairs advertisers with “affiliates,” typically website publishers; the publishers link to the advertisers’ products in articles and receive a commission based on results. For example, a list of the top mobile games might link to your app’s store page, and the website receives a commission for every download — meaning you only pay for results. The content in which these links appear is generally related in topic, creating organic opportunities to increase reach and acquire new users.
PerformCB allows marketers to optimize campaigns based on their overall goals, with mobile user acquisition being a particular specialty. In one case study, the PerformCB platform helped one mobile publisher increase app installs 52 times over in just four months. However, some reviews noted a challenging user interface and a lengthy approval process as potential downsides.
While celebrity cameos still have their place in mobile game marketing, influencer content is often far more appealing, particularly for the tech-savvy Millennial and Generation Z demographics. According to Morning Consult5, 72% of Millennials and Zoomers follow influencers across various social media platforms, and many consider them more trustworthy than other marketing sources. This makes influencer marketing a particularly useful native strategy for driving mobile user acquisition, as influencers can leverage long-form video platforms like YouTube to produce engaging, informative videos that put your apps in the spotlight.
It might be tempting to partner with high-follow-count influencers, but this isn’t always the best strategy for long-term growth. Micro-influencers see 60% more engagement6 than macro influencers, and these partnerships are often a much more budget-friendly choice7. While there are no shortage of video-centric social media platforms, YouTube’s creator-first8 approach makes it easier for influencers to build ongoing relationships with their audiences, increasing engagement with the products and solutions they promote.
When it comes to the actual content of the video, there are two common types of brand inclusion for influencer-made YouTube content: integrated and dedicated videos.
It should be noted that while YouTube is a great platform for long-form influencer videos, short-form videos on TikTok and Instagram may also have a place in your native ad strategy to reach your target audience on the platforms they most frequent.
Billing itself as “the leading in-game advertising and video game monetization platform,” Bidstack aims to enhance the mobile gaming experience with immersive advertising formats. Bidstack’s in-game ads show the depth and creative possibilities of native advertising in the mobile environment, seamlessly integrating ad content into video game environments like stadiums, racing tracks, and open-world environments.
Because Bidstack’s approach to in-game native advertising doesn’t offer the same opportunities for every genre, it may not be the best fit for those marketing casual games (or those without native in-game opportunities like the billboards often seen in open-world environments or at sporting events). However, the platform also offers static and in-menu ads to help mobile UA marketers round out their campaign strategy.
There’s clearly no shortage of native advertising platforms designed to help boost UA, and there’s no single path to success. For best results, app marketers should find the platforms that most closely suit their brand — and for makers of mobile games, that means considering everything that Mistplay has to offer. At Mistplay, we help app publishers connect with engaged audiences of mobile gamers, incentivize them to try new apps, and reward them for doing so, setting up your app for long-term growth and player loyalty. To learn more about how Mistplay can help you reach your user acquisition goals, get in touch.