Mobile advertising: definition, types, tips and benefits

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 11 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In their advertisements, companies use mobile advertising strategies as an effective and common means of monetising applications (apps). This strategy helps them inform customers of their products and services, boost sales and reach their target audience. As a marketer seeking to increase business sales, knowing the tips for using this type of advertising can help ensure your success. In this article, we discuss what mobile advertising is, explore the types of in-app advertising and provide tips and benefits of using these methods.

Related: What is a mobile app? (With definition, types and examples)

What is mobile advertising?

Mobile advertising is any form of advertising that promotes products and services through mobile devices like tablet computers, e-readers and smartphones. Companies use this strategy to place their advertisements in smartphone apps so mobile users can easily see them. They advertise on these devices via text advertisements, such as banner promotions, which appear embedded in a mobile website or short message service (SMS). Businesses often use platforms like gaming or streaming apps and social media sites to advertise their products and services.

This form of advertising also uses some characteristics of mobile technology, such as location services, to adapt campaigns to suit the customers' location. Companies using this technique mostly pay for these services by patronising pay-per-click (PPC) payment structures. This means they only pay for advertisements that successfully reach their target audience. They can study their click-through rates (CTR) to see how users interact with their advertisements. A business that has correctly placed its advertisements may achieve an increase in sales and improvement in engagement.

Related: Different types of digital advertising (plus benefits)

Types of in-app advertising

Here are some examples of in-app advertising:

Banner advertisements

Banners are a common method of advertising on websites and roadsides. Mobile banners are unintrusive, so they don't interrupt the user experience. On websites, banner advertisements appear as small rectangular images with text at the top or bottom of your interface. This form of advertising is so frequent that it may have become a regular part of your browsing experience. Some advantages of banner advertising are that it's cost-effective, simple, universally supported and affordable. They're usually instantly noticeable with appealing colours, which can help deliver their promotional message.

Video advertisements

You may prefer to watch videos on your mobile phone rather than on television as it can give you more flexibility and create more of an impact. Many companies generate mobile video advertisements as they have the most engaging form of content on the Internet and the best interaction rates.

It's important to ensure you use high-quality content in this format and that the video advertisements are creative and stimulating. They're typically 15 to 30 seconds in duration and it's a good idea to keep them concise and simple using relatable language with a clear call to action (CTA).

Related: A guide to the design of advertisement (with tips)

Native advertisements

Native advertisements are like banner ones but have an integrated appearance. They blend with the app format creating an organic, optimal user experience. As a user, you may feel that mobile native advertisements naturally belong to the page or app they appear on. This type of advertising might occur as texts, videos or static visuals.

A typical native advertisement includes a headline, brand logo, name and uniform resource locator (URL). These advertisements often appear like a post from a friend, for example, the advertisements on popular social media platforms. If you prepare the content for native app advertising in a flexible format, you can tailor it to suit diverse app experiences where you can display it in various contexts.

Interstitial advertisements

Interstitial advertisements often appear while you're navigating through your device and can cover the entire screen. Sometimes, you're required to wait for a couple of seconds to view the advertisement before you can continue. After the promotion display, you may respond to the CTA or choose to close the advertisement. The full-screen display of interstitial advertisements is effective for gaining attention but, as a marketer, it's important you ensure they're engaging, exciting and creative with an interesting CTA so they're relevant and valuable to users.

Related: What is social media advertising? (Plus types of ads)

Tips for using in-app advertising

The following five tips may help you design effective advertisements:

Identify your target audience

The first step to creating effective mobile advertisements is to correctly identify your target audience. Create profiles for consumers with a genuine interest in the brand products so you can position the value of the mobile app to better serve them. Using a combination of media apps can allow you to adjust your target audience preferences for maximum content coverage. Understanding your audience can help you design your advertisement creatively to effectively connect with them.

Understand how in-app advertising works

It's beneficial to familiarise yourself with how this method of advertising works so you can create effective and relevant content for any app. Most mobile apps charge for content space by managing data through users' clicks, views and conversions. It's important to oversee the amount you spend on advertisements to ensure you're receiving adequate returns. Once you understand the mechanics of in-app advertising and data generation, you can learn to interpret metrics like conversions, clicks and engagements. This can help you to make an informed decision on your advertising strategy.

Related: Examples of digital strategy (with components and tips)

Choose the right format

Choosing the most appropriate format is key to creating an effective advertisement. It's useful to learn the different in-app advertising methods and how they work. You can then choose the format that best suits your budget, has a good user experience, can successfully reach your target audience and encourage engagement.

Analyse your data

To improve the effectiveness of your advertisements, you can manage your user engagement data by checking the user impressions, cost-per-click metrics and conversion rates. Knowing this information and comparing it to other content and strategies can help you allocate funds, devise marketing strategies and maximise advertising results. Analysing the data can help you create relevant advertisements, increase sales and encourage a good return on investment (ROI).

Collect feedback

It's important to collect feedback from customers to help you create relevant advertisements. Although data-tracking services and in-app algorithms can provide significant insight into customer behaviour, it's a good idea to also use information you've gained directly from your customers. You can develop communication pathways with consumers to help you measure the effectiveness of your advertisements and improve user engagement.

Related: 25 alternatives to AdSense™ to generate income online

Benefits of in-app advertising

Here are some benefits of using the in-app advertising methods:

Easy accessibility

Many people use smartphones and typically spend more time on them than on laptops or computers. This has become possible through different social media platforms and mobile apps, which have helped marketers establish a direct and immediate connection with consumers. With easy phone accessibility, marketers can display advertisements on these apps as an effective method of reaching customers.

Targeted audience

Mobile in-app advertising campaigns are efficient ways of reaching a specific audience. Data tracking, personalisation and algorithms can allow you to explore potential markets and even dissect and compare the effectiveness of their various target approaches. With personalised and targeted advertisement experiences, you can connect and build relevant relationships with app users.

Related: What is return on ad spend (ROAS) and how is it calculated?


Advertising for mobile generally costs less than most conventional channels. This tends to be due to advertisers or marketers typically using it to reach a specific target audience only. As a result, you can focus on targeted advertising and optimise it for better results. Other marketing platforms often require expensive advertising space.

Immediate engagement

One of the key benefits of in-app advertising is that it generates immediate engagement. In-app advertisements are relevant and have a meticulous approach to reaching the intended audience with a proven interest in the brand's products. These mobile advertisements often inspire immediate engagement as customers view them.


Advertisers or marketers use in-app advertising methods because they can generate high conversion rates. Their advertisements typically reach the target audience and trigger them to make a purchase. As an advertiser or marketer, this can help you to optimise the advertising and marketing budget to gain the maximum ROI.


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