Myth Busting: 5 Most Common Myths about In-app Advertising

“Only 10 apps really matter.”

We hear this all the time. And while its true people spend a lot of time in Facebook, Amazon and Google, many more also spend considerable time in a range of other apps like health, fitness, utility, productivity and gaming apps. In the 2019 State of Mobile report, App Annie, the standard for app business intelligence, shows people now have over 100 apps on their phones and use nearly 40 of them every month.

With misconceptions about apps like this and many more, brands miss out on big opportunities to reach their audiences through the most engaging medium in the world — the mobile app. So, let’s break down the top five myths we’ve encountered so your brand can take advantage of all the benefits in-app advertising has to offer.

Myth #1: The in-app audience isn’t large enough to scale my brand.

With over three billion smartphone users in the world and nearly 260 billion annual app downloads predicted by 2020, the in-app audience is anything but small.

Your audience is in apps. In fact, they’re probably in one right now — the average U.S. smartphone user spends 3 hours a day in apps. And they’re not just spending time in apps, they’re also spending money. In-app consumer spend is predicted to exceed $122 billion this year. That’s about enough to buy the Dallas Cowboys 25 times. Not too shabby.

Myth #2: Mobile apps and mobile web are different names for the same thing.

Mixing up mobile web and mobile apps happens more often than you might think, so let’s shine some light on the topic.

  • Mobile web: Accessing the Internet on your mobile device via a web browser, like Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Internet Explorer. Ads in browsers are susceptible to ad blocking software and offering limited targeting capabilities based on browsing behavior across certain browsers like Safari.
  • Mobile app: Mobile apps provide more functionality and better user experience compared to what you get in a browser because apps are built natively, using the full potential of the mobile phone. Ads in apps don’t fall prey to ad blockers, and they use persistent device IDs and GPS (among other non-PII data) that can be layered with richer demographic targeting capabilities, like gender, age, income and more.

People are also spending more of their media time in apps — 89% in apps compared to 11% on mobile web — and apps outperform mobile web on engagement. So, if you’re interested in putting your ads where most users are spending their time and engaging with brands more often, you should focus on in-app over mobile web. It’ll make a difference.

Myth #3: In-apps ads aren’t premium.

The sheer number of apps leads many marketers to believe that in-app doesn’t have premium inventory available. The truth is, not only is premium in-app inventory available, but it also “deliver[s] the best results across multiple metrics, including ROI by an average of 41%.

Time and time again, we see brands crushing their engagement goals. In a recent survey, 54% of advertisers said they see better customer engagement with in-app ads, and 56% say in-app provides better audience targeting capabilities. With better targeting, brands are able to better tailor brand experiences to their target audience. And that’s what Millennials and Gen Z want that in-app is uniquely suited to deliver. These audiences are willing to share their data and give permission if what they receive in return is more relevant, valuable content. How’s that for premium?

Myth #4: In-app buys are susceptible to fraud and brand safety issues.

In the era of fake news, questionable content and keyboard warriors, brand safety is increasingly important to marketers. You don’t want to spend your ad budget on an embarrassing moment, like the over 300 brands that ran ads on extremist YouTube channels.

Thanks to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Media Rating Council (MRC), a new set of standards were recently introduced to help combat these issues. Accredited monetization platforms, like, use MRC certified Forensiq pre-bid fraud prevention and the Open Measurement Software Development Kit (OM SDK) to help ensure your ads don’t appear next to content that can damage your brand or worse still, invalid fraudulent traffic

Myth #5: Ok, in-app sounds pretty good, but I can’t measure it, so what’s the point?

While scalable, accurate and reliable in-app measurement used to be difficult to achieve, it isn’t anymore. recently became the first app-only supply side platform (SSP) to provide accredited viewability measurement capabilities into their in-app monetization offering, effectively busting this myth.

Brands leveraging audiences are now able to access reliable viewability metrics from the vendor of their choice. And app publishers can easily certify all their inventory for viewability. In-app advertising, if using an accredited monetization platform, can provide transparent and reliable viewability metrics.

Get into apps or get left behind

Holding onto these in-app myths will hold your brand back. In-app advertising provides scalable, measurable, brand-safe inventory with sophisticated targeting capabilities. Mobile apps are the most direct conduit to consumers, and in-app ads give your brand unrivaled access to deeply engaged audiences, making it an undeniably successful strategy for capturing the hearts and minds of consumers.