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insights from the Liftoff Mobile Ad Creative Index report

This report is interesting for mobile marketing and mobile advertising in general. We offer insights.

What was considered

In the introduction to the report, the creators mention that creativity is essential in the marketing world today. And in this report, they highlight the trends that drive mobile ad performance. And it shows how five different ad formats affect app performance, including conversions and ad spend.

What are the five formats included in the report?

Banners. The report calls this the traditional format – banners are displayed at the bottom or top of the screen of a smartphone or tablet.

Interstitial. Full-screen banner ads that appear inside the app while interacting with it. For example, during the transition from one level of a mobile game to another. It is considered more fun.

Native advertising. Embedded in the application context so as not to interfere with the user experience. The most common native formats in the report are called in-feed ads, recommendation widgets.

Playable. Interactive ads that allow you to “play” the application before downloading / purchasing.

Video. A popular format, especially the rewarded video format – when users receive bonuses in return for views.

In the process of compiling the report, 1,796 applications, 396 billion ad impressions, 6.2 billion clicks, 275 million installs and 7.7 million first actions in applications were analyzed. The analysis period is from January 1 to October 31, 2020.


CPI has dropped significantly compared to previous years

Cost-Per-Install is the lowest in the last three years for all ad formats. Compared to 2018, prices fell by an average of 38%. This is primarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After easing restrictions and lifting some quarantine measures, a slight increase can be seen, but it will take time for prices to return to their previous level. At the same time, the Playable format gives the greatest return for marketers. This trend is driven by the large number of gaming applications using this format. And users’ interest in it. The second format in terms of the level of return is called native advertising.

CPA also fell compared to the previous year

CPA (Cost-per-Action) shows a strong drop in cost for almost all ad formats, with the exception of video.

Low cost and high conversions – a profitable combination for 2021

In 2020, the ITA (Install-to-Action) metric has doubled, and this is beneficial for marketers. ITA Liftoff stands for the percentage of users who take a conversion action after installation. And they call it a convenient metric for assessing the performance of an application.

So, ITA showed growth. In terms of ad formats, Interstitials generated more conversions – 11.2% of users took a conversion action after seeing an ad. And the figure has tripled compared to last year. The conversion rate for banners and native ads grew by 103% and 115%, respectively – twice as compared to 2019.

Video is the only format that has seen a drop – 28% lower than last year.

How to use different formats to promote applications of different topics

Game applications

Here’s what Liftoff experts advise on creating ad creatives in these formats.

  1. Banners should include the brand name, a clear CTA, and the most appealing aspect of the game. You can create an effect of urgency using animation, offering the user interactivity, interest him, showing the content related to the game.
  2. It is important to keep the interstitial simple and straightforward. Animations and interactions can be used to show interesting and exciting aspects of the game. The user must understand what exactly awaits him in order to decide on the installation.
  3. The native format can be used to display images from the game: maps, characters, and more.
  4. In video ads, it is important to show the actual game – different themes and levels, characters. You can also use part of the instructional video in your ad.

The Interstitial format has shown the greatest impact

Interstitial has the highest ITA score for gaming applications at 8.1%. This format is also the most accessible for CPA.

Finance Applications

  1. Banners. Liftoff advise to simplify the presentation of information in banners. This is a key aspect for financial applications.
  2. Interstitial. In this format, you can show the interface of the application and its user friendliness. A well-designed interface can become a competitive advantage and influence the user’s decision to install, since the functionality of financial applications is mostly similar.
  3. Native advertising. Here it is worth using pictures in which to demonstrate the user interface, and short text to attract the user.
  4. Video. In the production of video ads for the promotion of a financial application, it is worth focusing on the uniqueness of the product and simplifying the presentation. The inclusion of branding elements is also important – it will help differentiate the app from the competition.

E-commerce applications

  1. Banners. Liftoff advise using animation! A logo with text is not enough, it’s better to connect the products that the company sells. Including the price of goods would also work well.
  2. Interstitial. Here you can also show products with prices. Make an interactive display of several products. Or create a grid of products on one screen. It is always a good idea to show the variety of assortments.
  3. Native advertising can also display products – from six to eight positions. The simpler the design, the better.
  4. Video. As with gaming apps, in e-commerce, video should tell the user what you’re offering. For example, you can capture the entire process from product selection to purchase – and thus demonstrate the benefits of in-app purchases.

Platform Differences: iOS and Android

Advertising on Android is 67% cheaper compared to iOS

CPI for banner ads, video and Playable format is much lower.

CPA on iOS is three times more expensive

At the same time, video is considered the most expensive format – it costs 2 times more than other ad formats on iOS.

Banners and Interstitial ads convert better on Android, native and video ads on iOS


At BYYD, we have a different advertising specifics, we do not promote applications, but we actively launch advertising inside them to promote the brand and its product.

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Moris Akline
About author

Speculative operations in the foreign exchange and stock market. Work with futures and indices on CME. Work on FORTS and RTS. Development of portfolios and investment strategies for clients. Knowledge of technical (price charts of various types, indicators and oscillators, trends, channels, support / resistance levels) and fundamental analysis, take note of news. I work according to my trading strategy in compliance with the rules of capital management and risk management. Development of trust management strategies. Technique of order execution, placing and changing protective stop-losses, hedging.
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