Why In-App Audiences Have the Edge: Video Is the Best Way To Engage Them

Why In-App Audiences Have the Edge: Video Is the Best Way To Engage Them
Apps are a great way to get users to opt-in to your brand. Global mobile app downloads reached 218 billion in 2020, and the trend doesn't look set to slow down. This makes the app industry exceptionally profitable. The shift towards apps has created a new group of users with different behaviors than we're used to on desktop and mobile web. 

App users are proving to be a valuable audience, more invested, focused, and beneficial to publishers and advertisers. Due to the differences between app and online users, creating an optimal in-app video experience can greatly improve engagement and build a stronger connection between users and publishers. 


In-App Audiences vs. Website Audiences

With apps, publishers not only have the ability to tap into new users but "better" users. Whereas people surf through sites via tabbed browsing, hopping from tab to tab, and exiting pages because of links, when it comes to apps, they're staying longer, engaging more.

Apps have several key features and advantages over desktop and mobile web that make them more user friendly and preferable for users; for example, minimizing load times for a better user experience, or simply building brand awareness by using a highly visible app icon when a user explores his phone. Essentially, businesses should be viewing their app users differently, like a retailer would his loyalty program members. The simple act of downloading an app often involves entering personal details and allowing the app to take up space on your device. 

It all boils down to the user's motivation for downloading an app, which naturally requires a higher level of commitment than browsing a website. App users have a deeper sense of loyalty and become a brand's ambassadors in a way that doesn't happen when users browse online. Focusing on their in-app experience means publishers can build a stronger and more targeted group of users to offer advertisers when monetizing their inventory.

In-app Audiences Want Video 

Publishers and app owners should focus on creating an omnichannel experience. Too often, the video used on a website is not moved over to the app. Up until now, placing a video player in the app came with many challenges, and only recently has it been possible to offer users the same Video Discovery experience

If you employ video on your website, users expect the same on the app, and failing to deliver it leads to a disconnected user experience. Providing a player that offers the same enhanced video, with a recommended and relevant playlist can translate into an engaging app and improve user retention.

That makes adding a video unit to your app one of the best ways to monetize your app inventory while providing an amazing user experience. Video ads are known to capture the audience's attention better than any other ad, and CPMs for preroll video ads with US traffic were around $16-20 in the last year. They are the fastest-growing form of mobile advertising in the digital publishing industry, with global video ad revenue expected to reach $120bn by the end of 2024.

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Key Takeaways

The huge spike in new app users has prompted publishers and advertisers to tap into the booming demand for in-app content. Users are averaging 4.2 hours per day in apps, up 30% from 2019, are more invested and engaged with the content, and therefore, more likely to consume it. 

Apps have also proven to be a great way to build brand loyalty, your job is to get users to be loyal to your app in particular. If you do not already include video into your in-app experience, it should be an integral part of your strategy going forward. Video is the key to increasing content consumption and engagement and providing your "app audience" with the best user experience possible.