For Best Conversion in E-commerce, Use More Creative, Native Ads and a Long List of Publishers

Apr 02, 2019


Running more ads in-app across a broad range of app publishers in diverse interest categories was the secret to gaining profitable users in the 2018 holiday season, according to research from programmatic mobile bidding platform Appreciate. According to data from Adobe, smartphones accounted for the majority of digital shopping traffic for the first time this holiday season with 51% of e-commerce visits vs. 49% for desktop and tablets combined. Therefore, Appreciate decided to take a deeper dive to gain a better understanding of what worked (and what didn’t) in order to improve e-commerce app campaign performance in 2019:

E-commerce Campaigns with More Creative Convert Better—E-commerce campaigns with  7-11 different creatives generated 128.6% more installs than campaigns with 1-4 different creatives.

E-commerce Campaigns with More App Publishers in Different Categories Generate more Engagement—The old adage that women’s products perform best on women’s apps isn’t true when it comes to e-commerce applications. The campaigns with more than 500 publishers across 5-7 app categories generated 45% greater engagement than campaigns with 100 publishers in 1-4 app categories.

Native Generates the Most Conversions at the Lowest Cost—In-app native ads were the big winners for e-commerce apps, generating the most installs, and the greatest number of sales when compared to installs as well as the lowest cost per purchase. Video, surprisingly, generated the highest cost per purchase – 60% higher than in-app native ads – as well as the lowest number of installs. Mobile In-App banner ads were nearly as effective as native ads.

Days/Dayparts: The Weekend and Prime Time Best for E-commerce Apps—Primetime (8:00-11:00 pm) and early fringe / prime access (4:30-8:00 pm) are the best times to convert with e-commerce apps, as Appreciate research indicated. Internationally, there was some variance with certain countries peaking earlier in the day. That said, as it usually takes multiple impressions to convert a user, the best performing campaigns target users throughout the day.

For e-commerce apps, the weekends are the best performing days with Saturday being the best for app installs while Sunday is best for actual sales (reaching 127% of sales KPI).

For the purpose of this research, e-commerce apps refer to applications that offer products for sale via a retail channel and the data was compiled during Q4 2018.

Though Adobe research indicated that smartphones accounted for 51% of e-commerce visits, they only accounted for 31% of revenue (vs. 60% for desktops and 9% for tablets). Some of the reasons for the gap, as cited by research from comScore, included security concerns and access to product details as well as navigation and usability uses.

Appreciate enables e-commerce and other app marketers to acquire new users and re-engage with existing ones through the company’s programmatic mobile bidding technology, which provides a wholly transparent offering with complete access to all bids, impressions as well as all campaign ads and data. The company’s Demand Side Platform (DSP) is designed to facilitate easy planning and targeting, and then optimizing campaigns either manually or via Appreciate’s fully automated technology.


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