NuVoodoo Smartphone Marketing Guide Part 3: NuVoodoo’s Comprehensive Guide to Ad Formats


The U.S. mobile advertising market is experiencing substantial growth, with increased spending and a proliferation of mobile ad formats, particularly video, social media, and text marketing. Spending on these formats has doubled or even tripled since 2017, reflecting rapid mobile innovations.

The smartphone ad market nearly reached $70 billion in 2022. This trend reflects the growing importance of mobile technology in marketing strategies.

In our previous articles, we shared and compared ad attention rates according to NuVoodoo’s recently collected nationwide consumer tracking data. We also shared the steps to take to help brands arrive at an optimal mobile marketing strategy. In the final installment of NuVoodoo’s three-part series on smartphone marketing, we provide an overview of various types of mobile ad options, along with their pros and cons:

In-App Advertising:

Upsides: Highly targeted, as it reaches users within specific apps. Offers interactive ad formats. Good for engaging users in a relevant context.

Downsides: This may require partnerships with app developers. Ad-blocking software can limit effectiveness. Ad size matters. 300×50 display ads are the most ubiquitous but command average clickthrough rates of only around .1%.

Mobile Display Ads:

Upsides: Visually engaging, with various formats like banners, interstitials, and native ads. Can be easily tracked and measured.

Downsides: Banner blindness and ad fatigue can reduce effectiveness. Ad blockers and small ad sizes can also impact message visibility.

Mobile Video Ads:

Upsides: Captivating and engaging. Effective for conveying complex messages. High shareability.

Downsides: May require high production costs. Users may skip or block video ads. Advertising CPMs are triple rates for display ads, and there are upcharges for third-party targeting.

Social Media Advertising:

Upsides: Targeting options based on user demographics, interests, and behavior. High engagement due to social platform nature.  Custom/tailored audience capabilities allow advertisers to reach not only members of their own uploaded customer databases, but lookalike modeling allows advertisers to model their customers for the purpose of serving advertising to others who “look like” them.

Downsides: Saturation on popular platforms can increase competition and fragmentation. Costs are less predictable and can vary significantly based on targeting.

Mobile Search Ads:

Upsides: Targeted based on user search intent. High conversion rates. Appear at the top of search results.

Downsides: This can be costly due to competition for keywords—and limited space for ad copy.

Mobile Native Ads:

Upsides: Blend seamlessly with publisher content, reducing ad resistance. Non-disruptive user experience.

Downsides: Requires careful integration to maintain user trust. Effectiveness depends on the quality of content.

Location-Based Advertising:

Upsides: Targets users based on their physical location. Ideal for local businesses and promotions.

Downsides: Privacy concerns and increasingly effective tools to prevent tracking. The accuracy of location data can vary. Demographic overlays are more challenging.

Push Notifications:

Upsides: Directly reach users’ device screens. High visibility. Effective for time-sensitive promotions.

Downsides: Can be perceived as intrusive if overused. Opt-in is required, limiting reach.

SMS Marketing:

Upsides: High open rates. Cost-effective. Direct communication with users.

Downsides: Requires user consent. Overuse can lead to opt-outs and negative feedback.

Mobile App Install Ads:

Upsides: Specifically designed to encourage app downloads. Effective for app promotion campaigns.

Downsides: Limited to app-related goals. Competition can be fierce in app stores.

AR (Augmented Reality) Advertising:

Upsides: Engaging and interactive. Allows users to interact with products virtually.

Downsides: Requires app integration or AR platforms. Limited to businesses with AR capabilities. Low penetration rates (for now).

Gaming Advertising:

Upsides: Captive audience during gameplay. Various ad formats like rewarded videos and branded placements. Games can be developed that reflect a particular brand’s benefits and appeal. Sponsor discounts or other purchase incentives can be offered as prizes. Good for capturing customer data.

Downsides: Must align with the gaming context. Ad-blocking in some games. Brands can be greedy about how much consumer information they ask for, limiting participation rates.

Each type of mobile advertising has its own strengths and weaknesses, so choosing the right strategy depends on your specific goals, target audience, and budget. It’s often beneficial to combine multiple approaches to create a well-rounded mobile advertising campaign and then adjust the channel mix by following performance and perceptual data carefully. There can be vast differences in behavior among various demographic segments, making research paramount as a prerequisite for optimal success.

NuVoodoo combines its own aggregated campaign metrics, proprietary consumer insights, and custom research to help clients optimize key mobile marketing performance objectives and boost return on ad spend. Contact to learn more and to enlist our team’s help.