A common skill required by today’s marketing managers is the ability to understand how to advertise across large online advertising platforms. Top advertising networks from major companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Facebook all boast massive reach, but is bigger always better? There are hundreds of mobile ad networks to choose from and each specific network has both benefits and drawbacks.
It is vitally important then that marketers understand when to focus on smaller niche advertising networks as opposed to the big ones, as the smaller niche networks hold specific unique advantages over their larger counterparts and can play an important role in an overall marketing strategy.
Here I will compare and contrast the various benefits of niche advertising networks and offer important insights to online marketing managers into how they can best leverage those benefits as part of their specific campaigns.
Benefits of Large Networks
Giant networks like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook offer several benefits for those advertising with them. These include:
Massive Reach: Large companies have large user bases. For example, Google’s AdMob network boasts hundreds of thousands of apps reaching millions of users around the planet.
Cross-Platform Abilities: Your ads can appear in apps, search results, and elsewhere. The Audience Network, Facebook’s new ad network, appears on all types of devices, platforms, and operating systems.
User Targeting: Facebook’s ad network draws from a massive trove of social media data to help target and optimize ads for users. Google’s ubiquitous tracking and data gathering also helps advertisers tailor and target campaigns towards specific types of users.
Multiple Types of Ads: The big networks offer advertising solutions for everyone - from interstitial ads to display ads and contextual ads. Developers can easily integrate code into their app to monetize, and advertisers can create specific types of ads for their campaigns.
A major downside of many giant ad networks is that the larger the size of the network, the less specialized it is, limiting one’s ability to target monetization and development efforts. There are some things that the big networks just don’t do.
Niche Advertising Solutions
Many developers want a big hit that shakes up the market by storm and instantly generates thousands of dollars. Marketing to the masses is difficult however, and a clear practical strategy is needed.
Using a niche advertising market, developers can maintain a far more focused monetization and promotion strategy than possible on the larger networks, while still benefiting from large user bases. By targeting an app and ads, developers are far more likely to reach the right users and generate high conversion rates. Some other benefits of niche solutions include:
Specialized Advertising Methods: From marketing texts to recommendation engines and video ads, niche solutions handle the types of ads that the giants are too big to deal with. If generating a specialized app for a particular audience, a specific type of ad may work better than a generic display ad from Google.
Niche Audiences: If you’re trying to reach a specific crowd, such as software users on a certain platform, then it may be better to concentrate on advertisers that reach that platform. For example, pay-per-install programs are ideal for developers trying to reach users already downloading and installing software. Additionally, ad-powered recommendation engines deliver relevant ads to users who are searching for something specific.
Innovation: Niche networks are more nimble than the giants, and often devote resources to newer, more creative approaches to monetization and advertising. Search boxes allow app developers to monetize their apps with search. Most users tend to block out banners and loud ads, so newer advertising approaches are discovering new ways to integrate ads into apps and software.
How to Determine the Ideal Monetization Strategy
Advertising through multiple channels and split-testing a variety of monetization methods may often be the best answer to an app developer’s needs, though niche apps generally monetize more effectively.
With hundreds of advertising networks available around the world, and more becoming available regularly, it’s important to focus on what’s right for each specific app.
Questions developers should ask themselves include:
- How specific is your audience?
- Can you reach that audience more effectively through a niche advertising solution?
- Do the benefits of niche solutions outweigh the benefits of one of the giant networks?
- Do you want to use the same platform to monetize and promote?
A bit of preparation and background research can help weed out many networks that aren’t the right fit, and discover new possibilities. By going through this process, developers are very likely to discover new technologies and advertising possibilities that can significantly boost revenue.
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