Rahul Sachitanand
Feb 13, 2020

Asia provides best ROI for mobile advertising investments, says Liftoff study

CPI for all ad formats are significantly lower, led by natives down a massive 22.6%.

Asia provides best ROI for mobile advertising investments, says Liftoff study

Asia-Pacific proves again to be the market to watch in mobile advertising, in a new study from Liftoff, a provider that focuses on performance-driven mobile user acquisition. The study, 2020 Mobile Ad Creative Index, showed that despite maturing as a whole, costs for all ad formats in APAC remain relatively low, despite the region delivering engagement similar to other mature markets, such as North America and EMEA.

The report tracked the costs and conversion rates across four ad creative formats: Banner, Interstitial, Native and Video. It's based on over 353 billion impressions across 1,395 mobile apps, 4.86 billion clicks, 189 million installs and 245 million first time events data between November 2018 and October 2019. 


The study reveals that Android combines high appeal with lower costs across all formats, while iOS commands high prices for lower engagement rates. Given the large number of users in mobile-first audiences across Asia, this may be a significant finding for marketers.

However, this finding comes with one key caveat: the amount of the purchase. For example, the Native format, has the greatest appeal on iOS, as it delivers the highest engagement rate (9.9%) for the lowest price ($43.72) on that platform.

However, Android edges iOS out in Video, as the former can combine attractive engagement with bargain prices. The Video format on Android is over 54% cheaper than on iOS, but delivers similar conversion rates.


The Liftoff report showed that the cost of ads varied significantly between the Android and iOS platforms for each of the Banner, Interstitial, Native and Video ad formats. For instance, Banners are the cheapest format on both platforms, although the install cost on Android is US$1.26 compared to US$3.84 on the iOS. 


“Today, adtech and creative ad formats have advanced to catalyse a new phase of in-app advertising innovation across the world, and we expect more growth in this area with marketers generally getting more bang—in terms of engagements—for their buck,” says Mark Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Liftoff.

Meanwhile, the cost-per-install (CPI) for all ad formats are significantly lower than the previous year. For instance, with natives down by a massive 22.6%, while interstitials dipped 2.6%. Across the board, costs to install are attractive, although there are more bargains to be had, depending on the app category. For instance, ad costs for social apps are now up to three times cheaper, the report reveals.


However, the value and effectiveness of engagements varies between the ad formats. For instance, Banners (followed by Natives and Interstitials) deliver the highest engagement rates (in terms of user registration) at the lowest price.

In contrast, videos make less of an impression mid-funnel as it delivers the lowest engagement rate at the highest price. However, it should be noted that Videos shine the most when moving deeper in the funnel (i.e. for in-app purchases), as it promised the highest conversion rate for an affordable cost. 

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