In-app ads are becoming increasingly necessary as mobile users spend more time on apps instead of a mobile browser, said Criteo’s chief product officer, Jonathan Wolf. “Users spend 80% of their time on mobile apps instead of the browser and so the browser is no longer the only way in which people access advertising,” he said.
The in-app ad offering was built with technology from mobile targeting firm Ad-X, acquired by Criteo this past summer. The ad product lets advertisers show banner ads on apps that deep link to a specific section of the advertiser’s app or website.
Criteo uses first-party data sources, such as Apple’s IDFA, from within a developer's existing user base to target the ads. Criteo’s recommendation engine analyzes information such as time on site or in app, number of viewed ads and conversion rates to determine which ads to show users.
So far only a handful of customers have access to the in-app ads as Criteo proceeds to test the new solution, according to Wolf. “The main purpose of the coming weeks will be to learn from all the issues we face as we integrate different advertiser apps,” Wolf said. “There are many standards on the Web, that do not yet exist in apps, that make set up, linking and tracking much harder than on browsers. Given our desire to scale this to large volumes, we will be focusing on how to provide a very easy standardized set up for our advertisers.”
Criteo also has a similar ad product, released last month, for companies running targeted ads on mobile Web sites.
Deep-linking functions for mobile apps are quickly becoming de rigueur among mobile vendors. Google is experimenting with adding deep links to Android apps in its search results. Facebook released mobile app engagement ads that include a deep-linking feature. And Twitter’s Twitter Cards have a deep-linking feature.
The deep-linking market is already crowded with startups like URX, Quixey, TapCommerce and Cellogic’s Deeplink.me. TapStream, one of the latest startups to enter the space, also launched Thursday an offering called “Deferred Deep Links.” While other deep links only work if a user has already downloaded the advertiser’s app, Tapstream saves the users’ intent and informs them that they will be directed to that section of the app once the installation is complete.