IAd Forebears Provide Glimpse of Future for New Platform

Similar Units From Greystripe Are Delivering Higher Click-Through Than Mobile Network's Standard Ads

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- IAd has bested mobile ad competitors when it comes to budgets: Big -name advertisers like Citibank, Nissan and Target have proven willing to cough up million-dollar commitments for souped up, in-app, rich-media ads. But now that the money's changed hands, the question remains: How will those high-priced ads perform?

It's going to be hard to gauge the impact of iAds, which work like fully functional mini-apps operating within other apps, for some time. They launched less than two weeks ago, and many charter advertisers still haven't gone live with their campaigns.

But there may be hints of what's to come from developers as well as competitors such as mobile ad network Greystripe, whose mobile ads also offer high-end interaction like video and games.

Greystripe claims its rich media mobile ads, which have been available for two years, "function exactly like iAds."

And a recent Greystripe campaign using "iAd-like" units to promote the Buick LaCrosse reaped nearly 4% click-throughs, according to a performance study from ComScore, almost four times the average 1% click-through for static ads on the Greystripe network.

The Buick results may actually be a stronger performance than some iAds deliver. The developer of iLaugh, an app that's been downloaded 1 million times since 2008, says he's seen a 1% average click-through for the 14,000 iAds served in his app. That's about the same rate as other ad networks he works with, according to the developer, Kenneth Ballenegger.

But another developer, one that's served considerably more Nissan and Dove iAds, said initial click-throughs exceeded 10% on launch day before falling to 2% to 3% more recently.

Buick's Greystripe effort included a Simon Says-like game, in which users repeat a sequence of flashing colors on each of the car's tires; consumers who tried the game within the ad spent an average of 2 minutes and 42 seconds on it, according to ComScore.

Brand awareness for the Buick LaCrosse got a 12% bump among users exposed to the ads, according to ComScore, better than the Greystripe static-ad average of a 9% increase. Purchase intent saw a 7% lift among people exposed to the "iAd-like" campaign, compared with a Greystripe static-ad average of 5%.

In a Dynamic Logic study of 74 campaigns across the mobile web, including rich media and static banners, the average brand awareness and purchase intent improved approximately 5%.

It's important to note that measurement methodologies may differ. The Buick campaign numbers come from ComScore, which does not measure norms for all mobile campaigns. But it's a start.

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