The Business Insider reported today that Dictionary.com has seen its mobile ad rates increase 177% since activating iAds. In addition, the maker of the popular iPhone app reports eCPMs of more than $10, fill rates of between 70% and 80% and overall performance 5x to 6x better than other mobile-ad networks.
While this and other app developers are undoubtedly seeing success with iAds, many question how long it can sustain over the long-term. The early popularity of iAds played into the curiosity of users anxious to click on one and discover what it’s all about, but developers are noticing this trend is slowing down considerably.
Fill rates have been an issue as well. There’s only a handful of truly engaging iAds out there right now, and users will likely get bored seeing the same Nissan Leaf iAd over and over. Apple claims many more are on the way from the likes of CitiBank, Klondike Bars, Campbell Soup, DirecTV and Sears — which should help.
Another question remains with how truly effective iAds are. Sure users interact with them longer — Nissan says customers spend an average 90 seconds with the leaf iAd for example — but does that truly translate into more paying customers in the end? I realize that’s not always the goal, but I’d still like to see some hard figures in terms of ROI these big brands are seeing.
Unilever has said that a “double-digit” percentage of users looked for further information about its Dove for Men product, with 20% of viewers “returning to check the ad out again,” but I’d have to wonder if it’s more interest in the iAd itself rather in Unilever or Dove soap.