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Programmatic advertising in the age of COVID-19: Mobile app ad spend dips 14%; ‘Sports’ lose 95% but ‘Parenting’ apps soar 122%

ESPN, NBA apps among those hit hardest, while local news and social apps see an increase

PALO ALTO, Calif., April 15, 2020Pixalate, a global ad fraud intelligence and marketing compliance platform, today announced the release of its latest report, Programmatic Ad Spend in the Age of COVID-19: Mobile App Advertising, an analysis of how U.S. programmatic advertisers reallocated investments in March 2020 in response to the crisis.

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Key Findings: Programmatic mobile in-app ad spend drops 14% in March 2020

  • Mobile ad spend: Mobile in-app ad spend decreased 14% in March
  • Sports apps take a hit: Major sports apps, including ESPN Live Sports and the NBA’s official app, saw a 95%+ hit to programmatic ad spend in March
  • ‘Parenting’ apps take off: Apps in the ‘Parenting’ category on Android saw a 122% rise in programmatic ad spend
  • ‘Food & Drink’ apps rise: Apps in the ‘Food & Drink’ category on iOS saw a 97% increase in programmatic ad spend

These key statistics are based on Pixalate’s research comparing the first full week of March (March 1-7) to the last full week (March 22-28).

ESPN, NBA among apps hit hardest

The report reveals which apps gained or lost the most ad spend (ad transactions) in March 2020, according to Pixalate’s research. Below are some examples of fast-rising and decreasing apps:

  • Apps that saw an increase in ad spend
    • WKYT News (+1,635% increase in ad spend on iOS)
    • Crosswords With Friends (+576% increase in ad spend on iOS)
    • textPlus: Free Text & Calls (+88% increase in ad spend on Android)
  • Apps that saw a decrease in ad spend
    • ESPN: Live Sports & Scores (-99% decrease in ad spend on iOS)
    • NBA: Official App (-95% decrease in ad spend on iOS)
    • Tumblr (-95% decrease in ad spend on Android)

What’s inside the report

Pixalate’s Programmatic Ad Spend in the Age of COVID-19: Mobile App Advertising report includes:

  • Programmatic mobile app ad spend trends on a week-by-week basis in March 2020
  • iOS and Android ad spend comparisons
  • Fastest-rising apps based on ad spend (iOS and Android)
  • Apps that lost the most ad spend (iOS and Android)
  • Fastest-rising categories based on ad spend (iOS and Android)
  • Categories that lost the most ad spend (iOS and Android)
  • The most volatile app categories in March 2020 (iOS and Android)

“Despite the fact consumers are spending more time with media than ever before, our research reveals that advertising demand is not in lockstep with the influx of supply,” said Jalal Nasir, CEO of Pixalate. “However, while overall mobile in-app ad spend fell last month, certain apps and app categories saw significant growth as advertisers altered their media plans.” 

Download a free copy of the Programmatic Ad Spend in the Age of COVID-19: Mobile App Advertising report today.

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About Pixalate

Pixalate, a global ad fraud intelligence and marketing compliance platform, works with brands and platforms to prevent invalid traffic and improve ad inventory quality. We offer the only system of coordinated solutions across display, app, video, and OTT/CTV for better detection and elimination of ad fraud. Pixalate is an MRC-accredited service for the detection and filtration of sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) across desktop and mobile web, mobile in-app, and OTT/CTV advertising. www.pixalate.com

Disclaimer

The content of this press release, and the Programmatic Ad Spend in the Age of COVID-19: Mobile App Advertising report (the “Report”), reflect Pixalate's opinions with respect to the factors that Pixalate believes can be useful to the digital media industry. Any proprietary data shared is grounded in Pixalate's proprietary technology and analytics, which Pixalate is continuously evaluating and updating. As cited in the Report and referenced in the Report’s key findings reproduced herein, programmatic ad transactions, as measured by Pixalate, are used as a proxy for ad spend. The Report examines U.S. advertising activity. Any references to outside sources in the Report and herein should not be construed as endorsements. Pixalate's opinions are just that, opinions, which means that they are neither facts nor guarantees.

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