Report: Mobile Apps Depend on TV Ads

What’s App’ning study finds direct correlation between TV ads and website traffic for 60 popular mobile apps across 10 categories, from commerce to gaming

Third report in a series showing online brands’ dependence on TV to drive traffic

NEW YORK--()--The fast-growing mobile apps category gets its traffic boosts from TV advertising, according to What’s App’ning, a new study that shows a 77% correlation between TV advertising and traffic for 60 popular mobile apps. As a result, the category now totals nearly $1 billion in TV advertising. The report, issued by the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), is the third in a series showing the connection between TV ads and online traffic. Previous reports found similar correlations for pure-play Internet and call-to-action brands.

What’s App’ning examined TV spending and app traffic for 60 mobile apps across 10 categories – games, ecommerce/retail, media, sports, tech/telco, financial, restaurants, travel, music and education – between October 2014 and December 2015, using comScore, Nielsen and Think Gaming data. Fully 77% showed a direct correlation between TV spending and app traffic. When TV ads ran, unique visitors went up 25%; when TV didn’t run, unique visitors dropped 20%.

A few brand specifics:

  • Pet Rescue Saga saw a 40% difference, averaging 2.5 million unique visitors when spending $1.1 million/month, but falling to 1.8 million unique visitors the months when ads didn’t run.
  • Game of War, which typically spends $9 million/month on TV, saw its unique visitors fall 25%, from 2.5 million to 2 million, when TV ads didn’t run.
  • Clash of Clans, which averages $4.5 million/month in TV ads, lost 17% of unique visitors when off-air, with the total falling from 11.9 million to 10.2 million visitors.

Brands’ estimated monthly revenues far exceed their TV investments. For example, Clash of Clans averages $36 million in monthly sales vs. $4.5 million in TV spending; and Game of War averages $24.6 million in monthly sales for its $9.1 million in TV ads.

The study also examined the degree to which TV advertising affected the launch traffic for eight new mobile apps. For example, when Blossom Blast launched in September 2015, its traffic was too small to register on comScore. Within a month of starting TV advertising, the app counted 2.3 million unique visitors. Similarly, Mobile Strike counted 1.9 million unique visitors within a month of starting TV advertising, and in April 2016 reached estimated revenue of $12 million/month.

What’s App’ning amplifies the findings of two previous reports on the TV-traffic correlation. Ignition Point found an 82% correlation between TV advertising and website traffic for 125 call-to-action brands in six categories (restaurants, retail, travel, telco/location-based mobile apps, financial and insurance). And What’s Driving Digital found an 85% correlation between TV ads and site traffic for 75 pure-play Internet brands.

“TV is the light switch for digital traffic,” said Sean Cunningham, President & CEO of the VAB. “Time and again, across categories, we find that digital products and platforms rely on TV advertising to deliver customers in real scale. And the return in sales is always exponentially greater than the ad spending.”

About the VAB

The Video Advertising Bureau is an advocacy group dedicated to providing advertisers and their agencies with the most current, complete and actionable media insights on the expanding world of premium, multiscreen TV content. The VAB member companies include A&E Networks, AMC Networks, AT&T AdWorks, Bright House Networks, Cable One, Cablevision, CBS Corporation, Cinema Advertising Council, Comcast, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Discovery Communications, FOX Networks, Mediacom, National CineMedia (NCM), NBCUniversal, Screenvision Media, Scripps Networks, Spotlight Cinema Networks, Suddenlink Communications, Time Warner Cable, Tribune Media, Turner Networks, Verizon FiOS, Viacom, Viamedia, and Walt Disney Co.


Fred Pfaff Inc.
Fred Pfaff, 917-902-6883

Release Summary

The fast-growing mobile apps business depends on TV ads to generate traffic. Report from Video Advertising Bureau finds 77% correlation between TV ads and traffic for 60 popular mobile apps.


Fred Pfaff Inc.
Fred Pfaff, 917-902-6883