We’re officially back to real life: the lockdown-driven app frenzy is over, and the economic downturn is the one to shape mobile marketing trends 2023. Publishers have started to cast aside dreams about growth — as well as new ideas — and are now focused on preserving vetted projects. User retention is now at the forefront of everything, and there’s nothing surprising about that.
However, it’s not all bad. App marketers have always been capable of dealing with uncertainty and operating with a restricted budget. New challenges set the floor for new ways to overcome them. Artificial intelligence, for instance, can speed up some mobile marketing processes while a good understanding of SKAdNetwork 4.0 will help you measure your performance more effectively.
In this article, we’ll explore the most interesting mobile marketing trends that are set to shape the industry in 2023 and beyond. We have also had the opportunity to ask several distinguished figures in the industry about their predictions for the future of apps. Buckle up and prepare for a thought-provoking read!
Trend#1. User Retention Is a Priority
As we mentioned above, the good old days are over. The global economy is reeling from the consequences of the global pandemic and world conflicts, and user acquisition costs are about to get higher across all the channels. App marketers are already changing their approaches and priorities.
The increasing competition dictates its own rules, so you can already see CPT and CPA growing. This is something we at SplitMetrics have observed too when collecting data for our recent Apple Search Ads Search Results Benchmarks Report.
For instance, during the second half of 2022, the average CPT rose to $1.99, up from $1.56 in the first half of the year.
Same happened to the average CPA. It increased from $2.40 in H1 2022 to $3.21 in H2 of the same year.
Apple Search Ads is a high performing UA channel for many apps wishing to acquire highly motivated users, so it’s only natural that costs are changing. Roman Garbar, Marketing Director at Tenjin, explains why Apple Search Ads is a high quality channel worth focusing on:
Apple Search Ads has traditionally been one of the more expensive channels. However, when considering the other side of the coin—monetisation—Apple Search Ads emerges as a leader. We recently released a ‘From Hyper to Hybrid’ report, which reveals that Apple Search Ads holds the #1 position for key metrics such as Day 7 Retention, Day 7 Ad LTV, and Day 7 IAP LTV. When you concentrate on high-cost, high-quality channels like Apple Search Ads, the success factors ultimately boil down to UA expertise and tools efficiency. These factors remain unchanged in 2023.
Fundamentally, every app business needs to balance Cost per Install and Lifetime Value. With rising acquisition costs, the only option for publishers is to drive up LTV. At CleverTap, our data science team has run analysis to understand the key drivers of LTV in our portfolio of 10,000+ apps, and it’s all about personalization and building a more meaningful digital relationship with your end user. Using recency & frequency behavioral data to catch users in the early stages of attrition, before they become fully dormant, and also personalizing every touchpoint across channels, including using real-time behavioral triggers. Leveraging AI is the key to unlocking that 1:1 relationship, which leads to better retention and LTV
This is something that you need to keep in mind — the market doesn’t stand still, and these changes are observed industry-wide. The churn levels are already very high, warns Raviteja Dodda, Co-founder and CEO of MoEngage:
A recent survey we conducted on 1,000 North American marketers revealed that over 40% of them observed the highest customer churn before the onboarding phase was even completed. This data is alarming because it shows that most brands lose newly acquired customers before they even get a chance to demonstrate their true value proposition. Due to this scenario and the current economic climate, having a solid retention strategy is necessary for brands that want to achieve sustainable growth.
As many app marketers have to operate with a limited budget, many apps will focus on retaining their users and engaging them in a new, meaningful way. Gil Meroz, VP of Innovation and General Manager at AppsFlyer names customer experience a key factor here:
While growth has been a common goal for many brands in recent years, the current economic climate has forced priorities to shift in favor of focusing efforts on retaining existing customers. These days, consumers are significantly more discerning when it comes to where they will spend their next dollar, so customer experience is the key factor that can tip the scales in your favor. Constructing a solid foundation that powers seamless, engaging experiences helps not only to maintain and retain customers during more challenging periods, but also to acquire new ones.
We’ll see a lot of apps improving their onboarding process, enhancing their user experience and polishing their messaging and in-app events. Johannes von Cramon believes this mobile marketing trend will have a positive impact on the app economy:
It’s great to witness an increasing number of companies reaching this realization, even though it would have been better if they had done so a little earlier. The exclusive emphasis on vanity metrics and a growth-at-all-costs mentality primarily benefited founders and venture capitalists. As a result, employees found themselves in unprofitable organizations and faced layoffs, while users experienced deteriorating user experiences due to short-term growth hacks. Additionally, this approach further enriched large ad networks. I hope that this trend will persist throughout the upcoming bull market.
Even with the struggling economy, there are rooms for growth, especially if you’re quick and creative. Reggie Singh, Director of Partnerships at Adjust, recommends looking beyond traditional user retention methods:
With the app economy in flux, app marketers are quickly pivoting to elevate their user retention strategies. While of course, proven tactics like referral programs, loyalty incentives, and gamification are great to increase user engagement with a brand, why not look further upstream? Marketers should be actively testing creatives and channels to ascertain the source from which users with the greatest loyalty, and in-app spend are coming. Then, their user retention rates will naturally benefit.
Some mobile publishers have already improved their retention rates, says Mooko Media:
Our clients have seen an improvement in retention rates across several cohorts when they pay attention to product user flow, ASO, and the location of deep links. Making simple yet cost-effective changes without any expenditure has led to direct correlations between increased revenues and purchases, resulting in a ROAS rise of .05%-2% over every 3-day cohort. Implementing occasional creative changes focusing on events or sales within the app store has also contributed to a visible increase in conversion costs, revenue, and ROAS.
In the quest to turn lapsed users into active spenders, Yan Reizin offers a compelling data-driven perspective:
We see a growing demand for user re-engagement lately. In response to this challenge, as a programmatic DSP, we adopt a data-centric approach to implement retention campaigns.
While targeting the segment of paying users is typically more straightforward, the primary obstacle lies in effectively re-engaging and converting non-paying users into paying customers. Leveraging machine learning (ML)-based predictions is the way to identify user groups with a higher probability of yielding positive results.
Another thing to keep an eye on is incrementality to measure the impact and make sure there is an incremental lift, and you are not just re-engaging the audience that would have returned organically.
This is also a signal that we must reimagine some of our approaches and think not only of user experience, but rather of a user journey.
What does that mean? Take a look at the next trend.
Trend#2. App-Driven Customer Journeys
As modern consumers increasingly expect companies to provide not just products or services, but also a sense of connection and companionship, app marketers must adapt to meet these changing demands.
During SplitMetrics’ App Growth Week, Peggy Anne Salz, a chief analyst and founder of MobileGroove, shared her opinion on this trend and also pointed out that subscription-based apps can now easily become POS for their users. As a result, app marketers should now establish a digital path that users can rely on for daily assistance and guidance. By thoughtfully designing and sequencing digital interactions like push notifications, emails, and other messaging formats, marketers can create a personalized and engaging journey that keeps users engaged and coming back for more.
To create an effective customer journey, app marketers must focus on making every interaction count and guiding users towards a positive outcome. By doing so, they can not only cultivate deeper relationships with their users but also drive positive results for their business. Raviteja Dodda of MoEngage gives solid advice about achieving this:
Consumers today expect to receive a connected experience from brands. To create this, brands must stitch all their online and offline touchpoints to build insights-led customer journeys. Being “insights-led” means leveraging data and analytics to make informed decisions. It involves looking at customer attributes (like demographic data, preferred channels, and segment type), journey insights (such as how customers are navigating in the app and what moments/paths lead to conversions/drop-offs), and campaign insights (like which campaigns lead to the most churn/revenue or which have the highest interaction).
So if you want to stand out in the crowded app marketplace and provide your users with an exceptional experience, it’s time to prioritize building a complete customer journey for your app.
Subscription lifecycle events are key points of leverage along the overall customer journey. When a potential customer starts a 7-day free trial, that’s a great opportunity to onboard them into the premium features, making sure they get maximum value during their trial. If they cancel during the free trial, that’s an opportunity to offer a discount and/or get feedback on pricing vs value perception. A big part of how you achieve Trend#1 (retention) is to make sure you understand and are working to optimize how customers journey through your app.
Trend#3. Valuegraphics Instead of Demographics
Have you ever tried out relying on valuegraphics instead of demographics? No? You should.
Valuegraphics is a revolutionary approach to understanding what people really care about and how these values influence their decision-making. Developed by David Allison, valuegraphics is based on the idea that demographic data is no longer enough to understand people’s needs and desires. Instead, valuegraphics aims to identify the underlying values that drive individual and collective behavior, such as beliefs, attitudes, and motivations, eventually leading to stronger brand loyalty, notices Vika Muzyka of Gamelight:
Valuegraphics is a game-changer in mobile marketing: by understanding the core values and motivations of your target audience, you can create personalized and relevant campaigns that truly resonate with them. You can go beyond surface-level demographics and tap into the emotional motivations of your audience. This level of personalization leads to higher engagement, increased brand loyalty, and better overall user experience, making your users feel seen and understood.
Unlike traditional demographic data, valuegraphics focuses on identifying the underlying values that drive behavior. By understanding what people truly value, businesses, organizations, and governments can create more effective strategies and products that resonate with their target audience on a deeper level.
When Peggy Anne Salz was opening SplitMetrics’ App Growth Week, she named valuegraphics one of the biggest trends to shape the mobile industry in the coming years.
To revamp your mobile marketing strategy, Peggy suggests a three-layer approach to crafting your buyer personas, with valuegraphics at the forefront:
- In layer one, demographics will help you identify your audience;
- In layer two, psychographics will help you understand their behavior;
- In layer three, valuegraphics will reveal their core values.
With these three layers, you can create detailed and data-driven buyer personas that can elevate your user retention game, craft ad campaigns with a focus on value, and much more.
Trend#4. New Measurement Frameworks
Privacy regulations have become a critical component of app marketing, shaping the industry’s landscape. As regulations continue, mobile marketers have to rethink their approaches and create new measurement frameworks — the ones that will address both privacy concerns and effective attribution.
For instance, in 2023 we’ll see a growing number of ad networks adopting SKAdNetwork 4.0 that strikes a balance between safeguarding user privacy and providing advertisers with insights into the effectiveness of their campaigns. Meiry Vaknin, VP of Partnerships at YouAppi says SKAN is big news for mobile marketers:
SKAN 4.0 is big news for our industry. It demonstrates that Apple is in fact listening to feedback from companies in the mobile ecosystem and actively putting in the effort to iterate and create a better framework for performance measurement.
Because of this, there will be more support of the new framework in a shorter period of time than previous versions of SKAN which allows the optimization of campaigns to be more effective.
Apple’s SKAdNetwork and Google’s upcoming Android Privacy Sandbox are prime examples of how privacy enhancing technologies (PETs) are making their mark on digital advertising, particularly in mobile. The innovation by MMPs in this privacy-first era is so important in helping marketers stay competitive and effective. Our investment into media mix modeling with our acquisition of Machine Advertising earlier this year is a prime example of this. I’m excited for what’s next.
This implies the need for mobile marketers to adopt them in a timely manner and identify best practices to regain visibility while complying with privacy regulations.
However, SKAdNetwork is a mobile-specific framework that sends the postback after a random delay of 24 to 72 hours. Therefore, the best way is to adopt marketing mix modeling, or MMM, as a supplementary measurement method capable of delivering faster results across the web and app as well as online and offline channels.
Besides, there’s more to look forward too, says Roman Garbar:
When discussing the measurement framework, it is worth noting that SKAdNetwork has a smaller sibling called AdServices. AdServices operates exclusively with Apple Search Ads and poses fewer obstacles for campaign analysis, even when compared with SKAdNetwork 4. For example, it does not enforce SKAdNetwork’s privacy threshold, which mandates that advertisers accumulate a certain number of installs before accessing detailed data. This aspect makes Apple Search Ads an appealing choice for advertisers with smaller budgets who are starting to advertise on iOS.
App marketers will combine data sources to create a comprehensive view of their performance, while informing their users about their data usage and protection. Eran Friedman, Co-Founder and CTO at Singular believes that a Hybrid Measurement approach will be a priority for many marketing teams in 2023:
With an increase in privacy measures, measurement has been forced into a future-planning state, with marketers testing new measurement frameworks across all platforms – from SKAdNetwork 4.0 on iOS, Privacy Sandbox on Android, to Media Mix Modeling. Marketing teams are working towards establishing a Hybrid Measurement approach, where they use platform-specific frameworks like SKAdNetwork and Privacy Sandbox for day-to-day optimizations and top-down methodologies like Media Mix Modeling to understand incrementality and guide their strategic budget allocation.
This transparency may also become a new pillar of user engagement as users will get a clearer picture of what’s going on with their data.
Here’s what Johannes von Cramon believes is going to happen:
There are undoubtedly encouraging aspects of SKAN 4.0 and Google’s Privacy Sandbox. Still, some people may be overly optimistic that these developments will lead to significantly better attribution than current affairs. The primary improvement observed so far is how ad networks, such as Meta, are managing the substantial signal loss on iOS, which is the factor that will ultimately drive performance.
By the way, the changes above will ultimately lead to the increasing relevance of organic search, so the competition here isn’t going to cool down any time soon.
In any case, app marketers should treat new measurement frameworks as opportunities to grow and evolve, says Katie Madding, Chief Product Officer at Adjust:
The aggregated data-centric future is already here. Today’s marketers need to view the new frameworks from SKAN and Google Privacy Sandbox as opportunities to evolve. To do so, they should partner with mobile measurement platforms that have already invested in next-generation measurement solutions for mobile attribution, predictive analytics, incrementality, and media mix modeling. With the right measurement partner, marketers can still optimize campaigns and scale their apps with confidence.
Trend#5. Rise of AI Solutions
ChatGPT caused a general sensation, so it’s no wonder mobile marketers have started to pay greater attention to different AI solutions.
AI tools are revolutionizing mobile development and marketing, with a variety of solutions already available in the market. ChatGPT, for example, offers a range of benefits, including brainstorming features, as well as assisting with asset creation, coding, metadata optimization, semantic core collection, etc. Here’s an example how we at SplitMetrics got a semantic core for a non-existing app from the chatbot:
Additionally, ChatGPT can be used to compare your game against competitors, work with app store reviews, and create optimized ads. With AI tools like ChatGPT, app marketers and game developers can streamline their processes and stay ahead of the competition. Fiona Long, Senior Marketing Manager at SocialPeta, agrees with that:
In the AI era, creative automation is a trend and also a must-learn class for reducing costs and improving efficiency.
According to SocialPeta Q1 2023 report, nearly 50k advertisers used new ad creatives, resulting in 7.8M + new materials. This data reveals that a large amount of new creatives is the key to acquiring users. Luckily, AI now can help the ad creatives production and enhance output efficiency. By simply inputting the script, image materials, audio, and other settings, AI can automatically generate multi-language, multi-version video creatives.
Other AI solutions, such as Midjourney, Stable Diffusion and DALL·E 2 can be helpful when working on creatives for the app’s product page. Other platforms can turn text prompts into 3D objects, which can be of great assistance for motion designers tasked with another video ad.
What’s more, AI solutions can help you craft truly personalized messages for different audiences, and this is crucial — since personalization is one of the biggest mobile marketing trends in 2023. Kathee Chimowitz, CEO & Founder of Seven Star Consulting, has found ChatGPT particularly useful:
ChatGPT, aka Chappy, has been my best assistant to date. Chappy can act or respond as any famous personality specifically or in general. For example, I train Chappy to ‘act as the top mobile games expert’ or ‘create a post as if you are an award-winning video games PR agency’. I also request multiple response options to help with brainstorming. The $20/month salary I pay Chappy is very worth the price!
AI will enable app and growth marketers to become more efficient in some areas. Certain tasks, thanks to ChatGPT and other tools, can be completed within minutes instead of hours. This will have a profound impact on employee productivity but also societal impacts at the employment level for certain job positions.
There are a few key areas of impact:
Generative AI for Creativity: This streamlines both game and ad creative development, significantly reducing production costs. The advancement offers our creative teams unparalleled tools, amplifying their capacity to design visual or textual assets.Machine Learning in App Data Analysis: Here, the technology refines our approach to data, enhancing retention rates, monetization strategies, and the overall user experience.
The Business Edge with Deep Learning: This aspect is at the core of our business strategy. Deep learning assists teams in honing user acquisition, precise segmentation, A/B testing, and innovative monetization techniques.
Drawing a parallel, just as individuals adapted to Google and YouTube to streamline information access, the mastery over tools such as ChatGPT, Bard, and Midjourney — and the knack to prompt them effectively — can be game-changers. Given our current macroeconomic context, instead of expanding teams, this emerging technology is our path to achieving ‘more with less.’
Trend#6. Personalization Is Key
As we noticed above, users nowadays expect a personalized experience that meets their specific needs and interests. With so many options available to them, they are more likely to stick with an app that provides content and features that are relevant to them — and is set to establish a full-fledged user journey for them:
Time and again, personalization surfaces as a key tactic for increasing engagement, retention, and conversions. Brands that build personalized and contextual journeys for their customers by taking advantage of segmentation tools and deep linking will continue to stay ahead. This is especially true during this period of economic downturn when retention is so important.
In this context, personalization becomes vital for understanding your audience and creating more effective campaigns, by allowing you to target users with specific interests or behaviors. Consumers are tired of getting inconsistent messaging, this is why personalization can change their minds, says Raviteja Dodda:
Consumers are no longer just price-conscious. They are increasingly looking for personalized experiences that go beyond the price tag. Our recent study found that 56% of North American consumers want a curated shopping experience from the brands they shop from regularly. Similarly, 58% of consumers are frustrated when brands send generic and inconsistent communication. This showcases that consumers want brands to provide them relevant experiences that take their needs and preferences into consideration.
Moreover, personalization can help app marketers to foster a sense of loyalty and connection with their users. Florian Elmies, Co-Founder of Gamelight, explains how personalization affects mobile games in particular:
By understanding what gamers like, you can create personalized experiences that truly rock their world. This means higher engagement, longer play sessions, and super-loyal players. By tailoring the gaming experience to each player’s preferences, you create a truly special connection, ensuring an optimal and immersive experience.
However, when crafting your messages, it’s important not to go overboard with it, says Mooko Media:
Nudging creative and creating a sense of continuity from ad clicks to app usage is essential. You can dilute your audiences if you nuance every profile, but if you go overboard, your messaging may not resonate with everyone. Use data to inform, but not necessarily to dictate messaging and audience. To enable scalable growth, balance audience messaging refinement and data science integrity. We’ve witnessed 12% growth in customer base while reducing CAC costs by 9% through informed testing and testing set up to inform for clients.
Dan Sudak of Persona.ly emphasizes the pivotal role of personalized creatives in enhancing campaign performance:
Personalized journeys in UA start with creatives — we have seen that exposing users to the right personalized creatives leads to a significant performance uplift. That’s why we implemented contextual bandits approach to the creative selection.
We apply ML predictions to segment users and serve the relevant audience-specific creatives to different audiences based on the audience context. Using reinforcement learning where both positive and negative interactions are considered, the algorithm assesses multiple contextual data points (predicted gender, predicted age, placement, etc.) to display the relevant creatives to the relevant audiences — even for iOS campaigns.
Tailoring user experiences is also closely connected with contextual targeting which becomes more prominent as users’ privacy comes at the forefront.
As a result, UA tools like custom product pages allow you to create ad variations in Apple
Search Ads search results campaigns will keep growing in importance because they enable
you to connect even with those users who have opted out of Personalized Ads. With them, you can generate up to 35 distinct versions of your App Store product page and spotlight unique features, updates, or promotional offers. By doing so, you can create personalized ad variations in Apple Search Ads search results campaigns, and elevate targeted advertising to a higher degree by:
- Experimenting with diverse value propositions
- Conducting campaigns for different audience segments
- Refining ads across various regions
- Showcasing specific content as highlights and features.
Another aspect of personalization in the mobile industry is related to ASO. When designing creatives for the product page, you should always keep your target audience in mind. There’s a peculiar pattern in mobile game assets perception SplitMetrics’ team noticed when doing research for our ASO Benchmarks and Mobile Trends Report:
- When presented with an icon or screenshots featuring a solitary female character, women generally tend to have a noticeable reaction.
- Male audiences tend to gravitate towards app icons featuring a team of heroic characters and love to get a glimpse of the app mechanics/features on screenshots.
- Storytelling is popular among men and women alike.
This is a curious trend app marketers should look into.
Trend#7. User-Generated Content
This trend is closely related to the very first trend we mentioned in this article — the focus on user retention.
User-generated content (UGC) can be an incredibly powerful tool in app marketing campaigns. It involves encouraging your users to create and share content about your app, which can then be used to promote it to new audiences. Here are some ways UGC can help with your app marketing:
- Expanding the reach
- Higher engagement
- Provision of social proof.
Günay Aliyeva of Gamelight points out that UGC is also an amazing tool for both user engagement and market research:
UGC is like a secret sauce: It adds that special flavor of authenticity, making brands more trustworthy and relatable. It’s like getting real-time feedback and market research straight from your customers, helping businesses stay on top of their game. Oh, and did I mention that it’s a superpower for spreading the word? UGC gets shared on social media like crazy, giving brands some serious organic promotion.
The usage of UGC becomes even more significant as the world observes the so-called influencer fatigue. According to Meltwater, celebrity influencers can only influence the purchasing decisions of 3% of consumers, so user-generated content is at the forefront of everything, social media channels especially.
You can drive engagement by rewarding your brand ambassadors, building a community to unite them, or creating UGC-styled ads, which should look natural. In this case ‘natural’ means an unpolished, DIY style.
It’s one of the most exciting mobile marketing trends in 2023 since we’ll see lots of amazing and original content. Tapping into UGC also means you have ‘new lands’ to explore. Salah Mustafa of Phiture, for instance, has observed the full might of UGC on TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram:
UGC has been on the rise over the past few years, and its prevalence is expected to increase even more in the near future. This uptick is not without merit – UGC ads often feel more native to the social media platforms, outperforming in many cases the traditional ad formats. And this is due to a fundamental truth: humans trust humans.
At Phiture, we have experienced great success utilizing the power of UGC creatives, particularly on platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram.
To talk numbers and analytics: in Q3 2023 we caught 10.4M creatives, where video format covers 76% with UGC ads taking the first rows as top performers. It proves the point that UGC outdoes the standard formats and advertisers are ready to invest in it further. Thus, we expect an UGC traffic share to grow in the upcoming future.
An interesting observation: rarely do we see in Apptica UGC creatives running for more than 30 days via TikTok (as fatigue hits faster here), however, in other networks like e.g. AppLovin, Unity, Vungle, Meta such ads can live for 100+ days ensuring the conversions quite successfully.
Trend#8. Growth of Web2App
The need to explore beyond the usual UA approaches in 2023 will push app marketers to pay more attention to Web2App campaigns. They will see lots of benefits by doing so, especially if they manage to make them a smooth flow, says Andrea Raggi:
In the age of digital interconnectivity, the ability to move users smoothly from web browsing to app usage is not just a benefit, it’s a necessity.
While experimenting and utilizing this technique, it’s important to ensure that the user experience from the web to the app is smooth, otherwise, consumer churn may happen and user engagement will obviously diminish. When running Web2App campaigns it’s also critical to evaluate whether the app provides significant additional value to the user: is the effort worth it?
Web2App is a great way to diversify your marketing mix and reach out to new users when you feel you’ve hit a ceiling. The concept behind such a campaign can be really simple. It’s enough to create a bright banner, add a user’s review for social proof and introduce a CTA button to drive potential users to the app marketplaces.
Web2App is also a fantastic tool for running retargeting campaigns, which is really important in the age when customer retention comes front and center.
The best course of action here is to embrace the trend. It’s already an essential part of the app growth stack at Phiture, says Salah Mustafa:
We consider Web-to-App (W2A) optimization to be an essential component of the app growth stack. W2A can be utilized in several ways to promote mobile growth, including:
1. Converting web users into app users: This strategy can target both desktop users and mobile web users, with the goal of migrating these audiences to the app.
2. Leveraging web acquisition channels such as Google Search for app acquisition
3. Providing flexible onboarding flows: By offering engaging onboarding experiences, you can better prepare new users before they download the app, increasing the likelihood of long-term usage and loyalty.
Trend#9. CTV Will Get a Bigger Role
Gone are the days when we thought Connected TV (CTV) won’t be much relevant for mobile marketing.
Gijsbert Pols, Director of Connected TV & New Channels at Adjust, confirms that:
At Adjust, we’re already seeing more app marketers begin to harness the power of CTV. Why? They’re following user trends, as they’ve always done. According to Insider Intelligence, U.S. adults now spend almost two hours a day consuming content on CTV. Trust me, this user channel preference has not gone unnoticed. Recent Adjust data reported that the impression volume for CTV to mobile grew 31.5% from the month before, revealing that marketers are beginning to embrace CTV in 2023.
Kimberly Manning, VP Brand & Content Marketing at Kochava, says that they are already witnessing the increased demand in solutions aimed at CTV measurement:
Our footprint of integrated partners for CTV campaign activation has grown exponentially to meet the growing demand from the advertisers we serve. Outcomes-based measurement is a keen focus amongst the CTV platforms and publishers we’re working with. While CTV has been a fragmented ecosystem that was traditionally difficult to measure, we’re thrilled to be playing a pivotal role in changing that and helping connect the dots from CTV ads to cross-screen & cross-device conversions.
Susan Kuo, Co-Founder and COO at Singular, also confirms that CTV ad networks are going to play a bigger role in 2023:
CTV is one of the top buzzwords for 2023, and more and more of our customers are joining the trend and beginning to test. We are excited to partner with leading CTV ad networks to enable performance advertisers to acquire users across new channels in an effective and cost-efficient way. It is still very early days in the CTV performance advertising world, especially regarding measurement and effective ways to analyze ROAS against other channels. We look forward to working with our customers and partners to consider more of a hybrid measurement approach like Media Mix Modeling for a deeper understanding of incrementality and brand lift in addition to pure performance-based metrics.
Tens of thousands of new apps are released every month. That’s a lot of noise to break through, especially on channels that are already saturated, like search and social. Apps will win this year — and for the foreseeable future — if they start marketing on CTV. Just look at the numbers: 100 million households have cut the cord, 71% of US households have at least one connected device, and advertisers have reported 22% higher conversion rates for paid search after running a CTV campaign. I’m confident in saying that CTV is now the must-have channel for app marketers.
According to Statista, programmatic advertising on CTV reached an impressive 92% of households in the United States by the end of 2022, with a user base of over 110 million among Gen Z and Millennials. And tvScientific points out that 91.6% consumers subscribe to ad-supported tiers per streaming service. As more people are streaming TV shows and movies through CTV devices, app marketers have the opportunity to advertise their apps to a big audience through CTV ads.
In our article about mobile gaming trends, we listed the recent Royal Match commercial as an example of a fantastic CTV advertising. Thanks to the campaign, the mobile game rose from the 115th position to the 62nd, surpassing its previous peak of 94 in March 2021. Meiry Vaknin, VP of Partnerships at YouAppi, predicted that CTV would be a big trend for mobile gaming a long time ago:
CTV is finally having its moment. We’ve been talking about it for years and we now have the data to back up the buzz. We knew this moment was coming when Applovin acquired Wurl in 2022. It was just a matter of time to see game developers tap into this new media and leverage its reach for UA. We also see the leading Mobile Measurement partners now all supporting cross-platform attribution, enabling performance marketers to connect their paid media efforts on mobile apps to CTV.
As more CTV measurement solutions appear, it’s safe to say that we’ll see more and more mobile marketers using the channel to connect with a new audience. This is one of the mobile marketing trends in 2023 you should pay attention to, says Gil Meroz of AppsFlyer:
Since launching our CTV measurement solution in Q3 2022, we’ve seen tremendous growth in the use of CTV as a performance channel for user acquisition. In fact, since the beginning of 2023, the number of CTV-to-mobile conversions has on average nearly doubled on a monthly basis. We expect even wider adoption of CTV as a growth and retention channel in the future.
Trend#10. New Marketplaces
When it comes to mobile gaming, one should closely follow the news.
The Middle East, for instance, shows an unsurpassing interest in the sector.
According to Newzoo, KSA, Israel, and Kuwait had the highest consumer spending in 2021 compared to the previous year, and KSA has plans to invest $38 billion in the segment. Moreover, the Middle East and Latin America regions were the only ones experiencing a continuous revenue increase in 2022. High adoption rates in these parts of the world indicate that:
- New apps and mobile games will appear in the region
- Localization will become even more important
- Deep understanding of the local audiences is a must.
This surge of interest is particularly relevant for casual games, says Fiona Long of SocialPeta:
Hybrid casual game market is a hot competitive part for mobile game advertising, and the only way to win is to pinpoint creative trends.
As of the end of May 2023, advertisers of casual games still account for the largest share, reaching 29.55%, and the amount of creatives reaches 1.8M +. Among them are a large number of hybrid casual game advertisers. After analyzing the creatives with the highest impression and popularity, SocialPeta found that the ad strategy of hybrid casual games is mainly to display RPG elements (upgrades & equipment), increase the proportion of exaggerated plots, and these ads place more on short video platforms.
However, regions aren’t the only ‘marketplaces’ you should consider.
It’s also time for alternative stores to rise.
The EU is expected to implement the Digital Markets Act in May 2023, which aims to allow users to install apps from alternative stores. This is a noteworthy development for game publishers as independent game stores can offer better payment options and lower fees, making in-app purchases more lucrative for monetization. Adrian Keindl, CEO at Revlum, also sees the Act as a positive development:
App publishers can encounter challenges due to the policies of well-established app marketplaces. While alternative marketplaces exist, they may not have the same level of regulation or popularity among publishers and users. The Digital Markets Act has the potential to foster a more publisher-friendly environment while also benefiting advertisers, monetization service providers, and users.
The Bottom Line
Mobile marketing trends in 2023 will be shaped by the use of AI and machine learning to personalize campaigns, the emergence of new advertising platforms, the continued importance of channel diversification and focus on user retention.
Will the year be challenging?
Will it be exciting?