This year’s Mobile Apps Unlocked was one for the books. Not only did we announce our acquisition by Affle, we also hosted our own gaming dinner, an additional MAU VIP gaming dinner, a massive club night at Encore Beach Club at Night and an incredible Women in Leader(sip) event to raise money for Girls Who Code. After countless conversations, panels, and meetings with mobile experts from around the globe, our team compiled a list of top takeaways from MAU 2023. Missed the mobile industry premiere event of the year? Skip the FOMO — read our recap with five top insights we learned from our partners, clients and friends at this year’s Mobile Apps Unlocked Las Vegas 2023.

CTV is a go-to channel for app installs 

As we’ve written before, OTT and CTV channels are increasingly becoming not just viable growth channels for mobile marketers but vital ones. Many of the partners we spoke with at MAU 2023 expressed their interest in partnering with CTV providers to expand and diversify their ad spend. This reflects current trends:

  • CTV is fast-becoming a primary source of entertainment for many consumers. According to data provided by tvScientific, 52% of households own a smart TV and an estimated 60% of US TV households will watch CTV by 2024.
  • According to eMarketer, the number of CTV viewers in the US will reach 213.7 million this year, up from 182.6 million in 2021.
  • In data from the IAB, media investment  in CTV channels is expected to tick up 14.4% this year. On the other hand, buyers estimate they’ll spend 6.3% less on linear TV-based traditional cable and broadcast ad channels in 2023.

Where consumers go, ad dollars flow. Marketers at MAU 2023 were enthusiastic about the rising measurability of CTV and OTT advertising as well as the potential for unlocking innovative creative messaging formats via these channels.

For “Everything you need to know about mobile advertising on OTT” read our recent article written in collaboration with tvScientific, a CTV advertising platform that combines the power of television and the precision and measurability of digital marketing into one.

Post-IDFA strategies are still top-of-mind

Two years since Apple’s rollout of its ATT Framework and marketers are still building ways to effectively acquire and keep iOS users without the IDFA.

While in the run-up to iOS 14.5’s release, experts thought ATT opt-in rates could be as low as 0-20%, rates have leveled out to be much higher than initial expectations. According to Statista, last year, almost half of all users trust iOS app marketers enough to share their IDFA for a more personalized experience (46%). For certain app categories, this rate is even higher. For example, for finance and utilities apps, 53% of users consent to sharing their IDFA on average.

Many of our customers asked our team about how we’ve been able to run successful iOS retargeting campaigns. We also received questions about how we use probabilistic targeting to succeed in an IDFA-less environment.

For those looking for more information about how to run successful iOS campaigns, we recommend implementing at pre-ATT opt-in prompt as well as working with DSPs that have robust probabilistic models to get as much value from your contextual data as possible.

At YouAppi, our proprietary contextual targeting algorithm uses machine learning to find connections between a diverse set of contextual signals. This, in turn, lets us fuel growth at scale for our partners beyond the scope of Apple’s IDFA changes.

Marketers are gearing up for Android’s Privacy Sandbox

With the deprecation of the IDFA still top-of-mind for many marketers, it’s no surprise they would be thinking ahead to the next wave of privacy changes from duopolist Google. Google Advertising ID (GAID) which is used for attribution, audience management, and third-party data sharing on Android — will be deprecated in 2024.

While the deprecation of GAID will impact targeting via third party data and with that — retargeting — Google’s rollout will differ greatly from Apple’s process of deprecating the IDFA. One remark we heard a few times at MAU was the fact that Google’s changes could be far less restrictive advertising is a core aspect of Google’s business. Furthermore, Google will be offering advertising solutions like Topics and the Attribution API signals to help ad networks ensure contextual ad delivery.

AI personalization is the next big thing

It feels like the whole world is talking about AI — and that was definitely the case at MAU 2023. Not only were large language learning models (LLMs) like Chat GPT4 on marketers’ minds when it came to optimizing workflows, they were also discussed as a key tool for scaling the personalization of ads.

While generative AI in its current form can be used to create and optimize marketing copy, we are also seeing the rapid evolution of generative AI scale custom image and graphics production. Very soon the cost efficiencies of this content generation will make the personalization of ads table stakes for brands.

For those marketers and brands anxious about falling behind in this competitive landscape, we suggest beginning to explore the potential of generative AI. See how it can streamline and amplify your campaign operations. Try incorporating AI to enrich your data and refine your targeting strategies. Instead of imposing a top-down methodology, foster an environment where every team member feels empowered to leverage AI to improve their task efficiency. This will reveal compelling applications of generative AI and help your management understand how it can be used to scale processes across teams.

The economy is changing ad budgets

There’s no doubt the economy is shifting and it’s tightening advertising budgets. Many marketers spoke about the lean structure of their teams these days and how thin resources are.

With that said, brands are pivoting to focus more on profitability than growth. This is clear by increased interest in retargeting and retention, stricter ROAS goals and the diversification of marketing channels to include unique pockets of inventory with lower CPMs than Meta.

Our top tip for weathering economic uncertainty? Investing in the acquisition of users that show the highest purchasing potential and shifting more resources to consistently retargeting them from the moment you acquire them. After all, why spend money to win new users if you’re only going to lose them in a matter of days, weeks or months?

For more information on why retargeting is good business in today’s economy, read our CEO’s LinkedIn article on recession-proof mobile advertising trends.


What we overheard at MAU 2023:

  1. CTV is a new and promising channel for app installs: Connected TV (CTV) is emerging as a primary source of entertainment and app installs. With increasing CTV viewers and investment in CTV advertising, marketers see potential in these channels for creative messaging and advertising efficacy.
  2. Continued Importance of Post-IDFA Strategies: Marketers are still finding ways to navigate Apple's ATT framework, and build strategies to acquire and retain iOS users without the IDFA. Probabilistic targeting is a successful approach to this challenge.
  3. Preparation for Android's Privacy Sandbox: Marketers are preparing for Google's privacy changes with the deprecation of the Google Advertising ID (GAID) coming in 2024. Google's changes are expected to be less restrictive, as advertising makes up a significant portion of their business model.
  4. AI Personalization is trending: AI personalization is fast-becoming an essential part of marketing, with generative AI fueling the production of marketing copy, custom graphics and, eventually, personalized ads.
  5. Changing Ad Budgets due to Economic Shifts: Economic shifts are affecting ad budgets, leading to leaner teams and stretched resources. Brands are focusing more on profitability than growth. Investing in long-term revenue generating initiatives like retargeting can be a smart play in this economy.

Ready to take your MAU 2023 conversations to the next level?

Talk is cheap! Put your goals in motion by reaching out to our team of growth and retargeting experts to level up your mobile marketing strategy after MAU 2023. We’re a major player in the game, and we are ready to prove that our performance beats the competition.