Now that we’re officially in the second half of 2023, it’s time to review the mobile ad spend trends that have shaped the year so far. Keep up with industry trends and learn how mobile marketers are spending their ad budgets in the first half of 2023 so that you can better spend yours.

In-app consumer spending is on the rise

Before we tackle mobile ad spending trends, it’s important to note the current state of the global economy and its effect on marketing budgets. As we wrote at the beginning of the year, we expected inflation to continue rising in 2023. Despite this, the mobile app industry has shown positive signs of growth.

The first half of 2023 saw a robust resurgence from 2022, with $67.5 billion in consumer spending and a staggering 76.8 billion app downloads worldwide across the Google Play and Apple App stores. In total, consumer spending increased by 5.3% compared to the previous year. It’s also worth noting that iOS users continue to outspend Android users, with iOS consumer spend climbing 5.8% YoY, while Google Play grew 4.3%, respectively.

mobile spending trends


Keep in mind that while cutting ad budgets might seem like the best way to confront rising costs and inflation, research shows that businesses that make significant cuts to their marketing budgets during a recession often struggle to recover. A comprehensive study of 3900 companies worldwide during the 2008 recession, for example, found that companies that maintained their marketing spend and investment in growth enjoyed a 17% compound growth rate.

Rather than slash spend in an economic slowdown, careful allocation of your marketing budget in cost-effective, ROI-positive strategies like mobile retargeting campaigns can position your brand for long-term success.

Global mobile ad spend

In 2023, mobile advertising spending is projected to reach a record of 360.3 billion U.S. dollars worldwide according to Statista. This represents a more than 10% increase from mobile budget spent in 2022.

Mobile advertising spending worldwide from 2007 to 2024 (in million U.S. dollars)

mobile spending trends

Source: Statista

Mobile advertisers are investing more in creatives

Since the release of Apple’s ATT Framework and the deprecation of the IDFA, creative design and strategy has emerged as a key lever of optimization in mobile growth campaigns. With that said, mobile brands are investing more resources than ever in designing new and enticing ads to engage users.

According to SocialPeta, nearly 50,000 advertisers in the mobile games space created new creatives in Q1 2023. This accounted for 92.22% of all mobile advertisers. In the first quarter of 2023 in total, advertisers released over 7.8 million new creatives. This represented more than 67% of all ad creatives.

The advertisers that have invested the most in creatives are casual game marketers. Casual games dominated both in terms of the number of advertisers (29.16%) and the number of creatives (32.68%) released in Q1 2023. Next was puzzle game advertisers. More than 12% of puzzle game advertisers released new creatives in Q1 2023 and the proportion of puzzle game creatives released was 12.12%.

Advertisers working on Android created an average of 245 creatives compared to 185 for Apple. This accounted for a 32.3% difference between Android and iOS ads.

Video ads on iOS are the most engaging ad format

According to SocialPeta, video ads on iOS are the most popular mobile ad format. They accounted for 82.97% of all creatives in Q1 2023. The second most popular ad format, static image ads, accounted for 13.56%. Next was playable ads which made up just 2.17% of the total. Impressions garnered by video ads made up 82.05% of total impressions in Q1 2023. In contrast, static image ads were responsible for just 15.91% of all ad impressions in the same period.

Ads on iOS had a higher number of impressions per creative (114.4 thousand) compared to Android (89.1 thousand). Finally, board games emerged as the genre with the highest number of impressions per creative.

Game app installs, sessions and session lengths are up

According to new data from Adjust, game app installs are up quarter-over-quarter after a slight dip in 2022. Compared to Q4 2022, Q1 2023 gaming apps saw a 7% increase in installs. This positive trend continued into Q2 2023, with installs in April and May 2% higher than Q1 and 9% higher than Q4 2022.

mobile spending trends

Source: Adjust

Gaming app sessions are also on the up and up. According to Adjust, gaming sessions in Q1 2023 were 9% higher than the previous quarter.

mobile spending trends

Source: Adjust

Finally, gaming app session lengths were also slightly higher than last year. January, March, and May 2023 session lengths were slightly above their 2022 session lengths at 30.96 minutes, 30.27 minutes, and 30.43 minutes, respectively. Notably, May’s gaming app session lengths were 3% higher than May 2022.

mobile spending trends

Source: Adjust

The takeaway?

Despite shifting economic headwinds, investment in creatives as well as other growth strategies has benefited the game app vertical with installs, sessions and session lengths seeing gains year-over-year.


Despite the changing economic climate, the mobile app industry has rebounded, with app revenue increasing by 5.3% in H1 2023 compared to the previous year.

  • Instead of cutting ad budgets during economic downturns, businesses should allocate their marketing budgets strategically, focusing on cost-effective and ROI-positive strategies like mobile retargeting campaigns.
  • Global mobile advertising spending is projected to reach a record $360.3 billion in 2023, reflecting a more than 10% increase from the previous year.
  • Creative design and strategy have become crucial for mobile growth campaigns, with nearly 50,000 mobile game advertisers creating new creatives in Q1 2023, accounting for over 67% of all ad creatives.
  • Video ads on iOS have emerged as the most engaging ad format, accounting for 82.97% of all creatives and capturing 82.05% of total impressions in Q1 2023.
  • Game app installs, sessions, and session lengths have experienced growth, with a 7% increase in installs compared to the previous quarter and higher session lengths in various months of 2023.

Make the most of 2023 mobile ad spending trends. Schedule a free 1:1 consultation with our team to understand the cost-effective steps you can take to grow and retain users in today’s economy.