‘The New Big 5: Mobile Marketing Trends for 2022'

YouAppi CEO Moshe Vaknin shares his thoughts on mobile marketing trends for the new year. 

2021 was a challenging year for many within the mobile marketing ecosystem. But with great change came great opportunities. 2022 is already shaping up to be similar to 2021, both in terms of hurdles and high hopes. Here are 5 mobile marketing trends for 2022 that mobile marketers need to pay attention to as we move forward into the new year.

Mobile Banking and Investments

The massive shift to mobile we saw in banking and investment activities shows no signs of slowing in 2022. The pandemic started the shift with the proportion of customers using mobile platforms jumping 11% since March 2020. The shift then accelerated as “meme stocks” took on greater significance.  

Meme stocks make use of memes to make discussion of the stocks a trending topic on platforms like Reddit. Reddit users pushing up the price of Gamestop and AMC stocks were some of the more prominent examples of this trend. The rise of crypto platforms like Coinbase have also spurred the drive to mobile investing.  

These stocks and platforms make investing more appealing to a younger demographic more comfortable with the idea of mobile apps. To meet this demand, more investing and banking apps have entered the market. Today’s investor has more access than ever to alternative investment opportunities, whether it is fractional shares or buying crypto. Gone are the days when you had to go to a brokerage firm or bank in person to manage your money. We’ve entered a new age of mobile money movement.  

As fintech platforms continue to democratize alternative investment opportunities and financialize everything the shift to mobile in banking and investment should surge even more in 2022.

Gated Lawn vs. Walled Garden

2022 will continue to see the rise of a new type of adtech player, one I’ve previously referred to as the gated lawn (vs. a walled garden). This emerging class of super-networks provide monetization services to apps along with a host of other services such as attribution, business intelligence, creative services, and much more.  

It points to just how much the industry has changed since 2016. Back then, VC investment — funding the rise of hundreds of ad networks, DSPs, SSPs, exchanges, anti-fraud solutions, attribution solutions, and so on —  helped inundate the industry with a deluge of point players. A quick scan of the 1,000’s of logos on the 2016 mobile LUMAscape told you everything you needed to know.  2022 will be about consolidation and horizontal/vertical integration in the face of uncertainty and changing data privacy regulations. 

It will also be interesting to see what new terms will be coined for the emerging, consolidated players of adtech as one-note names like ‘ad network’, ‘DSP’ and ‘SSP’ just don’t seem to fit anymore.

Platform Shifts and the Social Opportunity

Mobile marketers will continue to adapt to platform changes. In 2021, Gen Z accounted for nearly half of the platform’s total users with most falling in the 10-19 age group. That said, the share of younger users also decreased year over year as older generations also embraced TikTok. On a related note, ​​TokTok topped 1 billion users just last month.

It’s part of an ongoing trend. There are now 3.8 billion people actively using social media in the world.  That’s a YoY increase of 13.13%. By the end of 2022, the number of active users should approach 5 billion. Advertisers tend to follow the eyeballs so a surge in brand deals on social channels will likely follow in 2022.

Brands have a unique opportunity to re-engage customers on leading social platforms like TikTok. They offer marketers heightened analytical transparency, which means campaigns get not only great engagement metrics but attribution data, as well. Social platforms enable marketers to see analytics not typically provided on traditional branding channels.

Personalization and AI

Mobile personalization enhances messages with user-specific data. By personalizing communications mobile marketers can increase app retention and drive engagement.  Concerns around privacy, however, changed the nature of this effort in 2021. But personalization is not going away. Instead, look for marketers to increase their efforts to gather and fully leverage first-party data.

Research indicates that iOS 14.5 has not impacted global gaming installs or revenue significantly, despite the fact that iOS 14.5 adoption has reached 75%+. For non-gaming apps, this also seems to be the case for global revenue. However, downloads in this category have dipped. In 2022, non-gaming apps will take a page from gaming apps and start accelerating UA activities and retargeting strategies to keep a steady stream of new and engaged users in their pipeline. 

Within the mobile gaming ecosystem, Android devices have emerged as a good way to capitalize on programmatic strategies in the post-IDFA world. We're already seeing a shift in mobile ad budgets. In a recent AdExchanger article YouAppi VP Partnerships, Meiry Vaknin notes that:

PubMatic recently assessed the impact of Apple's  IDFA policy changes and found that mobile advertising budgets were already moving to Android devices. During Q2 and Q3, the share of mobile app budgets rose from 54% to 63% on Android, while decreasing on iOS from 46% to 37%.”

While this trend should continue across all apps it’s important to note that Google is also taking steps to implement privacy measures, albeit in a very different way than Apple. Earlier this summer, Google announced its “Opt-out of ads personalization” setting will restrict developer access to the GAID starting with Android 12 devices in late 2021.

The biggest difference between Google and Apple’s privacy methodologies so far is volume. While Apple launched a single feature (ATT) to vastly limit advertisers’ access to data, Google seems to be launching an ensemble kit of privacy features over time. “Opt-out of ads personalization” is one in a series of features that also includes those announced at its last I/O developer conference. These included a privacy dashboard and an app hibernation feature that revokes app permissions based on user activity. Things could change (as they always do!), but heading into 2022, it’s likely Google will continue its slow, multifaceted approach to privacy — especially as compared to Apple.

Gaming is Just Getting Going

When it comes to mobile marketing trends in 2022, look for advertisers to continue to embrace mobile games as a top-tier media channel.  The mobile gaming market grew 4.4% in 2021 and that growth should continue in 2022.

The video game industry has grown into a $180 billion category with roughly 3 billion gamers worldwide. Right now games account for 43% of all smartphone use. 56% of these gamers play ten or more times weekly. Statistics show that by 2025, five out of 10 people will be mobile gamers.  

Clearly, when it comes to mobile apps, gaming dominates. Advertisers have taken note, as well. A recent report indicated that 93% of media buyers now intend to run in-game advertising by 2025.  

For in-game advertising on iOS, creativity will now be the name of the game.  Brands won't have access to the type of data they still have on Android devices, which means their creatives will need to be more dynamic in order to break through the clutter and engage users.

Marketers will also rely more on models and context. With less deterministic data accessible, they’ll need to focus on segments rather than specific user types and use contextual data to authenticate users.   

The mobile landscape will continue to evolve in 2022. But there is little doubt that the size and scale of the mobile gaming audience and market will only continue to grow and advertising budgets will adapt accordingly.