What you need to watch and know to make it big with your app in 2019
What you need to watch and know to make it big with your app in 2019
January 10, 2019
Mobile advertising is booming with nearly $40 billion spent in 2018, number set to skyrocket to $64 billion in 2020. Robust growth is a positive sign to app marketing and publishers, but it’s not a license to print money. Winning big with your app requires deep insights into the market developments that count. We zero in on the top, hot trends in mobile advertising that matter most because they will surely have the most impact on your app business in the year ahead.
From the growth in programmatic and ad formats to the shift in Influencer Marketing—it’s all here, so strap yourself in for the list that’s not to be missed.
#1 Programmatic sees monster growth and mobile video explodes.
Superior targeting capabilities and app marketers’ demand for stronger ROI on their digital ad spend are driving new records as spend on mobile programmatic hits new heights. It all started in 2018 when research firm eMarketer predicted “mobile programmatic ad spending will reach $32.8 billion” for the year, accounting for a massive 70.4% of all programmatic digital display outlays in the U.S. alone. This year is pivotal as we are on track to see almost 90% (!) of all mobile display ads transact programmatically by 2020. Programmatic growth isn’t the only game in town. Mobile video ad spending is already growing faster than any other digital advertising format, and the momentum is going to continue. In fact, the share of programmatic video is also expected to rise steadily at over 60% in 2019. As mobile increasingly turns to programmatic, it’s important to work with partners that have checks and balances and the tech in place to help you to gain more granular insights into your audience and gain more transparency into what is happening behind the scenes. It’s also a smart move to evolve your use of reward video ads—even if you don’t have a gaming app (or simply want to build a gaming brand). Recent research with the Mobile Marketing Association shows 8 out of 10 consumers prefer opt-in video advertising to other ad formats. The interest is there, the intelligence is there, and now it’s up to advertisers to take advantage of the opportunity.
#2 Influencer marketing grows up and goes local.
The reasons to cultivate influencers to promote your app or game are as strong as ever, but so is the struggle to make sure your efforts pay real dividends. In 2018 it may have felt you were on your own, facing tough decisions about how to implement a winning influencer campaign without all the tools and tech to make it work. But this may change in 2019 as more social platforms—specifically YouTube, Instagram/Facebook, Twitch and Snapchat—wake up to the opportunity and provide the capabilities to influencers and their sponsors that they offer all advertisers: view-through attribution, native CTA buttons, audience data and retargeting capabilities. We just might see platforms improve how they support it—even borrowing from fast-growing Tiktok, which is making large investments to acquire influencer talent (and their content) to grow its platform. We’re also likely to witness another type of growth that will likely transform influencer marketing and open up opportunities for smaller app studios or companies. The rise of micro-influencers with local reach and the ability to drive downloads/transactions and build loyalty with a personal touch. No matter if you go global, local or both, expect the emphasis to be on partnership to deliver results and find new ways to measure success.
#3 Mobile ad spend grows, gaming apps multiply, and you need to cut waste where you can.
Mobile has long eclipsed desktop (and now even TV) as the place to be in order to acquire and influence your audience. Against this backdrop, global app install ad spend is predicted to climb by 65% from 2018 to 2020, reaching $64.1 billion. The bottom line: strong growth is linked to massive paid advertising activity. As AppsFlyer observes: “Higher cost of media, along with more paid campaigns, more apps, increased mobile use, and more users, has resulted in increased ad spend and will continue to do so moving forward.” High growth and rising media costs combine to turn up the pressure on app marketers to be smarter—and more efficient—in how they manage marketing efforts. Gaming and shopping apps, which together make up roughly 44% of all non-organic installs combined, are app categories pegged for staggering growth. Meantime, app store data provider App Annie is not just bullish about the growth of gaming apps. It expects “hyper-casual games with simple gameplay to drive growth in downloads and adoption in 2019, capturing a large portion of the market who may not traditionally identify as ‘gamers’.” The market is crowded and growing with consumer spend in mobile gaming set to reach 60% market share (across all gaming platforms). Prepare for a shift to much more data-driven, data-informed advertising approaches in order to get the all-important competitive edge you want in 2019.
#4 5G paves the way to rapid change and could change all the rules.
It covers all the bases to be a game-changing technology, and you’ll see it come on strong in 2019 with the rollout of 5G-compatible smartphones powered by 5G mobile networks across several key U.S. cities. More bandwidth and speed will no doubt whet users’ appetites for great experiences on their devices. The advance of stronger devices, affordable data packages, and more powerful cellular infrastructure also paves the way for the delivery of uber-cool in-app advertising that harnesses higher definition video and enhanced real-time personalization. Indeed, 5G brings with it the ability to process and exchange more data at higher speeds, so advertisers and app publishers can expect to see faster ad-load times and deliver more immersive experiences. This allows for the use of higher-resolution (specifically, 4K video) and paves the way for all the tech we’ve been talking about for years to really happen. The bar will be high, so it’s a good idea to reach high with mobile experiences and advertising that are personal, relevant and fun. If you were ever on the fence about mobile video, get off and get started in 2019. It’s an ad format that clearly leads the pack in spend and engagement rates—and with 5G to add bandwidth and interest, there’s no excuse not to get in on the action.
#5 AR/VR and everything else gets a big boost (finally), so move with the times.
Last year, the expectation was that AR/VR would make the move from “unsexy to cool.” Thanks to the lower price point of VR headsets and the power of your mobile, we’ll see happen--and more-- as AR/VR enters the mainstream. In 2019 the question you need to explore is not “when” but “how” AR and VR will impact your app. Some suggest AR/VR will make a mark when combined with location-linked content and advertising. Others observe that the full-scale arrival will confront app companies and advertisers with a new challenge: how to deliver stories that get our attention and open our hearts (as a precursor to opening our wallets). AR/VR have already transformed commerce, news media and popular gaming apps. In 2019 we’ll see more of the same--and more sophisticated as AR/VR evolves to be the centerpiece of campaigns on platforms such as Snapchat. It’s exciting new territory, so map out advertising strategies and campaigns that embrace this tech, not ignore it, to enhance your efforts with effects and experiences that strike a chord with your target audience.
As app companies pour more money into mobile, we can all anticipate a fast-changing mobile environment. Let this list of trends be your guide as you develop a roadmap for 2019 to achieve sustainable success, not fleeting fame.