July 31, 2023
As a mobile advertiser, you’re constantly looking to the future to stay ahead of the curve, whether that’s revising old methods of gathering actionable audience data, or implementing new technology that streamlines your workflow.
And while, at first glance, the future may appear uncertain, several trendlines have emerged that are poised to dramatically shift the mobile marketing landscape over the next several years. To help you navigate these uncharted waters, we’ve examined the current state of the industry, as well as emerging solutions that will act as the new forefront of user acquisition and revenue generation, to predict where mobile advertisers will see the highest returns in the coming years.
As mobile app stores refine their privacy policies, and targeting levers are reduced, designing high-performing creative is becoming a crucial component in optimizing user acquisition ad campaigns to achieve profitable results. “Creative is the last lever for sustained financial success,” Brian Bowman, founder and CEO of Consumer Acquisition (now Brainlabs), said on a recent episode of Game Changers1, and marketers must implement the tools at their disposal into their campaign workflows to maximize its impact. And while we know AI and machine learning have long had a place in ad targeting, they’re being increasingly leveraged to meet market demand for better-optimized and more impactful creative.
For example, powerful off-the-shelf tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney can provide the spark of innovation necessary to kick off projects. These tools enable mobile marketers to rapidly ideate and iterate concepts without the need for bringing on an external agency2. ChatGPT can help brainstorm character concepts or ideas for a video ad campaign. Then, Midjourney can help provide a visual concept of what that idea looks like, while tools like AccuRIG provide animation to help you see your idea in action.
For those looking for a guided, hands-on approach that combines AI-powered creative development with human expertise, numerous startups are receiving an influx of funding to leverage AI solutions that provide tools for mobile marketers to test and optimize creative designs at scale with minimal overhead. One such studio is Alison3, which utilizes proprietary algorithms to analyze successful creatives that drive performance, leverages AI to fuel ad conceptualization, then generates recommendations for a creative team to act on. On the other hand, Adludio4 is a fully AI-driven creative platform. It utilizes AI to concept and develop creative, automate campaign management and optimization, and optimize bidding to maximize performance
These AI-powered tools enable marketers to optimize processes (like A/B testing ad creative) while removing the rate-limiting factor of being 100% human-dependent. Instead of spending weeks – or months – manually testing and tweaking creative, these and other tools allow for larger-scale and more rapid tests that help marketers identify winning creative much sooner.
AI platforms are still undergoing rapid growth and iteration, and it remains to be seen where this exciting technology ultimately ends up. That said, AI remains a powerful tool even in its current state, and its use in the future of mobile advertising will only continue to develop.
According to The State of Influencer Marketing 2023: Benchmark Report, the influencer marketing industry is set to eclipse $21 billion by the end of the year5. Many are expected to increase their influencer budget to more than 40% of their total marketing spend, as this marketing channel remains a unique and reliable way to connect directly with their targeted user base.
Marketers who work directly with influencers and allow them creative control to reach their audience will see the most significant impact on ROAS. While big campaigns with world-popular YouTubers tend to garner the most prominent headlines (like when Mr. Beast partnered with Lords Mobile to give away an entire island6), these stunts are not the norm. In fact, micro-influencers (influencers with a follower count between 10,000 and 100,000) tend to see greater ROAS rates than working with celebrities or other prominent influencers, according to HubSpot7.
Finding the right influencer to work with is a crucial first step toward a successful campaign. The key is to remain authentic. Social media consumers are savvy and can recognize forced influencer pairings or overly-scripted and inauthentic advertising – leading a strategic partnership to backfire. Also, be wary of the current deinfluencing trend, where influencers inform their followers about which products not to buy8. Many influencers are growing increasingly skeptical of the products they cover, so finding the right partner and developing an honest and authentic message about your offering is crucial.
To get the most out of your influencer partnership and maximize performance, don’t treat each campaign as a one-and-done burst. Instead, aim to strategically reuse and recycle the content across the digital landscape. You can start with a traditional flat-fee video, then boost it through tools like Spark Ads on TikTok or run a whitelisted campaign on Instagram (which offers the ability to target your audience and use attribution links for better performance data). If you own the full rights to the content, you can further leverage this media on your own social media platforms as organic content to drive even more engagement and reach. Businesses that specialize in performance-based influencer marketing (such as Yoke Network) can be a strong partners in optimizing towards crucial KPIs9.
👀 Related reading: 11 mobile game UA strategies for progressive publishers
While prominent companies like Meta and Microsoft have made their own pushes into virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), extended reality (XR), and the metaverse, adoption by both advertisers and the broader public has been slow. According to independent research from Statista, AR and VR use are expected to reach a combined 100 million worldwide users by 202710, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the billions who own mobile devices. But when a company like Apple – which, according to Yahoo! News, currently sits at a nearly $3 trillion market valuation11 – finally decides to enter the race, people take notice.
Apple’s unveiling of the Vision Pro12 has sent a powerful message to the market: Mixed reality is the future. Even Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes Apple’s entry into this space is a rising tide that will raise all other boats, stating that Apple brings “a certain level of validation for the category” on a recent episode of the Lex Fridman Podcast13.
And when a player as big as Apple enters the space, it begins to shape the overall ecosystem and even redefine the future of marketing (much like how it did when it entered the mobile device space with the iPhone). “I believe it’s going to change marketing over time,” marketing expert Neil Patel said after Apple’s announcement. “I believe [Apple] will penetrate the market, a lot of people will start using them, and it’ll start creating new forms of advertising.”14
For marketers, this means a massive opportunity to guide the user experience and improve view and clickthrough rates. One key to this opportunity may lie in the Vision Pro’s best-in-class eye-tracking technology. TechCrunch recently tested the device in a hands-on demonstration and described its eye-tracking and gesture-control capabilities as “near perfect.”15 For users, this means an interface that feels as natural as pointing at something in the real world, while marketers will be able to leverage this technology for even greater campaign efficacy.
That’s not to say Meta is being left behind – far from it. The company continues to roll out AR advertising opportunities through Facebook and Instagram, providing formal support16 for advertisers looking to leverage this technology on its massively popular social media platforms.
As advertisers continue to experiment17 with AR integration in social media platforms and stand-alone apps, best practices continue to develop. That makes it the perfect time to jump in and get your feet wet, enabling you to be ready when AR really takes off with future tech like Apple’s Vision Pro.
With rising CPIs and overall belt-tightening throughout the economy, maximizing the lifetime value of the users you acquire is paramount to success. As a result, a general shift in focus to building robust loyalty systems, as well as centering UA efforts around finding players who are most likely to stay loyal, will be a defining characteristic of user acquisition in the coming years.18
According to Eric Seufert, many marketers focus on plugging the “leaky bucket” of churn during the user onboarding funnel, as this section of the user journey is most commonly associated with mobile app growth and usually provides the most immediate statistical feedback.19 However, losing a paying user loyal to your app for months – or even years – can have a far more deleterious effect on revenue than losing users who only stick around for a few hours before moving on.
This is where focusing time and energy on building sustainable loyalty feedback loops, starting at the top of the acquisition funnel, can provide significant ROI. By fostering and reinforcing positive player habits – through loyalty rewards, push notifications, and other engagement methods – mobile marketers can maximize retention rates and overall lifetime value.
👀 Related reading: Loyalty is the new key to profitable growth for mobile games
If you’re looking for opportunities to build a deeper, more loyal user base, Mistplay can help. Mistplay’s unique loyalty platform rewards dedicated users who spend their time and money on your apps with real-world prizes like Amazon gift cards. Also, its AI-powered user acquisition and recommendation algorithm prioritizes players most likely to engage with and spend on your app, allowing you to reach your ROAS goals and achieve increased LTV. Ready to learn more? Contact us today.