Navigating 2020 H2: Here’s what mobile marketers need to know

By John Koetsier August 20, 2020
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Sometimes it must feel like the best ally in the mobile marketer’s never-ending mission to grow is a relaxing night of Netflix on the couch. Or a spa day with a massage.

After all, the IDFA apocalypse is upon us.

And it is 2020.

Look, even if IDFA deprecation is not really going to be an apocalypse, it’s definitely a massive shift. Meanwhile, we are in the midst of a global pandemic that’s literally changing consumer behavior more than anything we’ve seen before in our lifetime. And the app economy is looking a lot different than it used to.

That is one thing we can help you with, however… introducing our 2020 Mobile Economy Report!

Over the past four or five months we have been regularly analyzing billions of app installs and many more billions in mobile marketing spend to find out what’s changing about consumer behavior and how that’s impacting mobile. We’re also tracking successful marketing strategies, key shifts in app install trends, and major changes in commerce, communication, business, gaming, and more.

We added those insights to dozens from other mobile experts. For instance, Vungle saw record mobile downloads. Unity, which powers half of all games, says in-app purchases jumped 24%. And advertising is up too: Moloco says it saw far more bid requests in 2020 than during equivalent other periods of 2019.

Other partners and data sources include Tapjoy, ironSource, Digital Turbine, and

All of which means you can add this report to the couch and the massage as part of your strategy for coping with industry change. Because knowledge is power, and the right knowledge might just be priceless.

Some of the insights we’ve packed into this report include:

  • Retail subscriptions: surprising growth (71%)
  • Organic acquisition: significantly up
  • Betting: it’s not just about sports
  • Travel apps: yes, they are rebounding
  • Travel apps: slow recovery, almost all driven by organic installs
  • In-app purchases: 20% higher than historical averages
  • New app discovery: significantly up
  • Retention: harder than ever before
  • Ads: The top 10 ads people want to see now

Interestingly, the global pandemic changed multi-year cycles. Traditionally over the last three years, there’s been a spring dip in app install activity. This year, not so much. Paid acquisition accelerated along with organic.

The real gems in the report, however, are about what to do now, and what’s still coming.

Leading mobile marketers are following one or more of four umbrella strategies:

  • More marketing and advertising
  • New offers, strategies, and tactics
  • Increased focus on retention and value
  • More investment into building for future benefit

How you adjust your marketing to these new challenges is critical. As Tapjoy discovered, 58% of consumers say that how well a brand responds to the COVID-19 crisis will impact their likelihood to buy from that brand in the future, and 44% say they’ve started using a new brand because of the innovative or compassionate way it has responded to COVID-19.

As we move deeper into the second half of 2020, the pandemic challenges morph.

It’s not a lockdown anymore, it’s differing levels of opening and closing across countries, states, even counties. We’re not seeing temporary fads for BOPIS (buy-online-pickup-in-store) but long-term shifts in cultural norms. And we’re also seeing the increasing impact of tens of millions thrown out of work.

The report also condenses the wisdom of top CMOs and leading marketers:

“It’s not the biggest or strongest that survive, but those that adapt best,” says Vanesa Levin, CMO at HCH. “Similarly, in order to survive and grow during a down economy, companies must be able to adapt and stay relevant.”

“Right now we’re not just facing a down economy, we’re facing a shift on how people become familiar with, purchase, and receive products and services,” says Ian Kelly, VP at NuLeaf.

One other key point: past models aren’t predictive in unpredictable times. With accelerating change, the report highlights what you need to navigate uncertainty:

  • Real-time data
  • Rapid new channel testing capabilities
  • Segmentation
  • Insights for growth
  • Extreme flexibility

You can get the full free report here.

Oh and … practice some of that self-care, too. Knowledge is good, and power is great … but why can’t you have them and a great spa day too?

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