Adjust / Zoomd: Despite iOS privacy updates, Meta still leads user acquisition channels

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Despite Apple’s privacy updates last year, Meta remains one of the top channels for user acquisition, according to a report by mobile experts Adjust and Zoom Technologies.

The report also found that user acquisition budgets (UA) – the ads that game and mobile app companies do to find paying users – are increasing. It is also found that video and image ads are dominant and marketers also rely on influencers to acquire users.


The State of User Acquisition 2022 research shows how dominant Meta platforms are for user acquisition managers. This is the case even though Meta shares declined in early 2022, due to disappointing Facebook user growth in the fourth quarter and lower-than-expected revenue for the first quarter of 2022. Meta largely attributed the slowdown to iOS 14.5 privacy changes and its implementation of transparency framework tracking. , saying it would cost the company $10 billion in lost revenue in 2022.

Despite concerns about user acquisition, mobile games accounted for $93 billion in sales in 2021, more than half of the games’ total $180 billion, according to market researcher New Zhou.

Despite these headwinds, results from a joint survey conducted by mobile user acquisition platform Zoomd and mobile marketing analytics platform Adjust show that those responsible for user acquisition (UA) worldwide are still spending their budgets on Facebook and Instagram.

Specifically, when global leaders were asked for user acquisition:

  • What was the most important media source for 2021 – Facebook was in first place, followed by Google.
  • Which of the following mobile media sources have you used? Only Google (#1) was ahead of Facebook (#2) and then Instagram (#3).
  • What is the best performing media source for holiday campaigns for the fourth quarter of 2021 – only Google (#1) outperformed Facebook (#2).
  • What media source has benefited the most from any budget changes made after Apple ATT privacy changes (iOS 14.5) – Connecting Facebook and Google first.

This survey was conducted in the first quarter, interviewing global mobile user acquisition managers who work with Zoomd and Adjust, a division of AppLovin. The results represent the responses of user acquisition managers working across a range of sectors, including e-commerce, gaming, entertainment, fintech, health and fitness, lifestyle, and general services.

User acquisition is on the rise

During the holidays, Google has established itself as a mobile multimedia resource.

Among the UA managers surveyed, 72% said their budgets would increase in 2022. Specifically for iOS, 60% of respondents said they would increase their UA budgets for Apple mobile devices.

But that’s not necessarily because of Apple’s love. Staying with iOS, “difficulty finding LTV with limited SKAN information” (33%) and “lack of time to research and understand changes and best practices on iOS” (25%) were the two biggest challenges to maximizing iOS campaign insights.

When asked how they rate the success of their iOS campaigns, 40% of UA managers surveyed said they “use a single data type form focused on purchase, ad revenue, or engagement,” while 21% said they “use custom resume forms to track multiple types.” of income or events at the same time” or “using probabilistic matching data”.

Probability refers to the probability of a particular outcome based on the patterns and patterns of past data. For example, the probability that hardcore gamers will be interested in a certain type of game based on historical game data.

DSP, ad networks, affiliates and Apple search ads

Zumed 2
Views gain TikTok users

Although TikTok and Snapchat are growing in terms of media budgets, demand-side platforms (DSPs), ad networks and affiliates, they are outpaced by Apple Search Ads and all other platforms not owned by Meta or Google in most categories.

Demand Side Platform (DSP) is software that allows advertisers and agencies to automatically bid and buy ads on multiple exchanges through a single interface. An ad network aggregates online advertisements from a group of publishers, and acts as a mediator between the availability of a publisher’s advertisements and the advertisers’ needs/demand. The affiliate network connects interested publishers by serving ads that sell products or services where the publisher earns a commission on the sale if a sale occurs.

Specifically, when UA Mobile managers were asked “what is the best mobile media source for you to acquire users in 2021” and “after Apple ATT privacy changes, what media source has benefited the most from any budget changes you’ve made”, only Google and Facebook outperforms DSPs, ad networks, affiliate networks, and Apple search ads. When UA managers were asked “In the last holiday/birthday campaigns for the fourth quarter (2021), which mobile media source was the best performing for you?” Only TikTok outperformed ads and affiliate networks (but not DSPs and Apple Search Ads). This result is in line with the 184% revenue growth that eMarketer just forecast for TikTok in the US in 2022.

Tik Tok, Snapchat is in the lead among the rest of the platforms

Along with Google, Facebook, and Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat had the best results. When mobile user acquisition managers were asked what media sources they used in 2021, 41% said they used TikTok or Snapchat, ahead of Twitter (26%), Reddit (13%) and Pinterest (7%) but less than those who used Google (77%), Facebook (72%) and Instagram (67%). For the question regarding the performance of the Holiday/Christmas campaign in the fourth quarter of 2021, TikTok came in sixth place behind Google and Facebook and a triple tie between Instagram and Apple Search Ads and affiliate networks.

“Given privacy-related changes in 2021, it is important to understand their impact on mobile marketing by interviewing the people who acquire users on a daily basis,” Ozan Kahn Sisman, general manager for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement. “The number of surprising results, including the growth of CTV, and the strength of distribution and advertising service providers and affiliate networks, underscore the importance of qualitative research along with quantitative analysis and insights that Adjust provides to our clients and the industry.”

Omri Argaman, Zoomd’s director of growth, said in an email to GamesBeat that Google increased its budget last year, but not just because of its ability to target ads to users.

“Android is also growing because iOS is getting more expensive,” Argaman said. “But now that Google has copied the privacy changes implemented by Apple, I expect some budgets will go to iOS. And in the user acquisition battle between Meta and Google, Google has been less affected than Facebook and Instagram.

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