APOCALYPSE NOW: Mobile Advertisers Talk Privacy-Based Marketing

Industry-defining Tenjin and Growth FullStack Report sheds light on mobile marketing a year after Apple’s privacy changes.

Tenjin, a leading mobile benchmarking platform for indie and mid-size game publishers, and Growth FullStack, a business intelligence platform for mobile advertisers, today released the full report of the findings of their revealing study on the state of mobile marketing.

With billions of people shopping, socializing, scrolling and of course playing on their mobile phones for nearly a third of the time they wake up, it is no surprise that mobile ad spending will reach $300 billion in 2021. That amount could reach as much as $350 billion in 2022, reflecting the strength of the industry bolstered by the permanent changes in user behavior caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

However, for an industry accustomed to knowing where its money is going and the return on investment it provides with pinpoint accuracy, the past year has been an alarm bell. Privacy changes have forever changed the usual ways of targeting and measuring ad performance, particularly with regard to what is often considered the most lucrative ecosystem of all: Apple’s iOS.

Between alarming expectations and the picture of an explosion in ad spending, the reality in which mobile advertisers operate is much more subtle. Tenjin and Growth FullStack wanted to go further and commissioned market research agency Atomik Research to conduct an online survey of over 302 mobile advertisers in the UK and US.

Christopher Farmer, CEO and co-founder of Tenjin said:

“While the apocalypse did not materialize as predicted, our research shows that tectonic changes are underway. The truth is that the full ramifications of privacy-focused marketing are not yet understood, even by people like us who spend their days fully focused on deciphering them and coming up with solutions.”

Main results:

  • Expectations vs Reality – Despite feeling reasonably well prepared for Apple’s privacy changes (53% somewhat, 15% very), the majority (55%) of mobile advertisers say mobile advertising is getting more difficult in 2021. It was This has a significant negative impact on advertiser revenue – the average estimate for revenue lost due to Apple’s privacy changes was 39%.

  • Divergent Strategies – Mobile advertisers use a variety of strategies to achieve success. 85% of them used probabilistic attribution or fingerprints in 2022, although more than three-quarters (77%) of them expect Apple to place restrictions on fingerprints.

  • Getting started with SKAN Getting the most out of anonymized data from Apple’s SKAdNetwork is a challenge for mobile advertisers. Few companies (32%) have access to internal data science talent, but three quarters (75%) have some form of marketing automation to capture insights from large, disparate data sets.

  • Games – Advertisers of mobile games have felt the impact of changes in Apple’s privacy even more. They were more convinced that mobile marketing will become more difficult in 2021 (68% for games vs 43% for others), and are more likely to shift their budget to Android (63% vs. 48%) and use marketing methods. Probabilistic attribution or fingerprinting (91% vs. 70%).

  • Optimism for 2022 – As difficult as 2021 is, mobile advertisers are largely positive and optimistic. 85% of them are optimistic that marketing will be less difficult in 2022, while nearly two-thirds (65%) plan to increase their advertising spending rather than reduce it.

Christopher Farmer commented on the findings:

“Mobile marketing can be described as a trance that lies somewhere between the familiar age of unfettered targeting and the new age of privacy. The feasibility of the current model, which is a patchwork, remains to be seen. It is likely that in the not-too-distant future, a commitment to understanding SKAN will become essential. And it’s not optional.However, despite the difficult 2021 for mobile advertiser results, and with more changes to come, our research shows that advertisers’ optimism remains strong. After all, one thing hasn’t changed: There is a huge demand for the best mobile content and services By billions of people around the world, on iOS and Android. »

The research fieldwork was conducted with 302 companies with no known affiliation with Tenjin or Growth FullStack, and was conducted by Atomik Research, an independent creative market research agency that employs MRS-certified researchers and adheres to the MRS code.

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