Mobile Monday: Everyone Wants First-Party Data, Spending Growth in Mobile Games, and Gaming App Marketing in 2022
Every week, Digital Turbine is giving you the latest news and insights in the mobile world. In this edition of Mobile Monday, we’re breaking down the reasoning behind many industry acquisitions, the growth in consumer and marketer spend in mobile games, and monetization trends and consumer spend in-app post iOS 14.5. Learn all about these stories in this week’s Mobile Monday!
Data… Party of First
Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind the super popular titles Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, came on the heels of its acquisition of Xandr in December. AdExchanger’s recent Sell Sider column points out it’s only the most recent merger/acquisition involving gaming apps and adtech following in the footsteps of moves made in the last several years by AppLovin’, IronSource, and Zynga. These acquisitions further highlight the shift in the industry to first-party data.
With cookie-based tech on the outs, savvy companies are recognizing the future is in first party data. All these mergers and acquisitions allow these companies to tap into first-party data from their in-house mobile games, add more first-party data via their monetization SDK integrations, then use those two sets of data to refine and scale both businesses: the gaming side and the media side. With the mobile world evolving, reliance on third parties is becoming less and less common. And winners will be the ones more willing to roll up their sleeves and have their own ad tech do the work for them.
Consumers Spend More Than $116 Billion in Mobile Games
Despite unease from the global environment and confusion over privacy protection best-practices last year, spending was up in all forms, from both mobile game marketers and players. According to Business of Apps, marketers for user acquisition spent over $14.5 billion on UA for mobile games, and about a half of that budget was from the U.S. What’s more, marketers looked to Android even more last year as ad spending on this OS increased by 35%.
As marketers continue to spend in mobile games, on the other end, consumers are also comfortable spending in mobile games. eMarketer reports that in 2021, over 200 apps saw consumer spend hit over $100 million, and almost 75% of those apps were mobile games. Even globally, consumer spend hit around $170 billion on apps last year with mobile games accounting for more than $116 billion of that spend, an increase of about $15 billion from 2020.
Regardless of outside implications, endless mergers and acquisitions, and the never ending privacy updates, consumers will continue to play and spend in mobile games, and marketers should continue to capture the ever-growing audience in that space.
AppsFlyer’s Report: The State of Gaming App Marketing 2022
The new privacy changes yielded many shifts for gaming marketers forcing them to double down on innovative ways to market, measure, and optimize their activities. When Apple rolled out the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, non-organic installs became far out of reach. Appsflyer has been tracking these changes and released their insights and key trends in their State of Gaming App Marketing for 2022.
Since the new privacy era, gaming app marketers have struggled to generate the same level of ROAS that they were used to. Appsflyer data shows gaming app installs on iOS dropped to 6%, whereas Android’s grew by 22%. With the shift to aggregate measurement, install numbers in gaming dropped — due to a decline in marketing-driven installs. A similar pattern was seen for revenue too — iOS revenue dropped 35% compared to Android’s increase of 10%.
When it comes to gaming monetization, Android overtook iOS in overall IAP revenue, as well as overall IAA revenue. iOS IAP revenue plunged 35% since the release of iOS 14.5 and Android went up 10%. Due to the advent of ATT, iOS experienced a sharp decline in IAP revenue. With Google’s privacy changes rolling out over the next two years, we wonder how this graph will look then. On the IAA hand, Android enjoyed a 55% rise, while iOS dropped 2% post-ATT.