Mobile apps are key components of a comprehensive brand marketing strategy in today’s smartphone-obsessed world. Consumers use them for digital purchasing, as well as in-store for product research. New research from mobile-industry growth acceleration platform Liftoff examines the app landscape in 2024, and how app marketing professionals are responding to today’s challenges.
The firm’s 2024 App Marketer Survey identifies the pivotal challenges to the mobile ecosystem, such as user privacy, cost, and macroeconomic factors, and also reveals future ad spend expectations and perceptions of channel and ad tech innovations, while additionally offering a comprehensive look at campaign performance in 2023.
“The app marketing industry has faced unprecedented challenges in the past two years, but we’re also seeing innovations in tackling them,” said Joey Fulcher, Global VP, Accelerate at Liftoff, in a news release. “Our 2024 survey offers an indispensable look at how mobile marketing professionals are responding to industry changes and where they plan to allocate ad spend in 2024.”
Key findings include:
KPIs are more vigorous due to an uncertain economic climate
Nearly 60 percent of respondents are chasing more aggressive KPI targets compared to 12 months ago, and 42 percent of respondents are working with a larger number of partners to reach those KPIs. That said, 47 percent of respondents said they are reaching or outperforming KPI targets, an increase of 6 percent from last year’s survey.
Some budgets and resources are growing to meet these KPIs
Budgets are increasing in most regions by varying proportions: 43 percent of respondents based in EMEA and 44 percent of respondents in APAC said their budgets have increased, compared to just 35 percent in the Americas. Overall, 80 percent of respondents said they expect their ad spend to stay the same or increase next year, with self-attributing networks (SAN) and ad networks as their top spend priorities. Over half of respondents listed organic/viral and influencer as channels where they plan to increase resources.
Despite a year of ups and downs, marketers are generally optimistic about the future
While growth is slowing, the researchers found that app marketers are slightly more likely than last year to feel neutral or upbeat about the industry’s current state: 60–70 percent of respondents in all regions feel ‘the same’ or ‘better’ than 12 months ago when asked about their outlook for the industry in 2024. That said, there are still challenges in gaming, with 38 percent of game marketers saying they feel ‘somewhat’ or ‘significantly’ worse than 12 months ago.
Challenges with tracking transparency still loom—but marketers are adapting
In the firm’s 2022 survey, 64 percent of respondents reported a negative impact from Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) policies on their user acquisition efforts, and only 12 percent reported a positive impact. This year marked a notable difference, with only 44 percent of respondents reporting a negative impact and nearly 25 percent of respondents reporting a positive impact. When asked about the common challenges ATT presented, 42 percent of respondents were neutral or disagreed about ATT causing rapid changes to strategy, a sign that marketers may be adapting to the challenges posed by ATT.
Over a third of respondents are unfamiliar with SKAN 4
When asked in last year’s survey about how familiar they were with Apple’s spec for its SKAdNetwork (SKAN 4), only 47 percent of app marketers reported they were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ familiar with it. This year’s survey marks an improvement, with 66 percent of respondents reporting understanding—but it still means over a third of respondents aren’t versed in SKAN 4.
This survey is based on over 500 responses from global app marketing professionals across gaming (54 percent) and non-gaming (46 percent) app verticals, with respondents based in APAC (27 percent), the Americas (32 percent), and EMEA (41 percent). Respondents work with monthly advertising budgets of from $50,000 to over $1,000,000.