At the beginning of each new year, I like to think about what will be the most important trends and developments that will shape the global app economy. Instead of sharing my own thoughts, which I happily do for the rest of the year, I like to speak with other industry heavyweights and thought leaders to see what they think. I ask them what broad trends to look out for, and more specifically what developers and marketers can do to benefit from them. Without further ado, here are some very smart people on the app economy in 2019!
Rajeev Dhal ,Vice President, SHAREit India
Peer-to-peer file sharing platforms will be a subject of high interest for app marketers. These platforms allow sharing of pictures, videos and apps from one device to another without using data. This form of app discovery has its intrinsic benefits over inorganic downloads and it is now touching millions of users across all continents. Peer-to-peer app sharing is recommendation or word-of-mouth driven hence organic in nature offering very high engagement rate and retention rate – the most critical KPIs that an app marketer targets. Besides high stickiness, this form of app discovery also provides an access to a new user base, that is mobile first with limited access to apps due to lack of internet availability or lack of permission to access the app stores.
Arpit Patel, Senior Growth Marketing Manager at PSafe Technology
The large userbase of Samsung devices starts to open a door for more competition for Google Play but manufacturers such as Samsung will need to offer developers incentive to be there like new ways to surface apps to Android users. Google Play is getting more and more AI based and getting featured is difficult so this could be an opportunity for alternative marketplaces to attract top developers to make their store offering more robust and attractive to users.
The best advice I can give is: think like a user. Know who your users are and how they engage with your app. Use the data you already have to understand the user behavior. We are all sitting on top of a goldmine just waiting to be discovered. You will be surprised what you will discover about your users.
Ran Avrahamy, VP Global Marketing at AppsFlyer
App marketers will continue to see dynamic shifts in the industry, and those who are able to converge brand and performance marketing strategies in innovative ways will have a significant competitive advantage. As boundaries continue to blur between different consumer devices, marketers will become more creative and also more data-savvy, leveraging advanced analytic capabilities to constantly test, measure and optimize campaigns across the evolving digital landscape.
With both the smash hit game Fortnite from Epic Games and Netflix releasing their apps out-of-store, we may well see this trend increase, presenting new opportunities and challenges for app publishers as fragmentation continues impacting the ecosystem. Further, the rise of 5G and the marriage between product and marketing teams will drive new, exciting ways for brands to connect with consumers and measure different phases of the customer journey across mobile, OTT and other digital devices.
Jason Santillano, Director of Marketing, Vungle
In 2019, marketers will look to make investments in optimization tools that help to understand in granular detail how well their in-app ads are performing and what they specifically need to change in order to improve people’s engagement with them, as well as make sure their budget is being spent right. Marketers are continuously looking to get smarter about how they improve the performance of their campaigns and are therefore requiring tools that help them get deeper insights. We can expect to see more of these features and functions be made available across ad tech platforms and products in 2019.
There is a restored effort from manufacturers to gain involvement in the app economy, as many have been investing in discovery within their stores. We’ve seen this increased focus within the technology that facilitates the user finding and downloading the apps, as well as the diversity of the apps within the stores themselves. This has always been a large focus for Chinese manufacturers with the heavily decentralized Android market, where many “own” their own marketplaces. We’ll see that strategy work its way to other countries in 2019.
Many app marketers are only scratching the surface of what’s possible from in-app advertising to drive value for their performance marketing. As the app landscape becomes increasingly competitive, it is imperative to get smarter about what makes an engaging video ad experience in 2019. This means understanding the performance of your ads with deep granularity and then using those insights to drive iterations to the ad, including its design, placement, bids, calls to action, geographies of focus — everything that relates to the context in which the ad is shown. As a data-driven task, this is almost impossible to do manually, so look to tools and new technology like artificial intelligence (AI) that can help you gain those data insights in real-time and make corresponding changes to improve the ad experiences you’re delivering.
Danielle Levitas, EVP Global Marketing & Market Insights at App Annie
Worldwide App Store consumer spend will top $120 Billion USD, doubling global box office revenues. Consumer spending on mobile games will grow to 60% of all gaming revenues, dominating all other platforms combined. Upgraded smartphone specs and more processing power will make phones the equal of PC/Mac and consoles for hardcore gameplay, and casual games will continue to drive growth among the widest swath of consumers. Mobile will continue to increase its majority share of the $250 Billion global digital advertising market. In 2019, the number of apps that will monetize through in-app advertising will increase by 60%. Mobile is now the first screen for advertisers, and it is here to stay.
Whew! The continuing impact of AI, the coming impact of 5G, the continued challenges (and opportunities) of cross-platform engagement: it’s a lot to consider. But as App Annie so confidently predicts, all of these threats and opportunities are taking place within the general trend of continued robust growth for the app economy as a whole. The point of the discussion was not to provide definitive answers, but to help me (and you) form our own thoughts about what lies ahead. I loved speaking with these folks, and I appreciate them taking the time. See you next month!