2.5 billion. That’s the number of people mobile app marketing will be seeking to reach out to this year. And to put it into perspective, 2.5 billion smartphone users translates to about 40% of the world’s population- up from 2.1 billion in 2016.

Although Android takes the lion’s share, iOS is still commanding quite a substantial share of this market. In fact, according to Apple, the precise number of active devices worldwide had surpassed 1 billion by January 2016. Then get this- they sold more than 200 million iPhone units in 2018 alone.

iPhone Sales 2018

iPhone Sales 2018. Source: Statista

What does this mean?

Well, for starters, never have we witnessed such an extensive user-base before. It now makes sense why the past year has been considerably eventful in the mobile app marketing world.

We at PreApps, for instance, have managed to attract millions of additional app downloads in just a couple of months. And yes, of course, we understand how fierce the competition is. But, let’s be honest. There are always multiple ways to finesse your way through all that if you rely on strategic and well-calculated marketing.

And you know what?

Going by a cumulative app earnings report published by Sensor Tower, such marketing approaches in the past year have, as a matter of fact, increasingly propelled standard apps to positions that have always been dominated by social networks.

Consequently- Netflix, a video streaming service, closed the year as the highest grossing iPhone app in the App Store. It generated about $790.2 million, almost doubling its closest ranked counterpart.

Tencent Video- yet another video streaming application- came second with $490 million, just slightly ahead of Tinder, which correspondingly managed $462 million in revenue. IQiyi was then ranked fourth, followed by Kwai, Youtube, Pandora, Youku, QQ, and Hulu respectively.

What’s the bottom line here?

Well, going by the comparative user numbers alone, you can bet that there are way more millions to be made in 2019.

But, here’s the kicker. The number of contenders has also expanded significantly. There are now more than 4,600 active apps in the App Store, after growing from slightly above 4,100 in 2018.

Active apps

Active apps. Source: Statista

So, let’s face it. This year essentially belongs to the exceptional breed of marketers who’ll be able to rise above the rest by taking their app marketing services to the next level. And that entails not only adapting to the ever-changing user preferences and market challenges, but also methodically leveraging relevant tech.

That said, let’s explore some of the resultant trends you should expect over the next 12 months…

get-app-downloads

Mobile App Marketing Fraud Protection

One of the things that are currently giving mobile app marketers sleepless nights is ad fraud.

Come to think of it, this started on typical digital platforms, like affiliate programs, more than a decade ago. Criminals somehow found ways of using click farms and bots to fake impressions. The practice then grew like wildfire in the subsequent years, with annual losses extending to $6.5 billion by 2015.

As it morphed gradually, digital marketing fraud ultimately found its way into the mobile app space. Fraudsters have since been relying on supplementary tricks like ad stacking and false conversions.

While the former involves multiple layers of ads placed together, the latter is basically about imitating typical customer behaviors through bots. And that’s not all. Some crooks are now using an even more complicated technique called of pixel surfing, which entails hiding ads inside image pixels. In the end, marketers are forced to pay for falsified impressions.

With time, the corresponding losses rose to over $14 billion by 2017. The following year then saw marketers lose about $51 million each day, which cumulatively added up to $19 billion by the end of the year.

To make matters worse, it’s expected that this will more than double by 2022, with the annual figure finally hitting $44 billion.

Ad fraud losses

Ad fraud losses. Source: AppNexus

Now, the sad truth is that it might take some time before marketers are able to turn this around. But, on the bright side, at least there are several mobile app marketers who’ve been fairly successful at combating fraudsters. They continue to develop sophisticated tools like app-ads.txt to tackle hidden ads and app-spoofing.

Holistic User Targeting

Target marketing is not a new concept in the app marketing scene. It’s essentially what informs dynamic strategies like App Store Optimization, where we combine multiple tactics to net selected types of users.

All things considered, the results have been fine so far. However, since modern app users have considerably diverse and volatile preferences, it has now become critically necessary to use a more advanced targeting framework. And so, mobile app marketers are expected to take specialized holistic approaches as 2019 progresses.

One particularly notable model you might come across is what we call the STP structure. It systematically combines segmentation, targeting and positioning to establish numerous valid user groups based on selected parameters, prioritize on the most qualified targets, and ultimately set up the most effective marketing strategies for each group of targets.

How does this work?

If you’re dealing with a mobile gaming app, for instance, you might consider including a segment of U.S, U.K, and Germany-based targets. A NewZoo survey established that 95% of computer gamers in these countries are also fond of phone games.

So, it would be advisable to throw in that as one of the defining parameters. Then to top it off, you can choose to focus more on men than women since they’ve been proven to spend more on such apps.

Dynamic Content Marketing

There’s no denying that content marketing is a fairly popular strategy for promoting mobile apps. Often, however, it eventually fails to engage with the audience accordingly.

And the problem is this.  According to a report published by Microsoft, internet users are not as attentive as you’d presume. The average attention span is barely 8 seconds long- shorter than even a goldfish.

Come to think if it, it’s now understandable why 60% of your App Store visitors won’t proceed past your page’s first impression. You only have about three seconds to convince them to download your app.

Well, here’s a simple solution. Mobile app marketers are now counting on dynamic content structures when it comes to this. They’ve learned to supplement regular written content with relevant visual media- like app demo videos plus images.

Interestingly, studies have proven that people adhere to visual guidelines 323% better than written instructions. Additionally, you’re bound to connect with and remember visual content for longer.

Artificial Intelligence

Consider this- in essence, 41% of smartphone users say that they get rid of apps to increase their device memory space. 45%, on the other hand, do so after losing interest, while 47% uninstall apps to declutter their screens. Then 51% admit that they usually do away with apps they rarely use.

This alone is enough to prove just how diverse user preferences and behaviors can get. The more the user parameters you introduce, the farther the corresponding variables will extend. Combined, all these factors form an extremely complex and dynamic web of preferences that would be hectic to keep up with- even when you’re dealing with only a handful of app users.

And that’s why mobile app marketers are progressively adopting artificial intelligence tools. AI makes everything much easier by employing machine learning to monitor user behaviors, which are analyzed systematically, and the findings leveraged for automated personalized marketing.

According to a research report published by Epsilon, 80% of users are willing to stick with a brand if it provides personalized experiences. Marketers have also gone ahead to acknowledge the importance of this through a separate Evergage study, where 88% of them overwhelmingly agree that users expect personalized experiences.

Personalization

Personalization. Source: Evergage

As a result, mobile app marketing in 2019 will continue to capitalize on artificial intelligence to develop smart, deeply-personalized campaigns. This should, in turn, give rise to computer algorithms that make marketing decisions based on pre-determined sets of rules.

Micro-Influencer Marketing

In 2019, we don’t call them “influencers” anymore. That’s now a general term referring to pretty much all influential social media users who’ve attracted a considerably large following.

So, to be more specific about the scale of followers you’re dealing with, marketers have a found a way to classify them into three major groups:

  • Mega-influencers: Mostly A-list celebrities with millions of followers.
  • Macro-influencers: Your typical social media celebrity with less than 1 million followers. The number usually ranges between 10,000 and 1 million.
  • Micro-influencers: Average Joes with less than 10,000 followers.
Influencer groups

Influencer groups. Source: Influicity

At first, you might be tempted to go for a mega-influencer because of their large following. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, it turns out that micro-influencers are the real deal when it comes to engagement.

A group called Social Public even did a comprehensive study about this on more than 100,000 vetted influencers on their platform. After three campaigns, it emerged that micro-influencers achieve engagement rates that are 7 times higher than the combined average of other subcategories.

Influencer engagement rates

Influencer engagement rates. Source: Social Public

But that’s not all. A separate Experticity survey further established that micro-influencers’ even perform better than average individuals. While 73% of consumers will possibly follow their friends’ recommendations, 82% of them will act on recommendations made by micro-influencers.

Then guess what? Apart from being cheaper than their mega counterparts, you can rely on micro-influencers to be more committed to your mobile app marketing campaign. Give them an app review and they’ll run it for long as they actively engage their followers.

In 2019, therefore, we expect to see more marketers going for multiple micro-influencers to drive viral campaigns- as opposed to contracting few mega-influencers.

Geolocation Marketing

Chances are, you’ve probably never heard about some of the highest grossing apps we’ve just mentioned. And that’s simply because they are only big in China, with a comparatively dismal performance in the U.S.

Well, admittedly, users in one country would not be enough to generate you that amount of revenue. But, it seems like China is exceptionally special.

In 2018 alone, 97.36 billion app downloads came from there. That’s 5 times higher than the second-ranked country, India, which managed 18.11 billion. The U.S. then came third with 10.94 billion app downloads.

Going by the numbers in recent years, we expect this trend to hold through 2019 and for the next couple of years- even after 2022.

App downloads in different countries

App downloads in different countries. Source: Statista

What does this mean for mobile app marketing?

Quite simply, marketers will continue venturing into new territories by prioritizing on geolocation marketing to capture new users. They’ll heavily leverage geo-fencing and geo-targeting tools while tweaking typical app marketing tactics for multiple languages.

If you expand to China, for example, it’s critically important to set up a corresponding marketing framework in Chinese. Even your app press release plus App Store Optimization should be made in the local language.

Conclusion

app-secrets-book

To recap:

  • The number of people mobile app marketing will be seeking to reach out to this year is 2.5 billion.
  • According to Apple, the precise number of active devices worldwide had surpassed 1 billion by January 2016.
  • There are now more than 4,600 active apps in the App Store, after growing from slightly above 4,100 in 2018.
  • Digital ad fraud grew like wildfire, with annual losses extending to $6.5 billion by 2015, over $14 billion by 2017, then up to $19 billion in 2018. It’s predicted to hit $44 billion by 2022.
  • App marketers continue to develop sophisticated tools like app-ads.txt to tackle hidden ads and app-spoofing.
  • Since modern app users have considerably diverse and volatile preferences, it has now become critically necessary to use a more advanced targeting framework called STP.
  • According to a report published by Microsoft, the average human attention span is barely 8 seconds long. Hence, why 60% of your App Store visitors won’t proceed past your page’s first impression.
  • Studies have proven that people adhere to visual guidelines 323% better than written instructions.
  • According to a research report published by Epsilon, 80% of users are willing to stick with a brand if it provides personalized experiences.
  • Marketers have also gone ahead to acknowledge the importance of this through a separate Evergage study, where 88% of them overwhelmingly agree that users expect personalized experiences.
  • Marketers classify influence into three major groups: Mega-influencer, Macro-influencers, and, Micro-influencers.
  • Micro-influencers achieve engagement rates that are 7 times higher than the combined average of other subcategories.
  • In 2018 alone, 97.36 billion app downloads came from China. The second-ranked country was India, which managed 18.11 billion. The U.S. then came third with 10.94 billion app downloads.
  • Marketers will continue venturing into new territories by prioritizing on geolocation marketing to capture new users.

Over to you now. How do you think these trends will impact your mobile app marketing?

Feel free to get in touch with us to have professional experts spearhead your entire marketing campaign- in line with this year’s developing market needs.