As 2022 approaches its end, it’s time to reflect and wrap up.
Just like music apps wrap up what their users listened to in a year, we’re here to wrap up the most important mobile marketing and mobile gaming trends this year has brought us.
Equally important, we believe these trends will continue in 2023.
Top Mobile Marketing Trends
The state of mobile marketing changes as a result of different factors. Social trends, economic well-being, and new industry regulations are just a few examples.
Some of them hit hard, while others silently alter the mobile landscape.
Let’s take a look at five important trends that affected mobile marketing in 2022.
1. Marketing Investments Despite Recession
Mobile businesses are not immune to the global economic turndown. Consumer purchasing power was down in 2022, as was global app consumer spending.
Yet, this didn’t stop mobile marketing investments.
Taught by the lessons of the previous recession, most advertisers decided not to cut their advertising spending.
Instead, they chose to stay visible.
However, they didn’t just continue “business as usual”. In 2022, most mobile marketers optimized their strategies to cope with the situation. These were some of the best practices they applied:
- Re-evaluating existing marketing plans
- Maintaining share of voice
- Focusing on lifecycle marketing
- Building communities
Since the end of the recession is still not on the radar, mobile marketers will probably continue using these strategies in the year to come. Sensor Tower predicts consumer spending in gaming apps will increase in 2023, so this should make things a little easier.
2. Keeping Up with Data Privacy
About a year and a half ago, Apple’s privacy changes (ATT) turned the mobile industry upside down. Even though it’s been a while since, mobile marketers and developers are still looking for the best ways to overcome the challenges caused by it.
Throughout 2022, developers have been exploring ways to get permission to access user data. In this prompt, users are asked to allow the app to “track their activity”. Getting the “yes” takes a lot of convincing and is not an easy task for developers.
But, over the year, developers established some ATT opt-in best practices that can help boost the numbers.
If developers don’t manage to get the opt-in, advertisers will struggle to scale their apps. Without it, it’s hard to understand who downloads apps, and how users behave after the download.
Because of this, in 2022, Apple released an important update to its SKAdNetwork, based on direct feedback from advertisers and developers.
From what we know so far, it should be more advertiser-friendly than the previous versions.
The update was officially launched at the end of October, so advertisers are still learning how to get the most out of it. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the trend of struggling with data privacy is set to continue in 2023.
3. Further Rise of Short-Form Video
It’s well-known that social media has the power to dictate mobile marketing trends.
Thanks to social networks, in 2022, short-form video became an even bigger trend than it was before.
This trend was born on TikTok. But, as its popularity grew, other social media platforms started copying and are now heavily pushing short-form videos to their users’ feeds.
This includes videos straight from TikTok, but also their own short video formats. On Instagram and Facebook, these are Reels, and on YouTube, they are called Shorts.
Short videos are especially popular among Gen Z. Mobile marketers are very focused on this generation, and there are a couple of reasons why.
They constantly use their phones and have a growing purchasing power. On top of that, they are big mobile gamers and the largest gaming audience by consumer spend.
In order to reach them, more marketers are promoting apps with short-form video ads. Naturally, this also means the competition is getting fierce, and standing out is becoming more difficult.
Therefore, as this trend continues, we can expect more creativity and innovation in the short video arena.
4. A Shift in Search Habits
In 2022, we found out that Gen Z is using TikTok as a search engine. They are bypassing Google, which has been a synonym for “search” for a long, long time.
This is not surprising, and here’s why.
Gen Z grew up online, they have short attention spans and prefer it when content is relevant to them. TikTok’s powerful algorithm caters to all of this by providing tailored results based on their interests.
Since Google isn’t interest-based, they find its search results messy and hard to navigate.
But, it’s not only TikTok they use as a search engine — the same goes for Instagram and Youtube.
Google’s data from 2022 shows that 40% of young users turned to TikTok or Instagram rather than Google Maps to find a place to eat.
From a marketing perspective, this is huge.
For mobile advertisers, this is an important opportunity to act faster than the competition and boost their social media discoverability. In 2022, this trend was still in its early stage, and in the years to come, we can expect it to become an even more important mobile marketing factor.
5. Brand and Community Building Drives App Growth
Mobile marketers were never as focused on communities as they were in 2022. This trend is being driven by two key factors:
- Privacy changes
Privacy changes made it harder for advertisers to scale installs, while the recession affects all pores of the mobile industry.
Because of all this, retaining users and boosting their loyalty is more important than ever.
To achieve these goals, marketers have turned to two established strategies — brand and community building.
Compared to the last couple of years, in 2022, we saw more brand marketing campaigns and fewer targeted campaigns. With this strategy, app marketers managed to stay visible while creating a story around their brands.
Community building is especially important for mobile game marketers. Over the past year, we have witnessed a big rise in mobile gaming Discord communities, as well as Twitch and Youtube streaming.
As spontaneous as they might appear, these communities don’t form on their own. Mobile marketers work hard to make this happen — through community management, influencer marketing, content curation, etc.
The point of all this?
Increasing user loyalty while keeping them interested outside of the app.
Top Mobile Gaming Trends
Mobile gaming and mobile marketing trends overlap, but each has its own set of trends.
Here are the top five mobile gaming trends that ruled 2022 and are set to continue in 2023.
1. Blockchain Gaming
Blockchain games have been around for a while.
But, before 2022, there were not a lot of (quality) mobile competitors in this market.
This year, a lot of big mobile game studios started building games on blockchain technology (e.g. EA, Zynga). Not only that, but a lot of them started adding blockchain elements to their existing games.
Due to all this, many believe that blockchain gaming is not only among the biggest mobile gaming trends but also the future of this market. Then again, following the recent crash of the blockchain market, many would disagree with this prediction.
In the years to come, they expect the mobile games market to move from free-to-play (F2P) to play-to-earn (P2E).
In F2P games, users can buy or earn things like boosts, upgrades, or skins. But, none of this has value outside the game.
In P2E games, users purchase or earn in-game assets. These assets are actually NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and have a monetary value.
Outside the game, these assets can then be exchanged for cryptocurrency, and converted into fiat money.
We don’t expect that blockchain games will be all over the top charts in 2023. But, we certainly expect a lot of innovation, changes, and overall, better blockchain-based games.
2. Big Brands Enter the Gaming Arena
The list of companies that are experimenting with gaming is getting longer and longer.
While some projects have already been abandoned, others are just getting started in the gaming industry.
One of them is Netflix, which has recently added mobile games as a part of its subscription. Meanwhile, TikTok is testing mini-games within the app, Amazon is pushing its cloud gaming subscription, and Xbox is building a mobile gaming store.
Essentially, most of these companies want to achieve the same — become the Netflix of gaming.
They want to become an alternative to the app stores and take advantage of the subscription trend that has been around for a while.
For other companies, 2022 was the year they abandoned the gaming scene. This includes Google Stadia and the Facebook gaming app. Despite the big companies behind these projects, they simply weren’t good enough to last.
3. Evergreen Games Rule in Downloads, Mid-core Games Drive Revenues
The mobile game top charts are constantly changing. But, at the end of each year, we can get a clear overview of which games performed better than others. That also allows us to identify the biggest mobile gaming trends.
Here’s which games dominated download and revenue top charts from January to December 2022 (AppMagic).
The craziest thing about these rankings is that they have barely changed since 2021.
- Subway Surfers
- Garena Free Fire
- Stumble Guys
- Candy Crush Saga
As you can see, mobile game classics like Subway Surfers continue to attract new audiences and show no signs of slowing down.
The only newcomer here is Stumble Guys, a hyper-casual title. This multiplayer party knockout game is a clone of a popular PC title that is unavailable on mobile, and this is the main factor behind its success.
- Honor of Kings
- PUBG Mobile
- Genshin Impact
- Candy Crush Saga
The revenue chart for 2022 is almost identical to the one from 2021. The main trend we can see here is that the first three places are held by mid-core games that successfully drive consumer spending.
4. Cross-Platform Gaming
Lately, more and more developers are focusing on creating cross-platform games. These are the games playable on different devices — from PC to consoles and smartphones. On top of that, when a developer uses cloud gaming, players can even carry over their progress from one platform to another.
From a technical perspective, this can be tricky to achieve.
But, as technology advances, the market is filling up with quality cross-platform games. Some of the most popular cross-platform titles available for mobile include Roblox, Genshin Impact, Among Us, and PUBG.
Besides being cross-platform games, these titles have something else in common.
They are all multiplayer games.
Generally, the main reason why cross-platform games are so popular is that players can play with whomever they want and on whatever device they want.
These games also stand out by their potential to become profitable. As we mentioned before, Roblox and Genshin Impact were among the five top-grossing games in 2022.
5. Better Monetization
Mobile games can no longer get away with disruptive ads and annoying offerings, no matter how good the actual game is.
Players have seen and experienced better-monetized games, and they now expect all mobile games to follow suit.
For a couple of years already, one of the biggest mobile gaming trends is hybrid monetization, i.e., combining different revenue streams. For example, ads, in-app purchases, and subscriptions. This monetization strategy has proven to be quite user-friendly and players accept it well.
Meanwhile, there was still a burning issue of disruptive ads in hyper-casual games.
In 2022, Google made its move against this by introducing a new ad policy. The policy has banned developers from using disruptive ads, which made a lot of them turn to more user-friendly strategies. For example, rewarded video and native advertising.
Mobile Marketing & Mobile Gaming Trends Wrap Up
As you can see, 2022 was pretty exciting for everyone in the mobile business.
In 2023, myAppFree will continue informing you about the hottest mobile marketing and mobile gaming trends. To stay up to date, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter!