Tips for Fearless Mobile Marketing during a Recession

When the economy is thriving, marketing is relatively simple. As long as marketers follow established best practices, things should work out for the best.

But, during an economic turndown, things are different.

The recession is taking a hit on all industries, including mobile marketing. Almost every day, you can read news about new rounds of layoffs, hiring freezes, etc.

In this challenging period, mobile marketers need to outperform the competition using some new best practices that are constantly evolving.

Sounds frightening?

Don’t let fear paralyze you.

To help you handle this, we put together some recommendations for mobile marketing during a recession.

Re-Evaluate Your Marketing Plan

At the start of every year, you create a marketing plan and stick to it until the end of the year?

This is not the best idea during a recession.

At the moment, the economy is unstable, so you should re-evaluate your plans from time to time.

For this reason, we recommend making a thorough audit of your marketing plan. By doing so, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your app marketing strategy and make changes before the end of the year.

If you’re not sure how to do an audit, here are a couple of steps you can follow:

  • Analyze the macro environment. Check out your app’s position within its category. Evaluate the overall impact of the recession on app downloads and app revenue.
  • Eliminate vanity KPIs. In a lot of cases, besides the necessary metrics, companies are also tracking the so-called vanity metrics. This can make you less focused on the KPIs that have a real impact on your revenues.
  • Assess the organization. Evaluate what are you doing to reach the desired KPIs and if it can be done better. For example, see which processes you can simplify, improve or even eliminate.

Stay Visible When the Competition Is Not

This recession is not the first one we faced in the twenty-first century.

Even though this may be bad, there is a bright side — the 2008 recession taught us a lot.

During that period, a lot of companies panicked and paused or reduced brand advertising. This included different types of advertising — from billboards to TV and digital marketing.

Unless survival is at stake, don’t do this.

According to a study by Peter Field, data from the 2008 recession demonstrates the importance of staying visible.

In this recession, some brands reduced their SOV (share of voice), while others increased it. This strategy might temporarily improve profitability because costs are cut. However, it might result in a lost market share.

mobile marketing during a recession based on data from the previous recession
Source: IPA

Look at this chart based on the 2008 recession. There are three groups by media investments, from lowest to highest. You can clearly see how ESOV (the difference between SOV and market share) was the highest in the group with the biggest media investments.

Some of your competitors have already reduced their SOV budgets, lowering the overall category ad spending. This is good news for you — the less competition you have, maintaining SOV should be cheaper.

Key takeaways:

  • Don’t get blinded by the short-term results but stay focused on the long term
  • Maintain your share of voice
  • Going absent is a mistake

Refine Your Paid Advertising Strategy

According to another report on the 2008 recession, over 60% of brands that increased media spending during that time saw better brand performance.

Precisely, investing in paid advertising resulted in a 17% sales increase. Reduced advertising spending was a bad decision that resulted in a 15% loss (ROI Genome).

Don’t make the same mistake.

Continue investing in paid advertising, but make sure to optimize it for the long run.

For example, by directing more of your advertising budgets toward remarketing campaigns. According to AppsFlyer, acquiring new users is 5 to 10x more expensive than keeping existing ones. Therefore, focusing on keeping your most loyal users should pay off.

Adjust Your Tone of Advertising

People often react to advertising based on how they are feeling.

For example, if we complete a level in a game, the upcoming ad won’t bother us. But if we lose, it might increase our level of frustration.

The same can be said for the general mood, which is influenced by the recession.

mobile marketing during a recession drop in globala pp consumer spend
Source: Sensor Tower

These days, people are less eager to spend money on apps and games, preferring to save it for more important things. Due to this, global app consumer spending dropped by 4.8% year-over-year in Q3 2022 (Sensor Tower).

Now, how should you approach potential customers in times of recession?

According to Peter Field’s research, during this period, it might be beneficial to show your brand’s warmth, humanity, and humor.

Does this mean you should abandon your tried and true ad concepts?

Of course not.

However, if you notice that a certain type of ad started performing worse during the recession, analyze its tone. It is possible that it does not reflect the general mood of your target audience.

Embrace Lifecycle Marketing

There is a common misconception that mobile advertisers don’t need to know a lot about the product they are promoting.

On the contrary, they should be very well aware of what happens after the install.

One of the best strategies for mobile marketing during a recession is lifecycle marketing. To define this, this is the process of guiding prospective users through various stages of the user journey.

But, if users abandon the app in a matter of minutes, this won’t be possible. You want users who will stick for days, months, or even years.

One of the key things that make users abandon or stay in an app is its first-time user experience. Here are some best practices for onboarding users:

  • Prioritizing the user, not data collection. Don’t welcome your users with a forced registration. Allow them to quickly sign in via social media or as guests.
  • Quickly showing the primary value of the app. Resolve the users’ pain points quickly to show what separates your app from the competition.
  • Making users feel lucky and rewarded (especially if the app is a mobile game)

Build a Community

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of communities.

If you want to play the long game in mobile marketing during a recession, build a community around your app. Communities can help boost user loyalty, make them more engaged, and even attract new users to the app.

To achieve this, it is not enough to have active social media accounts that promote your app. You need to create content that brings extra value to your users. For example, content that informs, amuses, connects, or rewards your audience.

Community building is possible for any app, but it is more common among gaming apps.

build a community tip

A good example is Stumble Guys by Kitka Games. This app was released in 2021, but it flourished in 2022, in the midst of the recession. One of the main strategies behind this game’s success was its strong focus on community building on Discord, TikTok, and Youtube.

Mobile Marketing During a Recession: Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is no unique formula for navigating mobile marketing during a recession.

It all comes down to analyzing, observing, and learning.

To make things even more challenging, on top of the recession, app marketers are also dealing with privacy changes and the market’s post-covid recovery.

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