App Marketing Trends 2019

Artyom Dogtiev

Updated: August 28, 2020

The bigger the app industry becomes the greater demand for app marketing professionals services. On one hand each year brings new challenges for brands and indie app developers in the fight to make sure their apps are found on the app stores to meet their ROI goals, on the other – some remain to be the same year after year. So, obviously, there is a big demand for app marketers, who have been doing their best to stay ahead of the game and be capable to connect mobile apps with their users efficiently.

We’ve reached out top app marketing industry professionals, asking them to share their thinking on what’s coming up this year, what they believe will be important for app marketers, developers and brands to keep on their radar. Among many things that were raised we want to highlight the following:

  • Developing strong relationships with app users to win their loyalty
  • The US, Europe and China app markets slow down may shift app developers focus to emerging countries app markets
  • AI algorithms will finds its way into app marketing automation to increase its efficiency
  • ASO will continue to be highly relevant
  • Social media formats as Stories will go big to drive a new level of engagement for app marketing campaigns

Among top mobile app marketing companies the following practitioners got back to us with a quote.

App Marketing Thought Leaders:

And so here’s what they had to say on the top app marketing trends in 2019. If you want to contribute your view on app marketing trends fill in the form here.

Yodel Mobile Ltd – Mick Rigby, CEO

Priorities will change in 2019 towards a more focused approach regarding app marketing, with app leaders really encompassing user centric app marketing strategies for success. As acquisition costs continue to rise and consumers continue to to become more savvy regarding expectations for app experiences, ensuring that you continue to impress users with delight points and seamless UX will be essential. The trend for more sophisticated app businesses to build stronger relationships with their users will be a key trend for 2019.

Transporter Lab GmbH – Max Ott, CEO

2019 will bring an even more connected experience between iOS and macOS. Apple’s project codename “Marzipan” might divide the developer community, but for app marketers it just means more users, new channels and new formats.

Another big trend will be internationalisation: App marketers can no longer ignore the supposed smaller markets in South America or Asia. With a dramatic slow down of growth in the US, Europe and even China app stores like Brazil and India might still be places for decent growth.

Udonis Inc. – Mihovil Grguric, Founder

As the mobile industry continues to grow and become more competitive, in order to win, companies must become more data-driven and more sophisticated. I see user-level tracking as the biggest game-changer in mobile marketing in 2019. Especially when it comes to ad revenue tracking in the mobile gaming industry. Forget about modelled data. User-level approach to tracking will enable app & game companies to track everything precisely, get a better understanding of their data and acquire higher quality users, which will spend more time and more money within their apps or games. By feeding this data back into ad networks, such as Google or Facebook, and relying on their machine learning tech to make practical use out of it, app & game companies will also see an improvement in their financial performance and overall volume.

Appsposure – Josh Kocaurek, Founder

I think one major change we’ve been seeing and will continue to see this year will be app publishers shifting more of their marketing budgets into influencer marketing. As both influencers and publishers become better all-around at creating successful influencer campaigns, publishers will begin considering influencers as a traffic-driving channel to rely on alongside more traditional forms of marketing like paid ads and content creation.

As for the App Stores, I see the ranking algorithms continuing to become more sophisticated, weighing more heavily on things like conversion rates, uninstall rates and engagement rates. In the early days of the App Stores, the apps with the most downloads or the best ratings would sit at the top of search results, leading to many publishers edging out competitors with bot installs and fake reviews. Now more than ever, the apps legitimately providing the most value to users will be rewarded with higher rankings in the App Stores.

App Radar – Thomas Kriebernegg, CEO & Co-Founder

In 2019 we will see further professionalization in the field of app marketing.

Smart tools will help app and game publishers more and more when it comes to the topic really understanding which channels drive traffic and valuable users.

App Store Optimization will continue riding the hype wave and it will become an even more must have instead of a nice to have app marketing discipline.

By integrating ASO insights and learnings into the Apple Search Ads process publishers will be able to grow their mobile business at much higher pace compared to publishers who are lacking on information or haven’t set up a process.

appScatter – Simon Gannon, CMO

– Programmatic advertising and header bidding will see growth in adoption for both advertisers and publishers of mobile apps

– Richer content via 5G

– IoT, specifically data collection to target advertisement. And connected to that smart homes providing more advertising estate in terms of home hubs and TVs with screens and audio

– Top apps moving away from the app stores to avoid commission charges eg Epic

– Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence becoming more mainstream

– In Bot advertising and vice versa In Ad chat bots looking more and more plausible for main stream

Bamboo – Daniel Pearson, CEO

Since Bamboo and Cupboard focus exclusively on mobile app install campaigns via paid social networks and Google UAC, our predictions are focused on those platforms specifically.

We believe the main trends in app marketing this year will be:

#1 – Mobile creative optimization will shift further toward assets, not ads and this will be coupled with more Combined Placements.

Google UAC and Facebook have each been very successful in driving improved advertiser ROI by offering their own flavors of Dynamic Creative and Combined Placements. We believe that they will keep pushing this envelope further in 2019.

Get your assets ready and let the networks optimize the combinations for you!

#2 – Third Party “AI Bidding” tools will start to become obsolete.

With the biggest networks removing external facing levers due to privacy concerns (example) and instead leaning on their own first party user data and Machine Learning teams to automate their targeting and delivery, Third Party Tools are going to struggle to add enough value compared to the fees they currently charge advertisers.

Still using a Facebook Marketing Partner for mobile app install campaigns at scale because of their bid automation tools? 

#3 – Social networks like Reddit, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest are going to continue growing into even more formidable mobile app inventory sources.

We have already seen very strong headwinds for the “other” social networks in 2018 and we expect that growth to continue. We believe a few of them can have a lot of success just learning from Facebook’s and Google’s prior year efforts.

Hopefully this trend will help keep our Facebook and Google CPMs down as well!

Tappx – Fernando Saiz, CMO

A number of last year’s digital ad trends will continue well into 2019, but with greater intensity. We predict the market will see mobile in-app ad revenues further exceed those of desktop, and the amount of time users spend in-app (currently > 3 hours per day) will surpass mobile web, and hence ad spend will increase for in-app marketing.

All studies indicate the strong demand growth for video formats, especially in the mobile programmatic environment. We’ll see rewarded video ads taking greater prominence, being accepted by both end users and by brands, thereby improving the quality of KPIs for campaigns. We also predict that non-gaming publishers will soon adopt the rewarded ad format. Programmatic advertising will further increase its market share versus the non-programmatic ad solutions. And within programmatic, we’ll likely see a shift from the open market to private deals. The use of display video ads will continue to increase, to the point of being the dominant ad format across the in-app ecosystem. Better inventory control will be demanded by the market i.e. quality control over inventory will be key to ensure optimum performance.

The introduction of App-Ads.txt will help to create a safer environment for brands, leading to greater demand for this type of inventory in 2019. Adoption of App-Ads.txt and Ads.cert should be relatively fast amongst leading publishers, like it was for web publishers in 2018.

Appromoters – Maarten De Jong, Senior Publisher Manager

This year, monetization via in-app header bidding and Open RTB auctions will take off. Multiple mobile ad networks have already launched their header (or parallel) bidding solutions. In theory, it gives the app owner the best possible price for its inventory and prevents overpaying on the advertisers side. The big question is: which solution will have the best and/or most demand sources? Which header bidding SDK will deliver the publisher the most competitive payout for every impression? And will this indeed mean the end of the waterfall model?

Programmatic was the main trend of 2018, but it will prove its importance again this year with the rise of header bidding. In order to make an appropriate bid, as much information on the user demographics and behavior is needed to designate a correct amount to bid.

Richer creative types will put ads more on par with the actual app experience. Whether it’s (interactive) video, playable ads, or the ‘demo before download’ type. For the user, they can experience an app directly through an ad. Giving overall, a similar experience to what they would expect by downloading the full app. This leads to higher conversion rates as the user experiences the app without installing it directly.

Apptamin – Sylvain Gauchet, Co-Founder

The automation of a lot of marketer activities caused by AI/machine learning will continue to make advertisers shift their focus towards creative testing and optimization. With platforms like Facebook recommending to target rather broadly and let the algorithm find the right audience, producing the right ad creatives and avoiding creative fatigue will be crucial.

On the iOS App Store I believe more and more developers will leverage Apple Search Ads. And for new apps (or game developers), Pre-Order will be used more to gain momentum even before the launch.

Webpals MobileInbal Lavi, CEO of Webpals Group

• We’re headed towards a new era where social media content will move from 2D into 3D, all thanks to AR and VR. AR will open horizons for brands, helping to create emotional connections with potential customers through ads which are immersive, interactive, and lifelike. With AR ads, which are already being used by select e-commerce players, the shopping experience will feel more real.

• The most prominent form of sharing on social media will be with Stories. This means advertisers should focus more on optimizing visual and realistic content for mobile screens, as opposed to text-dominant formats. Temporary content demands quick reactions- which means users can respond almost immediately, engaging them in the moment.

• Moreover, in 2019 there will be greater urgency for personalized ads, as they are becoming increasingly essential to build a strong advertiser/consumer relationship.

• Fintech has created a plethora of new opportunities in the business world, helping to deliver more innovative services and make better profits. Fintech solutions prevent consumers and business owners from going through the cumbersome, time-consuming process of cash and credit/debit card-based payment. Those payment methods are getting more and more popular, and by using them app developers will be able to increase conversion rates.

• In 2019, there will be far fewer limits of AI and machine learning, and many organizations will embrace these technologies to grow profitability as well as decrease operational expenses in various forms. Thanks to AI, we can expect more advanced predictive analyses.

Kimia Group – Karen Ciulla, Global Business Development & PR Director

The overarching focuses in 2019 will be around transparency, post click and install quality measurement, and technology that provides results.

In regards to Mobile CPA, Push Notification traffic will continue to rise proving exponentially higher conversion rates than traditional formats.

App marketing has definitely made the turn from install to engagement. Campaigns are based on purchase and registrations and full transparency of traffic sources is a must.

Social media campaigns will be dominated by personalized ads to each individual user. Campaigns that utilize data-science methodology for dynamic ad creation will present thousands of individual ads to distinct users in real-time.

Dot Com InfowayVenkatesh C.R., CEO

AI & Machine Learning

AI & Machine Learning would remain strong in the mobile app marketing arena, as it continues to evolve to make mobile advertising more intuitive and personalized.

Powerful Ad Copies

Compelling stories will be the most sought-after component of any ad ensemble. Not just ad copies, quality of videos, too, would play a major role in an ad’s success and popularity.

Interactive Video Ads

This mobile ad marketing trend is fast catching up and will soon dominate the mobile ad industry. Interactive video ads offer the opportunity for brands to handhold viewers much beyond the realms of simple advertising to include demos, content sharing and much more.

Adapting Mobile Payments & Voice Search

Digital payments are shifting towards the mobile space with the ever-increasing sales and usage of smartphones. Users will engage more and more into voice searches and paying through their mobile phones in 2019.

Location Based Targeting

Hyperlocal apps are already creating a lot of buzz. As people increasingly prefer to minimize physical movement, location-based apps will find from pizza to dirt bikes in their neighborhood.

ASO Results in both Play Store & App Store

AS apps are becoming more intuitive, so are ASO results. Soon, Play Store & App Store will throw app search results based on user behavior, making an app search a more personalized experience.

ROI based marketing

Brand owners and marketers no longer gamble with their marketing budgets. They want the best returns on their marketing efforts, and why not? ROI-based marketing will be the prime focus in the mobile app marketing industry in 2019.

The rise of Gaming apps

Good-old gaming apps are not going anywhere. Mobile phone users love playing games on their handsets and the trend is only increasing.

Android Instant Apps & Pre-Registration Activities

It is very vital to building buzz & users before launching the mobile game or app.

More Technologies to Reduce Mobile Ad Fraud

As the mobile ad industry becomes more organized, more technologies will surface to eliminate mobile ad frauds.

Playable Ads for Games

This trend is still in a neonate stage, yet very promising. Users are increasingly getting used to the idea of playing a game in an ad. This is by far the best trends in mobile app marketing that allows users to use the ad non-intrusively and stands a chance to build a large user base in a very little time.

More focus towards UI & UX

Users will still demand the easy navigation, pleasing aesthetics and a splendid experience in an app. Anything falling short in UI & UX can conveniently get lost in the app store oblivion.

Arrival of 5G

Yes, the much awaited 5 G would finally be here – with its due fanfare.

Influencers will continue to play a large role

Owing to the fact that most apps are still discovered and installed on someone’s suggestion, influencers will continue to have a much larger say in which apps must people install and which are better to be done with.

PreApps – Sean Casto, CEO

I believe 2019 will be the year for complete global marketing. Marketers will continue venturing into new territories by prioritizing on geolocation marketing to capture new users. 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.

Final Thoughts

So this is what app marketing professionals from the leading app marketing companies believe will be important for you to consider this 2019. As with all predictions, it’s not about magic you’re making by looking at your crystal ball but making an educated judgment based on what was working last year and how it may or may not change next year.

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