Mobile users are spending more time in mobile apps than the mobile web, but in-app advertising budgets have been slow to reflect the change. Are you missing out on potential optimizations?

A recent study from PubMatic and Forrester, and summarized by The Drum, suggests that mobile marketers could be wasting a material portion of their budgets on mobile web ads.

The study’s authors surveyed 336 advertisers to reveal that while mobile advertising spend is on the rise, the division between in-app and mobile web does not align with how mobile users are spending their time. Most marketers surveyed are operating at a near even split between mobile web and mobile in-app spending, which may not be the ideal choice when it comes to reaching their audience.

Studies like this one consistently show that users spend far more time in-app than mobile web site — around 90% more in most cases — meaning that marketers are over-investing in mobile web ads, missing out on potential optimizations.

“What we’re finding…is a lot of [buyers’] systems and metrics are still tied to the desktop environment,” Paulina Klimenko, senior vice-president of business development and general manager of mobile at PubMatic, told The Drum. “They’re still thinking cookies. They’re still thinking cost-per-click… We’re suggesting that buyers and advertisers need to adjust to the new realities of the app environment and rethink how they measure, adjust their reporting systems and move away from that cookie mentality.”

The study also revealed that despite the dated platform choices, mobile marketers are taking advantage of a diverse array of modern advertising models:

Meanwhile, marketers increasingly see value with in-app advertising, especially in programmatic formats. 68% of respondents prefer programmatic in-app advertising, and 59% use open exchanges. This is a trend advertisers are picking up on, and we’re curious to see where these opportunities will take us.

What is Cost-Per-Completed-View Advertising, and why is Tapjoy one of the few networks to offer it? Find out in our latest article!

Mobile game monetization hit new record highs in 2018 as battle royale and hyper-casual games competed for supremacy.

In the mobile marketing world, this is the time of year when most networks crunch their 2018 statistics to get a big-picture view of our industry. As marketers, that means we’re spoiled for exciting reading material, with a multitude of new reports that highlight interesting perspectives and insights. Of these studies, few are more comprehensive than App Annie’s 160-page “The State of Mobile 2019”, which analyzes every trend and app category and offers detailed predictions for the future.

We at Tapjoy were especially excited to read App Annie’s take on mobile gaming, which saw a tumultuous 2018 with the rise of two prominent genres: hyper-casual and battle royale. Here are some key gaming insights that are worth highlighting:

Mobile games monetization is on the rise

Monetization in the mobile games space continues to show year-on-year growth, reaching record heights yet again for 2018. In fact, mobile gaming remains the fastest growing sector of all gaming markets, including consoles, PC, Mac, and handheld platforms. Games currently account for 74% of all consumer spend within apps stores, with China, the US, and Japan controlling 75% of that spend. Mobile gaming is expected to reach 60% of total market share in 2019.

Players love battle royale and hyper-casual games

While mobile gaming is growing faster than console gaming, in terms of actual titles they aren’t so different. The hugely successful battle royale genre leapt from console to mobile platforms thanks to games like Fortnite, PUBG Mobile, Rules of Survival, and Free Fire. Battle royale games did exceptionally well in Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean markets that reflect a competitive online gaming culture. Meanwhile, hyper-casual games continued to top the charts thanks to Voodoo’s impressive app library.

Mobile success stories are shared between gaming incumbents and newcomers

2018 proved there’s room for both established games and up-and-coming apps to succeed. App Annie’s measurements of monthly active users revealed that Pokemon GO and Candy Crush Saga are still going strong years after their initial release. Meanwhile, new releases like PUBG Mobile and Helix Jump gained massive user bases during their 2018 launch windows.

Domestic growth in China was limited, but overseas markets are seeing higher results

China’s mobile games industry is facing a period of uncertainty while the nation considers its stance on game licensing regulations, which has limited domestic year-on-year growth to 4% compared with 2017. When combined with overseas markets, however, a different picture emerges. Non-APAC gaming markets have seen significant growth for Chinese publishers, with the Americas seeing notable gains of 140%. License approvals for new game titles will resume in 2019, so domestic and overseas growth is expected to continue moving forward.

We’d like to tip our hats to the folks at App Annie, who generated a fascinating and engaging summary of mobile marketing in 2018. You can download the full report to find more insights across every mobile app genre and category.

Want to brush up on more mobile app marketing fundamentals? Check out “What Is In-App Marketing?” and take a deep dive into tips for developing your own unique campaigns.

Smartphones are the most popular gaming platform, with a market expected to grow into 2022 and beyond.

It turns out America’s most popular gaming platform isn’t an Xbox, PlayStation, or even a Nintendo Switch. It’s actually your standard smartphone, as outlined in a recent study from eMarketer.

The latest research has projected that mobile gaming will easily overtake console gaming in 2019, thanks to the 147.8 million players downloading titles from Google Play and the App Store. While console gaming will certainly maintain a strong presence, its 91 million players shows it’s far from universal.

What’s more interesting is that eMarketer offered several insights into mobile gaming’s future. Unlike most game platforms, smartphones attract a wide range of players across age, gameplay experience, and other demographic groups. This diverse audience grew significantly during 2018, when American mobile gamers accounted for 142.9 million customers. Current trends suggest this growth will continue into 2022, at which point players will represent 55.7% of all smartphone users.

This growth is expected to supply $94 billion dollars to mobile publishers and advertisers by the end of 2020 — so It’s no surprise that developers, publishers, and advertisers continue to embrace this high performing platform. One July study from the Jun Group even claims that 49% of customers believe gaming apps deploy the best advertisements. (Social media ads, by comparison, were only endorsed by 24% of users.) This is likely caused by the rise of rewarded videos as a popular gaming ad format that reward players for actively viewing advertisements.

Mobile game developers and marketers clearly have an exciting year ahead of them. To find out more about how Tapjoy can help you make the most of this growing market, get in touch with our talented team of game and app monetization experts.

Mobile Marketing Magazine recently unveiled the deluxe edition of its 2019 Programmatic Handbook, an important source of insights for this rapidly changing industry.

There’s no denying that programmatic advertising is a major part of the mobile marketing world. In 2018, an estimated 82.5% of US digital display ads were purchased programmatically, while global digital advertising came to 55%. These trends are likely to grow in 2019 and beyond — yet at the same time, the field has many significant issues that need addressing.

That’s why it’s worth checking out Mobile Marketing Magazine (MMM), who recently released the deluxe edition of its 2019 Programmatic Handbook. This guide compiles a treasure trove of insights and thought leadership essays from the biggest names in the field. By reading it, marketers will gain a comprehensive picture of our current programmatic advertising industry, along with discussions of its latest developments and predictions for where it will head next.

You can read the 2019 Programmatic Handbook in full from this link, but first, we’d like to summarize a few key articles that we found particularly compelling:

Charting In-App Advertising

By Welby Chen, president and chief business officer at Fyber

Fyber recently conducted a survey of 500 brands and agencies to gauge their attitudes towards in-app advertising. From these results, Welby Chen suggests most brands are aware of the benefits of programmatic marketing, but rarely monetize their inventories effectively. His five insights paint a picture of where in-app advertising currently stands:

Perfect Partners

By Steve Wing, managing director of UK, Ireland and Nordics at Rubicon Project

In 2019, mobile and video advertisements collectively gained more programmatic ad dollars than desktop and banner ads. What is it about mobile that makes video so appealing? Steve Wing takes a closer look at the technological drivers behind mobile video, and offers insights on how marketers can capitalize on it:

Making Rich Media Sing

By Alex Rahaman, CEO at NEXD

Rich media ads are highly engaging, but their performance tends to lag behind when deployed on programmatic channels. Alex Rahaman takes a closer look at why this is, finding that load times, poor optimizations, and even our preferred analytical metrics combine to limit rich media’s impact. He also offers suggestions for moving forward, including NEXD’s strategies on the matter.

We at Tapjoy would like to tip our hats Mobile Marketing Magazine for putting together a fantastic handbook on the essential field of programmatic advertising! You can read the full handbook on its website.

The Mobile Programmatic Video Buyers’ Guide can help you find a video advertising platform that meets your specialized needs.

There are a wide range of video marketing platforms that advertisers and agencies can work with, each with unique features and capabilities. Choosing between them can be a difficult task, which is why Tapjoy is working with the Mobile Marketing Association and Innovid to develop and maintain the Mobile Programmatic Video Buyers’ Guide.

The guide provides mobile marketers with the marketing intel they need to implement the most effective mobile video campaigns. In its current state, the Mobile Programmatic Video Buyers’ Guide includes self-attested data from supply partners including supported platforms, verification processes, global scales, audience verticals, and more. Each of these partners act as “video players” and inventory providers across in-app ecosystems, and can deliver the most scale and best experience to your intended audience.

Naturally, Tapjoy is included as one of the premiere mobile engagement and monetization platforms in the industry (not to brag or anything). For the past decade, we’ve used leveraged our cutting-edge technology and expertise to acquire high-value users for our platforms. Here’s a taste of some of Tapjoy’s data points featured in the Video Buyers’ Guide:

And the guide won’t stop there. The MMA is currently working on a companion tool that provides educational information on mobile programmatic video. Once completed, these resources will act as living reference documents to help advertisers find platforms that meet their specialized needs.

You can find out more about the MMA’s Mobile Programmatic Video Buyers’ Guide right here, along with a sign-up form to be notified about new updates and releases. We’d like to thank the MMA and Innovid for helping put together such a highly effective tool!

Tapjoy is one of the early adopters of the IAB’s Open Measurement SDK.

Last April, the IAB Technology Lab released its Open Measurement SDK, a set of tools designed to facilitate third-party viewability and verification measurement for ads in mobile app environments. While the OM SDK simplifies and adds efficiences to processes running across multiple system platforms, it is not without its complexities. That’s why IAB unveiled the Open Measurement SDK certification program, which has just been endorsed by the Media Rating Council (MRC). Only 14 companies have been certified so far – including Tapjoy – with many more on the way.

Having completed the certification process, Tapjoy can speak to the inherent value of the OM SDK. Advertisers feel more confident in the value of our mobile inventory, while game publishers can easily access reliable monetization metrics using the SDK. We’d like to encourage all mobile marketers to join the measurement companies, global ad platforms, and major app publishers who are supporting this platform today.

“In the past, a lack of consistency in measurement artificially inhibited the growth of mobile in-app advertising,” said Paul Longhenry, Tapjoy’s senior vice president of strategy, corporate and business development. “The Open Measurement SDK gives our advertising partners an unprecedented level of transparency and measurement by enabling the independent, third-party reporting of their choice. Currently, around 75% of our inventory is OM-enabled and measurement is no longer the inhibitor it once was.”

Today, the OM SDK is at various stages of deployment in hundreds of thousands of apps, with a global reach of 2 billion Android and iOS devices. IAB currently plans to continue supporting the SDK’s adoption while enabling VAST and other ad formats to use the SDK in programmatic channels.

To find out more about the OM SDK certification program, please visit the IAB tech lab.

The IAB’s Opt-In Value Exchange Advertising Playbook for Brands is a comprehensive guide to one the mobile advertising world’s most effective formats.

Members of IAB’s Digital Video and Games Committees (including us!) recently came together to produce the Opt-In Value Exchange Advertising Playbook for Brands. We were thrilled to have had the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to its development. This comprehensive guide includes a collection of case studies detailing successful implementations of the format, along with tips to create, measure, and effectively buy advertising options that leverage the power of opt-in ads.

At Tapjoy we’re especially familiar with the use of Opt-In Value Exchange ads, a form of premium advertising which offers users something of value in exchange for their time and attention. In the context of mobile games, apps might offer in-game currency or power-ups when players watch a 30-second video about similar titles. This approach puts consumers in control of how they engage with marketing campaigns, avoids disrupting the in-app experience, and often aligns marketing campaigns with the game experience itself.

Tapjoy’s experience with these ads has been overwhelmingly positive, and we’re not alone.

You can read the full report here, and be sure to keep an eye out for our case study with Vizeum International & 20th Century Fox as an example of how brands can benefit from the format.

The playbook also covers successful case studies from companies like Google, Activision Blizzard, Vungle, and many more. Readers can also take a deep dive into the creative elements that make Opt-In ads engaging, such as video content, end cards, surveys, playables, and interactive rich media.

We at Tapjoy quite proud of our contribution to the Opt-In Value Exchange Advertising Playbook, and hope it will increase your audience engagement. We’d like to thank the contributors and everyone at IAB who helped make this comprehensive project a reality!

Head to the IAB website today to get your free copy!

PlayStack’s HELP: The Game brings us new games from Rovio, Gameloft, and more to support War Child UK.

Mobile gaming is all about fun and play, but sometimes it can also be used to support a noble cause. That’s why Tapjoy hopes you’ll check out HELP, a mobile gaming app that supports two very special children’s charities.

HELP: The Game brings together five addictive new puzzle games from critically-acclaimed developers. Everything in the HELP package can’t be found anywhere else, and offers hours of engagement for players of all ages. The app costs $3.99 to purchase on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store, with 100% of net proceeds going to War Child UK and Children in Conflict.

HELP is supported through the Tapjoy network, which means we obtained a first-hand look at what Rovio, Gameloft, Wooga, Featherweight, and Sports Interactive put together. So trust us — whether you enjoy matching games, physics sims, or casual swipe-based puzzles, there’s something for everyone here.

Now let’s take a look at the games:

Rupert Sell ‘Em, Don’t Break ‘Em

by Wooga

From the creators of Jelly Splash, meet Rupert Sell’ Em, Don’t Break ‘Em. Rupert is a porcelain store assistant. He’s also an elephant. You can see how this could go wrong…

All day customers come into your porcelain shop. Fulfill their requests fast, but don’t break too much or your job is on the line! Find the item the customers want and bring it to the counter. Their satisfaction will determine if you can travel on to later levels.

Mediocre Housekeeping

by Featherweight

From the creators of Rodeo Stampede, welcome to Mediocre Housekeeping, a lazy physics game where you attempt to throw as many items of clothing onto the shelving without it falling off!

Swipe to throw the items of clothing on to the shelving units, be careful that the clothing doesn’t fall off!

Fifty Buddies

by Gameloft

From the creators of Asphalt Racing, Fifty Buddies places you in control of 50 jelly buddies, race around the loop as many times as possible without losing the Buddies, dodge past wrecking balls, ejector buttons and more to rack up a high score!

Press down to race the Buddies around the loop. Race around as many times as possible without losing the Buddies, dodge past wrecking balls, ejector buttons and more to rack up a high score!

Inish Ciúb

by Rovio

From the creators of Angry Birds, Inish Ciúb is a delightful puzzle game where you use bees, flowers, weeds and bears to create your own flourishing Inish Ciúb. Combine different tiles to remove tiles from the board. Remove as many tiles as possible with as few tiles as possible in the time period to score!

Combine different tiles to remove tiles from the board. Remove as many tiles as possible with as few tiles as possible in the time period to score!

Tickets Please

by Sports Interactive

From the creators Football Manager, Tickets Please puts you in charge of a ticket inspector on a busy train service. Correctly check as many tickets as possible in the time limit to progress!

Swipe left or right to deny or approve a passengers ticket. Correctly check as many tickets as possible in the time limit to progress!

HELP: The Game is available now on the App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon App Store.

This month’s app spotlight brings us SuperStar BTS by Dalcomsoft, an exciting, console-caliber rhythm game based on a K-Pop sensation: the Bangtan Boys.

The Scoop

K-pop fans rejoice! The production team behind one of South Korea’s most popular boy bands has partnered with Korean game developer Dalcomsoft to create an addictive mobile rhythm game that will test your skill — and your devotion to the Bangtan Boys, or BTS. SuperStar BTS brings console-caliber rhythm gameplay to mobile devices, which has historically been a big ask for many other developers. Let’s take a look at how they did it.

The Buzz

With an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 stars on the App Store, it’s safe to say SuperStar BTS has been well received, even among seasoned mobile gamers who’ve seen their fair share of mobile gaming brand partnerships. Popular YouTubers have wasted no time in mastering the game’s highest difficulty settings and posting their achievements online, garnering hundreds of thousands of views in the process. Although the game does have an English translation version available, players in some English speaking countries may need to look into a workaround, as the game is not currently available in all markets.

The Gameplay

SuperStar BTS features a carefully structured difficulty curve that invites players in before gradually turning up the heat, leading to one of the most satisfying gameplay experiences available on mobile. Devoted fans of the band can collect virtual trading cards featuring each of the band’s members, though building a complete set will take time and skill. For serious players, the game features a competitive mode that lets them compete against their peers to climb the rankings and earn rewards. New missions released daily give players plenty of reasons to come back and try to level up.

The Economy

SuperStar BTS employs a tiered currency system to drive its virtual economy. Players can purchase “Diamonds” through in-app purchases or earn them through Tapjoy’s in-app advertisements. The Diamonds can then be spent on packs of collectable trading cards, which come in three varieties: normal, signed, and prism. Each variety offer players gameplay bonuses and increased points multipliers, improving their ability to earn currency organically. Cards of lower rarity can be used to upgrade other cards in a style reminiscent of the digital gachapon mechanics made famous by successful mobile titles Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Fire Emblem Heroes.

The Sizzle Reel

The Skinny

With solid gameplay and an intuitive brand partnership to back it up, SuperStar BTS succeeds where many other mobile rhythm games have failed. It’s an intuitive, enjoyable title that offers all players a wealth of enjoyment while leaving room for the band’s most devoted fans to indulge their passion.

Couldn’t attend this year’s App Marketing New York Summit? Take a look at these key highlights.

Last Thursday, Tapjoy attended Mobile Marketing Marketing Magazine’s App Marketing New York Summit, a three-hour series of intimate round-table sessions with experts from tech and marketing fields. While the event was private, the topics we discussed were broadly relevant to these industries, covering issues like user retention, in-app advertising, and more.

Sarah Chafer, our SVP of Global Performance, took this opportunity to lead a presentation on mobile gaming market growth, player demographics, app monetization, and more. She also attended talks from other marketing platforms like Appsflyer, Fyber, Moburst, and Swrve.

If you weren’t able to make it, never fear! Here’s a summary of the most important insights from Sarah’s presentation, and others we attended:

Tapjoy: Mobile Gaming is Bigger Than McDonald’s

Marketers already know mobile gaming is a major category in our industry alongside video, music, messaging, and social networking. Despite this, we’re often still surprised by its massive scope.

Mobile gaming is enormous compared to just about every other market — with an annual revenue of $60 billion, it’s larger than McDonald’s and Box Office movie releases. 45% of players open game a game 5-10+ times each day. 55% will play for over an hour, while another 62% will enjoy 3-10 different games every week.

These figures are driven by a diversified global audience that isn’t limited by age or nation. In the United States, for example, there are approximately 193 million players accounting for 75% of smartphone users. This is one of the biggest mobile gaming markets in the world, yet it’s still surpassed by the 2.1 billion mobile gamers playing worldwide. While the majority of this market sits within the 18-24 age range, players are spread is fairly evenly across all demographics, from 15 years old to 55+.

With such an all-encompassing category, it’s crucial to make sure games are monetized effectively. A wide range of options exist, from in-app transactions to advertising revenue, but what do gaming audiences prefer? As it turns out, 80% of US customers prefer rewarded opt-in advertisements over in-app purchases or mandatory ads. Rewarded video in particular is by far the most popular option, favored by 68% of respondents.

App promotion strategies are also essential to ensure your game finds a vibrant audience. The following example can be employed anytime you wish promote a game across a monthly or quarterly time-frame:

  1. Scale your game to reach a relevant audience and create adoption.
  2. Enhance the Lifetime Value of the app through qualified users and effectively managed CPI.
  3. Encourage deep app engagement through in-app actions.

As one of the top five mobile categories, we simply cannot avoid to ignore the opportunities of mobile games and in-app reward videos. By following these insights and adopting these strategies, gaming publishers and marketers will get a head-start in launching successful mobile titles.

Moburst: Your App Store Homepage is Your Storefront

App developers mostly believe individual websites are the primary storefronts for their products. To Moburst, the real storefront is the App Store itself, and developers must shift their perspective to see its true potential.

Moburst is an App Store creative, strategy, and optimization agency that works with apps like Google and Youtube. One of the company’s key strategies is to ensure App Store homepages deliver the most important details to potential customers. While strong ratings are important, screenshots and photos should be well utilized. A/B testing suggests that using landscape photos to tell cohesive stories is a good strategy, along with featuring homepage videos. How users view your homepage has a direct impact on install rates, so it’s crucial to take some time to optimize it.

Fyber: Don’t Underestimate In-App Ad Spend

Approximately two-thirds of the ad spend budget for mobile marketing platforms is dedicated to Facebook and other social media apps. This decision might be counter-intuitive, since users only spend one-third of their mobile activity on social networks.

This insight comes from Fyber, a mobile monetization supply side platform with access to inventory across all types of apps. According to Ross Barasch, VP of Demand in North America, brands will experience a 41% ad spend lift by focusing on in-app marketing. By refocusing their efforts on more effective channels, publishers should be able to gain more benefits from their marketing budgets.

Swrve: Utilize In-App Engagements to Drive Retention

Customer retention is the most effective way businesses can find long-term success in this industry — the question is how to keep users engaged. According to Swrve, in-app engagement is more effective than any other medium for both retention and customer loyalty.

Swrve specializes in customer engagement through personalized micromoments across mobile devices, email, web, and other digital channels. In its experience, in-app engagements are by far the most effective customer loyalty tool. Simply sending an in-app push notification when an event concludes leads to a 10,000% increase in responses, as opposed to emailing attendees days after an event concludes.

While all engagement avenues are important, it’s absolutely important to utilize in-app engagements wherever possible.

Appsflyer: Not Every App Category Benefits From Organic Retention Benchmarks

Some marketers like paid advertising options, while others swear by organic ad campaigns. When measuring app retention benchmarks, analytics platform Appsflyer noticed the success of each method varies depending on the app’s category.

In mobile gaming, paid installs tend to see a higher retention rate than organic methods. Meanwhile, lifestyle apps have slightly higher retention thanks to organic installs. Health & Fitness apps see equal retention across organic and paid marketing.

Each approach also has unique quirks marketers will need to address. For example, organic users tend to stagnate year-on-year due to high competition. Being aware of the nuances of organic and paid installs goes a long way towards ensuring the long-term success of your app.

We’d like to thank Mobile Marketing Magazine for organizing this wonderful summit, and all the speakers and attendees who took part in these discussions!