App Marketing Trends for 2023: The Yodel Crystal Ball

App Marketing trends 2023

We couldn’t possibly finish the year without a look into our Yodel crystal ball, for a glimpse of the mobile app marketing trends and themes that 2023 might bring.

It’s fair to say that on a macro level, 2023 is going to present a challenge for many businesses. The UK is officially in a recession, as is the US and much of Europe (in contrast, India and China have both seen growth of their GDP this year). This obviously will have an impact on people’s spending habits, as they prioritise must-haves over nice-to-haves. 

Of course, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Money-saving apps are likely to be more popular than ever, as are those focusing on new solutions to historically expensive problems. 

User Acquisition Trends 

ROI set to improve for advertisers 

Marketing is often the first budget to be slashed in the event of an economic downturn, but businesses should be aware that this doesn’t necessarily pay off. A study of 600 companies from 1980-85 ( a severe economic recession that affected the entire world) found that those that continued to advertise during the two-year recession saw 256% higher sales than their counterparts once the recession came to an end. 

It’s clear that maintaining brand awareness during hard times can result in sales, especially when buyers are once again able to afford to pay. Therefore, not maintaining a share of voice has a very quantifiable impact, with brand awareness decreasing by a huge 24% after six months with the average consumer. 

This means there may well be opportunities for ambitious app businesses in 2023. With fewer advertisers looking for market share, the price of advertising should come down. Therefore those willing to commit their marketing spend may see a better Return on Investment than before. And if you want to learn which app advertising channels you should invest in, check out THIS post.

Messaging needs a 2023 review

With the needs and wants of the consumer likely to be different next year – focusing more on spending as little as possible and less on… well, everything else – it’s also wise to review your messaging. If you have an app that can allay financial concerns, whether that’s through competitive pricing, comparative functionality or some other kind of efficiency, that’s a message worth highlighting in 2023. 

Data privacy continues to be a focus

It’s been one of the app marketing trends this year, and it’s likely to continue next year, with both Apple and Google focusing hard on giving the end user more freedom to control the data they share with advertisers. That’s not an altruistic move on their part, it’s all in aid of creating a bullet-proof advertising platform. 

This November, Google agreed to a $391.5m settlement over allegations by 40 US states regarding illegal user location tracking. The company said in a blog soon after that it would focus on “making updates in the coming months to provide even greater controls and transparency over location data”. This is likely to include making it easier for users to delete their location data, and the automation of deleting that data after a certain time period. It would be wise to re-review how justifiable your data collection is, and be ready to present a compelling case should limits be tightened still further. 

Third-party cookie deprecation

Luckily, the ad world will have a little bit more time to test the Privacy Sandbox. Google has delayed the depreciation of third-party cookies in Chrome, which will now begin in the second half of 2024 instead of in 2023. Google has attempted to replace some of the functionality of third-party cookies with its Privacy Sandbox proposals, but these have not been widely adopted. What causes the delay? Anthony Chavez, vice president of Privacy Sandbox said that the feedback they have received indicates that more time is needed to evaluate and test the new technologies before third-party cookies are deprecated. According to Chavez, this approach to transitioning from third-party cookies will ensure that the web can continue to thrive without relying on cross-site tracking identifiers or techniques like fingerprinting.

Apple advertising picks up pace

Following the launch of new ad placements this year (on the Today page and on product pages) Apple continues its expansion into advertising, with what is believed to be its own Demand Side Platform (DSP). This will create an automated ad network more in line with Google’s offering. But while it might be tempting to roll out Google’s ad approach to Apple’s platform when it lands, it’s worth reviewing the differences in behaviour between Android and iOS users, and deciding if a more tailored approach is appropriate. 

new apple search ads placement

It’s not currently clear as to whether the company will be serving ads solely on Apple-owned properties such as the App Store, or whether it will extend its reach to iOS apps, or even third-party properties. However, we predict this will be one of the next app marketing trends, as the move makes sense, taking advantage of Apple’s rich seam of customer data that comes from so many people owning so many connected products, while giving them full control of how and where it’s used.  

App Store Optimisation Trends

Optimising for 2022 and beyond

One of the evergreen app marketing trends for all things ASO is to immediately take advantage of any new feature Google or Apple decide to launch. It makes sense that when Apple introduces, say, in-app events at WWDC, you should look into it and start planning for it immediately.  Why? The chances of your app being featured by the App Store’s editorial staff is never higher than around the launch date of a new feature. So if you don’t want to be left behind the competition and haven’t integrated 2022’s features, such as Promotional In-app Purchases, In-app Events or Custom Product Pages yet, the time is now. 

Personalisation, personalisation, personalisation

2023 will continue to see both Apple and Google further personalising their user experience (you can learn why personalisation is a must-have element of any app marketing strategy). That means the more you can tailor your app store collateral, the better it is likely to perform. 

Apple has changed the game with the launch of their Custom Product Pages for paid views, which allows you to tailor which version of the product page your customer sees. For the first time, apps don’t have just one product page, but up to 35!

app marketing trends for 2023

As companies gather more data regarding what appeals to different customers, there will be opportunities for teams to think more creatively about how to deploy that information. For instance, Apple has started to offer new customisation opportunities for subscription apps with the launch of custom offer codes. They allow savvy app marketers to launch different offers and pricing to different customer subsets. 

Growth & mCRM Trends

Increased reliance on third-party tools

With privacy changes hitting everything from marketing automation to analytics, it’s becoming ever more difficult to get a true picture of both your customer and your performance. But this isn’t an unsolvable conundrum. 2023 will see various analytics, marketing automation and attribution tools working on integrated solutions, to help your business understand the full picture.

Not only that, Google also tweaked the bad behaviour thresholds this year, which affect how visible an app is in the Play Store. It’s a measure designed to promote regularly updated and bug-free apps while demoting those with a high crash rate. This is now evaluated both overall and per phone model,  so, while there is a maximum threshold of 8% for crash rate per phone model, the overall average rate mustn’t exceed 1.09%. 

This, of course, will put developers under increased pressure. Product teams will have to present an extremely compelling business case to win developer time for product changes. This will make things like Conversion Rate Optimisation tools increasingly important as they can help to lighten the demand on in-house resources. 

pLTV takes over from LTV (Lifetime Value)

Predictive analytics uses current and historical data combined with statistical techniques. It grew in popularity after iOS 14+ privacy regulations and is also likely to see a boom in 2023, with tools improving both the product and targeting capability for CRM. 

Predicted Lifetime Value (pLTV) will become increasingly reliable by using a combination of: 

  • machine learning
  • historical campaign data
  • past user data
  • transactional data 

to predict how much a customer will spend over the course of the time they use the app. 

This, in turn, means that campaigns can be designed and optimised around customers’ predicted behaviour, allowing for more informed decisions regarding things like acquisition cost. After all, if a user is predicted to spend £30 over the course of their customer lifetime, paying £40 to acquire that customer isn’t going to work for a business’s bottom line.

A/B testing is now a must-have

Apple has finally caught up with Google’s Experiments with the launch of Product Page Optimisation, allowing businesses to A/B test various elements of their store to see what performs best. 

This experimentation will be extended to Product next year, with several tools already seeing success by offering the chance to easily test various app elements with minimal developer involvement. Tools like Purchasely make it easy to A/B test in-app purchases and paywalls, and it’s likely that plenty of other products will be building A/B testing into their feature suite moving forward. 

Conclusion

Of course, that’s just a glimpse of what might happen in 2023. Google’s I/O conference will take place sometime in May, and WWDC has been announced for June 7th  – both are guaranteed to see announcements that will further change the app landscape and introduce more app marketing trends. 

Will we be able to read this article this time next year and feel smug about our future-predicting abilities? Only time will tell…

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Smokehouse Yard, 44-46, St John Street, London, EC1M 4DF 🇬🇧