As the wave of digital transformation continues to sweep the region, smartphones have emerged as one of the key arenas where organizations now compete for attention, interest, and engagement from their target audiences.
In the first nine months of the year, app installs grew 25%, as consumers increasingly turn to mobile apps to game, shop, manage finances, and more. With mobile apps now becoming the preferred channel of engagement between consumers and the businesses they patronize, it’s no surprise that marketers spent a staggering $80 billion on user acquisition in 2022.
And while the future looks bright for the overall mobile app market, marketers will have to navigate a number of challenges. Prevailing global economic conditions will no doubt cause consumers to be more scrupulous about their spending. An ongoing focus on user privacy — as evidenced in the UAE’s landmark Personal Data Protection Law in 2022 and Apple’s release of the ATT framework the previous year — will no doubt be a key theme through 2023 as well.
With this set to be a rollercoaster year, insights into how to navigate and even capitalize on four key themes will arm mobile marketers with the edge they need to stay on track and emerge ahead of the pack.
Optimizing owned media channels
The social commerce industry in the UAE was estimated to be worth more than $800 million in 2022 and is expected to reach almost $3 billion by 2028.
As external developments — both regulatory and economic — continue to challenge marketers’ budgets and resources, both B2C and B2B brands are turning to social channels and other owned media, such as web and email, to reach their audiences. These investments will likely dominate in 2023. Economically speaking, using owned channels is often cheaper than paying for user acquisition campaigns, and because they rely on first-party data given consensually, it is also a more privacy-first option.
Preserving privacy a must
Speaking of privacy, this will continue to be an area marketers need to prioritize in 2023. They must move away from an over-reliance on user-level data and understand how they can gain relevant insights from aggregated data. Next year, marketers will turn increasingly to privacy-preserving technologies, not only for regulatory purposes but because such tools are designed for the marketing professional to regain the value of their data. Data clean rooms, which allow two entities to share data and generate insights without privacy concerns, will become the de facto standard of sharing data and gaining insights without compromising the privacy of app users. The clean-room approach has already been implemented in industries such as healthcare and FSI. Marketing teams will become the latest benefactors.
Economic pressures mount
In an increasingly globalized economy, there’s little chance of escaping the impact that the slowdown in key markets around the world will have on businesses in the region. As customers reel in spending, marketers will be tasked with ‘doing more with less.’ Those that can accurately measure the ROI of their campaigns and understand where to invest budgets to get the maximum return will likely fare better in this climate. If they can show that funds are safe, or even profitable, in their hands, they may manage to loosen the wallets of risk-averse CFOs. Once they get a little momentum and start outpacing the competition with well-placed messaging campaigns, their resource pool will improve further.
The enduring truth of tough times is that those who survive them can certainly be found among those who played it safe and cut spending. But those who thrive are invariably the ones who dare to keep investing. However, it may take marketers time to convince their decision-makers to become spenders again. In the meantime, message crafters will look to squeeze as much value as they can from their budgets. As has already been mentioned, owned channels will play a significant part in this. So too will audience segmentation and retargeting, as marketing professionals try to scrape enough insights to reach the right people and enhance ROI.
Adapt to changes in consumer behavior
The economic downturn is also going to impact consumer behavior. They will likely be spending less and looking to make more informed, cautious decisions when they do spend. This will likely impact e-commerce apps, as well as subscription apps. More subscription apps will likely think about alternative ways they can monetize their apps, as has already been seen with Netflix, which is switching to an ad-based model. As always, ensuring that any changes are implemented carefully and don’t disrupt the overall customer experience will be key.
With our daily lives now so inextricably linked to our smartphones, the outlook for the mobile app market remains highly optimistic despite obvious economic challenges. Opportunities are yet to be had and marketers who leverage attribution tools to demonstrate clear ROI for every marketing dollar spent will secure not only the budget they need but also the success of their organization in the year ahead.
News Source: Communicate Online