55% of mobile advertisers say that mobile advertising became more difficult in 2021: Report

Despite feeling reasonably well prepared for Apple’s privacy changes (53% fairly, 15% very), the majority (55%) of mobile advertisers say that mobile advertising became more difficult in 2021, according to the report from Tenjin and Growth FullStack. As per the report, this had a considerable negative impact on advertisers’ revenues – the median estimated revenue loss due to Apple’s privacy changes was 39%. 

In this report, Tenjin and Growth FullStack shed a light on mobile marketing one year on from Apple’s privacy changes. The report comes ahead of Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2022 that starts on June 6, 2022. 

Mobile marketing can be best characterised as in a zombified state that’s somewhere between the familiar era of unrestricted targeting and the new, privacy-first one, Christopher Farm, CEO and co-founder, Tenjin, said. “The sustainability of the current patchwork model remains to be seen. It’s likely that, in the not too distant future, committing to understanding SKAN will become imperative rather than optional. And yet, despite a rough 2021 for mobile advertisers’ bottom lines, and with more change ahead, our research shows that advertisers’ optimism remains strong. After all, one thing is unchanged: the best mobile content and services are in high demand from billions of people the world over, on both iOS and Android,” he added. 

The report further revealed that mobile advertisers are using a patchwork of strategies to achieve success. 85% used probabilistic attribution or fingerprinting in 2022, despite more than three-quarters (77%) expecting Apple to clamp down on fingerprinting. It also revealed that making the most of Apple’s anonymised SKAdNetwork data is a challenge for mobile advertisers. Few (32%) of companies have access to in-house data science talent, but three-quarters (75%) have implemented some form of marketing automation to gain insight from large, disparate datasets.

Furthermore, the findings revealed that mobile games advertisers felt the impact of Apple’s privacy-first changes most keenly of all. They were more convinced that mobile marketing became more difficult in 2021 (gaming 68% versus 43% non-gaming), more likely to shift budget to Android (63% vs 48%), and use attribution methods such as probabilistic attribution or fingerprinting (91% vs 70%).

However, despite a tough 2021, mobile advertisers are largely positive and bullish. 85% were optimistic that marketing would be less challenging in 2022, while almost two-thirds (65%) planned to increase rather than decrease their ad spend.

The research fieldwork took place with 302 companies in the UK and US, and was conducted by Atomik Research, an independent creative market research agency.

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