2022 Planning and Contextual Marketing Basics: Mobile Growth Food For Thought (#59)

Leveraging contextual marketing, creating world-class creatives and building holistic funnels using the new App Store capabilities. Mobile Growth Food for Thought Newsletter no 59 was a bit more strategic than others...

With only six weeks left in the year, I guess you’re planning the hell out of 2022, right? It’s shaping up to be quite a year; the kind of growth the mobile industry is experiencing is incredible, with installs and revenues growing at a rapid rate. Alas – this growth won’t be distributed evenly, 2022 is still set to be a winner-takes-all market. 

That being said, you can be that winner! Plan your 2022 growth efforts, UA, and ASO according to the huge changes in targeting, measurement, and App Store marketing capabilities. 

As you’ll see in this note, every industry exec’s mind is on how to achieve accretive audience growth in 2022. 

By understanding that this is the burning issue right now, you will become the strategic pillar to your team’s success by building out a modern “mobile audience growth engine” powered by: 

  1. Making sure you have access to the data that can tell you how to grow your app’s audience 
  2. Making sure you’re using technology that allows you to answer crucial questions about how to influence and increase that growth 
  3. Deploying growth solutions by:
    1. Leveraging contextual targeting
    2. Creating world-class creatives that influence these contextual user groups to install
    3. Building holistic funnels using the new App Store capabilities and optimizing them from targeting and ad creative performance, to App Store product page performance
    4. Having a robust system in place for monitoring and measuring the success of your paid and organic funnel efforts. 

When you solve a strategic problem that haunts your C-level execs, you immediately boost your credibility and kudos. Go on, be that person!

Market leaders talk about the impact of IDFA

The team at Consumer Acquisition put together a roundup of quotes and insights on how CEOs and leaders of public mobile brands are experiencing the impact of privacy changes on iOS. 

  • WSJ interviewed a dozen E-commerce companies who now have to spend a lot more money on ads to get the same number of sales prior to the IDFA loss. Without enough data to know how effective ads were at driving purchases, many E-commerce companies reduced their ad spending. 
  • Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg: Recovery from IDFA loss is a “multi-year effort” which “will take time and will be a focus for us throughout 2022 and beyond.”
  • Match COO & CFO, Gary Swidler: “The market environment has become more competitive and also more challenging as a result of changes that Apple has made around IDFA.”
  • Peloton CFO, Jill Woodworth: “there have been some significant changes made by Apple that is leading to some targeting headwinds. Like many other direct-to-consumer marketers, we’re seeing some disruptive impact as our teams adjust to the new data landscape.”
  • Playtika CFO, Craig Abrahams: “We were able to manage the decline in iOS installs by moving resources from social networks to other digital advertising networks and also investing in offline activity, which has increased organic installs. We also shifted budgets towards Android.”

You can read the full roundup right here. As my friend Thomas Petit said in our annual conference a couple of weeks ago “the cat is out of the bag.” 

There’s literally nothing more important than solving audience growth in 2022 from the perspective of your company’s leadership.

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Embrace contextual marketing

I think it’s time to demystify contextual marketing. In practice, it just means that instead of targeting based on user-level data, you target based on context. 

In our space, that means targeting based on sub-publisher mostly, and that the responsibility to make sure your ads show up in front of your target audience is on you, not Facebook (or the other SANs). 

So you must answer the questions: where does my quality audience come from? Where do they spend their time? Which apps and games?

I had the pleasure of chatting with NumberEight’s CEO and Founder Abhishek Sen and Gamesforum’s CEO John Speakman on what we believe is contextual targeting, and some next-level tech they’re developing for contextual targeting. Watch the full discussion here

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But it seems all the ad networks are moving there quickly, just read Vungle’s blog post right here.

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To get a deeper view of what contextual marketing and advertising is, check out Socialpoint’s talk at our “That’s the tea 2021” conference with Alex Noirot-Cosson, one of the smartest and forward-looking folks in our industry.

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Embrace new App Store capabilities

As In-App Events flood the stores, all eyes are on the App Store to roll out two new exciting features: Product Page Optimization (PPO), or native a/b testing on the store, as well as Custom Product Pages (CPPs). 

I’m sifting through the stores and Apple’s documentation on a daily basis (okay, okay, maybe more than once a day) and I’ll keep you updated once they’re out. 

Don’t look at these features in isolation from the entire shift to contextual. Apple is basically telling you: “Hey, you should start targeting based on context, and start designing different App Store funnels with IAEs and CPPs”. 

To get a refresher on Custom Product Pages – read this. They’re coming real soon, so it’s time you got ready.

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Embrace creatives as a key factor to drive growth

In this new reality, as the responsibility to find users is shifted to you, you also need to understand that your creatives (both on the ad side and the App Store product page side) are carrying a much heavier load.

If before, the perfect user saw your ad at the perfect moment, thanks to Facebook’s user graph, the creative had much less convincing to do. 

Now the creative has to influence these users wherever they are, based on their core motivation to install your app or game. 

This means in 2022 you’ll need a robust creative engine to plan, design and test creatives at scale for different funnels. 

The takeaway for 2022 planning 

  1. You have the power as a mobile marketer, UA, ASO, or mobile growth expert to become the most strategic person in your org. Solve the biggest problem for your leadership team in 2022 — which is ‘How to grow your audience without user-level data.’ 
  2. Focus on how you’re going to embrace contextual marketing and advertising, leverage new App Store capabilities to build holistic install funnels, and how you’re going to have a perfect system in place to deploy world-class creatives and improve conversion rates over time. 

You’ll need great technology to have a killer 2022. Ahem, we just happen to have developed an all-in-one platform to grow your audiences without user-level data. 

Understand identifying where your top audiences come from, building funnels, planning, designing and testing creatives, as well as measuring and analyzing your efforts in a privacy-first environment.

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The category spotlight series is back

Recently I sat down with Thomas Kriebernegg, App Radar’s CEO, to talk about the future of the App Store ecosystem. We talked about Apple Ads, targeting, IDFA, and Search Ads. 

This episode actually broke all listening stats for our podcast, so I recommend tuning in with a hot cup of coffee or tea, or Whiskey next to a fireplace if you’re on the cold side of the world. If you’re on the hot side of the world, it goes great with pink lemonade and a touch of mint. 

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And just before I’m signing off – after a few months without one due to previous obligations, we have another ASO category analysis piece to share – looking into Health and Fitness Apps. It’s a nice spotlight on one of the most booming categories – as the number below shows – you can find in the App Store.

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    Jonathan Fishman
    About Jonathan Fishman
    Jonathan is Storemaven's VP of Marketing and Growth. Before joining Storemaven he spent ten years commanding tanks, working on Wall St., consulting high-growth companies, and exploring Black Rock City. In his spare time, he likes building things from wood, listening to Frank Zappa, and spending time with his daughter.

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