Google And Meta, Not TikTok, Lead Mobile User Acquisition: Study

Despite the buzz around TikTok, mobile marketers still focus on other channels and platforms to acquire users.

TikTok is rising in use, but less so for mobile user acquisition (UA) managers who seem to spend more marketing budgets with demand-side platforms (DSPs), ad and affiliate networks, and Apple search ads, according to data from Zoomd, a mobile marketing platform, and Adjust, a mobile marketing analytics platform acquired by AppLovin in 2021.

When mobile UA managers were asked to cite their primary mobile media source that benefited most when acquiring users in 2021 after Apple ATT privacy changes went into effect, Google and Facebook came in first, followed by DSPs, ad and affiliate networks, and Apple Search Ads.

When the UA managers were asked in the last Q4 holiday campaigns in 2021 to cite the mobile media source that performed best, TikTok beat advertising and affiliate networks. This result is in line with the 184% revenue growth eMarketer estimates for TikTok in the U.S. in 2022. 

The data released Thursday suggests 72% will be increasing their user acquisition (UA) budget in 2022, specifically for iOS, but it’s not clear by how much. Some 60% of respondents said they would increase their UA budgets for Apple’s mobile devices.  

Two major challenges when it comes to gaining the most insights from iOS campaigns, 33% cited the difficulty in finding the Lifetime Value (LTV) with limited SKAN insight, 25% said lacking the time to research and understand iOS changes and best practices.

When asked how they’re gauge success in their iOS campaigns, 40% said they use one data model focused on either purchase, ad revenue or engagement. Some 21% said they use custom curriculum vitae (CV) models, which provides a summary of experiences, to track multiple revenue types or events at the same time or data from probabilistic matching.

Interestingly, the number of user acquisition managers running campaigns on connected television (CTV) is expected to nearly triple in 2022 from 13% last year to 30% this year, with Apple TV as the leading platform.

With challenges brought on by economic changes such as gas and food prices, as well as the war in Ukraine, it has become more important for mobile marketers to see how budgets are allocated. The data suggests marketers are increasing budgets, but it is unclear by how much, not just moving it around like a shell game, with 60% of survey respondents admitting they will run UA ads on more platforms.

Video leads in the ad format type to acquire users, followed by display ads 

Another growing trend in UA is the use of influencers or creators, with 69% of respondents saying that they are running campaigns with influencers. UA managers also were asked how they monetize apps.

Some 66% of the apps used in-app purchases, 36% used in-app advertising and 31% used subscriptions, while 11% were pay-to-download in a multiple answer question.

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