2021 Mobile App Experts Predictions

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We made it. The year 2020 is officially behind us and into 2021 we go. Last year was unpredictable, challenging, and – for the mobile app industry – exceptional in many ways. At the peak of COVID, mobile usage skyrocketed. Mobile app statistics show that mobile app downloads increased by over 30% in the first two quarters alone. Perhaps this isn’t shocking when we consider that apps played a pivotal role in keeping us connected during times of quarantine and social distancing – not to mention providing outlets for entertainment, education, fitness and wellness. 


So now the question is, what’s in store for the mobile app industry in 2021? There’s no better source of information than those who work in the trenches. And we did exactly that – we asked the industry’s leading mobile experts their predictions for the new year.


Here’s what app industry leaders had to say…



“Today, artificial intelligence, sensors, and digital platforms have created enormous opportunities for learning faster than ever before. Competing on the rate of learning will become the key difference between the apps that succeed and those that fail. Companies that embrace AI and automation will be able to test, learn, and iterate radically faster by turning data into their “superpower” for growth.”


Lomit Patel, Vice President, Growth, IMVU




“Marketers must retire many of the static models and personas they relied on to guide campaigns and reach targets pre-pandemic. Instead, they need to adapt, evolve, and pivot marketing and messaging based on a living and learning profile of the consumer and their unique passions and preferences. It’s an approach that calls for marketers to create a more fluid and dynamic view of the customer. It also requires them to learn new skills to market to cultures, not segments. The companies best equipped to weather this crisis will be those that acknowledge and accommodate customers’ “next normal” needs by leveraging individualized communications infused with humanity.”


Peggy Anne Salz, Chief Analyst/Founder of MobileGroove



“What the year 2020 taught us is that everything can and will change. I believe 2021 will be as unpredictable as 2020 was, as we’re yet to see the impacts of IDFA deprecation, Apple’s lawsuits as well as COVID-19, and its effects on the economy. 

I predict that as the ability to rely on marketing data will be minimal to what it was, we will need to learn more about our audience, players, and customers. Our marketing will shift from high-value hunting to broader targeting with a more prominent focus on creativity. We start to acknowledge the importance of the full marketing funnel (ads, app stores, retention, monetization), instead of looking at these as separate elements, we optimize the entire funnel as a whole.”

Jesse Lempiäinen, Co-founder / CEO of Geeklab




“2021 will start with the app industry having to adjust to the loss of IDFA, but also the growing cold war on the App Stores including App Store fees. This is likely to lead app marketer towards a reappropriation of “old fashioned” marketing and storytelling. Specifically: 

– the Apple App Store will grow more and more into a medium in which apps fight for discoverability, while the Play Store will aim to add more user signals to the algorithm

– app marketers will invest more in creative optimization both on the campaign and app store level

– growth marketers looking beyond pure entry-funnel metrics will turn their focus to retention and customer reviews

In this changing context, app developers will invest more in ASO for its role as the main hub between product and marketing functions.”

Simon Thillay, Head of ASO at AppTweak


“We at Adjust are very excited about the huge opportunity of connected TV (CTV) and Over The Top (OTT) media for the industry. Many companies are investing heavily in CTV platforms, but often have no way of understanding what drives value. Adjust launched a new measurement product to help marketers solve that problem and grow their CTV and OTT apps. For example, brands can analyze consumption behavior within streaming apps, which can go on to inform viewers’ suggested programs or even measure views on product placement within shows.

This ties into another big trend — the growing popularity of subscriptions — as subscription attribution can be combined with CTV app measurement to understand how subscription-based CTV apps are performing. Of course, OTT is playing a leading role here. According to research we conducted, streaming apps are the most frequently downloaded subscription-based app.”

Lauren Soviero, Agency Partnerships Manager, East at Adjust



“As a major advocate of user privacy, Apple is preparing to depreciate IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers), which will lead users to move toward to SKAdnetwork or other solutions of Mobile Attribution tools. With Apple’s privacy-focused search engine expected to be released in 2021, a new trend centered around protecting user privacy will emerge. While the advertisers will need to adapt to the new rules of the game, many other big players are expected to follow this new trend with ground-breaking changes around user privacy. We predict that Apple Search Ads will be an even more prominent user acquisition channel with the upcoming changes.”

Yusuf Barutcu, Apple Search Ads Advisor at SearchAds.com





 “The future of the industry will be centered around user privacy. User acquisition strategies will have to evolve to work within the framework of increasingly rigid privacy guidelines. There will be an increased emphasis on how to capture ROAs and optimize campaigns using contextual targeting, and innovative solutions that provide privacy-compliant deterministic data will create critical advantages for those with access.”


Tanya Sardana, CEO of Flyshot


Final Thoughts 

It’s nearly impossible not to have COVID at the forefront of everyone’s mind when you mention the year 2020. Despite the uncertainties, fears, and anxieties the year brought upon us all, it was also a decisive one for the mobile app industry as a whole. In some verticals, growth skyrocketed – while in others, they had to shift to adapt to changing needs. Then Apple announced its iOS14 privacy guideline updates and that added a layer of unpredictability to the mix.


The truth is that nobody knows for sure what the future holds, as things can take an unexpected turn at the drop of a hat. But, we can’t deny that there are trends happening in this dynamic mobile app industry and predictions can be made. So why not get the inside scoop from the best? If 2021 is your year to make strides in app growth, remember that you have an experienced team of app marketing experts here, ready to support you! Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us be your app growth partners.

Jennifer Sansone

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