Mobile Video Monthly #18 – November 2021
Days are getting shorter (in the Northern Hemisphere at least) but the app world keeps us busy! From Netflix’s dive into mobile games to all the talk about side-payment in the App Store or the Play Store, let’s find out what’s been happening this month…
Side-payment is coming to the App Store
This is not the last we’ve seen of the Epic vs. Apple trials. As you may recall, the verdict of this trial was an almost overwhelming victory for Apple, except for the one tiny injunction issued by the judge that asked Apple to allow side-payment in the App Store because their anti-steering practices were deemed illegal.
Apple then asked for a delay in order to work on the App Store changes, a delay that was denied in the latest hearing. Apple will have to find a solution to allow links and buttons to external payment options inside iOS apps for December 9th.
The Play Store gets a make-over (maybe)
What’s all this chat about a new tab in the Play Store? If you’re an Android user (or developer) you’re used to having 4 tabs at the bottom of your Play Store screen. Some users have seen a fifth one appear between Apps and Movies & TV called Offers.
Beware, it’s not the same thing as the Offers & notifications page in the app menu. It seems to be used to share app cards promoting offers on apps. It’s still in testing so who knows when it might show up on everyone’s screen.
Quick reminder of the upcoming Play Store deadlines
Just in case you forgot, you need to get your app ready for the requirements coming to the Play Store.
- By November 2021: new app updates must target Android 11 and above (API level 30), if you use Play Billing you must use Billing Library version 3 or newer
- By December 2021: apps need to comply with the October policy updates related to subscriptions, Families Policy Requirements, and more
- By February 2022: apps need to comply with the October policy updates related to the Android emoji policy, Mobile Unwanted Software MUwS, and more
- By April 2022: you need to have completed the information for the new Data safety section of Google Play (and have it approved by Google)
What’s the ideal length for a mobile game video ad?
If you’ve asked yourself that question, you’ll be happy to know that according to Vungle’s last report, it will be between 10 seconds (for Social Casino) and 46 seconds (for RPG games).
However, there’s a lot more to creating video ads than just complying with the optimal length and end card. If you need help making the best video ad for your game, Apptamin’s team is always ready to help!
Jack Dorsey steps down as Twitter’s CEO
Mind you, this isn’t the first time this has happened, in 2008 he transitioned from CEO to chairman of the board before coming back as interim-CEO then full-time CEO in 2015. Dorsey took to Twitter to share his resignation letter after the news leaked the day before.
He will be replaced by Parag Argawal, Twitter’s current CTO. Twitter’s stocks jumped 10% after CNBC shared the news. Things have calmed down a little now and Dorsey, or Jack as he goes by on Twitter, signed off his official resignation with “Hi mom!”.
Who knows what 2022 will bring to Twitter and its new CEO, after all the social media just launched a premium subscription service for its platform (only in the US and New Zealand so far) called Twitter Blue. For $2.99 a month you can do such things as undo a tweet, customize the Twitter app icon, upload longer videos and have access to ad-free articles from some news outlets. Will it help Twitter finally reach its usage goals or will it encounter Fleets’ fate and meet an early death? Only time will tell…
Google introduces its plan for its alternative billing system in South Korea
Following the recent law passed in South Korea regarding app stores and billing systems for users, which aims to force Apple and Google to allow side-payment in apps, Google has finally announced its plan to comply with this new law.
This change will only occur in South Korea and even though Google has announced they will allow alternative payment, they will still charge a service fee on those alternative billings. If a user selects an alternative billing option, then the developer’s service fee will be reduced by 4% (meaning 11% for those who are eligible to the 15% fee, 26% for those who pay the 30% fee, and 6% for the members of the Media Experience Program).
In the meantime, here’s what it’s supposed to look like:
No 2021 holiday break for the App Store Connect!
Every year, the App Store Connect closes down for about a week in December, around the holidays. 2021 will be the exception. Be careful, you should still send your time-sensitive submissions early because reviews are expected to take longer to complete during the holiday season (especially from December 23 to 27 according to Apple).
Facebook removes ads targeting for sensitive categories
Starting January 19, 2022, Facebook will remove certain targeting options for their ad products. In order to “reduce the potential for abuse”, targeting options deemed as sensitive will no longer be available. They include:
- Health causes (such as illnesses for example)
- Sexual orientation
- Religious practices and groups
- Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures
However, Facebook also got into trouble for continuing to collect personal data of teens even after they publicly announced they would restrict the targeting of underaged users to only gender, age, and location. Not a good look in the midst of the Facebook Papers…
Become a certified Snap marketer
You can now get certified in Snap Ads! Snapchat launched a five-course certification to help marketers optimize their Snapchat campaigns. If you score above 80%, you get a digital badge you can share online.
It’s not the online Snap ads-related news of the month. You can now also “buy multiple video formats as part of a single advertising set” thanks to their multi-format mode.
In significantly less happy news, Snapchat is also currently getting sued by one of its investors for downplaying how much Apple’s ATT would affect its revenue. Last month, Snap’s earnings, which were lower than expected because of ATT, sent the company’s stock plunging 25%.
Netflix officially launches its mobile games
Android users were the first to access Netflix’s mobile games. After testing their games in certain countries, Netflix finally launched their mobile games globally for Android users first, and then iOS users the following week.
The video streaming service made their interest in gaming very clear when they started hiring big names of the industry and buying small studios. So far, Netflix users can play 5 mobile games: Stranger Things 1984, Stranger Things 3 The Game, Shooting Hoops, Card Blast, and Teeter Up. The games are free to play and ad-free for Netflix users (you need your Netflix account’s credentials to use them).
The fact that they announced the buying of indie game developer Night School Studio last month only shows that this is just the beginning of Netflix’s adventure in mobile gaming.
Instagram wants you to use Reels more
It’s no surprise to anyone anymore that Instagram is betting everything on their TikTok-like feature: Reels. Now that TikTok is gaining even more ground with young users (weekly usage of TikTok surpassed Instagram with Gen Z), Instagram is struggling to retain younger users. To fight back, they’re betting everything on their TikTok-like feature Reels.
First, Instagram updated Reels with two new features that have encountered great success on TikTok: text-to-speech and voice effect. Then they started a bonus program to financially reward creators who post Reels. Thanks to that, you can get paid up to $10,000 for one Reel. Quite the incentive.
Their foray into making Instagram video-heavy doesn’t stop there since they also announced that stories containing video could now last up to 60 seconds (and would not be cut into parts anymore).
On another note, Instagram post previews are back on Twitter and, weirdly, Instagram wants to help you take a break from… well Instagram. If you wish, you will soon be able to activate this new feature that notifies you in the app when you’ve reached the total duration of your choosing.
YouTube keeps pushing Shorts
Just like Instagram is boosting Reels, YouTube is trying to make Shorts happen. They’re now testing a feature that brings you directly to Shorts when you open the app if you were on the Shorts tab when you exited it. According to Alphabet (YouTube’s parent company) Shorts reached 15 billion daily views during Q2 (it had 6.5 billion in Q1). Meanwhile, in addition to the Shorts funds, Business Insider noted that YouTube is also paying TikTok stars up to $50,000 to post to Shorts.
On another note, YouTube also said goodbye to the dislike button (sort of). The dislike button will still be present on videos but you won’t be able to see the total dislike count anymore. With this change, YouTube is trying to protect creators from harassment. Creators will still be able to track their dislike in Creators Studio if they wish.
TikTok doesn’t seem too phased by both Instagram and YouTube’s attempts to boost competitive products. On their side, they published a guide to advertising on their platform, to help marketers create the perfect promotional TikTok.
TikTok partners with Zynga
2021 was a very successful year for both mobile games and TikTok. And the latter is planning on making the most of it by partnering with Zynga, the mobile gaming giant, to offer games directly on the social media platform.
Disco Loco 3D, an HTML5 game, will be launched exclusively on TikTok at a yet-unknown date. It’s not the first time TikTok has expressed interest in branching out into gaming, Disco Loco 3D may be the first of many.
Meta ordered by UK court to sell Giphy
Meta (then still called Facebook) bought Giphy (a popular gif-making and sharing website) a year and a half ago. In a press release, UK’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) is requiring Facebook/Meta to sell Giphy, per their August findings.
According to them, Giphy’s advertising services were capable of competing with Facebook and the merger would reduce competition and increase Facebook’s power.
Spotify gets into the TikTok craze
You’d think everyone would have already tried the TikTok way already, not yet! Spotify is joining the movement. The music streaming app is testing a TikTok-style feed called Discover.
Chris Messina discovered the new icon in his toolbar this month in the iOS beta version of the app. Obviously, the feature is still in the testing phase and there’s no guarantee it will reach users anytime soon. However, if even music apps try to join the TikTok movement, it means that TikTok’s success is not stopping anytime soon.
Italy fines both Apple and Google
Italy’s competition and market authority (AGCM) has fined Apple and Google for €10 million each. They ruled that both companies did not provide “clear enough information on commercial uses of their data” and deployed aggressive practices to drive users to accept the commercial processing.
Google is more precisely accused of “omitting relevant information at the account creation phase and as consumers are using its services” while Apple failed to “provide users with clear information on how it uses their information commercially when they create an Apple ID or access its digital stores, such as the App Store”.
Both companies are planning to appeal the decision.
The Facebook Files saga is not over yet
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram is set to testify before the American Congress to talk about the impact of the photo-sharing app on kids and teenagers. This is following the scandal that surrounded the release of files acquired by whistleblower Frances Haugen when she quit Facebook (before it changed its name to Meta).
Mosseri’s hearing will take place during the week of December 6, just the week after Haugen is set to testify again before Congress alongside Color of Change’s Rashad Robinson. While we don’t have much information on Mosseri’s hearing yet, Haugen’s second hearing should focus on “possible legislative changes to tech’s controversial legal liability shield (Section 230)”.
Numbers of the month
The app industry is doing well! Here are some interesting numbers about the mobile world (and ever-rising mobile games) that were shared this month:
- 72% of mobile users who opened in-Stories games in app started playing
- Snap, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube lose nearly $10bn after iPhone privacy changes
- Mobile games generated $7.5 billion in revenues last month
- Core mobile game advertising costs jumped 78% after iOS 14.6
- App Annie predicts TikTok to reach 1.5 billion active users in 2022
- Global app spending neared $65 billion in the first half of 2021
- Among the top-grossing 100 mobile games, 90% use seasonal events
- Mobile Strategy game spending grows 24%
- Consumers installed 14.3B games in Q3 (3.6B hypercasual)
What we talked about this month
- How to add localized assets on the Play Store
- How to upload your localized assets on the App Store
- A recap of Google’s Android Dev Summit 2021
- The latest App Store ASO news ⎮ Fall 2021
Latest posts by Marine Nozerand (see all)
- The App Marketing Snack with Clark Stacey, CEO of WildWorks ⎮ Episode 1 - 20 January 2022
- Everything you need to know about Product Page Customization - 18 January 2022
- Is Apple’s native A/B testing tool worth it? - 11 January 2022