Mobile Video Monthly #19 – December 2021
I hope everyone had some nice holiday celebrations, we’re back with our December edition of Mobile Video Monthly. What happened in the mobile world during 2021’s last month?
Apple’s custom product pages and product page optimization are finally available
CPP (custom product pages) and PPO (product page optimization) were the biggest reveals of Apple’s WWDC21 for ASO managers. They were touted as iOS 15’s new tools but when the new OS dropped in September, both CPP and PPO were nowhere to be found. Even in-app events weren’t available. The latter finally showed up on the App Store Connect a month after iOS 15, in late October.
Apple promised that CPP and PPO would be made available before 2022, and they finally did on December 7th.
With only a few weeks of life, PPO (Apple’s native A/B testing tool) already managed to quash expectations. Between its 90% trust interval and inability to run a test while uploading app updates, it’s hard to find a good use for the feature.
CPP on the other hand is holding its end of the bargain, the only setback being that other players haven’t yet adapted their ad products for the custom pages’ unique URL.
If you want to know more about those, keep an eye out for our next articles where we’ll go into more detail about all these new features!
Sensor Tower’s 2021 numbers are here
Sensor Tower’s yearly report is finally here! First things first, the most downloaded app of the year is TikTok, followed by 4 Meta apps: Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. No surprises here, TikTok has been leading the downloads almost every month this year.
The global consumer spending is increasing, more so for the Play Store than the App Store, who’s still grossing more (almost twice as much) than its Android counterpart. Overall, global consumer spending increased 19,7% compared to 2020.
Surprisingly, even though consumer spending is on the rise, downloads are decreasing for the Apple Store and slightly rising for the Play Store. This means that there wasn’t much change globally. Downloads for mobile games dropped 1.6% (most of it due to a 14.9% drop of games download in the App Store). The most downloaded game overall was Garena Free Fire.
Overall, 2021 was a good year for the app industry, we can’t wait to see what 2022 has in store for us!
App Annie’s 2022 predictions
App Annie shared their 6 predictions for the mobile world in 2022. While we’re all waiting for App Annie’s 2021 recap number to fall, they’ve shared their forecast for 2022, and here it is:
- TikTok will continue to rise and reach 1.5 billion active users (for comparison, Instagram reached 2 billion active users in December 2021)
- Pinterest and Temple Run 2 will join the 1 billion download club (while TikTok will reach 3B downloads)
- Metaverse apps will drive consumer spend with a planned $3 billion
- Gen Z will get into fintech apps
- The entertainment app market is expected to grow to $12 billion on mobile
- Social apps will keep growing, an 82% increase from 2020 is planned
Was that what you expected? What are your 2022 predictions?
Side-payment isn’t coming to the App Store just yet
The day before their court deadline, Apple was finally granted a delay in complying with the App Store changes required by the Epic trial ruling. The delay will stay in place until the appeal is heard. If you were expecting to finally be allowed to link external payment in your iOS app, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer.
Apple made it very clear they would fight back on external payment in their App Store everywhere. They’re currently pushing back on the anti-trust action taken by the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS). The FAS warned that Apple had until September 30th to allow iOS developers to tell their customers about alternative in-app payment options. When Apple didn’t comply, they opened an antitrust case against them. Apple is now officially seeking a judicial review of the decision.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) ordered “Apple to change its unreasonable conditions in its App Store regarding the store’s payment system”. Side payment is coming to the App Store in the Netherlands, only for dating apps so far.
However, when outside payment is finally allowed in App Store’s apps, Apple will collect a commission on those. We don’t know yet how much (maybe they’ll play it like Google and charge a cheaper commission) but it’s only a matter of time.
The Android 12L beta is here!
Android 12L was announced at the Android Dev Summit in October. It’s a version of Android focused on foldable devices and tablets (to accommodate the larger screens). The first beta of Android 12L is finally available to developers. It includes bug fixes, optimizations, and the latest Security Patch (December 2021 version).
Android games are coming to Windows in 2022
Google is planning on bringing Android games to Windows next year thanks to a Google Play games app that will run on Windows laptops, tablets, and PC. The app has been built by Google directly and the firm’s product director of games (on Android and Google Play), Greg Hartrell, told The Verge that “This Google built product brings the best of Google Play Games to more laptops and desktops, and we are thrilled to expand our platform for players to enjoy their favorite Android games even more”.
Google teased the app during The Games Awards but there’s no official release date for it. Soon, you might be able to play your favorite mobile games directly on your computer. This sounds like a great opportunity for mobile games publishers.
The UK is looking into antitrust action against Apple and Google
2021 was not a great year for Apple and Google’s reputation with governmental agencies. In an official press release, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that it had “provisionally found that Apple and Google have been able to leverage their market power to create largely self-contained ecosystems. As a result, it is extremely difficult for any other firm to enter and compete meaningfully with a new system.”
They’ve shared a 445 pages report with their findings and potential solutions to the monopolistic hold of both Apple and Google on the app ecosystem, amongst which:
- Making switching between iOS and Android easier for users, allowing them to replace their device “without losing functionality or data”
- Allowing other methods to install apps outside of the App Store and the Play Store (including web apps)
- Allowing other payment options for IAP, ones that are not tied to Apple’s and Google’s payment system
- Making it easier to choose alternative services like browsers, ones that do not belong to either Apple (Safari) or Google (Chrome)
These proposals were drafted to push the UK government into tighter regulations. They are open to responses before February 7, 2022. The second half of the study and the final report are expected for June 2022.
Twitter is joining the TikTok movement
There was still one player left in the social media world who didn’t implement a TikTok-like feature: Twitter. They’re currently beta-testing a new look for the explore page that looks a lot like… TikTok.
It’s no surprise that every single social media platform is trying to emulate the Chinese app’s success. Will it work on Twitter or will it meet Fleet’s fateful end?
That’s not the only thing going on for the bird app, they recently bought Quill, a Slack competitor, and integrated it. A sign there may be hope for Twitter’s DMs to finally improve.
TikTok becomes the most visited website of the year, in front of Google
In a (not so) surprising turn of events, Google has been dethroned as the most visited website in 2021. In 7th place last year, TikTok came out on top in 1st place in 2021, another mark of the app’s success.
TikTok had a pretty good year, it kept growing and inspiring other social networks to copy its features. Ending the year ahead of Google itself in web ranking is remarkable. It even became the most downloaded app worldwide on Christmas day 2021.
In other Meta news
Meta is launching new tools in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Asia) for early 2022, including:
- Professional profiles on Facebook: access to post, audience and profile insights, to monetization features and growth analytics
- Stars (Facebook’s native money) are available everywhere on Facebook. Their star’s program is actually the blue app’s way to dodge the App Store fees. By allowing their users to buy stars and use these assets to reward and pay creators, they’re bypassing the in-app purchase commission of Apple.
- Facebook Reels (exactly the same as Instagram Reels but on the blue app)
On another note, Facebook/Meta won the much-unwanted title of “Worst Company of the Year” according to Yahoo!Finance’s yearly audience polls. We’ll see what 2022 will bring for Zuckerberg’s firm.
While we’re on the subject, the Facebook Papers saga is still not over. Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, testified in front of Congress in December to talk about the impact of Instagram on children’s mental health. Nothing much was announced, he talked about wanting to implement more safety measures for teens but the senators didn’t seem convinced by his arguments. To be continued…
Numbers of the month
- 93% of media buyers intend to run in-game advertising by 2025
- Mobile games will generate $89.6 billion by the end of 2021
- Consumer spending in apps jumped 25% in 2021
- Instagram reaches two billion active users
What we talked about this month
- Stay up to date with everything going on with Facebook/Meta
- How is Apple’s iOS 14.5 impacting ASO
- The rise of contextualized advertising
- High-quality advertising creatives help mobile game companies create globally popular games ⎮ Guest Post
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