Top Mobile Trends For 2023: Privacy Rules

It’s been nearly two years since Apple first launched their App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature, providing consumers with the power to choose if apps they downloaded to their phones could track them — making IDFA practically obsolete.

And that is still having a significant impact on the top mobile trends for 2023.

We all know that Apple’s privacy move massively shook up the effectiveness and profitability of targeted advertising across mobile app ad land. And I don’t think nary a publisher has fully recovered since. But if ad ops is anything, it is resilient and resourceful. So now, publishers are baking privacy-first into their monetization strategies and focusing on putting the consumer at the helm.

In a search for what’s ahead for the rest of 2023, I tapped into my mobile mastermind group to gain insight into the top trends. We spoke with Amanda Dean, Head of Programmatic Partners and Strategy, IBM Watson Advertising; Adam Gray, Senior Director, Programmatic Growth, timehop & Nimbus; Ron Duque, Head of Advertising and Ad Tech Operations, WeatherBug; and Marc Santiago, VP, Programmatic Engineering, Nimbus; and Vanessa Eng, VP, Programmatic Revenue Strategy & Operations, Enthusiast Gaming. And guess what, privacy-first and consumer-first were two of the main themes that emerged from our conversations.

Top Mobile Trends 2023

A Return to Tried and True Targeting Strategies

Amanda Dean, Head of Programmatic Partners and Strategy, IBM Watson Advertising

On the topic of mobile trends in 2023, I see a return to tried and true targeting strategies. Contextual, time of day, engaged users, viewable inventory — all these signals still have value and can tell you a lot about the user and their intent. I see value in other unique signals like Weather targeting to create that “right time” to put a brand’s ad in front of the right consumer.

We will see a shift to utility and value. Consumers are looking for more value from the apps and mobile websites they use, and how technology can actually improve their lives. For us at The Weather Company, we’re working to bring more interesting ways to present the data to consumers, leaning into emerging tech like XR and VR but in an organic way that isn’t gimmicky. In addition to delivering a forecast, we’re helping to explain what it means to them, to give users a deeper understanding of what’s happening and changing outside your door and across the world.”

Privacy Rules the Roost

Adam Gray, Senior Director, Programmatic Growth, timehop & Nimbus

“In the mobile programmatic industry, just as everywhere else, privacy concerns are gaining prominence and driving changes. Both publishers and advertisers are investing in privacy-focused technologies and partnerships that prioritize trust, transparency, and efficiency. This is driving the growth of contextual-based targeting, which has been challenging on the mobile monetization side.

Despite challenges, the mobile programmatic sector is expected to continue its growth trajectory, with an increased focus on privacy and the use of alternative targeting methods to compensate for the effect of policies like ATT on advertising effectiveness.”

Ron Duque, Head of Advertising and Ad Tech Operations, WeatherBug

“Privacy will continue to drive how mobile publishers drive further value and transparency for their customers. As Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) are more widely adopted — especially with computation that is performed on-device — they will provide additional layers of protection that mobile publishers should be investing in as part of their ad tech stack.

Leveraging certain signals that are available on the mobile device to build meaningful and actionable audiences in a privacy-first approach, will be critical. One type of technology will not solve all things but a combination of technologies will likely be the best solution for a mobile app publisher.”

Marc Santiago, VP, Programmatic Engineering, Nimbus

“With conversations around SDA, global and individual privacy laws and rights. I do believe that behavioral and generalized cohorting of supply will be paramount in the coming years.

This has to be approached with true transparency as well as respect for the individual. Marketers and agencies will have to adapt spend and targeting ideologies to meet this need. Controllers of supply will be responsible for both protecting those individual rights to privacy as well as providing buyers with confidence in the new data-free landscape.”

Follow the Consumers Lead

Vanessa Eng, VP, Programmatic Revenue Strategy & Operations, Enthusiast Gaming

“Consumers will continue to value their data privacy going into 2023, resulting in ongoing efforts for publishers to strengthen their data, if they haven’t already.

At Enthusiast Gaming, we’re revisiting our overall data initiatives to ensure optimal performance. We’re also ideating with our sites to create free exclusive content that will entice users to log in. Given our properties are primarily web/mobile web, we’re already putting the steps in motion to prepare for a cookieless world. Our users also put us at an advantage of this. Because they are gamers, they already have every ad blocker, privacy block, etc. in place when they visit our sites.”