Mobile App Predictions for 2018

[Photo] Jaede Tan, Regional Director, App Annie
Jaede Tan, Regional Director of App Annie
2018 marks the 10 year anniversary for both the Apple App Store and Android market. In the short time since the first wave of apps were published in 2008, they have impacted the lives of people all over the world on an unprecedented level. There are now apps for almost anything and everything – hugely successful apps that incorporate AR and VR, apps dedicated to events, and even an app just for popping bubble wrap.
Who could ever have imagined that apps would evolve from the simple Snake game on the Nokia phone (yes that was an app), to driving a $6.3 trillion industry in 2021?
Looking back over 2017, the app economy has hit some significant milestones:

  • By the end of October 2017, the iOS App Store and Google Play had more than 2 million and more than 3.5 million apps available, respectively.
  • New apps continue to be introduced at a strong pace. During the month ending October 31, 2017, roughly 50,000 new apps launched on the iOS App Store and over 150,000 were added to Google Play.
  • Across mature markets, users have up to 90 or 100 apps installed on their devices, 30 of which they use on a monthly basis. On average, people are spending two hours per day — which equates to one month out of every year — in apps.
  • More than 40 countries will generate over $100 million in consumer spend in 2017 for iOS App Store and Google Play combined.
  • Apps play a key role in almost every industry today, including retail, banking, travel, QSR, CPG and media & entertainment .

It is apparent that the evolution of mobile apps have transformed the everyday lives of people, and users continuously expect their favourite apps to be improved. There are several aspects of an app which users expect to be improved, but convenience is a core theme that underlies many of our predictions as we look to 2018.

1. Worldwide Gross Consumer App Store Spend Blows Past the $100 Billion Mark

The continued evolution of markets across the globe has led app monetization to continuously grow at an outstanding rate. Apart from games, which traditionally account for the majority of overall spend, we foresee spending in e-commerce apps such as Alibaba and Amazon to drive worldwide consumer spend – which is expected to grow about 30% year on year to exceed $110 billion in 2018. In APAC, consumer spend on apps hit $17.1 billion in H1 2017 alone.

2. App Store Curation Drives Higher Overall IAP Revenue and Expands Opportunity for Independent Publishers

In June 2017, both Apple and Google announced updates to the iOS App Store and Google Play aimed to alleviate this issue through app curation and editorial content. We predict that these updates will have a significant impact on apps in 2018, in particular apps that help people occupy their leisure time. These types of apps, which tend to be entertainment-centric, are most likely to connect with consumers when they are casually browsing through the app stores. Conversely, “needs-based” apps such as UberEats or DBS PayLah! are far more likely to be downloaded based on word of mouth recommendations or focused searches when a user encounters a particular need.

3. Broader Adoption of AR Apps

Pokémon GO and Snapchat sparked huge interest in augmented reality (AR) among the masses, and we foresee that AR will take another significant step forward towards realizing its massive potential in 2018.

Facebook, Google and Apple have taken the lead at their developer conferences in 2017, and together with the Chinese powerhouses Alibaba , Baidu and Tencent , have set the foundation for AR-related initiatives. These initiatives will accelerate the space by making it easier and faster for publishers to develop AR apps, while also stoking consumer interest. For example, in Japan, starting in May 2017, there has been a significant increase in iPhone app downloads for the top ranking apps by “Augmented Reality” app store search in Japan, and other APAC countries.

apps ar japan

4. Fragmentation of the Video Streaming Space Accelerates

It is now not an uncommon sight to see people catching up on their favourite Netflix series or Hollywood movies while on the move. 2017 has been another extraordinary year for video streaming services and total time spent in Video and Entertainment apps tripled to almost 40 billion hours in APAC alone.

video streaming apps

Between H1 2015 and H1 2017, time spent in the Video Players and Entertainment categories on Android phones in APAC has tripled to reach close to 40 billion hours – almost half of the worldwide total.

Year to date through October 31, 2017, these apps have driven significant growth of worldwide consumer spend for the Entertainment category on both iOS and Google Play. However, as some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry and app economy — including Netflix , Apple , Google , Facebook , Snap and Disney — have announced huge plans to expand their footprints in variety of ways, we expect that 2018 to mark the beginning of an inflection point for this space, in terms of fragmentation. In fact, our research shows that Android users in South Korea who use video streaming apps are significantly more likely than average to be accessing other video and related entertainment services.

Overall, this space will continue to see steady growth in terms of revenue and engagement, but in the years that follow, consumers may start to rationalize how they spend their time and money among a dizzying array of choices, resulting in some players succumbing to profit pressures as they get crowded out of this competitive space.

5. Mobile Pushes Towards the Center of the Retail Customer Journey

Analysts and experts have pronounced the retail apocalypse in recent times, and we see apps as a way to reinvigorate consumers’ retail experience. Brick-and-mortar retailers have already embraced apps and shoppers are now very engaged; results are telling from the Great Singapore Sale 2017 , which saw an increase in sales thanks to the GoSpree app. In Indonesia, which has a population of 261 million and a burgeoning middle class, users spend an average of just over 90 minutes per month in Shopping apps, placing it at #2 after South Korea. On 11 November 2017, dubbed Single’s Day, Alibaba generated a record breaking $25.3 billion in sales, with mobile users accounting for 90% of sales. These numbers are only the beginning of what is a rapidly evolving retail experience for consumers.

Come 2018, apps will continue to cause consumers to change their shopping habits which will in turn redefine the relationship between and even the very nature of existing retail channels (e.g., mobile app, web, brick-and-mortar). China, for instance, is one huge influencer in this area. We are seeing people in western markets increasingly use physical stores as a place to pick up items purchased on mobile. In addition, cash registers’ longstanding role in the checkout and payment process will become reduced, or in some cases replaced, by mobile. For many consumers, mobile will be a core part of the shopping experience regardless of channel.

6. Restaurant Aggregators Drive Mobile Conversion as Delivery-as-a-Service Further Penetrates Premium Markets

As we predicted in last year’s post, there was some consolidation in the food delivery space. Looking ahead to next year, we expect that aggregators such as Korea’s Yogiyo will continue to expand the addressable market for this space by opening up under penetrated markets as well as converting users who do not currently use mobile apps from intermediaries to order meals. Meanwhile, delivery as a service (DaaS) providers (e.g., UberEATS , Deliveroo) will gain market share in premium markets where customers are more likely to pay more for higher-end restaurants that don’t have their own delivery fleets. Furthermore, we expect more quick-service restaurants (QSR) to respond to the increased competition from food delivery by partnering with DaaS apps, similar to McDonald’s growing partnership with UberEATS . As with video streaming, this space will face consolidation in later years as it needs to rationalize the fragmentation felt by customers and the profit pressures felt by service providers competing in a crowded space.

7. Finance-Related Apps Poised for Most Significant Transformation in 2018

In 2017 in Asia-Pacific specifically, the growth of downloads in the Finance category outpaced all app categories (non-games) combined, with China leading the way. Person-to-person (P2P) payment apps, like WeChat, AliPay, GoPay, Grab Pay and PayTM have been some of the shining stars in the fintech app revolution. They have transformed how consumers, particularly millennials, exchange money, by displacing the use of cash and checks. In the next year, we expect these services to capitalize on their popularity and broaden their range of services in an effort to expand their revenue potential, fend off increased competition from traditional banks and deepen user engagement. With retailers adopting such apps as an option for customers, we expect P2P payment apps to see increased transaction volume. These initiatives have been well received by users, as they will provide even greater levels of convenience. In addition, this space will see increased activity from successful players in other categories, like messaging and social networking, who are constantly looking for additional ways to serve, monetize and engage their large user bases.

These are just a handful of areas where we expect the app economy to evolve over the near future. Despite how far this space has advanced over its first decade, it is just scratching the surface of its full potential. Users increasingly expect apps to completely transform the very nature of how they accomplish goals and tasks, as well as create brand new experiences not possible on other platforms. We are excited to see how app developers change the world by delivering on these needs over the app economy’s second decade.

 

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New Tech Heats Up APAC Ecommerce Market

Criteo launched two new solutions in APAC this week – Criteo Audience Match and Criteo Kinetic Design with Video – to help retailers and brands deliver seamless and relevant shopping experiences across all devices and channels.

Using customer relationship management (CRM) or data management platform (DMP) data to accurately target audiences across web, mobile browser and apps, Criteo Audience Match provides marketers with a new way to re-engage their customer base with paid display campaigns. Criteo has built a foundation of deterministic IDs within Criteo Shopper Graph, enabling beta customers to see a match rate of more than 60 percent of their existing client lists with online profiles.

Criteo Kinetic Design with Video automatically optimises every visual aspect of an ad to inspire and engage a shopper. Kinetic Design already allows for more than 17 trillion variations from one base design in display ads. This has been now expanded to incorporate video, creating personalized video ads that feature relevant products based on Criteo’s complete understanding of the shopper. These video ads are created automatically, on-the-fly, and appear across web and mobile.

“Collaboration in an open ecosystem levels the playing field and paves the way for commerce companies to shape their future. This is especially crucial for eCommerce companies in Asia-Pacific where the market is expected to grow to more than US$3 trillion by 2021,” said Huang Hanming, “We have developed Criteo Commerce Marketing Ecosystem to unleash the value of collaboration and the power of data to all who participate.”

As consumer video consumption continues to grow, Criteo’s clients can now use video to relevantly re-engage shoppers without production time, resources, or costs. Video is delivered in a non-intrusive manner to provide a seamless browsing experience – in app, in feed or on a website. Criteo’s video capability also allows marketers to take advantage of video ads on a cost-per-click basis.

“Understanding consumer purchasing behavior is challenging for retailers given that shoppers are on more platforms than ever before, with collected data being difficult to integrate and analyse, at scale,” said Alban Villani, General Manager, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Criteo. “To help retailers and brands overcome this challenge, Criteo Audience Match and Criteo Kinetic Design with Video, as part of a robust suite of commerce marketing technologies, will support the full shopper journey, enabling brands to create relevant and engaging experiences for customers online and offline.”

The launches were underpinned by a new study in collaboration with Forbes and titled highlighting the value of data collaboration to better meet customers’ needs, drive value and compete.

Story by Damian Duffy

Myanmar Big on Facebook and Mobile Gaming

Myanmar is a highly mobile market, backed up by the latest research showing 99% of households now own a SIM card. This points to an interesting dynamic where consumers own SIM cards to make calls, but will borrow a common handset from friends or relatives.

MyanmarMobile

Facebook and Gaming are the most popular mobile pastimes in Myanmar, although 95% of consumers still use their mobile phones for phone calls.

mobilephonesmyanmar

Source: Updated Myanmar Research

Indonesia’s Digital and Content Marketing report

Get Craft recently surveyed 150+ Indonesian marketers asking about their digital & content marketing habits. 55% of marketers still lack clarity about how their digital marketing drives business objectives. Other key findings included:
  • Marketers spend 31.5% of their budget on digital, 76% say this is an increase
  • Average and Median digital marketing budget of IDR 1.9 billion / year and IDR 875 million / year, respectively
  • Digital marketers’ key problems are around budget restraints & skills/resources gaps
  • Customer experience & content marketing are the most exciting growth opportunities
  • Content marketing is generally used for engagement & awareness – but B2B measures primarily lead generation
  • Written articles and videos are the most effective content marketing types
  • B2B brands prefer more to invest in dedicated in-house content team, whilst B2C relies more in agencies

You can download the full report here.

6 Interesting Start Up Ideas at Innovfest Singapore

1. V-Key managing trust and identity with virtual hardware on your phone

V-Key is a global leader in software based digital security. V-Key is the inventor of V-OS, the world’s first virtual secure element that uses advanced cryptographic and cybersecurity protections to comply with standards previously reserved only for expensive hardware solutions. How does it work? They create a virtual hardware smart chip within an app, meaning identity is held in the same way as on a cashcard smart chip – and with the same level of security. Interesting ultimately for anyone concerned with real world identity, which is why they already work with governments worldwide. Prepare for your passport to change in the near future. Trust simplified.

2. Handshakes automating corporate due diligence

Handshakes applies natural language processing and machine learning technology in an innovative way to analyse corporate data and publicly available unstructured data. The platform can then fuse this data with a companies existing unstructured databases to provide strategic intelligence about who to trust and who to do business with. Exciting stuff and sure to disrupt back offices globally – corporate due diligence is suddenly a trivial task.

3. Xjera Labs video analytics for crowd control

Xjera Labs focuses on revolutionary smart video content analytics (VCA) by implementing deep learning based VCA for various commercial applications. Kind of like Minority Report.

xjera_labs_crowd_scenario_sh_deployment

4. IOT Factory simplify the Internet of Things for normal entrepreneurs

IOT Factory have built a unique Software Platform to make any sensor, any device, using any network (M2M, LoRa, SigFox, BLE and many more) speak a desired language, through dashboards, reports, smart alerts, and easy integration capabilities. Essentially they’ve automated the back end of the Internet of Things so non-technical innovators can start to build on it. Thank you.

5. SettleMint, a blockchain for democracy

SettleMint is a fintech player working with distributed ledger technology. One of their projects, called SettleMint Ballot Box, uses immutable blockchain technology to record votes. In doing so, the company aims to address any doubts regarding the outcome of voting processes and elections. Use cases for the blockchain are crucial for pushing this forward.

6. Playpass bringing versatile Apple Pay / Paywave type technology to events

PlayPass are all about events and technology. They provide RFID solutions to allow better event management – in short every attendee gets an RFID wristband. From the moment the gates open real-time reporting tracks and displays the number of visitors on-site, which brands and activations are of interest to that visitor and what they consume and purchase.

Singapore Intensifies Focus on Data and AI Tech

SGInnovate this week presented ARISE, an Artificial Intelligence-themed event at innovfest unbound 2017 as part of a long term investment in AI and data driven technology. The anchor event of the Smart Nation Innovations Week, innovfest unbound is Asia’s largest innovation festival with more than 8,000 attendees.

ARISE is planned to provide a platform for researchers, academia and industry leaders to explore emerging AI trends and give insight into how it will affect the way we live and work in years to come.

Among the leading figures from the tech sphere at ARISE was Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop (first proposed by Elon Musk), who revealed an inside story of the smart people and smart machines powering the next generation of transport tech.

Macro trends such as machine learning, robotics in the workplace and in the domestic sphere, emerging technologies, and the march towards artificial sentience were also covered.

Steve Leonard, Founding CEO of SGInnovate, said: “Artificial Intelligence has the potential to dramatically impact many areas, such as Healthcare, Transportation and Education. In fact, without even realising it, we have all embraced some form of AI in our daily lives – such as virtual assistants in our phones – and the next few years will bring exciting advances in many ways.”

“We passionately believe that Singapore has the right resources to be an important hub for research, so the challenge for us here is to ensure we are leaders in the development and use of AI capabilities to improve the lives of people here and around the world. We think ARISE is an extremely timely event, and we look forward to the constructive discussion around the challenges and the opportunities, that AI will bring.”

Today, Singapore is already a fast-growing influence within the realm of AI with the country ranked second globally by field weighted citation impact for AI R&D.

On a global scale, the AI market is growing rapidly. It is estimated that revenue for the cognitive systems and AI market will increase from an around US$8 billion (S$11.1 billion) in 2016 to over US$47 billion (S$65 billion) by 2020.

To further boost Singapore’s AI capabilities, the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore recently announced AI.SG, a national programme in AI driven by a government-wide partnership with SGInnovate as one of the partners.

NRF will invest up to S$150 million over five years in AI.SG, which will catalyse and synergise Singapore’s AI capabilities to power our future economy with practical solutions to real-world challenges.

“As a private company wholly-owned by the Singapore Government, SGInnovate has one purpose – to help aspiring entrepreneurs in Singapore imagine, start, and scale technology-intensive products with the potential to be globally relevant.  We are working with entrepreneurs and investors in industries such as healthcare, energy and transportation, all of which are seeing a flurry of artificial intelligence (AI) startups.  The launch of AI.SG helps give a solid foundation which a wide range of activities in academia, research, corporates, entrepreneurs and investors can build upon,” added Mr Leonard.

MediaMath Launches Brand-safe Curated Publisher Market

MediaMath has announced the launch of a curated publisher marketplace product to deliver premium, high quality media. With the brand safety questions around social media and UGC environments right now, this is a timely move.

The Curated Market will employ a stringent set of brand safety standards and protocols:

  • Focus on large scale, high quality publishers based on ComScore
  • Privileged access to high priority inventory in the publisher ad server
  • Transparent, validated URLs only
  • Exclusion of most user generated content, specifically in environments or on publishers that do not support content monitoring, verification and blocking
  • Integrations with leading third party verification platforms including Integral Ad Science, DoubleVerify and Peer39 to provide brand safety filters
  • Proprietary Suspicious Traffic Filter inside MediaMath’s platform
  • Exclusion of sites or content promoting illegal activity, hateful or distasteful rhetoric
  • Ability to opt out of all user generated content – often the source of brand safety issues – paying only for secure, brand-safe inventory across all channels including display, social and video.

To help ensure MediaMath stands by the brand safety promise, MediaMath clients using the Curated Market will not pay for media if it does not meet the agreed upon criteria at the publisher level. Specifically, if advertisers find their ads are run on previously determined unsafe inventory they will be credited with a refund for those impressions by MediaMath.

Joe Zawadzki, Chairman and CEO of MediaMath, said: “Digital advertising has long promised the ability to change how marketers interact with their customers, but the ubiquity of channels and content means marketers need to be more selective. The Curated Market offering provides transparency and hygiene in execution and reporting, audience addressability at scale and accountability for actors in the digital ecosystem, across all channels. It will change the way marketers think about buying ads.”

Overall, this is a smart move from a DSP that has let competitors – The Trade Desk and DBM to name two – get a jump on it in recent years. A commitment to brand safety is increasingly what brands are looking for in 2017, and MediaMath is to be applauded in taking a proactive approach.

iKorea: Media Reps – Past, Present, and Future

iKorea is a new column by Soyoon Bach, a Digital Marketing professional in Seoul, covering developments in the Korean digital ecosystem.

If you work in advertising in Korea, you will most definitely have heard of the term “rep sa.” “Rep” is short for “representative” and “sa” in Korean means “company.” This is a shortened phrase for agencies that Koreans refer to as “media representatives.” So what exactly are media reps?

The general hierarchy of the Korean digital advertising landscape goes like this:

Advertiser → Ad Agency → Media Rep → Publishers

Simply put, media reps act as liaisons between agencies and publishers. They arrange the sale of media inventory on behalf of advertisers (or agencies). Media reps also provide media plans, intricate reporting, optimization recommendations, updates about the newest publishers and ad types, etc. Many media reps have proprietary technologies that make setting up ads easier, provide key insights, and run ads more efficiently.

The first ever media rep can be traced back to 1980 with the establishment of KOBACO. They were resellers for TV ad inventory and became the sole entity to control all the domestic TV ad inventory. They retained their power until a constitutional court ruled this as illegal monopolistic practice.

Since then, Korea has diversified its media rep offerings and media reps have especially become a key player in the complicated world of digital advertising. Usually, ad agencies don’t have the time or resources to keep contact with every single publisher or media platform out there and know which ones are best for their needs. This is where media reps come in. They synthesize all media-related information and updates and provide agencies with the insights they need. They let us know which creative is best served on which platform. Some platforms also have strict inventory booking processes. There are minimum spends, minimum ad periods, and cancellation fees. Media reps keep track of these processes and give ad agencies a heads up when they think certain bookings will become an issue.

The initial idea of media reps started out as a broker, a simple reseller. Now, they have evolved to so much more. They are media agencies for ad agencies, providing critical services that they can’t get from publishers directly. For instance, if an ad agency is working with multiple media platforms without a media rep, it’ll be up to them to individually communicate and negotiate with the publishers, set up the ads, aggregate the data, and compile the reporting. However, when you go through a media rep, they provide all these services for you so that you can spend more time tending to your clients.

Because this is such a common practice that’s taken for granted, it’s easy to forget that there are actually no regulations in place regarding this process. There’s no restrictions preventing agencies from bypassing media reps and going directly to the publishers. Similarly, there’s nothing to stop media reps from reaching out directly to advertisers. However, this practice continues to exist because this breakdown and distribution of tasks lets everyone do their jobs more easily.

A client can have one contact point for all their media dealings (the agency) instead of having to individually contact the publishers. Agencies can also focus more on making creatives and strategizing on the overarching direction of the campaigns. Media reps gain more clients and without much effort by teaming up with an agency and publishers also have the same benefits by teaming up with a media rep. The benefits are so real that Korean publishers will also pay back some of the money to media reps or agencies as a sales commission. And this commission could be as high as 20%.

For how much longer this model will persist, only time can tell. But media reps are already starting to feel the onset of programmatic media buying as a threat to their business. Global agencies are receiving pressures from their global headquarters to implement systems such as DBM and manage it internally, taking some business away from media reps. Media reps are frantically trying to develop their programmatic departments so that agencies will still be incentivized to use them for these services.

What’s for sure is that we’re hitting another disruptive phase in digital advertising and how media reps will fit into this picture is still to be determined.

Unilever Launch new Singapore Innovation Hub

Unilever Foundry and Padang & Co this week launched LEVEL3, a co-working space that pushes the boundaries of collaboration and corporate innovation. Redefining the traditional concept of workspaces, LEVEL3 brings together Unilever, startups, and entrepreneurs to encourage innovation and create new partnerships that deliver real and meaningful business impact.

“LEVEL3 stems from our mission to make sustainable living commonplace. It offers our business a direct connection with disruptive technologies and changemakers to shape the way we work – ultimately impacting people’s lives,” said Pier Luigi Sigismondi, President, South East Asia and Australasia. “LEVEL3 is the springboard for startups to scale and build successful businesses.”

Built within the Unilever regional headquarters in Singapore, the 22,000 sq ft workspace provides proximity to Unilever brands and functions, and access to existing Unilever Foundry programmes. To date, 15 international and local startups have already established themselves at LEVEL3, including Adludio, ConnectedLife, Datacraft, EcoHub, GetCRAFT, Next Billion, Olapic, Snapcart, TaskSpotting and Try and Review.

LEVEL3 focuses on the following areas: Marketing Tech & Ad Tech, Enterprise Tech, Products & Ingredients, New Business Model Innovation and Social Impact.

New Technology and Partnership Opportunities in the UK

The UK recently kicked off its largest ever international trade and investment marketing campaign. Aimed at international businesses and governments the campaign plans to showcase the UK’s trade and investment opportunities to a global marketplace, including the EU and beyond.

The comprehensive, multi-channel campaign will display a series of new images showcasing the UK’s world-leading products and services, including advertising in international airport hubs such as Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, Dubai, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Singapore; press publications; along with substantial digital promotion.

As part of this international push, the Department for International Trade is stepping up its efforts to help international companies looking to trade or invest in the UK to find the right opportunities for them.

A recently launched interactive digital service – http://www.great.gov.uk – will provide practical advice to UK businesses ready to take the next step into new global markets, or international buyers and sellers who want to know more about the UK market or how to buy British.

The digital service will also include information on seven sectors, from technology to food and drink, so that international businesses can easily navigate the UK market and make an informed decision about the best investment opportunities.

Jo Hawley, Director of International Trade and Investment at the British Consulate in Hong Kong added: “Hong Kong and UK trading links have gone from strength to strength over the last 20 years. In the British Consulate General in Hong Kong, we are working with record numbers of Hong Kong and mainland Chinese investors expanding their businesses into the UK as well as UK companies keen to do business in Hong Kong. We hope that our new campaign and digital hub will encourage even greater trading links.”

The UK’s technology links across Asia continue to grow, with Dyson opening a new Singapore tech center focusing on R&D in AI and software this week.

Over the coming months the UK government will be reaching out to more global partners to facilitate global trading relationships. For more information, please visit http://www.great.gov.uk.

 

News and Industry Resources for Digital Marketing and Media in Asia.