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Digital Transformation Artificial Intelligence Martech

App-solute revolution: how apps & AI are transforming Meta’s advertising ecosystem


By Maria Greaves, Assistant editor - branded content

July 3, 2024 | 7 min read

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Vibrant communities, the power of Reels, AI-powered advertising solutions, and richer measurement – 4 key learnings from Meta’s EMEA App and Gaming Summit.

Tino Krause, regional director, Central Europe, Global Business Group, Meta.

Tino Krause, regional director, central Europe, Global Business Group, Meta.

Far from being a solitary pursuit, app and gaming usage is becoming increasingly social – and its online communities are not only presenting new opportunities for advertisers, they’re reshaping the entire advertising ecosystem in ‘the golden age of AI-powered innovation’.

These were the headline takeaways to come from Meta’s EMEA App and Gaming Summit which was held in Cyprus in May. What else did we learn?

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1. App and gaming communities score big with marketers

App developers are playing to win, generating a total gross revenue of $35bn in Q1 2024, which is a 9% year-on-year hike. Entertainment, business, and music categories pulled in double-digit year-on-year growth rates of 14%, 26%, and 23% respectively. However, no other sector has as many app downloads as the gaming category, with sports, racing, role playing, and casino games showing the most growth over the last year.

Developers should take note though: users seem to be sticking with their old favorites, as new apps are struggling to compete in a competitive marketplace.

Chirag Ambwani, senior vice-president, gaming & entertainment of Sensor Tower says: “2023 was a year of stabilization for the mobile app economy. Temu has become the number one shopping app globally and ChatGPT leads the business sector.

“2024 is off to a healthy start with major sectors such as gaming, business, health & finance and entertainment seeing positive momentum. Core themes we see shaping 2024 include a reduction in annual app releases and a focus from developers on existing live products and a diversification of monetization strategies.”

Meanwhile, the industry is not only thriving, it’s an increasingly socialized community, explains Tino Krause, regional director, central Europe at Meta: “App users are a vibrant community, eager to connect and learn from one another on insights, trends and best practices in a way which is revolutionizing digital marketing.”

This presents unique opportunities for marketers to retarget and develop their brand with an engaged community, with brands repurposing user-generated content in their marketing campaigns. For example, Rita Janušauskait, deputy chief executive officer of Kilo Health says: “User-generated content is the heartbeat of our brand strategy, significantly enhancing our performance on social media networks. Thanks to UGC usage, we can empower the authentic voices of consumers to resonate with their peers and truly evolve beyond a B2C business, to become a C2C company - a consumer-to-consumer enterprise.”

2. Reels have become a marketing game changer

Since launching in 2020, Reels have exploded on Instagram and Facebook. Robert Bednarski, country director, central and eastern Europe at Meta, comments: "Facebook and Instagram have become the primary platforms for global discovery, with Reels playing a pivotal role in this process. On Instagram, Reels alone make up about 50% of time spent within the app.” 3.5 billion of these digestible, relatable and entertaining video snippets are now reshared every day.

And the power of Reels goes beyond app and gaming. Creators are fueling the Reels ecosystem, driving creativity, authenticity and relatability – and a growing, engaged audience. More than one in two people (53%) surveyed by Meta said they’re more likely to purchase an item if it’s been promoted by a creator on Reels.

Not surprisingly, brands are now tapping into this pool of captive consumers, incorporating creator partnership ads or leveraging organic creator content into their wider, business-as-usual campaigns, to drive an average 25% higher clickthrough rate.

For example, lifestyle brand Azadea drove a 3.1pt uplift in purchase intent when adding Reels ads into its existing campaign mix in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, breakfast food brand Oats Overnight drove a 47% higher conversion rate when using Reels-style ad creative together with its standard creative.

3. AI-powered ad solutions are changing the marketing playing field

The recently launched Meta Advantage advertising products use AI and machine learning to help optimize campaign results, personalize ads by matching them to the right people at the right time and unlock greater efficiencies to help advertisers save time and money and maximize online sales.

For example, Meta Advantage+ app campaigns identify the best way to drive an app install across a combination of audiences, placements and creatives, generating a 26% improvement in average cost-per-acquisition, compared to manual app campaigns.

Advertisers are confirming that the new, AI-powered solutions have transformed the way they reach their audience, acquire new users, and test and learn quickly. Iryna Kraichyk, chief growth officer at Universe Group, by Genesis said: “Automation has helped us to scale our ad creatives production process by 10 times its previous rate. [It’s] allowed us to focus more on big-picture strategy while still achieving better results.”

4. Better measurement unlocks more conversions

App and gaming advertisers need richer measurement and insights to tackle a wide range of market challenges in recent years - from addressing evolving privacy measures to solving unattributed installs and accounting for shifts in user engagement.

To help navigate this growing complexity and achieve sustainable business growth, Meta has built three key measurement products which are designed to help advertisers make efficient optimization decisions to maximize return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) - Aggregated Event Measurement, Meta Install Referrer and Engaged-View Attribution.

Powering more effective app promotion and re-engagement strategies, Aggregated Event Measurement has generated a 9.5% increase in conversions according to Meta studies. Similarly, using Meta Install Referrer’s more granular view-through and click-through install data,leads to a 20% in measurable conversions.

It’s clear that, as app and gaming revenue grows and users become ever more social, Meta advertisers will be able to leverage AI-powered advertising and richer measurement to turbo-charge brand reach, engagement and conversion.

Go behind the scenes of world-leading app and gaming industry strategy, performance and trends by watching this ‘Performance Talks’ video series from Meta.

*Unless stated otherwise, the statistics referenced throughout this article have been sourced from a range of Meta internal data and analysis, earnings calls and Meta-commissioned research.

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