Top 10 Mobile Ad Trends Every Marketer Should Know

11 min read

Mobile advertising is a dynamic and rapidly evolving field, making it challenging to stay abreast of the latest trends. Changes in privacy policies, increasing user acquisition costs, and evolving user preferences are continuously reshaping the mobile app market.

In this article, we’ve outlined the top 10 mobile ad trends app marketers must know to better navigate the complexities of the mobile advertising landscape and leverage these insights to improve their marketing strategies.

1. Shift from CPI to ROAS

For years, CPI was the ultimate metric in mobile user acquisitions. However, in the past few years, app advertisers have shifted their focus to another metric – ROAS.

Due to this trend, many leading ad networks have recently introduced ROAS optimization in their campaign setups. This includes Facebook Audience Network, Apple Search Ads, and IronSource.

Jatin Mittal from TapNation mentioned that they now prioritize retention and return on ad spend (ROAS) over targeting specific CPI amounts. He noted that focusing only on low CPI often brings in users who don’t add much value to the game’s profitability.

In other words, advertisers are no longer chasing a large number of cheap users.

Instead of quantity, the focus is now on quality.

Besides optimizing for ROAS, UA managers nowadays are focused on the big picture, optimizing for a variety of KPIs. This includes a range of engagement and revenue metrics like IPM, CTR, CPM, retention, ARPU, and LTV.

ROAS optimization option in Facebook App Promotion campaigns. Source: Darius Mora YouTube channel
ROAS optimization option in Facebook App Promotion campaigns. Source: Darius Mora YouTube channel

2. Widespread use of AI in mobile marketing

The use of AI in mobile marketing is nothing new, but due to its huge impact, it still deserves a high place among the top mobile ad trends in 2024.

The moment they went mainstream, app marketers adopted AI tools, exploring their possibilities and monitoring their effects. It didn’t take long until they became an integral part of creative processes and campaign optimization for app businesses. Today, app marketers use AI tools for a range of purposes, including:

  • Writing ad copies
  • Ideation and optimization of ASO assets
  • Crafting personalized messaging
  • Automating campaign optimization
  • Video assets and voice-overs for ad creatives

3. Diversify UA channels to boost performance

Due to rising UA costs, privacy regulations, and intense competition, many app marketers have expanded their UA strategies.

Instead of pouring their entire ad budget into a single channel, today, it’s smarter to distribute ad budgets across multiple platforms.

After all, we live in a world where a platform might get banned or “canceled” overnight due to privacy or geopolitical issues. Or you might see a sudden decrease in performance due to algorithm changes.

You never know, really.

By diversifying your marketing efforts across different channels, you can maximize efficiency while minimizing risks. As a result, you have a more resilient UA strategy and ensure a steady flow of new users.

4. Rewarded advertising on the rise

To diversify their UA strategies, more and more app marketers are starting to leverage rewarded advertising, specifically offerwall ads.

Offerwall ads appear as “walls” in apps or websites, listing different actions users can take to earn rewards like in-app currency. For example:

  • Installing an app
  • Completing a tutorial in a game
  • Making an in-app purchase in another app

For years, offerwalls were considered outdated and their popularity waned. However, over the years, they evolved in all aspects, from looks to functionality.

Thanks to their evolution, today, offerwalls can deliver what most advertisers crave – loyal, high-value users.

Modern offerwalls are versatile and offer different ad formats, aligning with the needs of today’s users. These users voluntarily interact with offerwall ads because they understand their benefits. Offerwall ads encourage users to spend more time with the advertised app, resulting in higher engagement and ROAS. Additionally, since offerwall ads are placed in other apps, they provide superb targeting options.


Example of a multi-reward offerwall ad for a gaming app
Example of a multi-reward offerwall ad for a gaming app. Source: MAF

5. CTV for immersive advertising

Another trend for a more diverse UA strategy is CTV (Connected TV) advertising.

CTV refers to any TV set connected to the internet that can stream video content. This includes content from popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, etc.

Chances are, you’re subscribed to at least one of these.

The same goes for your target audience.

The number of CTV households is constantly increasing, and so is CTV advertising spend. In 2023, CTV ad spending in the US was estimated at $24.6 billion, while the prediction for 2024 is $30.1 billion.

CTV advertising is an interesting opportunity for app businesses. To promote apps on CTV, you need to craft immersive ad creatives in a large-screen format. These ads usually have compelling storytelling, interesting plots, and quality production that engage people on a deeper level than classic mobile ads.

It includes different ad formats such as:

  • pre-roll (ads before content starts)
  • mid-roll (ads during content)
  • post-roll ads (ads after content ends)
  • skippable, non-skippable, and interactive ads

While users can’t download apps directly from CTV ads, this form of advertising drives users to other channels like app store search and social media, where they can convert.

Screenshot from a CTV ad for Huuuge Casino mobile game
Screenshot from a CTV ad for Huuuge Casino mobile game. Source and video:

6. Retargeting “old” users

Retargeting is one of those mobile ad trends that have gained traction due to privacy restrictions.


Since targeting new users has become harder, marketers are focusing more on re-engaging existing users. Using their IDFA and other user-level data, they can target these users accurately.

In retargeting campaigns, app marketers use personalized ads to bring users back to their app and encourage desired actions.

For example, a user installed a finance app and used it for a while but hasn’t logged in recently. With retargeting, it’s possible to serve them with personalized ads reminding them of features they used before and motivating them to return to the app.

Retargeting is also possible for different forms of advertising like CTV advertising. Today, leading MMPs provide cross-device attribution for CTV campaigns, making it possible to retarget CTV users via other channels. For instance, a user who sees an ad for a mobile game on a CTV might get targeted on their phone afterward.

7. Contextual advertising for privacy compliance

Privacy regulations have brought many mobile ad trends to the spotlight. Some of them are new, while some, like contextual advertising, have been around for quite some time.

Contextual advertising is all about, you guessed it — context.

In mobile contextual advertising, the focus is on delivering ads that match the content the user is currently engaging with. Rather than relying on personal data, algorithms analyze the content of websites and apps to serve users with relevant ads.

For example, it would make perfect sense to place an ad for a booking app inside a travel app. The same goes for advertising sporting apparel in a fitness app.

Sure, these are quite obvious.

However, it’s also important to note that modern contextual advertising comes with a broad range of targeting possibilities. To determine context, algorithms analyze data like device model, OS, Wi-Fi data, app metadata, etc.

Thanks to all this, contextual ads are able to reach the right user, in the right place, and at the right time — all without compromising user privacy.

8. UGC for authenticity

Short-form video ads are still the driving force of mobile app marketing. To make these videos as engaging as possible, app marketers leverage the trend of UGC (user-generated content).

Created and shared by individual users rather than companies, viewers perceive UGC ads differently from typical brand content. UGC ads often don’t feel like ads and users find them authentic, genuine, and relatable.

They simply hit differently.

For example, you might see a funny video of a user sharing their progress in learning a new language using an app. Or, a user playing a certain mobile game, sharing their frustration or excitement.

While such content may feel authentic, it is usually a result of paid collaborations, where content creators get paid to promote apps. However, brands usually don’t dictate the exact content, allowing creators to maintain their unique style and voice.

Screenshot from a UGC ad for DuoLingo
Screenshot from a UGC ad for DuoLingo. Source: TikTok Ad Library

9. App Store Optimization (ASO) is vital

Mobile ad trends often come and go, but ASO has consistently remained a cornerstone of app marketing.

One might even say it’s more important than ever before, and these are the top reasons why:

App store competition

With thousands of new apps being added to app stores regularly, standing out is increasingly challenging. Optimizing your app for visibility, discoverability, and conversion rates is essential to attract and retain users. Effective ASO can be the difference between an app that gets noticed and one that gets lost in the crowd.

Shift to user quality

Users acquired through ASO are typically more valuable than those acquired through video ad networks. These users are actively searching for apps in specific categories, meaning they are more likely to engage with your app and have higher retention rates. ASO helps attract high-quality users who are genuinely interested in what your app offers.

Evolution of ASO

While the basic principles of ASO – optimizing app titles, descriptions, icons, keywords, and screenshots – have remained the same, the strategies have evolved significantly. Modern ASO leverages advanced tools and techniques to stay ahead of the curve:

  • AI-driven optimization: AI tools are now integral to ASO, helping marketers optimize assets more efficiently and effectively.
  • Custom product pages: Creating custom product pages tailored to specific user segments and search intents can significantly improve conversion rates by presenting the most relevant content to users.
  • In-app events & seasonality: By optimizing for in-app events, seasonal trends, and promotions, marketers can keep their apps relevant and engaging throughout the year.

Optimize app store listing

Beyond the basics, ASO also involves refining every aspect of the app store listing:

  • Keyword optimization: Continually updating keywords to match user search behavior and trends.
  • A/B testing: A/B testing various creative elements like screenshots and videos to determine what resonates best with users.
  • Localizing app store listings: Translating and localizing app listings to appeal to different markets and languages.

10. Targeting via motivation-based ad creatives

Due to privacy constraints, app marketers don’t have access to as much user-level data as they once had.

Naturally, this limits their targeting options.

To make up for this lack of data, marketers have become increasingly focused on user behavior – specifically, on what motivates users to install and engage with their apps.

By understanding this, marketers can craft ad creatives that resonate with various user groups. This is usually done by creating user persona profiles that represent different users who engage with mobile apps.

To illustrate, let’s say you have a fitness app mainly used by young women. Instead of targeting them by age, occupation, and other user-level data, you can separate potential users by their motivation to use the app. For example, you can assume that some want to lose weight, others want to build muscle, and some might like the community aspect of your app.

Based on these motivations, you can create user personas and produce ad creatives that speak directly to their distinct needs and desires.

Additionally, Apple’s custom product pages (CPPs) allow you to create multiple versions of your app store product page, each tailored to different user segments and motivations. By directing users to a CPP that matches the motivation highlighted in the ad creative, you can provide a more personalized experience. This can enhance user engagement and conversion rates by aligning the app’s messaging and features with what each user segment finds most appealing.

For instance, you could create CPPs emphasizing weight loss features, muscle building programs, or community engagement, depending on the user’s motivation. This way, the user’s journey from seeing an ad to downloading the app feels cohesive and tailored to their specific interests.


Here are 10 essential mobile ad trends that every app marketer should include in their toolkit:

  • App advertisers now prioritize ROAS over CPI, focusing on user quality rather than quantity
  • AI tools are essential for automating ad copy creation, mobile marketing, personalized messaging, and campaign management
  • Diversify ad budgets across multiple platforms to reduce risks from privacy regulations and algorithm changes
  • Offerwall ads are evolving, providing high-value user acquisition through interactive rewards
  • Connected TV ads offer engaging, large-screen ad formats that drive users to app store searches and social media
  • Privacy restrictions shift focus to re-engaging existing users with personalized ads across multiple devices
  • Ads match content users engage with, providing relevant experiences without relying on personal data
  • User-generated content in short-form videos creates authentic and relatable ad experiences
  • ASO remains essential for app visibility and user acquisition
  • Motivation-based ad creatives as well as Apple’s custom product pages allow marketers to deliver personalized user experiences

Silvija Lazanin
by , Content Manager
Silvija is a Content Manager at MAF, specializing in creating helpful content for app and game marketers. She enjoys long walks, binge-watching Netflix, and spending time with her cat.