Creator Plus Hires Peter Sherman As Head Of Marketing

This week in leadership updates, Peter Sherman is named Creator Plus’ head of marketing, FIGS hires Jami Pinto as chief product supply and sustainability officer, Good American appoints Jamaal Layne as first chief marketing officer and more.

Creator Plus Names Peter Sherman Head Of Marketing

Creator Plus has appointed Peter Sherman as its new head of marketing.

Prior, Sherman was senior vice president of HBO Max at WarnerMedia and also held various marketing roles at Google.

FIGS Taps Jami Pinto As Chief Product Supply And Sustainability Officer

Jami Pinto (formerly Dunbar) has been named FIGS’ new chief product supply and sustainability officer.

Pinto joins the DTC healthcare apparel and lifestyle brand from Under Armour where she held a number of executive roles including senior vice president of global product supply.

Before Under Armour, Pinto was Abercrombie & Fitch’s vice president of technical design.

Good American Hires Jamaal Layne As Chief Marketing Officer

Good American has tapped Jamaal Layne as its first-ever chief marketing officer, according to WWD.

With previous roles at Calvin Klein, Sonos, Inc. and Adidas, Layne brings more than seven years of marketing experience to the brand.

Strava Appoints Zipporah Allen As Second Chief Marketing Officer

Zipporah Allen, former chief digital officer of Taco Bell, has been scouted as the company’s second chief marketing officer. 

Allen fills a position that had been vacant since the company’s first chief marketing officer, Erik Joule, exited in 2015. Since then, marketing had been led by Gareth Nettleton, vice president of marketing, until he left Strava in June.

Before joining Strava, Allen held several marketing executive roles at companies including Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s.

Tommy Hilfiger Names Dennis Seydel Senior Vice President Of Marketing And Communications For North America

Tommy Hilfiger has hired Dennis Seydel as senior vice president of marketing and communications for North America. 

Seydel previously founded and operated as chief executive officer of Baumhaus Collective and served as FIGS’ chief brand officer. He also held a number of marketing leadership roles at companies like Uber and YouTube.

Acura Is Launching A Digital Showroom In Decentraland

To promote its new 2023 Integra car, Acura is launching a digital showroom in the metaverse on March 22—making it the first automaker to do so—and its first limited edition NFT.

Running throughout March Madness, Acura’s metaverse activation will give the first 500 customers who reserve the 2023 Acura Integra the chance to claim an NFT designed by 3D artist Andreas Wannerstedt. Each Acura NFT will include the artist’s signature surreal textures and colors, which serve as an artistic representation of the latest Integra model. Reservations for the car opened on March 10.

Inside the brand’s virtual showroom, dubbed Acura of Decentraland, fans can experience the model’s features, browse Integra wearables—also created in partnership with Wannerstedt—play the Acura racing game “Beat That,” and explore other immersive rooms. Acura buffs can enter the showroom, which will open during Decentraland Fashion Week, via the microsite

In addition to running NFT-focused spots on social, Acura will air the Integra campaign on broadcast TV during March Madness games on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTv. Digital displays and takeovers on and are also part of the mixed media campaign.

Over the last few years, Acura has made inroads with tech-driven marketing. At the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, its Mood Roads activation leveraged virtual reality to offer fans a full-sensory driving experience. Using brainwave technology, Acura tapped into drivers’ emotional, cognitive and physical inputs to create a unique environment with landscape, color and music that changed in real-time to reflect drivers’ moods.

Later that year, to showcase its 2018 TLX A-Spec car, Acura enlisted tech influencers and race car drivers for a live augmented reality (AR) driving race via Facebook Livestream.

Acura’s certainly not the first automaker to flex its metaverse marketing muscle. In September 2021, BMW launched Joytopia, a virtual world where fans could watch Coldplay perform live. The activation came in response to customers’ demands for personalized experiences in the digital space, according to Stefan Ponikva, BMW vice president brand communication and brand experience.

More recently, Mercedes-Benz debuted an NFT collection with five artists from around the world to celebrate its G-Class. Not long after, Lamborghini announced a series of five digital artworks accessible via a QR code engraved in five units of a physical object.

Pandemic-Fueled Spending On Mobile Games Winds Down

According to the latest NPD Group US video game sales report, consumer spending on video game hardware, content and accessories fell to $4.4 billion in February 2022, a 6 percent decrease from the previous year. That’s compared to the two percent dip YOY in consumer spending NPD recorded for January. 

Hardware experienced the largest year-on-year (YOY) percentage decline and all major categories of video game spending were down. Year-to-date (YTD) spending decreased by four percent compared to the same period in 2021, totaling $9.1 billion.

Video Game Hardware

Compared to February 2021, video game hardware dollar sales dropped by 27 percent to $295 million. Amid the hardware market’s low supply issue, YTD dollar sales dropped to $685 million, a 5 percent decrease compared to the same period last year. 

Among the hardware platforms, Switch was the best-selling in February 2022, followed by Xbox Series. As for video game hardware, PlayStation 5 has been leading dollar sales YTD while Switch earned the highest unit sales in the same period, found NPD.

Premium Game Tracked Dollar Sales 

February 2022’s best-selling game was Elden Ring, which has also remained the best-selling game of the year so far. Additionally, launch month sales of the title were the second-highest for any tracked game released in the last 12 months – in the first place is Call of Duty: Vanguard, which launched in November of last year. 

At the end of its first month on the market, Elden Ring ranked as the fifth best-selling game of the 12-month period ending February 2022. The game ranked first on Steam and Xbox, and second on PlayStation in February.

Horizon II: Forbidden West was the second best-selling game and ranked first on PlayStation. The title’s dollar sales for PlayStation 5 set a new launch month record for the platform.

Debuting as part of the PC Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription services, Total War: Warhammer III launched as the fifth best-selling game of February 2022 and ranked as Steam’s second best-selling title.

Mobile Games

With a decrease of 2.5 percent and for the first time since the start of the pandemic, mobile game spending was down YOY in February, based on data provided by Sensor Tower.

This signals the pandemic-fueled spending spree in mobile titles is subsiding but Sensor Tower notes there has been a sizable influx of successful launches and new top-earning titles despite the overall reduction in sales.

The highest-earning mobile titles in the US for February 2022 were Candy Crush Saga, Roblox, Coin Master, Genshin Impact and Pokémon GO.

Video Game Accessories

At $180 million, spending on video game accessories dropped 7 percent as compared to the same period last year. YTD sales have also fallen to $365 million, an 11 percent reduction compared to the same period last year. 

The Xbox Elite Series 2 Wireless Controller was the best-selling accessory of February and of 2022 YTD.

Learning To Find Your Own Voice With Simple Practice’s Smita Wadhawan

Smita Wadhawan is the CMO at Simple Practice, a company that provides technology to private practice therapists and other practitioners. They’ve been around for 10 years and serve over 100 thousand practitioners.

In this episode, Smita and I discuss her journey from India to the US and her career path from companies like PayPal and GoDaddy to Simple Practice. During her early years, Smita shares how she learned to embrace a growth mindset and find her own voice—both traits that have served her well as CMO.

Later in the conversation, Smita also shares her view about moving from product marketing to a go-to-market strategy, how to plan that launch, and how good leadership plays a key role. Listen to the full episode to learn more.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should embrace a growth mindset and find your voice
  • How to see product marketing as the foundation for strong marketing
  • When to move from product marketing to a go-to-market strategy

Key Highlights

  • [01:24] Growing up in India
  • [02:58] Smita’s career journey
  • [05:40] What brought Smita to the US
  • [07:19] Who Simple Practice serves
  • [09:36] Smita’s first impression of the US
  • [11:28] Finding her voice
  • [15:01] Product marketing as the foundation for strong marketing
  • [17:03] Moving from product marketing to go-to-market strategy
  • [19:00] How go-to-market works at Simple Practice
  • [19:56] How Smita thinks about leadership
  • [23:52] An experience that shaped Smita
  • [26:28] Smita’s advice to her younger self
  • [27:46] What marketers should be learning more about
  • [29:48] The brands and organizations Smita follows
  • [31:50] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned:

Follow the podcast:

Connect with the Guest:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:

Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth opportunities. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine companies.

Gartner: 60% Of US Consumers Believe Brands Should Reconsider Doing Business In Russia

In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, governments worldwide enacted some of the harshest sanctions in modern history while brands working and investing in Russia acted swiftly to alter their involvement or completely cut ties with the country.

Devising a plan of action for the current situation and for when the next country breaks international order could mean the difference between being deemed by consumers as socially responsible and getting canceled.

Knowing where consumers stand right now is a good starting point. According to a Gartner survey of 281 US consumers conducted between February 25 and March 1, 60 percent of US consumers believe brands should reconsider doing business in Russia or partnering with Russian companies.

Respondents see several paths for a corporate response. After reconsidering doing business in Russia, or with Russian companies, consumers’ top priorities for actions companies should take include:

  • Ensuring the safety of their employees and personnel who are in the war zone (55 percent)
  • Preparing emergency plans to ensure that anybody connected to their organization is safe (46 percent)
  • Minimizing disruptions that would lead to consumer good shortages or price increases (46 percent).

Gartner also found that for 60 percent of consumers, an increase in fuel or energy prices is a top concern, followed by the safety and well-being of people outside the US (56 percent) and cyberattacks against US entities (56 percent).

Though 70 percent of consumers rated their level of concern about the invasion at a four or five (where five is extremely concerned) and many want businesses to take concrete action, they’re not eager to hear about it directly from those businesses yet. 

“Marketers should focus first on developing a compelling storyline about company activities, so teams are ready to take action when consumers do become more open to hearing from brands about actions they’ve taken,” said Kate Muhl, vice president analyst at Gartner Marketing practice.

According to Gartner’s survey, few consumers say they want brands to stop or reduce advertising at this stage of the conflict. But brands including General Mills, Google, P&G and more have already announced plans to suspend advertising or close shop in Russia.

General Mills said in a press release that it doesn’t have any plants, employees or distributors in Russia, but that it does have a joint venture with Nestle called Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW). CPW sales in Russia represent less than 1 percent of the total General Mills sales but the company and Nestle decided to stop advertising and suspend all capital investment in CPW.

P&G has discontinued all new capital investments in Russia and is freezing all media, advertising and promotional activity, the company’s president said.

In a rare step, Google paused its ad business in Russia, including search, YouTube and display marketing after the country’s regulator demanded Google stop showing what it considered ads spreading misinformation about the invasion.

In solidarity with the hundreds of global brands rebuking Russia, the CMO Council has created a list of “Brands Taking a Stand,” which it will update daily as long as the crisis continues. 

As marketers assess the Ukraine-relevant exposure, Gartner suggests they consider these three near-term actions:

  1. Review and pressure test existing plans, especially in relevant categories like travel or whose brands have associations with the region.
  2. Direct teams to vary the topics and tone of social posts and other messages. The smartest brand strategies acknowledge and accommodate this diversity of concerns.
  3. Consider the brand’s audience: differences in degree of concern and key concerns can be seen along demographic lines, which may warrant differentiated strategies.

FaZe Clan’s Rebrand From Esports Org To Youth Culture Brand

FaZe Clan CEO Lee Trink spoke with Axios media reporter Sara Fischer about why the brand is more than just an esports organization—and why it’s uniquely positioned to reach Gen Z on their preferred platform.

FaZe Clan, which added Snoop Dogg to its board of directors just a week ago, is about to become the world’s first publicly traded esports organization.

But the description of esports organization is only part of legacy gaming brand’s twelve-year existence.

“We’re a youth culture brand, overall,” said Trink at Tuesday’s featured SXSW 2022 session, ‘Reimagining Media And Entertainment For Gen Z.’

Noting the overlap between gaming culture and Gen Z, Trink said, “at one point gaming lifestyle became synonymous with youth culture. I’d like to think we played an important part in that.”

Recent figures show that gaming is Gen Z’s preferred social platform, with brands reaching them through Roblox and Fortnite. Ninety percent of Gen Zers identify as gamers, making youth culture statistically synonymous with gamer culture.

While there’s an obvious reverence for competitive gaming and esports, Trink notes that it’s more about the creators than the competition. But it doesn’t hurt to be endemic to gaming culture.

“We’re currently champions of two of the most popular esports out there: Call of Duty and Counterstrike. We have 12 esports teams,” said Trink. “But the thing that’s surprising for some people is, while esports is vibrant and growing, it’s gaming as an entertainment platform that is more popular.”

The pandemic has only made gaming more popular with a valuation of the global gaming market at $198.4 billion in 2021 and projected $339.95 billion by 2027.

“In this world, in gaming—the Harlem Globetrotters are more popular than the Lakers,” said Trink. “We derive our massive fanbase and our cultural significance from the content creator-side.”

The bulk of FaZe Clan’s revenue, most through bluechip sponsors like McDonald’s, Nissan, and Beatz, is also diversifying into limited licensing arrangements like the X-Shot at Target and of course, apparel. But FaZe really has its sights set on CPG brands and partnering around events.

“The brand is a mature brand. The business is a […] recent business,” said Trink.

“We’ve been spending the last couple of years really introducing ourselves to the more traditional world, the less-tapped-in world—we’re a legacy brand in the gaming space.”

‘Woke-Washed’ Brands Aren’t Cutting It— The SXSW Guide To Staying Relevant

Panelists along the Advertising and Brand experience track were absorbed with the lingering pitfalls of how and when your brand should show up for sensitive cultural issues—and how to do so authentically. For brands to stay relevant, SXSW panelists suggested that marketers see brand-building more like the construction of social movements, take practical steps to achieve accountability and attract the right people and partners while being open to mistakes.

The Traditional Methods Of Marketing Lack Cultural Currency

At the panel Post-Brands Era: How Brands Spark Social Movements, Natalia Suniga, TikTok regional creative strategist for Social Snack outlined the next cycle of CSR beyond traditional brands, brands with purpose, and into the post-brand era. Suniga contends that for brands to truly mobilize communities toward action, marketers need to start seeing them more like social movements.

Suniga outlined a path for brands that hope to create values-based connections with their audiences. She noted that it’s no longer sufficient for brands to just have purpose-driven initiatives. This is because a combination of rapid technological advances together with shifting behaviors are causing “significant change that restructures social norms, individual beliefs and realities.”

“Gen Z and Alphas are choosing the information they want to consume. They are well-informed,” (sometimes by memes) and they “choose authentic brands that embrace diversity, embrace the environment, and those that also have a positive impact on the world,” noting that 73 percent of Gen Z want brands to take a more significant role in society, while 67 percent of consumers are belief-driven buyers, which means they made purchasing decisions based on their values.

“Traditional brands are no longer relevant nor effective as conscious [social] consumerism grows and people are ready to take action. That is why, when we think of the future of brands, we must think of the role and responsibility they have in social transformation and their connection with new consumers.”

“In a cluttered, fragmented marketplace, “post-brands” can social movements and build communities and mobilize people,” she said.

Citing the Argentinean social theorist Ernesto Laclau as an inspiration, Suniga said “I’ve come to understand brands as social discourses that produce, reproduce and transform social reality. We all know Coca-Cola as an excellent example, of a brand that created culture, created Christmas now as we know it.”

And it’s true that brands have had considerable power, even shaping the modern depiction of Santa Claus. But the transformative power of brands, she suggests, has been diluted within our hyper-active attention economy.

“It’s difficult for each particular information source to truly captivate our attention and influence,” Suniga says.

Such a change can reflect poorly on traditional brands, which can appear out-of-step and woke-washed when adopting cause marketing that lacks dimension. As Suniga puts it, brands become “pink, rainbow or black-washing movements” that use “superficial and sympathetic messages without helping the community or furthering the cause in any way.” The only way out, then, is to go beyond the brand.

Admittedly a “future foresight,” Suniga suggests that post-branding begins with adopting a new perspective on the idea of the brand and its role in society, one that asks marketers to begin to see brands like social movements to capitalize on a new unsatisfied social demand from people: that a product or service they’re buying is actually aligned with their core values.

Want an alternative post-brand future? Listen to Scott Galloway’s promulgations on the post-brand era (or hear some meditative SXSW-themed Galloway wisdom here).

Don’t Be Afraid Of Cancel Culture (Or Get To The Place Where You Won’t Be)

The evolution toward a post-brand era is theoretical and beyond the realm of what’s possible for most brands, but at Avoiding The Pitfalls of Brand Wokeness, Microsoft principal content strategist Sydney Carlton spoke about the urgency to meet and exceed your audience’s expectations for a wider representation of identities right now in concrete, practical steps.

“Your audiences and customers are demanding representation,” says Carlton. “If you’re reducing your representation to stereotypes your efforts will be perceived—at best—as lazy, and at worst, as harmful.”

Her one goal for attendees, she said, was to have them “walk away feeling empowered to advocate for more representative marketing efforts.”

Carlton’s not calling for a collective reimagining of brands as social movements, but a renewed effort to “see beyond the superficialities of ‘wokeness’ and to not fear cancel culture,” and a renewed focus on self-accountability by looking inward at your organization.

In referencing an ill-conceived cascade of decisions from H&M, Carlton pauses and examines the dysfunction.

“We can’t help but wonder. Who ordered that hoodie? Who then placed it on the black boy? Who then took the picture? Who edited the picture? Who posted it on the website? Who did [the] final review? How many hands did this decision go through before it was released to the public? And why wasn’t anyone culturally-aware enough, or empowered enough to call out this mistake?”

“Either there was a lack of diversity involved in this decision-making, or they didn’t feel empowered enough to say what was wrong,” says Carlton. Her suggestion is to “hire qualified and diverse consultants,” she continued. “I know that a diverse and inclusive work environment takes time. Certain verticals are harder than others. So, to fill the gaps in the meantime, hire consultants.”

“If you have self-accountability,” says Carlton, “it’s really hard for cancel culture to come get you.”

To convince the leadership at your organization of the importance of representation, bring data, research, and feedback says, Carlton. Encourage leadership to make a monetary investment toward DEI if it’s truly important to your organization.

Aligning Your Purpose With Core Values And Partners

From the theoretical to the practical and finally, to the actual, the examination of brand values at “The Anatomy of an Authentic Brand” opened with the statistic that 72 percent of U.S. consumers want to buy from companies that reflect their values. Featuring NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, DoorDash CMO Kofi Amoo-Gottfried and NBA chief marketing officer Kate Jhaveri, the panelists discussed authentic partnerships and being open to missteps and criticism.

Bubba Wallace, a brand in his own right, the only black driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series and subject of the new Netflix docuseries ‘Race,’ spoke about how a meaningful partnership was formed with DoorDash and what underpinned his decision to support BLM at the potential cost of fans of the NASCAR brand. “I took a big risk. Our sport is funded by our partners. And without partners then you don’t really last long,” he said, “With everything that was going on, when the pandemic hit, I felt the time was right for me to say something that I believe in, and that’s equality for all of us in this room. Companies want to stay away from that,” he said. But not all companies, after all.

“I think we all needed a reality check and a culture shift to say ‘hey, to talk about these things is a good thing. We need to bring awareness to it.” Wallace continued, “The companies that aligned with that mattered the most to me.”

“I said… you know what? I don’t care the sponsors think, I’m doing this; I’m standing up for the human race, I’m doing what’s right. And actually had DoorDash pick up the phone…” which was the origin of the partnership, he said.

DoorDash CMO Kofi Amoo-Gottfied confirms they did just that, despite uncertainty about how the move would impact the company’s bottom line.

You should be prepared to take risks and adopt a long-view that “doing the right thing is the right thing to do,” says Amoo-Gottfried. There may not be an immediate financial reward to taking a stand. In fact, there may be consequences like a backlash or boycott.

“It’s easy to worry about what you’re going to lose. But when you take a stand there is a lot to gain,” he noted.

“You have to convince the business that this is in their interest. Treating this like it’s a social cause is useful but only to a point. The reality is if you think about black and brown businesses, if you think about demographics, if you think about spending power, if you think about what they drive from a trend perspective, these are the communities that are driving culture around this country, so to ignore them is crazy. Getting businesses to understand that leaning in here is the right thing to do, and it’s also the right thing to do from a business perspective.”

And what to do if your brand takes a stand but makes a misstep? Be authentic.

“Own up to it. Get out in front of it. This is a huge part of being authentic. When you make a mistake, you say you made a mistake. And you are public about that, and let people know how you are going to fix it.”

Ultimately though, the bottom line is still the bottom line; and it goes both ways. NBA CMO Kate Jhaveri notes, “Where your dollars go really tells the story.” Whether that’s hiring the right people or choosing wisely how and where to spend media dollars, it matters.

Amoo-Gottfried put it like this: “It turns out it’s quite hard to speak to the black community or the Hispanic community if you’re not from that community.”

And how to ensure you are speaking authentically and inclusively to your brand’s community? Microsoft’s Sydney Carlton provided some important steps:

  • Be aware of the impact your industry may have on marginalized communities
    • Do your research and understand the issues concerning diversity and representation facing your industry today—make a plan to address them.
    • Determine what role your company should have in moving your industry towards progress

  • Look inward before looking outward
    • Does your company have a DEI strategy?
    • Does your company leadership have a way to formally interact with historically excluded groups?
    • Are there equitable pay practices for employees and partners?
    • Your partners, vendors, and distribution channels will be on this journey with you and may need to be reexamined.

  • Ensure there is diverse representation in every stage of your workflow
    • Hire qualified and diverse consultants on key projects when that representation doesn’t already exist within.
    • Don’t assume that the “diverse” employee’s job is to be the educator on their own identity
    • Bring everyone on the journey of educating themselves to establish a common baseline of education to these projects

  • Realize that diversity has layers, consider intersectionality
    • Don’t think of representation in binary, one-dimensional ways
    • Represent the vastness in the actual lived experiences of marginalized people.

  • Be transparent & accountable
    • Be open about the areas where your organization could be doing better
    • Make plans and intentions for improvement
    • Create measurable goals
    • Leave room to adapt and grow

Paramount+ Deploys 400 Drones At SXSW To Promote “Halo” Series

A cacophony of 400 drones. A colossal, scannable QR code in the sky. No, these aren’t signs of the apocalypse but rather an example of how brands are leveraging tech to bridge their marketing across the digital and physical worlds.

Paramount+ pulled out all the stops during South by Southwest (SXSW) to promote Halo, its upcoming sci-fi series based on the cult-favorite Xbox franchise, which has sold more than 82 million copies worldwide and grossed over $6 billion in lifetime total sales revenue.

Downtown Austin, Texas was aglow with Paramount’s hovering display, which measured 300 feet tall and 600 feet wide. In addition to a scannable QR code, the swarm of drones spelled out in neon purple “#HaloTheSeries Streams Mar 24” as well as the Paramount+ logo, as seen in photos captured by Dennis Hegstad.

To gauge the reaction of locals and online spectators alike, one need only skim through the Austin subreddit. One user likened the Halo ad to “some creepy black mirror shit” while another said it was a “smart idea” to spread the message to anyone who normally wouldn’t be interested in attending SXSW.

Another Redditor expressed their privacy concerns: “For now I’m not too worried (yearly event with new trendy ad tech in place), but there will need to be new laws put in place in 15-20 years to prevent a bombardment of floating ads when they become the norm.”

While thrilling, a marketing stunt of this kind isn’t entirely new, as one Twitter user pointed out. In April last year, China’s largest anime streaming site Bilibili launched 1,500 drones at night over The Bund in Shanghai. They formed a scannable QR code enabling players to download the Japanese role-playing game Princess Connect! Re: Dive.

Once viewed as gimmicky by US consumers, QR codes took on new meaning during the pandemic as they streamlined shopping experiences and helped people learn more about products, services and activations.

According to a study from The Drum/YouGov conducted in June 2021, 75 percent of US respondents said they plan on using QR codes moving forward. And when asked if they had used a QR code related to a marketing or promotional offer, 45 percent said they had and 46 percent said they hadn’t.

The QR code-enabled Halo ad will appear several times again at SXSW Monday night starting around 8 p.m., according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Halo will debut exclusively on Paramount+ – which had 32.8 million subscribers worldwide at the end of its most recent quarter – on March 24. The series has already been renewed for a second season, the company announced.

How Players’ Perception Of The Mobile Ecosystem Has Changed Over The Last Five Years

Today, mobile games account for a huge chunk of the video game industry, with consumers spending $93.2 billion globally on them in 2021. And by 2027, the global mobile gaming market is projected to reach $153.5 billion

Over the past five years, Tapjoy has surveyed tens of thousands of mobile gamers to get a holistic view of their gaming habits, brand and ad preferences, demographics and more. Its latest report, “The Modern Mobile Gamer 2022: Game Dev. Edition,” compares the current state of mobile gaming – with findings based on a survey it conducted among 9,000 mobile gamers in February 2022 – to the findings of its first report published in 2017. 

For its current report, Tapjoy released several surveys via its Offerwall in February 2022 and reached a total of 9,352 mobile gamers aged 18 and older. Each respondent opted in to participate in exchange for in-game rewards or premium content native to each game’s virtual economy.

Who’s Playing

According to the survey, 72 percent of Tapjoy gamers are women, 35 percent are Gen Z, 27 percent are millennials, 21 percent are Gen X and 86 percent live in North America.

What They Play

First up, Tapjoy found that 57 percent of respondents play more mobile games now than they did five years ago. Roughly one-third of these gamers said they have between four and seven mobile games on their phone. For Gen Z gamers, that figure rises to eight or more. Among the genres studied, puzzles are the top category in every age group but are particularly appreciated by Gen X (65 percent) and parents (58 percent). 

The action/adventure, strategy, and simulation categories tied for the second most popular at 33 percent. Tapjoy also found that action/adventure is more popular among men than the puzzle category; strategy is more popular among Gen X gamers and simulation is appealing to Gen Z, millennial and female gamers. Role-playing games (RPG) are popular among Gen Z and non-binary gamers, the report shows. 

Why They Play

More than anything else, respondents said they play mobile games to be entertained (73 percent) and to relax (60 percent). 

According to Tapjoy, 84 percent of users play mobile games, 36 percent play console or handheld games and 30 percent play on PC.  When asked why they prefer mobile games to other platforms, 67 percent cited the convenience, noting “I always have my phone on me.”

Twenty-two percent think that mobile games are now higher quality than they were before. Most mobile gamers discover new titles via ads in other games and only remove mobile games from regular rotation if they’ve grown bored or frustrated (39 percent), finished the story or mission (24 percent) or the publisher stops adding new content (12 percent). 

When They Play

Across generations, 49 percent of gamers play on mobile multiple times a day, with parents being the cohort most likely to do so at 58 percent, followed by Gen X at 54 percent. 

As much as 50 percent of gamers play more than 10 hours per week, which is similar to the average amount played on console and PC. As for what time of day gamers play, 47 percent play during work or school breaks, 44 percent during the evening or just before bed and 38 percent play after getting home from work or school.

What They Spend

Forty-eight percent of parents reported making occasional purchases compared to 40 percent who never do so. Forty-five percent of Gen X gamers make occasional purchases while 40 percent do not. 

More Gen Xers make occasional purchases (45 percent) than never make purchases (40 percent) while for millennials it’s split – 44 percent never make purchases in FTP games but 44 percent spend occasionally. 

About one-quarter of all respondents claimed to wait months before making in-game purchases while parents, Tapjoy found, are willing to spend much more quickly, waiting just a few days after downloading the game.

As for why they make in-app purchases in mobile games, 27 percent said it’s due to a lack of time to earn rewards while another 27 percent said it’s a small price to pay for the promise of continued entertainment. Fifteen percent said they make in-app purchases to reward developers and publishers.


With Google’s plans to scrap third-party cookies and Apple’s IDFA changes, publisher trust has become a major concern in the world of mobile gaming. As Tapjoy found, 43 percent of mobile users are open to app tracking with 29 percent saying the top reason they opt-in is because they trust the developer or publisher. On the other hand, 39 percent reported never opting into data tracking on iOS while the remaining 18 percent said they weren’t sure.


Then Vs. Now

To recap, here’s how players’ perception of the mobile ecosystem has changed since Tapjoy first started measuring these metrics in 2017:




Twenty-one percent of mobile gamers reported favoring ad-supported mobile games while 55 percent would have rather had free apps with in-app purchases.

Fifty percent of mobile gamers now favor ad-supported mobile games while 9 percent prefer paid apps.

Video ads were the most favored rewarded ad type with app installation rewards coming in second.

Video ads are still the most favored rewarded ad type though gamers are more accepting of survey ads and playables.

Forty-four percent of respondents noted that humorous video ads would be most likely to grab their attention.

Humor remains important to 57 percent of respondents who claim that there’s a greater chance of interaction with a video if it’s involved.

The State Of Retail And Ecommerce Q1 2022

Morning Consult will start publishing a new quarterly report, “The State of Retail and Ecommerce,” that tracks evolving consumer shopping behavior and its impact on the industry’s future. For its first report, it surveyed more than 8,000 adults across US, Europe, Mexico, Australia and China and found that consumer comfort with in-store shopping is rising, the growth of online shopping has plateaued and more.

Store Comfort Returns

According to Morning Consult’s findings, US consumers’ comfort with physical shopping is nearing the high-water mark reached in summer 2021. Consumers prefer to shop in-store rather than online for most things, from groceries to apparel to furniture to personal electronics. 

Eighty-two percent said they prefer to shop for groceries and household goods compared with 16 percent who prefer to do so online. Fifty-two percent prefer buying personal electronics in-store versus 38 percent who like to buy the same online.

The role of digital channels in shopping won’t revert to pre-pandemic levels, however, and Morning Consult says investment in digital tools to meet consumers where they were will increasingly bridge digital and physical channels.

When asked how comfortable they’d feel going to a shopping mall right now, 31 percent of US respondents said very comfortable, 33 percent said somewhat comfortable, 19 percent said somewhat uncomfortable and 13 percent said very uncomfortable.

Though they generally prefer in-store shopping, baby boomers are now more likely to shop online given their concern about the pandemic. Urban consumers have mostly adapted to pandemic conditions and local guidelines. Consumers with a household income of $100,000 or more (37 percent) are the most comfortable shopping in malls given their increased access to preventive measures.

When asked how they typically prefer to shop, 41 percent of US respondents favored in-store over online. Younger consumers indicated a predictably higher preference for online shopping yet Gen Z adults and households earning less than $50,000 annually prefer in-person over online shopping.

The sentiment toward in-store shopping is the same globally, with all countries saying they prefer it except China. Unlike in the US, where shopping preferences are similar across genders, women in China and Australia show a higher preference for online shopping compared with men, found Morning Consult.

While in-store shopping is the prevailing preference among consumers, leading retailers are increasingly supporting blended shopping journeys by refitting stores to enhance online orders. Ecommerce brands should focus on barriers to online shopping such as payments and delivery friction while in-store retailers should continue to promote health and safety messaging.

Ecommerce Surge Stabilizes

Morning Consult’s research shows online shopping rates are normalizing in all the countries it analyzed with the exception of China, where a crackdown on big tech is causing the country’s high online shopping rates to decline.

With new services like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and augmented reality (AR) features that help consumers see how products would look on and in their home, ecommerce beats shopping in-store on convenience and time saved. 

But when it comes to factors inducing product comparisons, enjoyment, product details, product quality and customer service, consumers say in-store beats online.

The next phase of ecommerce growth depends on improving product discovery and exploration. Ecommerce brands determining what information a customer deems more valuable in a given category can help them prioritize real estate on product detail pages. 

For example, in Morning Consult’s survey, consumers said they prioritize detailed product information before buying personal electronics. Sustainability was the top consideration for purchasers of beauty and personal care products while reasonable prices are what consumers prioritize when buying groceries and household items.

Consumers from households earning less than $50,000 annually don’t see the same time savings benefit over shopping in-store. Gen Z’s perception of online convenience is less intense compared with other generations while millennials are least likely to enjoy the in-store experience. And wealthy shoppers reported better customer service experiences in stores.

Fulfillment Competition Heats Up

Forty percent of US respondents expect to receive their online groceries and household goods the same day. Yet for non-grocery categories, the need for speedy delivery seems to be industry-led as consumers are generally happy to receive online orders within five days, found Morning Consult. Still, same-day delivery and pickup services are popular with young, wealthy and urban shoppers.

In the US, millennials, men and urbanites expect apparel, personal care products and electronics ordered online to arrive in two days or fewer versus five days or more.  Retailers looking to capture this audience as well as stores with expanding men’s offerings should partner with services offering ultra-fast delivery.

Retailers are afraid that competition for faster delivery in the grocery sector will increase consumer expectations across other categories but Morning Consult says this is unlikely to be the case. For now, retail and ecommerce brands should improve logistics that enable multiple delivery modes instead of competing just on low-cost, high-speed delivery. Retailers can also work within consumers’ expectations and experiment with trade-offs like shipping costs, extra incentives and fulfillment mode choices. For example, nudging a customer who needs an item quickly to pick it up in-store.

Behavior in 2022 suggests fewer shoppers are using the BOPIS feature. Morning Consult notes that scarcity, not safety, will be the ongoing impetus for BIPOS utilization as supply problems continue in some categories.

According to the survey, 35 percent of US adults reported delayed deliveries in January 2022 with no real change from late 2021. When asked about the reason behind their delayed shipment, consumers are more likely to blame fulfillment providers than retailers and brands. To remedy the situation, retailers should be transparent in their post-order communications about timelines.

Some countries are faring better on the supply chain front, like the UK, France and Mexico. In other countries like Australia, China, Germany and the US, more consumers said they experienced delays in their online orders in the last month.

Future Of Physical Stores

In January 2022 alone, US retailers announced 1,910 new store openings while announced store closures are down 65 percent compared with this time last year, according to Coresight research. 

Leading the store opening trend are discount and off-price retailers. Dollar General, for example, announced the most 2022 store openings of any retailers with a focus on rural locations.

For rural shoppers, there’s little difference in perception when it comes to the value of promotions and prices between in-store and online shopping, the survey found. They see online shopping as more convenient and as a means to access higher-quality products.

On the other hand, consumers with households incomes of less than $50,000 are much more likely than higher-earning consumers to shop in-store because they see lower costs as an advantage for stores. Millennials are also more likely to head in-store for the best deals.

Suburban and middle-income consumers see few reasons to shop in-store as convenience and customer service drive them online, according to Morning Consult.

As luxury retailers focus their efforts on experience-driven activations and pop-ups to generate buzz around launches, Morning Consult predicts the future of brick-and-mortar retail is in high-end and discount stores. Targeted in-store experiences can woo urban, high-income shoppers into stores and create opportunities to build brand loyalty. But brands that don’t have differentiated store experiences need to become more competitive online, improving their ecommerce and logistics functionality.