2022 State Of Customer Data Platforms Report

The combination of the uncertainty of COVID-19, accelerated digital transformation and the impending end of third-party cookies has made customer data platforms (CDPs) an essential part of marketers’ technology portfolios. 

Research firms predict annual growth rates of more than 25 percent in the CDP market for the rest of the decade. Tealium’s third annual study “2022 State of the CDP Report: The Art of What’s Possible in the Age of Data” shares how marketers can remain competitive in the rapidly changing digital landscape using CDPs.


Technology Spending Continues To Rise

According to Tealium’s report, 87 percent of marketers expect to increase technology spending in 2022 while 40 percent plan substantial increases—up from 32 percent reported in 2021. 

Of the solution areas reported as the most important for marketers’ CDP to address, customer experience (41 percent) ranked highest, followed by loyalty and customer retention (38 percent) as well as growth and customer acquisition (33 percent). 

CDPs were critical in helping businesses achieve their highest objectives in 2021, including protecting customer data (cited by 57 percent), expediting customer acquisition (54 percent), creating more personalized customer interactions (53 percent) and offering a more unified experience across channels (51 percent).

Among the top five reasons why respondents invested in a CDP, protecting customer data privacy and/or complying with security regulations were listed first, followed by leveraging real-time data collection to be more responsive and improving capability across technology investments.


CDPs Yield Tangible ROI

As CDPs become more defined, so too are CDP use cases to see a return on investment. Because CDPs drive more timely and relevant interactions, business growth and organizational processes across internal departments have become more efficient.

Roughly 70 percent of marketers reported earning positive ROI within six months of investing in a CDP while 96 percent earned a full return within one year. Of the metrics marketers use to measure ROI, 37 percent cited data quality as the most important—especially true in the financial services industry—followed by customer experience (22 percent) and operational savings (22 percent).


Many External Factors Are Disrupting Business

Privacy regulations, third-party cookie loss and the COVID-19 pandemic are the three most-cited external factors that are rapidly producing change in the business landscape. Data-driven businesses are increasingly relying on CDPs as the fundamental change agent necessary to adapt. In fact, 91 percent of respondents told Tealium digital transformation is a primary driver of CDP adoption.

Regulatory changes around customer data (40 percent) are the external market factor expected to have the greatest business impact in 2022, followed by technology disruption/advancement (40 percent) and the lasting effects of COVID-19 (38 percent).

Retail respondents cited hurdles involving the management of customer identity and changes to privacy consent management regulations as considerations during CDP selection significantly more so than did other industries.

Ninety-two percent of respondents in retail cited pandemic-related disruption as one factor in their CDP choice, compared with 79 percent of respondents in all fields and 68 percent in the technology sector. Healthcare respondents cited the pandemic’s ripple effects as having a sizable influence on their sector in 2022.

Besides accelerating the shift to ecommerce, the pandemic also caused consumers to increase reliance on reviews and promotions and to demand greater value from retailers. Thirty-one percent of respondents to a survey conducted by Vericast consider themselves “price-conscious,” an increase from 23 percent in 2020.


Budgets Are Bouncing Back

After budget cuts were experienced during the first chapter of the pandemic, between 50 percent and 60 percent of marketers increased spending in eight of the nine critical technology categories in 20221. 

Digital marketing comprises 58 percent of the overall marketing budget and is expected to increase by 15 percent in 2022. Virtual engagements are the primary area in which marketers intend on investing in customer engagement this year. Five percent of respondents said budgets are a limiting factor in purchasing artificial intelligence (AI) tools.


Age Of Intelligence Is Dawning

Ninety-seven percent of executives report that AI capabilities were crucial to successfully carrying out marketing objectives in 2021. Consumers have grown to expect or rely on AI’s input in their customer experience, and IDC anticipates 90 percent of new enterprise applications will utilize AI by 2025.

Marketers across the board have enjoyed AI’s ability to enhance the customer experience, increase agility and improve productivity. Data-informed machine learning algorithms are delivering value in a number of ways. 

Voice recognition systems, for example, are now able to detect emotion in a customer’s tone and transfer them to the service representative best suited to handle their needs. Machine-generated content is now indistinguishable from that created by people. And predictive insights enabled by machine learning allow marketers to target prospects more accurately and suppress individuals less likely to become profitable.

Despite its many uses in retail, AI was ranked less important to marketing efforts there than it was in other sectors. 


Customer Trust Is King

Customers now demand increased privacy and respect for how their data is gathered, stored and utilized. At the same time, customers are seeking more from the use of their data by the business they interact with. Marketers have responded to this dichotomy by prioritizing customer data protection, citing privacy protection as the primary reason they invested in a CDP. 

About 75 percent of respondents to Tealium’s survey—and 84 percent of those in the retail landscape—reported privacy consent management as an important market factor that influenced the decision to choose a CDP. Respondents’ top criteria for selecting a CDP were customer service (cited by 61 percent) and compliance (57 percent).

For 57 percent of executives, heightened protection of customer data is the most desired and important outcome in 2022. Technology respondents indicated substantially less interest in customer privacy protection than retail respondents, healthcare and financial services. Only 38 percent of technology executives reported privacy as a priority in 2022. Similarly, tech respondents also showed the least interest in improving brand perception compared to other sectors studied, with only 13 percent citing it as a top business trend in 2022.

Hub Study Finds Voice Command Is Commonplace Among Consumers

Every year, voice control technology and usage continue to advance for media uses, home appliances and other applications. In its newest study “Voice Control 2021: The Future Speaks” Hub measures the impact of smart speakers and voice technology on entertainment.

The firm predicts that, despite the hurdles associated with advancing technology such as voice-controlled devices, including privacy concerns, consumers will become progressively more comfortable using voice commands and voice will become the primary method for controlling media within the next decade.

Hub conducted an online survey of 2,500 US consumers aged 16 to 74 in November and December 2021 and found that consumer experience with voice control is widespread. Eighty-three percent of respondents have used voice commands with at least one device with 91 percent of those under age 35 and 73 percent of those 55 or older reporting the same.

Of all devices on which voice commands have been used, smartphones (70 percent) are the most common, followed by smart speakers (45 percent), TV (32 percent), tablet (28 percent), computer (26 percent) and in-car (24 percent). Seventy-seven percent of respondents reported being overall satisfied with how responsive their smart speaker is to voice control.

Hub’s survey also sought to understand what the most important uses and capabilities of voice are. Thirty-two percent of respondents reported that Answering Queries like internet search, asking questions and navigation is the most important. Communication (18 percent) including text messages, emails and phone calls is the second-most important capability. 

“Voice command is here to stay, and very likely will end up being the main way we interact with our media choices,” said David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study. “But there are hurdles to overcome – some as simple as getting people to try it, and some as complex as assuaging consumer privacy fears. As we often see with new tech, consumer education is needed throughout the adoption cycle.”

Of those hurdles to increased usage, privacy is the highest concern. Fifty-three percent of respondents report privacy as a vital consideration when using voice-controlled devices—a decrease from 59 percent who reported the same in 2019. 

Other concerns include unauthorized listening (38 percent) and the type of data being collected (39 percent). The number of respondents concerned about these lesser issues dropped from 46 percent and 48 percent, respectively, since 2019. Even respondents who don’t own or use a smart speaker—and don’t intend on owning one—cite privacy as a primary concern (down from 66 percent in 2019).

At 33 percent, Amazon Echo is the most common smart speaker today, up from 26 percent in 2019. Despite the fact that it was not first-to-market with voice, Amazon had a first-mover advantage in smart speakers with its 2014 US debut of the Echo and built-in voice assistant Alexa. Since then, it has consistently released new features that make the Echo easier to use. It’s expected that by 2025, 130 million Echo speakers will be shipped globally (https://safeatlast.co/blog/amazon-alexa-statistics). According to Hub, trailing behind Amazon Echo are Google Nest (Home) at 14 percent and Apple HomePod at 5 percent.

As mentioned previously, media control is a primary use of voice command. Of the Amazon Echo owners who responded to Hub’s survey, 68 percent use it to search for media content, 61 percent to control media playback and 57 percent to control other media devices. 

Among Google Nest owners, 69 percent use it to search for media content, 67 percent to control media playback and 65 percent to control other media devices. And among Apple HomePod owners, 87 percent use it to search for media content, 90 percent to control media playback and 88 percent to control other media devices.

Apple’s HomePod is the most likely of the three devices to be used to consume or control media. Sixty-one percent of HomePod owners chose it due to its compatibility with other devices compared to 31 percent of Echo and 39 percent of Nest.

Eighty-eight percent of HomePods control other media devices compared to 57 percent of Echo and 65 percent of Nest. Sixty-eight percent of HomePods are used as radios versus 48 percent of Echos and 49 percent of Nests. Ninety-six percent of HomePods are used to control video or audio apps and services compared to 78 percent of Echos and 79 percent of Nests.

Respondents ranked voice control as the least important feature, among eight, for a new TV. Twenty percent of respondents reported using voice commands with TVs, TV remotes or TV-connected devices—most often to search for programs or movies and less often for device control such as volume adjustment or playback. Of those respondents who don’t use TV voice commands, 42 percent have a TV-voice-capable device.

Blockchain And The Future Of Marketing With Peter Shankman

Peter Shankman is a five-time, bestselling author and entrepreneur, and a corporate keynote speaker. He focuses a lot on customer service and the new and emerging customer economy.

In this episode, Peter and I discuss his way of thinking and his living with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Later we transition to PR and then dive down the rabbit hole of Web 3.0, what it is, and what it means for the future of marketing.

Listen to hear more about the Web 3.0 revolution and the next evolution of web technology.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why you need to be useful and helpful
  • Understanding where blockchain fits in our future
  • The importance of creating with your audience in mind

Key Highlights

  • [02:22] Describing what Peter does
  • [03:40] ADHD as a superpower
  • [06:29] Peter’s advice for those suffering with ADHD
  • [07:44] Thoughts on PR as the only consistent marketing tactic
  • [10:58] What’s changed in PR?
  • [15:11] How blockchain applies to the future
  • [20:02] Creating with your audience in mind
  • [26:57] Listen to what people have to say
  • [29:34] Learning from electric cars
  • [31:04] “Hot or not” with Peter
  • [36:08] Peter’s advice for marketers
  • [38:55] An experience that defines Peter, makes him who he is today
  • [40:04] Peter’s advice for his younger self
  • [41:54] What marketers should learn more about
  • [42:35] The organizations and brands Peter follows
  • [43:15] The biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with the guest:

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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.

Nielsen ONE Hopes To Make Ad Measurement Easier With Debut At CES

While Nielsen is still closely associated with linear TV audience measurement, the company appears to have made some significant strides as of late to play catch-up in the digital measurement space.

Debuting at CES (which is also making its triumphant return this year in spite of panelists canceling due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant), Nielsen ONE Alpha is the first iteration of the Nielsen ONE platform that promises deduplication of data.

“All our hard work this past year has positioned us to take this significant step in fundamentally changing the game and providing the industry with what it wants, needs and deserves,” said Karthik Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Nielsen in the company’s press release.

Disney and MAGNA are some of the companies Nielsen is testing out Nielsen ONE Alpha with, which is slated to fully launch in December this year.

“There’s a critical need for the evolution of measurement to truly reflect audiences and engagement, and Disney is uniquely positioned to help define and develop that roadmap,” said Julie DeTraglia, Head of Research, Insights and Analytics, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution in the press release.

The cross-platform measurement system is said to allow for comparability and audience deduplication across screen devices (TV, computer and mobile) to “support the $100 billion video advertising ecosystem.”

Becoming A Transformation Agent With Onriva’s George Corbin

George Corbin is a Board Director at Edgewell Personal Care and is the COO of Onriva, a next-generation, AI-powered, travel marketplace.

In this episode, George and I talk about his career path, which includes consulting through the boom and bust of the internet, becoming Chief Digital Officer at Marriott, leading their digital transformation, and making his way to a position on Edgewell’s board.

Throughout our conversation, we discuss lessons learned through leading digital transformation, what that means for the marketing function, and marketers should think about leading a digital transformation. George says, “The best marketers are transformation agents,” and sometimes that means getting really good at being insightful with your customers and looking at the data. 

Listen in to hear more about digital transformations and the hot topics board members are currently discussing.


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Getting digital transformation right
  • Making your company a growth engine 
  • Opportunities for marketers on a board

Key Highlights:

  • [02:00] George’s wrestling match with an octopus 
  • [04:10] George’s start in marketing
  • [10:34] Getting digital transformation right
  • [18:57] Becoming a board director
  • [21:48] Opportunities for marketers at the board level
  • [26:11] Shifting to a mind of governance 
  • [31:20] “Hot or not”—what boards are talking about
  • [38:55] George’s advice for CMOs
  • [45:26] An experience that defines George, makes him who he is today 
  • [48:33] George’s advice to his younger self 
  • [50:14] What marketers should be learning more about 
  • [52:07] The brands and organizations George follows
  • [55:42] The biggest threat or opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned: 

Follow the podcast:

Connect with the Guest:

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.

Ayzenberg Introduces Next Iteration Of Its Social Index, SI 3.0

With 70 percent of consumers saying trusting a brand is more important than in the past, marketers are increasingly seeking earned media mentions, which research shows helps gain consumer trust. Earned media, namely media that marketers haven’t paid for and don’t own, comes in many forms, including organic influencer tags, op-eds, interviews, news segments, documentaries, and the like.

Using Ayzenberg’s Social Index and Earned Media Value Index (a.EMVI), over 3,000 companies worldwide have measured the dollar value of their social media actions and endorsements that comprise modern earned media. The company recently debuted the latest iteration of its Social Index, SI 3.0, with four new updates exclusive to members, including an updated algorithm, a dashboard and EMV visualizer, global EMV for key markets and daily EMV updates.

First up, SI 3.0 boasts a new EMV engine and algorithm for improved accuracy. The Index’s API—built on decades of media buying, analytics reporting for Fortune 500 companies, third-party research and Ayzenberg’s Orchestra Tech platform—provide marketers with more precise vertical values, which enhance the value proposition to their customers.

Next, a new dashboard and EMV visualizer, the latter which is in beta, will allow analysts, media planners and integrated marketers to select a date range all the way back to January 2020 to understand how a specific key performance indicator (KPI) performed on a specific platform and location. 

This time-bound visualization, helpful for enhancing postmortems, is available for seven top social media platforms including YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Twitter. Last November, Ayzenberg introduced TikTok values to its Social Index.

SI 3.0 also now offers global values across key markets including NA, EMEA and APAC countries. With these expanded regions and the program’s EMV visualizer, marketers can choose any two locations and compare the difference between the areas for the same industry platform and KPI.

Lastly, marketers can keep an eye on the EMV of their influencer, content marketing, PR, and organic and paid social media campaigns with a.EMVI’s new daily EMV updates. A snapshot of the day’s Index is dynamic and updated on the fly, according to Vincent Juarez, Ayzenberg CMO and a.EMVI author.

The variables used to calculate EMV are nuanced, which makes it more difficult to accurately quantify than paid and owned media. But it’s critical to do so given earned media’s growing impact on the bottom line. For example, an Edelman survey found that 44 percent of consumers were influenced by positive press to choose a brand. And Yale researchers concluded that op-eds are a cost effective way to influence people’s views, finding that an op-ed costs from about 50 cents to $3 per mind changed.

Influencers are particularly useful for driving earned media and influencing consumer buying behavior. According to a new GRIN report, over half of consumers said that general, word-of-mouth and social media are their preferred mediums for discovering new brands. What’s more, about 80 percent told GRIN that social media directly impacts their purchasing decisions and 35 percent have confirmed that they were “very” or “extremely likely” to purchase influencer-endorsed products online.

SI 3.0 offers two subscription plans, a monthly $600 plan and an annual $6,000 plan. Click here for more information.

If you’re interested in seeing how your social campaigns stack up, a.network developed the Social Index tool with the goal of becoming the industry standard for measuring earned media value (EMV) and campaign ROI.

Social Index 3.0 leverages a combination of expert analysis, machine learning algorithms and vast amounts of proprietary and public data. The index helps brands and agencies take engagement and earned media ROI measurement to the next level.

Experts Weigh In On Shoppable Ads Trends

As traditional shopping increasingly wanes, retailers are ramping up investment in shoppable ads. From livestreams and Google Shopping to Checkout on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp and Product Pins on Pinterest, these shoppable forms enable consumers to go from discovery to purchase in seconds, leading to greater profits. Ahead, executives from AcuityAds, Joyned, Wunderkind and Clinch share the trends that brands should keep ahead of as retail strategies evolve to favor shoppable media.


Shoppable Media Helps Advertisers Shorten Path To Purchase And Build Relationships With Consumers

Seraj Bharwani, AcuityAds chief strategy officer, says to keep in mind shoppable media’s two objectives. The first is to facilitate the path to purchase with direct access to ecommerce. In-stream, in-video, in-feed and in-Pin transactions allow advertisers to build efficient access to their ecommerce sites and facilitate the sale. These formats are best for small-ticket and impulse purchases where the consumer’s decision journey is naturally short – for example, consumer packaged goods, wellness and beauty categories.

The second objective, according to Bharwani, is that shoppable media intend to help advertisers achieve first-party relationships with consumers. While it cannot guarantee a transaction for considered purchases, shoppable media can meet consumers during the exploratory stage of their decision journey, for example when seeking financial services, healthcare and automobiles. Nevertheless, front-end media alone will not decrease the journey for such purchases given that they often take weeks to months to complete the transaction. In this context, brands require post-media exposure to increase sales productivity.


Address The Experience, Not Just Driving Behavior

According to Joyned chief executive officer Jonathan Abraham, true social shopping is about addressing the consumer’s experience and going beyond Facebook Shops or clicking on Instagram Ads. 

Retailers can help reduce reliance on third-party social media platforms by offering virtual spaces where friends can have private, ‘dressing room’ conversations, notes Abraham. Doing so will drive higher organic traffic and average orders while also increasing lifetime customer value.


Adapt To The Consumer And How They Want To Communicate With A Brand

Where social media was once a tool to discover new products, it has now become the channel where products are purchased. Wunderkind president Michael Osborne stresses the importance of recognizing that every touchpoint in a consumer’s shopping experience has the potential to lead to revenue. To capitalize on this fact, brands must offer an authentic, personalized and experience-evoking email, text or direct message. 

Wunderkind’s research found that 51 percent of US consumers view email as the most effective form of communication from brands, followed by text (38 percent), in-app messaging (23 percent) and instant messaging (22 percent). Among the four forms of communication listed here, brands underutilize text messaging in particular. Not only does this channel help brands achieve a direct line of communication unavailable elsewhere, but it also allows for easy sharing of links to personalized promotions.

To earn loyal consumers and develop a reputation for reliability, brands must offer more than quality products and active social channels—they must adapt to the consumer and recognize how they want to be engaged with and through what channels while continuing to prioritize their interests and needs, according to Osborne.


The Importance Of The Consumer Experience In Shoppable Media

The personalization of shoppable ad units was the last element that commerce brands had envisioned addressable TV would solve for. According to Oz Etzioni, chief executive officer and co-founder of Clinch, enabling ‘shoppability’ doesn’t solve for the redundancy of the same irrelevant shoppable units being served to the consumer. 

Clinch personalization has the ability to reflect tonality and inconspicuous call-to-actions that allow shoppers to respond to on their own time—whether by pausing their show to make a purchase online or scanning a QR code as they continue watching their live program uninterrupted. As Etzioni notes, by personalizing the shopping ad, brands can improve the user experience with the effect of making the user more receptive to the message and less likely to exit the stream or app.

Brands must make the path to purchase as seamless as possible during 2021’s holiday season given the uncertainties associated with the intersection of shelter-in-place and work-from-home shopping habits with supply chain and shipping issues, according to Etzioni. Apart from sales lift and return on investment, shoppable ads may also be used to reinforce relationships with retailer platforms and provide helpful information regarding consumer preferences.

Intel Announces New Developer-First Products And Technologies At Inaugural Innovation Event

At its inaugural Intel Innovation event keynote, broadcast live from Fort Mason in San Francisco, Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger and the company’s executive team members debuted new products, tools and technologies as part of its renewed commitment to the developer community.

“Our recent actions in the ecosystem must be built on core values that are essential to you, but we haven’t done a great job recently. Today, this changes. We can and we will do better. Today we are recommitting to delivering what you expect and need from us—a complete portfolio of hardware, software tools, technologies and products for developers,” Gelsinger said.

According to Gelsinger, Intel’s new developer-first strategy is built upon three elements: creating an open ecosystem and unlocking the garden gates for developers, a belief in horizontal ecosystems where developers can choose their own setup, and solutions with world-leading security features to ensure trust.

First up, Intel announced a new unified Intel Developer Zone, which gives developers access to a consolidated Intel Developer Catalog of key Intel software offerings in addition to an improved Intel DevCloud development environment to test and run workloads on several of Intel’s newest hardware and software tools.

Next, Intel said it’s gearing up to ship oneAPI 2022 toolkits with 900 features since it shipped last year. As noted in a press release:

“This new launch adds cross-architecture software development capabilities for CPUs and GPUs through the first unified C++/SYCL/Fortran compiler and Data Parallel Python and expands Advisor accelerator performance modeling, including VTune Flame Graph to visualize performance hot spots and improves productivity through extended Microsoft Visual Studio Code integration and Microsoft WSL 2 support.”

Intel also announced 11 new partners including Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of California Berkeley, who will deliver strategic code ports, additional hardware support and new services and curriculum to enable further ecosystem adoption of oneAPI.

The company also unveiled its 12th Gen Intel Core processor family, which includes the launch of six new unlocked desktop processors, including the 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900K gaming processor and 60 processors set to power more than 500 designs from Intel’s partners.

In addition, Intel’s new solution for data scientists—available on Linux-based workstation PCs from Dell, HP and Lenovo—will enable them to iterate, visualize and analyze complex data at scale “with the highest memory configuration of any similar offerings,” according to the press release.

In expanding developer accessibility to AI, Intel shared an overview of its Aurora Supercomputer, which will exceed two exaflops of peak double precision compute performance, enabling it to handle high-performance computing, AI/ML and big data analytics workloads.

“Developers are the true superheroes of the digitized world – a world which is underpinned by semiconductors. We will not rest until we’ve exhausted the periodic table, unlocking the magic of silicon and empowering developers so that, together, we can usher in a new era of innovation,” said Gelsinger.

Unexpected Lessons In Leadership And Marketing With StockX CMO Deena Bahri

Deena Bahri is the Chief Marketing Officer at StockX, a Detroit-based technology company providing an online resale marketplace for sneakers, apparel, accessories and collectibles.

In this episode, Deena and I discuss her journey to becoming a CMO, the defining moments in her career, and the lessons motherhood has taught her about leadership and marketing. Deena says, “We’re never just sitting back and saying, oh, we’ve got this covered. We know exactly how to do that.”

Listen to hear Deena’s approach to leadership and how she is embracing new opportunities to grow while never losing sight of the customers’ needs.


In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Forgive yourself when you aren’t perfect
  • Always seek improvement
  • Focus on building trust with your customer

Key Highlights:

  • [01:29] What has motherhood taught Deena about marketing?
  • [04:51] Deena’s journey to StockX
  • [06:57] What even is StockX?
  • [14:08] Seizing growth opportunities
  • [17:45] Marketing to sellers and buyers
  • [19:43] Deena’s approach to leadership
  • [21:40] Defining moments in Deena’s life
  • [24:49] Advice to her younger self
  • [25:53] Don’t underestimate data and analytics
  • [27:18] Brands to follow

Resources Mentioned: 

Subscribe to the podcast:

Connect with the Guest:

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.

AppsFlyer: The State Of Ecommerce App Marketing 2021

According to a new AppsFlyer report, global ad spending on app installs in Q4 2020 and Q1 2021 reached $5.4 billion, with the US leading the way, followed by Brazil and the UK. That momentum continued as ecommerce app installs saw a 48 percent increase between January and July 2021, with Android gaining 55 percent and iOS 32 percent. Around that same time, ecommerce app spend experienced a 55 percent increase as compared to March to July 2020. 

Ahead we’re breaking down additional global and US ecommerce app insights from the report as well as AppsFlyer’s tips on how marketers can respond to the holiday rush and the challenge of iOS updates.


Impact Of COVID-19

COVID 19’s impact on consumer behavior can’t be understated. The ongoing digitization of our lives won’t taper as the pandemic seems to be – 70 percent of teen and adult smartphone users in the US stated they would continue their COVID-19-induced smartphone behaviors even after the pandemic is over.

Globally, mobile commerce grew roughly 30 percent in 2020 and made up 64 percent of retail ecommerce sales. According to eMarketer, mobile commerce sales will approach $3.2 trillion this year and surpass $5 trillion in 2025.

In addition, Global ecommerce app installs rose by roughly 50 percent in 2021 – the same level reached during the 2020 holiday season – as consumer spending rose by 55 percent YoY. Accordingly, ecommerce app usage during the 2021 holiday season will be unprecedented.

To capture the most value out of these behaviors, retailers should put mobile apps at the center of their Q4 marketing strategies and secure seamless transitions from mobile web to app, where, according to a Google report, performance is significantly higher. Additionally, marketers must communicate with existing buyers where they are and use deep linking to smoothly reach the correct destination within the app.


State Of Ecommerce Apps In North America

While growth is more widespread around the world on Android, iOS dominates the US market share in ecommerce, comprising roughly one-quarter of the market, based on AppsFlyer’s data. The US comprises one-third of global ecommerce user acquisition (UA) budgets at over $18 billion in H2 2020 and H1 2021 combined. This is due to the US’ massive scale and a particularly high cost of media. Scale plays a larger role than the cost of media in developing markets like Brazil and India while the opposite is true for developed markets like Germany and Japan.

AppsFlyer also found that app installs are up 36 percent YoY compared to pre-pandemic levels, with 2021 in-app spending having peaked in March with a 156 percent increase over March 2020. Additionally, the 2020 COVID-19 app install surge surpassed the holiday rush, which begins in November, by 8 percent.


iOS 14.5 Leads To Decline In Remarketing Conversions

iOS remarketing conversions declined by 50 percent after the launch of iOS 14.5 while Android remarketing conversions witnessed a 10 percent decline over the same period between April and July 2021. As of August 2021, 83 percent of US iOS ecommerce app users have upgraded to iOS 14.5 or newer. Of those, 42 percent of users prompted have opted in.

To get the max opt-in rates, AppsFlyer suggests ensuring that apps evaluate when and how to display the ATT prompt and optimize the user experience to harness users’ trust. To acquire full iOS attribution coverage, marketers should also make sure their media partners are integrated with SKadNetwork (SKAD) and that reporting includes SKAD data without double counting. 

Lastly, marketers can prepare early for the holiday rush by utilizing the lower cost per install (CPI) in Q3 and increase UA before Q4 rush. AppsFlyer reminds marketers that remarketing reaches its peak effectiveness in November and December while CPI rises dramatically in Q4.


2021 Spending In Ecommerce Apps Up 35 Percent YoY

March 2021 saw an in-app revenue spike that was just 6 percent less than the peak in November 2020 and 9 percent higher than the July 2020 spike resulting from the first COVID-19 lockdown. Despite the fact that in-app spend has declined by 16 percent since March 2021, it’s up 35 percent YoY through July 2021.

November 2020 experienced a 16 percent holiday season spike over that year’s previous high watermark. This year, AppsFlyer predicts ecommerce in-app spend will rise by 42 percent between July and November.


App Install Ad Spend Down 10 Percent YoY In 2021

Despite ecommerce app installs being up 2 percent YoY in 2021, app install ad spend per app is down 10 percent this year, according to AppsFlyer. Nevertheless, ad spend is very likely to surge during Q4 based on the consistent holiday rush.

iOS app install ad spend per app was 22 percent higher, on average, than Android between January and April. In the months after the iOS 14.5 launch, Android install ad spend per app surpassed that of iOS spend by 4 percent on average.


Marketers Aren’t Capitalizing On Low Android Cost Per Install (CPI)

Compared to non-organic installs being 14 percent below the average for the same period last year, Android CPI was 50 percent below average in July 2021. Consequently, Q3 and Q4 2021 will likely serve as strategic moments to invest in Android UA given the holiday season and that overall Android installs in July 2021 were just 5 percent below average.

In addition, AppsFlyer found that iOS CPI surged leading up to iOS 14.5. Q1 2021 iOS CPI is up 129 percent over Q1 2020 while the average Android CPI is up 20 percent over the same period.