Rebecca Castellani

Singular released its 2020 Mobile Economy Report, tellingly titled “Growth and disruption during global uncertainty.”

To help mobile marketers “navigate this new abnormal,” Singular analyzed the 3.7 billion app installs since January 2020 and surveyed hundreds of leading mobile marketers. “The goal: helping you create a playbook for success, in spite of the challenges we all face.”

Read on for Singular’s actionable insights into mobile marketing in the time of coronavirus.

COVID across verticals

With the world on “Corona time,” global app installs have surged. Singular defines the three categories of COVID-19 disrupted growth as outsized, resumed, and challenged.

The outsized growth of streaming, gaming, and social communication apps is a predictable outcome of quarantine. But Singular also identifies “new abnormal” growth in business services, home health and fitness, on-demand food delivery, and retail subscription apps as a consequence of prolonged stay-at-home measures.

Other verticals that struggled in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak are finally beginning to resume growth. Travel apps “dropped a staggering 83% from highs in January to lows in March,” but the organic interest has almost doubled from March to July, indicating cautiously renewed interest. While in media apps, paid growth overtook organic in April as “agencies found themselves with increased sessions and time-in-app.”

Two categories still challenged by coronavirus are mobile ticketing and financial services. With live events indefinitely on hold, the decline in mobile ticketing apps should come as no surprise. However, fintech, an early pandemic darling, has diminished considerably since April when marketers “turned the tap of paid user acquisition off.”

Top takeaways

Based on the findings in Singular’s 2020 report, here’s how to drive mobile growth across verticals:

  • Optimize stay-at-home culture. As a percentage of people continue to quarantine, the demand for delivery and on-demand services will persist. In May, online spending hit $82.5 billion (77% year-over-year). Social apps “will remain hot” as the need to connect and communicate endures. While the lasting future of remote work presents a prime opportunity for home office software. “The impact is clear,” concludes Singular, “COVID-19 is accelerating trends that were already in place. Not just remote work...but remote living.”
  • Don’t stop, do adjust. “Whether it’s doubling down on advertising or doubling down on content marketing, most marketers think that now is the time to work harder, not take a break.” But leaders in mobile marketing also agree crisis begets creativity, and now is also the time to be nimble and adjust. 43% of marketers surveyed by Singular are pursuing new marketing strategies and product offerings, while 21% are “going to the place that most marketers never want to: discounts.”
  • Retain before gain. Grow your product and save money by prioritizing your existing customers over new acquisitions. During these tenuous times, “an extra emphasis on treating your existing customers and users like royalty goes a long way to solidifying existing business.”
  • Invest in long-term priorities. With so much on hold, now is the perfect time to focus on internal improvements like system and process building, marketing efficiency, and digital transformation projects. “The goal here is to emerge from the coronavirus lean, mean, and positioned to win.”
  • Segmentation is your friend. Every country and US state handles the pandemic differently, so it’s important to use your data to customize marketing and messaging. “Understanding your customers or users and treating them as much like individuals as you can has never been more critical.”

Adapt and evolve

A new abnormal grips the mobile ecosystem. Consumers are confined to their homes, changing their wants, needs, habits, and behavior. Past models are no longer predictive, ad channels rapidly diversifying, consumer preferences ever-evolving. COVID-19 continues to create difficult and lasting challenges, but if mobile marketers can adapt to this once-in-a-lifetime moment and learn to embrace accelerated change, they will be rewarded with unique opportunities to focus, refine, and grow. Check out Singular’s full report on the 2020 Mobile Economy for more.


Rebecca Castellani is a freelance writer, marketing consultant, and content creator based in Connecticut.