Mobile Advertising Outlook 2021

10 Predictions for a (Hopefully) Post-Pandemic Year

Executive Summary

2020 is a reminder that making predictions is filled with uncertainties. We’ll try again this year to predict some major stories in mobile advertising in 2021.

How has the coronavirus pandemic changed mobile advertising?

The pandemic has had two major effects on mobile. First, it has accelerated behavioral shifts among users, including increased video streaming, gaming, and mobile shopping. Second, it has accelerated innovation, with advertisers exploring new platforms, and publishers creating new products to address shifting behavioral patterns.

How will iOS 14 affect mobile marketing?

Most attention paid to iOS 14 is on the App Tracking Transparency framework, which will compel app developers to notify users if they want to track and share their data using Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). This will make personalized advertising and attribution more difficult, but also accelerate the shift from waterfall auctions to contextual advertising. iOS 14 also adds a new category for location tracking, which gives users the chance to opt in to imprecise location tracking.

How will new US regulatory policies influence mobile advertising?

The election of a new administration will lead to more regulations. A federal data privacy bill is possible, as is increased scrutiny on the uses of biometric and location data, which may lead to more regulatory focus on bid-stream siphoning.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report explains our 10 predictions for the mobile advertising landscape next year, and the reasoning behind them.

KEY STAT: The coronavirus pandemic dampened growth in US mobile ad spending, but due to increased mobile usage, we now expect mobile ad spending to hit $156.38 billion by 2023, edging out our pre-pandemic figure of $155.26 billion.

Here’s what’s in the full report


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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. 10 Mobile Advertising Predictions for 2021
  3. Trend No. 1: The Pandemic Shifted Consumer Behavior in Ways that Will Accelerate Mobile Ad Spend Growth
  4. Trend No. 2: App Clips Will Shift App Install Advertising
  5. Trend No. 3: iOS 14 Will Accelerate the Shift from Waterfall Auctions
  6. Trend No. 4: Local Search Will Recover Strongly
  1. Trend No. 5: iPhone 12 Will Supercharge Mobile AR
  2. Trend No. 6: Regulations Will Further Squeeze the Supply of Precise Location Data
  3. Trend No. 7: iOS 14 Makes First 24 Hours After Install More Important
  4. Trend No. 8: Mobile Will Gain More Premium OTT Minutes
  5. Trend No. 9: Turmoil in Casual Game Market Will Open Opportunities for Brands
  6. Trend No. 10: In-App Contextual Advertising Will Take a Big Step Forward
  1. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  2. Read Next
  3. Sources
  4. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Mark Ballard
Vice President, Research
Interviewed November 13, 2020
Michael Boland
ARtillery Intelligence
CEO and Chief Analyst
Interviewed November 12, 2020
Paul Bowen
AlgoLift by Vungle
General Manager
Interviewed November 10, 2020
Tal Chalozin
Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer
Interviewed November 13, 2020
Chris Costello
Senior Director, Marketing Research
Interviewed November 12, 2020
Jonathan Harrop
Senior Director, Global Marketing and Communications
Interviewed November 10, 2020
Kevin Hunt
Senior Vice President, Global Marketing
Interviewed November 10, 2020
Katie Madding
Chief Product Officer
Interviewed December 7, 2020
Rina Matsumoto
Senior Product Manager
Interviewed November 10, 2020
Jonas Olsen
Vice President, Video
Interviewed November 13, 2020
Yevgeny Peres
Vice President, Growth
Interviewed November 3, 2020
Tal Raviv
Senior Product Manager
Interviewed November 12, 2020
Mark Slade
Location Sciences
Interviewed November 6, 2020
Christel Sonnekalb
Director, Global Partner Marketing
Interviewed November 17, 2020
Neil Sweeney
Interviewed November 6, 2020
Krystal Taing
Solutions Engineer for Strategic Partnerships, North America
Interviewed November 17, 2020
Daniel Taiz
President and COO
Interviewed November 10, 2020
Stephen Upstone
Founder and CEO
Interviewed November 10, 2020

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Yoram Wurmser


Ross Benes
Daniel Carnahan
Chris Keating
Research Director
Nicole Perrin
Principal Analyst