With each year, the amount of mobile marketing exhibitions and events grows, and it’s up to CEOs and CMOs to decide where to invest their resources so they could yield the best results.
For new and growing companies, this can prove to be a difficult decision – the event runners spend all their time (and sometimes massive budgets) promoting their events, sharing attendance metrics that don’t necessarily attest to the number of opportunities your business can find there, and when you have a budget for one or two events per year (especially if it’s your first year) the selection could prove to be critical for your survival as a business.
If we put dramatic decisions aside for a second, there’s also locations and entertainment to take in mind, since you won’t spend 24 hours a day holding meetings (hopefully, for your well being), so there’s some fun to be had.
We decided to compile this list to help newcomers (and veterans who just didn’t attend all of the events listed) trying to decide where to allocate their resources, since we wished we knew what we know today when we just got started – it would have saved us quite a bit of stress as well as resources.
For each event, we will list the basic details, some statistics, who it would be the best for, and our personal experience from attending it.
The Big List (Updated 26/05/2019), Ordered By Date:
The largest performance marketing exhibition in the United States. Established in 2003, the exhibition grew to host over 6,000 attendees from over 70 countries.
Best for: Affiliate networks and marketers (obviously), ad networks, smaller-scale influencers.
Personal Experience: The Vegas air seems to have an effect on the attendees and pushes to do as much business as fast as possible, probably so they’d have time to party at night. ASW has always been one of our most effective exhibitions and we believe that companies that are just starting off will find great opportunities there. Most of the participants aren’t there for small talk, so feel free to say “I don’t think we can really do anything together, thanks though!”, shake their hand and move on to the next meeting.
The London Affiliate Conference, with over 5,000 visitors, is where you want to be if you’re in the business of running or promoting gambling and betting apps.
Best for: UK market, Gambling, betting, affiliate networks, and marketers.
Personal Experience: LAC gathers the entire mobile gambling and betting industry of the UK and the surrounding countries to an intense couple of days, proving to be one of the best exhibitions to attend for anyone in the field that will give you plenty of opportunities if you can keep up. Most players are very open to innovative and creative models so feel free to be creative (to an extent) with your pitch.
The Mobile World Congress hosts over 100,000 attendees and provides huge headlines of the different innovations displayed in it every year
Best for: Hard to determine.
Personal Experience: While MWC was never as beneficial for us as a company as other, more focused events were, a lot of players can yield a lot out of it. Since this is truly a massive exhibition – if you’re just attending, make sure you locate the relevant halls in advance and stick to making the most out of them before veering off to see the new Samsung phone, and if your budget allows it, it’s better to exhibit, which is usually the case for most exhibitions honestly. Oh, most importantly – book everything ahead of time – the prices skyrocket towards February, we would advise booking everything as soon as March- basically a year in advance.
A White Nights satellite event hosting over 1,000 attendants and dozens of great speakers.
Best for: Russian market, Indie developers
Personal Experience: Being a smaller event, the networking possibilities for agencies and networks are limited (but they are there if you work hard at it), but you can get a lot out of White Nights Prague if you want to get insights into the Russian market from the variety of speakers from major studios. Before deciding to attend, make sure to check the agenda and see there’s enough content you are interested in.
Recurring on: February, Location: San Francisco, California
Best for: North American Market, Building personal relationships.
A boutique event with an emphasis on preserving a sense of community and intimacy. This event is focused on sharing knowledge and serves as a great place to find new ways to grow your mobile app.
MGS served as a wonderful opportunity to get to know the people behind the apps of some of the biggest American companies. The intimate setting made pitching our user acquisition solutions easily and basing a personal relationship with mobile app developers.
The talks were a great source to accumulate knowledge and stay updated on the latest mobile apps marketing trends.
With over 800 attendees from leading and top grossing mobile game developers and publishers, Next Marketing Summit is one of the most important annual events in the industry in Japan.
Best for: Japanese market (obviously).
Personal Experience: We are going to attend NextM for the first time this year, so we don’t have personal insights yet, but from researching about the past couple of years and from what we heard from our Japanese partners, Next is a great event for networking. We’ll update our personal experience from 2018 here after attending.
One of the largest innovation exhibitions in the world, touring between technology hubs around the globe. Hosted over 100K attendees and 500 exhibitors in 2016.
Best for: Chinese market, monetization
Personal Experience: The Chinese market is probably the hardest to penetrate even as an established company with vast experience. GMIC is one of the only events that lets you meet Chinese companies you virtually can’t meet anywhere else, which is why it’s extremely important to invest time and resources in finding good interpreters in case you don’t have any employees that speak the language, and make sure they understand your business – without it, you won’t get far, but if you prepare GMIC can yield great results for your business.
Expected to host over 1200 attendees in 2018, Mobile Beach seems to be turning into an important event for the eastern European market.
Best for: Easter Europe market, relaxed networking.
Personal Experience: Mobile Beach seems to have been designed to provide a relaxed atmosphere and a change of pace compared to other events in our field. From what we heard over the years, the organizers are starting to reach that goal. With the number of attendees doubling each year, it seems like they are doing something right. That might be their cheeky marketing tactics such as preparing an e-mail template for you to convince your boss to let you attend. Mobile Beach is definitely on our radar for the next couple of years, and we will update this post with insights as soon as we attend.
Recurring on: May, Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Best for: North American Market, Programmatic, Branding
One of the biggest events in the USA, combines lecture halls, parties, and a huge exhibition hall, where all the biggest names in the mobile app world exhibit. Since it’s on such a big scale, it’s a place to attend with defined objectives and after a lot of groundwork.
MAU is a great place for networking and getting to know global mobile companies, both of a bigger and a smaller scale. Our aim when attending a conference of this scale is to stand out, and our way of doing it, without sponsoring an event or getting one of the bigger booths, was to create an interesting booth design and getting people to stop and read our whiteboard (and even snap a picture). It led people into our booth, pre-loaded with questions about our programmatic user acquisition and re-targeting.
The largest Chinese digital entertainment expo, with a focus on gaming in general and mobile gaming specifically. Hosted over 300K visitors and 700 exhibitors in 2016.
Best for: Developers looking to publish in China, UA
Personal Experience: ChinaJoy is intense, a real crucible of business, taking into account the insane temperatures in Shanghai at that time of year. There are three massive halls and you’d be surprised how many huge opportunities you can find if you look carefully and try to talk to as many companies as you can and make sure you have good interpreters like we already mentioned in our personal experience from GMIC.
One of the biggest gaming conferences in Europe, hosting over 345,000 visitors from 96 countries, including 33,200 trade visitors.
Best for: European market, Gaming, e-sports.
Personal Experience: Booths at Gamescom work a bit different than anywhere else. The organizers only allow around 15% of exhibitors to have an open booth, while the vast majority are required to have a closed one. To have a successful Gamescom and to make sure you get the most you can out of it, you’ll have to set up meetings in advance.
A huge and comprehensive digital marketing exposition in the immense Koelnmesse exhibition center, hosting over 40,000 attendees and over 500 speakers.
Best for: European market, programmatic, video, branding.
Personal Experience: As an attendee in bigger events like DMEXCO you need to be extremely focused, almost tunnel visioned in order to get the meetings you actually need to create partnerships that will help you grow your business. This means a lot of preparation, even a couple of months before the show, understanding who’s presenting and who you want to try and meet with, all to make sure you don’t spend your time pitching to irrelevant people.
Running since 1996, TGS is a truly massive and the biggest gaming exhibition in Japan. Initially, the event was mostly focused on Japanese titles, but over the years the exhibition became more inclusive for western publishers.
Best for: Japanese Market, AR/VR, e-sports
Personal Experience: We’re going to attend TGS for the first time this year, we’re going to go in with a bang, and we’re excited. This is obviously the place to be for anything related to gaming in Japan, and since it’s a massive event (over 30K B2B attendees), to get the attention you want, you have to stand out. We’ll share more insights after this years event.
Recurring on: November, Location: Busan, South Korea
The largest game show in Korea, and one of the biggest in APAC, with a massive B2C hall hosting over 300,000 visitors and a large B2B hall with over 500 exhibitors.
Best for: Gaming, gaming and yes, even more gaming.
Personal Experience: In mobile app marketing, if you’re ignoring the Korean market, you’re making a huge mistake. Penetrating the market might be a challenge for foreign companies, but if you have something to bring to the table, you should do your best to bridge the cultural and language gaps. It’s important to learn about Korean mannerisms and the hierarchical structure of communication and most of all, to be respectful and clear as possible, that kind of behavior goes a long way when working with Koreans.
That’s it for now, but be sure to come back to check for updates – we’ll update the big list every month or two with more events and updated insights about existing events.