2022 Trend Alert

Industry Trends

2022 Trend Alert: Fitness Apps are Strong Performers

3 Minute Read |

Jane Handel

Jane Handel
Product Marketing Manager

Welcome to our Trend Alert series! We recently published our 2022 Global Advertising Trends report, and will be sharing insights, data, and trendy topics from the report in this newest blog series. Even if you’ve already abandoned your New Year’s resolutions by now, we’ll start off with a topic that usually gains some traction at the beginning of each year: Health and Fitness.

Health & Fitness

These days, “health” is on everyone’s minds.

While focusing on health and fitness is healthy for bodies, it’s also good for wallets: McKinsey estimates the global wellness market is worth 1.5 trillion USD1.

Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has left an indelible mark on both mental and physical health of the global population.

In times of uncertainty and stress, and without access to the gym, many turned to their devices to get their daily workouts in. Though the number of health and fitness app users dipped a little in 2021, eMarketer predicts that 2022 and 2023 will outplace 2020, a banner year.

Average Time Spent per Day With Mobile
click to enlarge

On the Smaato platform, we saw a similar trend from 2020-2021. Impressions rose steadily from mid-2020 through summer of 2021, dipping in late summer as lockdown restrictions eased and more users returned to the gym. However, following the rise of the Omicron variant in the fall, impressions began steadily growing once more.

Average Time Spent per Day With Mobile
click to enlarge

And, new apps are now available to make telehealth easier to attain. This crowded fitness marketplace means that advertisers must be creative to help stand out from the competition. OTT Audio Ads can come in handy for reaching runners on their favorite pump-up playlists, while contextually relevant CTV ads can come in handy for those pedalling along at home or at the gym.

A New Focus on Mental Health

In addition to the general stress of an ongoing health crisis, and all that comes with it, people faced (and are continuing to face) loss, unemployment or job uncertainty, isolation, frustration, and loneliness.

It’s no wonder, then, that mental health and mindfulness apps are surging to meet a growing demand. Plus, apps that offer these benefits can also be used at home, and as new variants emerge and some face hesitancy to fully return to indoor activities, these offer an alternative from the comfort of home.

Spend on mental health and well-being apps is an estimated $491 Million in 2022: more than double 2019’s spend:

Mental Health and Well-being Apps
click to enlarge

With a rise in meditation apps to therapy apps, users around the world are turning to their devices to help ease the mental load.

Native Advertising to the Rescue

The last thing you want when you’re trying to feel calm and zen is to have your programming interrupted by an intrusive advertising experience. It can be counterproductive to the publisher’s intended app experience, and can result in negative brand sentiment for marketers.

In order to keep their platforms free for users, ad-supported content can help make publisher content accessible, but the right approach here is key. Native Advertising (and contextual targeting) can help make advertisements not only feel less obtrusive, but also more beneficial for the user. This results in a better user experience, as well as stronger conversion rates.

Native advertisements mimic their environment. This chameleon ad format doesn’t interrupt: it finds success in blending in. By delivering relevant content in a seamless way, native ads garner stronger click through rates. To learn more benefits of native ad formats, check out the full 2022 Global Advertising Trends Report.

Read the 2022 Global Advertising Trends Report

Download your free copy of our 2022 Global Advertising Trends Report to get more great insights into trending topics to help inform your advertising and monetization strategies. Plus, enjoy insights into Smaato’s platform performance YoY, and learn new ways to reach audiences around the world and on any device.

Get Your Copy


  • 1 McKinsey & Company, April 2021

Recent Blog Posts

What are FAST channels? CTV

What are FAST channels?

5 strategies for gaming publishers to enhance user ad experience Ad Formats

5 strategies to enhance user ad experience: a guide for gaming publishers

Interview about CTV and addressability with Davide Rosamilia, ID5 Addressability

Addressability in CTV: In conversation with Davide Rosamilia, ID5’s Director of Product Management

Demand Side Platforms

Ad Tech Privacy: How DSPs are Navigating the Evolving Landscape