You’re a mobile marketer thinking about visiting the next edition of MWC Barcelona?
You might want to think twice.
Read a review of this year’s event and find out if attending this event makes sense for you and your business.
First Things First, Let’s Compare
I personally visited MWC Barcelona four times, but as a company, it’s more than that, so you could say that we’re MWC veterans.
With all of this prior experience, I believe we can provide a comprehensive and helpful review for everyone in the app&game industry.
So, let’s head straight to the point — was it better or worse than before?
From my point of view, this year’s edition was a slight improvement over last year’s, which was the first edition to take place after the pandemic. But, compared to the pre-pandemic editions, it was much less app-focused.
Let’s get into specifics.
Once Upon a Time, There Was App Planet
As most app professionals know, MWC Barcelona used to have an entire area dedicated to mobile apps, called App Planet (aka AP).
It would attract over 200 app-specific exhibitors, forming a casual and intimate atmosphere distinct from those of big corporations.
Over the years, it has grown and expanded, creating amazing business opportunities for the entire mobile advertising ecosystem.
Everyone thought it would just keep growing.
However, the pandemic hit, and networking became a distant memory….When things finally restarted, nobody seemed to care about an industry that represents a market size of over $200 billion and significantly contributes to the success of the Mobile World.
The General Feedback
With App Planet gone, app&game businesses are now scattered all over the MWC venue.
Even though the last two editions were smaller than before the pandemic, getting around was more difficult than in the previous ones — it all comes down to organization.
For example, one of the issues was the relocation of the startup area from a separate building to the venue, which made it more crowded.
The general consensus?
This edition was quite messy and less meaningful than the previous ones.
Those who had their own booths were in a slightly better position because they could arrange meetings there, but this doesn’t undermine the fact that the organization had to be better.
What’s More Mobile Than Apps & Games?
Hopefully, MWC organizers will consider the feedback from our industry and make some changes for future events.
Besides an app-dedicated area, the attendees also agreed that the event lacked talks and sessions focused on apps and games.
Instead, it was focused on things like high-tech infrastructure and networking gear.
Since this is the Mobile World Congress, you’d simply expect to hear more about apps and games. I mean, it doesn’t get more mobile than that.
Because, without apps and games, what’s even the point of having the newest mobile devices?
Some other topics the conference could have been more focused on are adtech, monetization, and digital advertising. These are the things that make apps worth being developed and distributed, making up for a huge revenue portion of the mobile industry.
If the event touched more on these topics, it would also be more appealing to people from our industry. If someone attended the last two editions only, they are probably wondering why they should come back.
The Option of Teaming up
At the event, there has been some discussion about what we can do together to make the next edition more valuable.
If organizers themselves don’t do anything to fix this issue, app businesses will probably group together and get booths in a specific area.
This way, it’s possible to recreate the “App Planet” experience.
Will the organizers take action or will this be a necessary move? We are yet to find out.
Are We Going to Attend Next Year’s Event?
We’ll make this decision based on how many companies attend it next year and the program it has to offer. One of the reasons we usually visit MWC is its proximity since it’s not a far trip from Italy to Spain. But, if nothing changes — it might not even be worth this short trip.
While MWC Barcelona used to be a must-attend for mobile marketers, right now, it doesn’t feel right to say it.
Thanks to how much our industry has grown over the years, there is now an array of app-centric events at our disposal.
At MAF, we strive to get the most out of mobile industry events. One thing that helps us with that is our extensive event calendar for the year. The calendar currently consists of 40+ events with regularly updated info, so it makes a great asset for everyone in the industry.
At the moment, many events from this list seem more interesting and profitable for app professionals than MWC.
Sure, they might be smaller, but — it’s not about meeting as many people, but about meeting the right people.
What Made MWC Barcelona Worth the Visit
Let’s end this review on a more positive note.
It’s safe to say that post-event parties made MWC worthwhile.
These are events organized by different app and game companies. At these events, you get a chance to connect with industry peers in a casual setting. In a lot of cases, this is where the “real” networking happens.
At MWC Barcelona, I attended two parties that were wildly different from one another, creating a perfect balance.
The first one was Mobile Carnival, an unforgettable party thrown by AppsFlyer, data.ai, and Moloco. At this event, app professionals got together to party hard until late hours.
The other one was Momentum by AppLovin, Adjust, and Snapchat. This event was more focused on networking and business talks.
It would have been even better if these events could have taken place in reverse order, starting with an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other before hitting the party scene. 🕺
Worried about missing out on the exciting parties if you decide to skip MWC Barcelona 2024? Rest assured, similar events are held during all major conferences, so there will always be plenty of opportunities to join in the fun.
The secret to never missing a great party?
Follow MAF on Medium! Whenever there’s a big conference, we list all the best parties and side events for our readers.
Over to You
Did you visit this year’s MWC Barcelona? Get in touch – I’d love to hear your thoughts too!