Interview

Sarah Chafer on the next phase of Tapjoy and the rising attention to privacy protection

Tapjoy EVP on 2021’s challenges and opportunity

Sarah Chafer on the next phase of Tapjoy and the rising attention to privacy protection

As 2021 begins to fade into memory, we're taking a look back at the events that have defined the last 12 months in mobile gaming.

We've asked the industry's great and good to give us their take on the year, as well as predicting the trends that will dominate in 2022.

Sarah Chafer is the EVP of global ad sales at Tapjoy, a mobile advertising and app monetisation company.

PocketGamer.biz: What do you think was the biggest news for the mobile games industry in 2021?

Sarah Chafer: Two major themes stand out to me for 2021. The first is the substantial increase in mobile gaming activity we’ve witnessed since the pandemic.

Under the pressure of lockdowns, people began to rely on their mobile devices more than ever, and mobile games were a welcome distraction.

Now we’re seeing that shift precipitated a lasting behavioural change. Today users engage more deeply and show a higher propensity to sign up for paid digital services.

The second theme is privacy and identity protection. Of course, privacy made headlines all year thanks to the ripple effects of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy. Apple and others have taken a clear privacy-centric stance in the interest of protecting users.

The mobile gaming industry is adjusting to that and will continue to do so once Google implements the privacy changes it announced.

I’m thrilled to see how many mobile gaming companies invest in innovative features and models.

Which mobile game do you think had the biggest impact on the industry this year?

Plenty of mobile games climbed the charts this year, but Roblox stands out as one that has truly changed the way the industry thinks about gaming. It opened the door for more creativity, both on the part of developers and the users themselves, who can create content.

The entire game centres on user interaction, which includes the exchange of virtual goods, so its economy goes way beyond what we think of as IAPs. Roblox has really set the stage for every big buzzword going into 2022.

What is your favourite mobile game of 2021?

This year I played a lot of Design Home. In the game, you get to be an interior decorator for virtual environments, experimenting with colour, layouts, and furniture from real brands. It may have even inspired a few of my furniture purchases!

privacy made headlines all year thanks to the ripple effects of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency policy

In terms of your company, what's the thing you're most proud of during 2021?

In 2021 Tapjoy hit a lot of milestones. I’m proud of our platform’s performance, and the success of the company as a whole. We’ve been working remotely for 20 months now, and the team still carries the same hard-working spirit they always do.

The Tapjoy story is still being written, but 2021 was a seminal year as it brought us into our next phase with ironSource. We couldn’t be more proud or excited for what is to come.

What are you most looking forward to in 2022?

Looking ahead, I’m thrilled to see how many mobile gaming companies invest in innovative features and models. The VC world is responding, investing in the studios leading the charge. There are blockchain games unlocking possibilities with in-game ownership of NFTs.

The ‘hypercore’ category is gaining steam as developers realise the potential of creating social experiences. We’re even seeing the emergence of more female-led studios, and they’re receiving funding for their innovative ideas.

You can check out all of our 2021 in Review interviews here.


Staff Writer

Aaron is the Staff Writer at PG.biz and has long enjoyed a good turn-based strategy game. He has spent many more hours playing Fire Emblem Heroes than he cares to admit.