Loyalty costs have hit a record high in December, as evidenced by the Fiksu Indexes published today by Fiksu, Inc., the data-fueled mobile marketing technology company. At $4.23, the cost to acquire a loyal user jumped 19 percent since last month and 101 percent since last year, blowing past the last record high of $4.14 in September. As predicted in last month’s analysis, the declining costs for app marketers in November represented only temporary relief, with loyalty costs rebounding in December as the holiday season shifted into full swing.
On the volume side, the Fiksu App Store Competitive Index, representing the combined daily downloads of the top 200 free iOS apps, rose 16 percent since last month, reaching 8.5 million daily downloads. While this increase in volume is significant, it is comparatively less than the increase in costs, suggesting there was fierce competition among app marketers in December. In-month patterns show the holiday impact clearly, with downloads surging 13 percent during Christmas compared to the week prior, a result of users opening new tablets and phones and rushing to fill them with apps.
“Holiday competition for loyal app users was unsurprisingly fierce this month,” said Micah Adler, CEO of Fiksu. “New device users are a desirable demographic and marketers will fight for the attention and home screens of these new users, for a chance to gain their loyalty for the long-term. We expect to see this competition continue into January.”
Fiksu also noted a significant discrepancy in the Cost Per Install (CPI) Index on iOS and Android, which measures the cost per install directly attributed to advertising. Month over month, iOS CPI declined 5 percent to $1.46, while Android CPI rose a surprising 52 percent to $3.34. This jump in Android costs, a spike of 144 percent year-over-year, marks the fifth month in a row that Android CPI more than doubled last year’s figures. The steep contrast between the two can be attributed to the popularity of incentivized marketing on iOS, particularly during times of intense competition like the holidays. App marketers on iOS have the ability to drive relatively inexpensive installs through incentivized channels, which helps them obtain higher ranks in the Apple App Store and keeps overall CPIs lower; this tactic does not exist in the Google Play Store due to different rank algorithms.
With brands and app marketers spending over $3.00 per install on Android, it’s clear they see significant monetization potential in these users. Recent data from App Annie shows the Google Play Store is seeing 100 percent more downloads than Apple’s App Store, but Apple continues to generate 70 percent more revenue for app developers. While low-end Android phones bring down the worldwide revenue per user average, it’s likely that Android users in developed markets and/or high-end phones are much closer to iOS in revenue potential. Furthermore, the evidence of growing Android CPIs shows that this revenue percentage gap may shorten over time.
Looking ahead to January, marketers should prepare to see double digit growth in download volumes, as this has been the norm in three of the last four years. And as we enter 2016, expect wearables and connected devices to proliferate to the point where marketers will need to focus their targeting and optimization efforts to more effectively reach the most loyal users where they want to be reached.
For Fiksu’s full December analysis, visit http://www.fiksu.com/resources/fiksu-indexes#analysis.
Fiksu is a data-fueled mobile marketing technology company that connects brands, agencies, and app advertisers to precise audiences throughout the customer journey. Fiksu’s mobile audience platform combines a massive, proprietary dataset with powerful segmentation tools to create, refresh, and reach audiences. Fiksu has led thousands of successful mobile campaigns to drive awareness, user acquisition, and re-engagement for clients such as Amazon, Disney, Activision, Coca-Cola, Electronic Arts, The New York Times, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starcom. Based in Boston, Mass., Fiksu is venture-backed by Qualcomm Ventures and Charles River Ventures. More atwww.fiksu.com, @Fiksu and on the Fiksu blog.