Mobile marketing costs and volume dipped slightly in May, according to the Fiksu Indexespublished today by Fiksu, Inc., the data-fueled mobile marketing technology company. May’s cost per loyal user (CPLU) of $2.47 represents a 10 percent decrease since last month, a welcome relief for marketers who have experienced a steady rise in marketing costs throughout 2015. App install volume also declined as the Fiksu App Store Competitive Index, which tracks the average aggregate daily downloads of the top 200 free iOS apps, decreased 17 percent to 6.7 million in May. While advertisers are seeing value at the current prices, costs can’t continue rising indefinitely and May represents a slight market correction. As brands explore new tactics, particularly on the audience buying side, a shift towards smarter targeting has impacted both volume and cost as marketers buy more of what’s working and less of what’s not.
Three out of the four supporting cost metrics of the index dropped this month. The Cost Per Install Index (CPI), which measures the cost per app install directly attributed to advertising, fell to $1.46 on iOS, a decrease of 31 percent since April and 3 percent since last year. On Android, CPI continued upward to $2.33, increasing 12 percent month over month and 93 percent year over year. While the difference in CPIs on Android and iOS appears drastic, some of the difference can be attributed to the fact that the metric includes incentivized spending. Incent networks are far more popular and effective on iOS than Android, and they carry a much lower cost per install. The Cost Per Launch Index (CPL), which tracks the cost to drive mobile app engagement, decreased 31 percent on iOS to $0.28 this month, with a 13 percent rise year over year. Android CPL decreased 14 percent to $0.30, however still surging upward at 188 increase percent year over year.
Multiple factors influenced the drop in download volume this month. According to eMarketer, app install spending is expected to grow by 80 percent this year, and a significant portion of this growth will go to promote apps not in the top 200, which fall outside the measurement of the indexes. Apple’s adjustments to the games section of the App Store in May were also likely a contributing factor. Shifting from algorithmically generated lists, based on download volume, to curated lists based on editorial content, Apple’s moves addressed the discoverability problem and spread downloads across a larger pool of apps. However, those downloads may be distributed outside of the top 200 apps, again falling outside the scope of the indexes.
“While we have seen seasonal slowdowns of app marketing during the summer months in prior years, May’s results also reflect brands implementing more precise audience segmentation,” said Micah Adler, CEO of Fiksu. “While Facebook has been a preferred tool to reach mobile audiences, rising CPIs in 2015 has caused some marketers to look for ways to reduce costs and focus their spend on the right groups of users. As we predicted last month, smarter spending across the ecosystem will, in due course, cause loyalty rates of app users to improve.”
While mobile marketing to loyal users (CPLU) is still 39 percent more expensive than last year, it’s becoming apparent from both April and May’s data that mobile has undergone a shift: brands are taking hints from offline and web advertising and building audiences on mobile using more detailed data. Ultimately, this means narrowing their target audience to a more focused pool – improving the likelihood of loyalty and spending less – but decreasing volume overall.
For Fiksu’s full May analysis, visit https://www.fiksu.com/resources/fiksu-indexes#analysis.
Fiksu provides data-fueled mobile marketing technology that connects brands, agencies, and app advertisers to targeted mobile audiences. Fiksu delivers up to 3x overall campaign performance improvement through the industry’s only complete mobile marketing infrastructure that combines actionable data, programmatic reach, and ad performance optimization. This integrated system offers all the capabilities a mobile marketer needs: mobile ad tracking and attribution, audience segmentation, media buying, retargeting, optimization, and analytics. Fiksu promotes thousands of mobile apps and websites for clients such as Amazon, Disney, Groupon, Coca-Cola, Activision, The New York Times, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starcom. Additionally, Fiksu offers FreeMyApps®, the world’s largest app discovery platform. More at fiksu.com and @Fiksu.