App Downloads and Mobile Marketing Costs Surge During the Holidays

The 2012 holidays marked a turning point for mobile marketing, with significant growth in mobile devices, app downloads, and shopping conducted via smartphones and tablets. On Christmas Day, 17.4 million iOS and Android devices and tablets were unwrapped and activated – breaking the 2011 record by more than 2.5x. So it’s no surprise that we saw a spike in app downloads in December.

The December Fiksu App Store Competitive Index increased to 5.32 million daily downloads in December, up 16 percent from November’s 4.57 million. As expected, competition around the holiday increased, though not as dramatically as it did during 2011. Part of this is likely due to the absence of robotic install tactics that were still being employed during the previous holiday season. Volume also fell slightly short of the massive October peak caused by the introduction of the iPhone 5.

Meanwhile, the Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index jumped 21 percent, or 29 cents, to $1.67, from November’s $1.38. While costs continued to climb from November to December, as expected, the 2012 holiday season presented a steadier, more cost-effective landscape than the 2011 season, as marketers implemented best practices they’d learned and tested throughout the year.

Mobile app marketers are a year older and wiser, and we saw this reflected in the December Indexes. Unlike the spending frenzy we saw in 2011, many opted for a value-versus-volume approach in 2012, collectively applying a more conservative, sophisticated strategy to their Q4 campaigns and largely avoiding big gambles on a long App Store freeze. This value-based approach also led to a “long-tail” effect, where more marketing dollars were spent on apps outside of the top 200 that are tracked in our index. Read more in our analysis here.

A big thank you to all the publications for covering our December Indexes: Appnewser, BizReport, Inside Mobile Apps, Mobile Marketing Magazine, Mobile Marketing Watch, PocketGamer.biz and VentureBeat

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