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App Industry Commentary
Posted by: Jim ThomasNovember 21, 2013
Sometimes it takes a bit of data to understand the impact of something you already intuitively knew. The growth of mobile is widely reported, but user habits are increasingly shifting many activities away from the traditional web and onto mobile. In fact, mobile-only users -- those who only use phones or tablets for common online activities -- are increasingly becoming a force in the market.
To date, mobile-only users have often been viewed as low-income consumers who lack the discretionary income for broadband access: not a group that marketers have courted. But eMarketer recently published a research note about a new type of mobile-only user.
eMarketer notes brands may be overlooking the rise of a more influential group, one they call "Selective Mobile Only" users. These users choose to do all or certain types of activities exclusively on their mobile device. They note that in social media, video, and music, more than 20% of all traffic is via mobile-only, and they cite Media Metrix research showing almost 14% of Google's sites were exclusively via mobile.
Facebook is another example. There are 254 million mobile-only Facebook users, representing 21% of their overall monthly active users. These mobile-only Facebook users more than doubled since last year. And it's not just browsing and social media: consumers are increasingly purchasing via mobile. eMarketer quotes the Gilt Groupe as having more than 40% of their transactions on mobile and cites others with similar statistics as well.
The note concludes some brands are more likely attract these types users (probably a younger demographic) and that you ignore them at your peril:
"If mobile remains a secondary consideration for a brand where mobile-only use is strong, this means 20% to 30% of unique visitors will never see the piece of a campaign that received the most investment dollars."
Marketers who believe they can sidestep then perceived difficulties of working in mobile by advertising primarily through the traditional web are going to have a large blind spot in their market. Fortunately there are many ways to reach these users, and developing an ongoing relationship through apps is one of the best.
You can read a summary of the report here.
Here's a summary of mobile only usage from eMarketer's report.
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoNovember 12, 2013
Your app marketing shouldn't happen in a vacuum: holidays, major cultural and sporting events, and seasonal trends all create opportunities that clever marketers can take advantage of. The trick is keeping track of them all and planning ahead.
Fiksu can help. For an introduction to the kinds of seasonal events that could present great opportunities for your app, take a look at the infographic below. But, to really map out your strategy, download the App Marketer's Calendar - a month-by-month interactive calendar you can use to plan your user acquisition tests, campaigns, and priorities.
The App Marketer's Calendar includes:
- Major holidays, events, and seasonal trends to plan for from November 2013 through October 2014
- Editable monthly calendars, so you can add your own key events and timelines
- Historical comparisons of App Store competitiveness data and loyal user acquisition costs from the Fiksu Indexes, to help you compare and evaluate
- Space for your own notes on goals, results, and other app marketing activities
Get your copy of the App Marketer's Calendar here and use it all year long to stay ahead in your app marketing planning.
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<div><a href="http://www.fiksu.com/app-marketing-calendar"><img src="http://www.fiksu.com/images/fiksu-app-mkt-cal-650.jpg" alt="The App Marketer's Calendar"></a></div>
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoNovember 7, 2013
The Fiksu team recently had the pleasure of hosting a panel webinar discussion on emerging mobile app media trends – and were joined by some very special guests including Amy Langenstein, senior partnerships manager at Chartboost, Brian Buskas, vice president of sales and marketing at AdColony, Jereme Lovelace, advertising sales manager at Appia, and Ethan Turner, director of sales at Flurry. Today we’ll explore part two of our in-depth discussion:
Q: What is the impact of Programmatic media buying and RTB on the industry and on results?
What changes do you see in the industry as a result of the trend towards programmatic buying?
Amy Langenstein, Chartboost: “Some of our clients have begun testing RTB but we haven’t seen a major shift of budgets. I think it’s interesting to see if mobile takes the same direction as desktop, but I don’t have a lot of specific insight into this.”
Bryan Buskas, AdColony: “I think the real impact of programmatic still remains to be seen with regards to the quality of inventory for both publishers and advertisers, but overall we should expect to see operational and pricing efficiencies as well as momentum towards transparency. Advertisers will have more controls to be able to bid in real time and evaluate and optimize campaigns to help drive improved performance. Client expectations will fuel the trend towards transparency.”
Jereme Lovelace, Appia: “Programmatic is the future of mobile advertising. The ability to target down to the most granular degree is enough to get every developer excited. We all want to hit our target market and RTB is going to make that easier than ever. There hasn’t been a lot of change so far. I truly don’t think that there are enough companies out there that are able to do this successfully to make a shift in the market yet, but it is coming.”
Ethan Turner, Flurry: “Dollars are going to mobile RTB. Trading desks are buying, companies are getting more intelligent with their technologies, and the industry is replicating what occurred in the desktop space, but much faster. The key here, is how are companies using data to find the most appropriate user at the right price for them? Anyone can buy non-reserved media for cheap, but the whole idea is to be able to layer data for the appropriate audience on top of it. Data, and optimization technologies for bidding will set the different RTB platforms apart. I think programmatic will steal media dollars from traditional publishers in mobile, as the ability to integrate brands into content, outside of native ads in streams, is difficult on smaller devices. More inventory will become available to buy programmatically, and the result of that will be that both supply and demand will increase, and I believe that the quality of inventory will improve in time as well. It's still new in mobile, so buyers can buy more efficiently, but that won't last forever. While programmatic is inherently about using data to find the right audiences, brands and agencies are still very much concerned with the content where they will appear. They still want site lists, and need to feel confident that their ads are shown in appropriate inventory placements. In order to do this, transparency is key, yet that is difficult in the non-reserve space, for fear that advertisers will go directly to the source. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.”
Q: Have you seen a shift – a push towards driving marketing ROI, or Lifetime Value? Are the objectives of your clients shifting? Moving forward: what do you see as having the biggest impact on the industry today and in three years?
Amy Langenstein, Chartboost: “Absolutely see a shift toward measuring and driving stronger LTV/ARPU. Biggest impact on the industry today? Tracking and measurement standardization will allow for
growth and some of the late adopters to start buying more aggressively in mobile. Biggest impact on the industry in three years? I think on the performance side, optimization/segmentation and measurement will get more advanced, as well as retargeting and possibly dynamic retargeting. We will have more information to reach the right user at the right time and place. I think mobile will play a bigger part in branding as well, but with more emphasis on measuring engagement and developing content to drive engagement. An impression doesn't necessarily mean the audience heard your message anymore.”
Bryan Buskas, AdColony: “Two-thirds of all of our advertising partners agree that they have focused more on CLV this year than they have historically.The increased focus on CLV provides momentum towards transparency and improved metrics/reporting based on custom post-install events.”
Jereme Lovelace, Appia: Quality and LTV are main points of reference for every one of our clients. A year ago the focus was on volume because that helped an app climb the chart. Now the focus has shifted. Developers are willing to take a much smaller percentage of users as long as they are engaged
with the app. Understanding high LTV users, tracking where they came from, and measuring
their post-install engagement will help developers target other similar users. In three years I think sophisticated retargeting is going to have a huge impact on the industry.”
Ethan Turner, Flurry: “Yes, we’ve seen a big shift to LTV, and quality, and Fiksu is taking part in leading that effort. Objectives are evolving down the funnel. Clients, like a Gilt, don't just want downloads, they want a user to register, and then use the app to buy items. This will continue and the objectives will move towards CPA. Publishers, networks and DSPs will need to be able to optimize towards conversions and even sell on CPA basis. That puts risk on the platforms, but with the right technologies and the ability to track events down the funnel it is certainly attainable.”
Check back tomorrow for the third and final part of this webinar recap series, and check out the full webinar anytime on-demand here.Tags:
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoNovember 6, 2013
The Fiksu team recently had the pleasure of hosting a panel webinar discussion on emerging mobile app media trends – and were joined by some very special guests including Amy Langenstein, senior partnerships manager at Chartboost, Brian Buskas, vice president of sales and marketing at AdColony, Jereme Lovelace, advertising sales manager at Appia, and Ethan Turner, director of sales at Flurry.
The highly attended webinar covered a lot of ground – from top trends defining media today to ever-accelerating client expectations to a hard look at metrics and how advertising is improving results and overall customer experience. You can always check out the webinar on-demand here, but over the next few days, we’ll highlight some of our favorite segments of this interactive discussion:
Q: What are the top trends you see defining media today?
Amy Langenstein, Chartboost: “In the mobile space, people are getting smarter about measuring and tracking, optimization and segmenting users. Better measurement and tracking has transitioned into paying more for higher quality users over more sustained campaigns rather than trying to do bursts to get to the top of the charts.”
Bryan Buskas, AdColony: “Programmatic continues to gain popularity in display, but is still in the early innings with mobile video. Data and measurement tools and platforms are key areas of insights for performance advertisers (user acquisition) and will continue to develop around solutions for brands and agencies. Tablets are still a relatively new platform with rampant demand and adoption giving rise to new consumer behavior trends and use cases. I think we’ll continue to see an increased focus on this highly engaged and valuable audience by advertisers especially as it continues to evolve in the future. Transparency continues to improve as the breadth and depth of the mobile app audience (iOS and Android) continues to expand driven by new content, experiences, and improved monetization tools.”
Jereme Lovelace, Appia: “Users are going to continue to demand more targeted, personalized ads. This can mean everything from platform-specific content to location-based advertising, but advertisers have to continue optimizing their targeting capabilities. More of our clients are focused in on quality over quantity. The attribution window for most gaming apps has shrunk as well. Developers have always monitored their triggered events but they are now making them earlier in the game, which in return is allowing them to monitor their monetization better and sooner.”
Ethan Turner, Flurry: “The native ad experience will continue the growth we have seen, and platforms will look at the FB’s and Twitter’s of the world and start to figure out how to seamlessly integrate a brand message into content without the banner and interstitial. Re-marketing on mobile will be HUGE. Re-marketing off of app usage is already a huge opportunity, and when we are able to identify a user across both the app and mobile web environment, advertisers will certainly take note. Programmatic, and using data in actionable ways, will also be a key differentiator for the convoluted and competitive non-reserve space. It’s not just about buying media at a lower cost, but using technology.”
Q: To what degree are client demands/expectations accelerating as the industry matures? Are these realistic/unrealistic expectations?
Amy Langenstein, Chartboost: “Increasingly, clients are expecting to be able to segment and target users rather than just doing burst campaigns, looking to drive better ROI with their ad spend than in the past. I think these are realistic and necessary expectations. As the industry learns how and where to
acquire high quality users at scale, this will benefit the entire mobile media space with sustained
and increased allocations of marketing budgets.”
Bryan Buskas, AdColony: “Based on our most recent survey of Top iOS and Android developers, CPI continues to be a point of focus, although developers indicate they are focusing less and less on CPI in 2013 and beyond. As tracking tools have improved and transparency has evolved, we continue to see an accelerating demand for volume – especially for the high value loyal user. As a point of reference, 92% of Top 100 developers tell us that they intend to increase their campaign budgets in 2014.”
Jereme Lovelace, Appia: “Everyone wants lower raters, more traffic and 100% of their users to put money into the app. However, these for the most part are conflicting asks. Typically speaking, the CPI will affect the volume either up or down. If you are paying less for the installs and getting more, that that is normally a reflection of incent traffic, which is lower quality. As a developer, you must decide what is the best marketing plan for your app and stick with it. If you want to go cheap, then normally
the quality will reflect there. If you want to spend a lot per user, then you must have an app that
the user can’t stop playing or using, so that you can get to a positive ROI.”
Ethan Turner, Flurry: “Clients no longer just want installs for the sake of installs – well, some do – but even they are still looking for rank. It’s all about the LTV of users, and ensuring that people who download an app are quality users, and using it in a way that will help the client make money, or meeting their overall marketing goals. We can track it, so might as well leverage that capability to ensure you are getting what you want out of your media spend. I ask every client how they measure success, and what they ultimately want out of an install. We can then ensure that we are making our best efforts, and leverage our targeting capabilities to meet those goals.”
Check back tomorrow for part two of this webinar recap series!Tags:
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoNovember 3, 2013
Apple's new iPad Air went on sale on Friday 11/1, and according to our tracker, it's having a remarkable opening weekend. As of this writing, the Air is now making up 0.69% of active iOS tablets using apps in our network. While that's objectively a pretty small share, it stands out when compared to recent iPad launches. After the opening weekend a year ago, the iPad 4 had just 0.14% of activity, and the iPad mini had 0.21%. That means the Air is seeing five times the usage the iPad 4 did two days after launch - and more than 3 times that of the iPad mini.
Since those two launched the same day, they may have diluted the demand somewhat -- but even combined they only saw 0.35% of usage after the launch weekend. So the iPad Air is seeing twice as much usage as the iPad 4 and the iPad mini combined.
The real kicker is that the growth of the Air is just getting started. Take a look at the adoption rates of last year's iPads plotted out through the end of the year:
The data shows slow growth through November, with a small bump after Thanksgiving/Black Friday and then a huge spike Christmas Day. If the iPad Air follows the same general trajectory from this accelerated start, then Apple CEO Tim Cook's prediction that "it's going to be an iPad Christmas" isn't going to be in much doubt.
We'll keep tracking the activity of the Air -- and the iPad mini 2, once it launches later this month -- at least through the end of the year. Who knows, maybe I'll be checking it on a new iPad Air by Christmas.
Methodology: we sample batches of 10M recorded app events (launches, purchases, and registrations) every hour, from apps that use Fiksu's SDK. We then chart the percentage of active iOS tablets on each version, at a set date after launch -- starting Nov 1, 2013 for the iPad Air, and starting Nov 2, 2012 for the iPad 4 and iPad mini.
Posted by: Chris ShuptrineSeptember 26, 2013
iOS 7 has been out for a week now, and adoption is soaring -- the latest data on our tracker shows IOS 7 devices making up about 58% of the those on our network. Considering that represents over 200 million devices, that's pretty good uptake for one week!
Now that our internal team has had some time to analyze the final version, we put together a checklist of new features and our thoughts on how they'll affect app marketers for a our clients -- but since these points apply to anyone marketing apps on iOS 7, I've published it here as well.
Auto-Updating of Apps - iOS 7 offers opt-in auto-update functionality for apps.
Thoughts: Should be a great feature for app marketers, since newer versions of your app may have an improved user experience and better retention rates, or may have key bug fixes that can improve user ratings and reviews. If you used the “What’s New” section of the Update details to promote your brand, fear not: the App Store still has an Updates tab where users can see update details.
Near Me - This new tab in the App Store, which replaced ‘Genius,’ shows the apps others near you are using.
Thoughts: It’s not yet clear exactly how these apps are selected, but the apps that dominate the top of the charts - Facebook, Twitter, Candy Crush - aren’t listed. Apple may be selecting apps that are used at a significantly higher rate in a local area than nationally. (We are currently researching exactly how this algorithm works and will share the results soon.) For apps with national reach, it’s unlikely this tab will help with visibility. For locally-focused apps, though, city-targeted spend could lead to good results on this tab.
Increased Download Limit - over-the-air app download limit increased from 50mb to 100mb
Thoughts: For advertisers with large apps, this will lead to an increase in conversion rates and decrease in costs, as it lowers the barrier of entry to downloading.
Kids Category - New auxiliary category with subcategories of <5, 6-8, and 9 -11.
Thoughts: For marketers with kids’ apps, this new category is a boon, as achieving visibility in this category will be easier than in more competitive categories. Kids acts as an auxiliary category like Newsstand, which means an app can be in this category as well as another.
Removal of MAC Address & Pastebin Tracking Methods
Thoughts: While not relevant to Fiksu campaigns, Apple removed MAC Address & Pastebin tracking in iOS 7. While these were once employed by various networks and tracking companies, the IDFA has long since become the standard tracking method in the industry.
New View of Background Apps
Thoughts: When deleting apps running in the background, users now see the icon as well as the last screen they were on. While a small change, this visual reminder could help drive more opens of your app, especially for apps with compelling UIs.
App Store Chart Scrolling - Category chart lists are now vertical scrolling rather than horizontal, and they use continuous scrolling, rather than 3 to 4 apps at a time. While the first screen shows just five apps, one scroll gets you from position 1 to position 25, while this would have taken seven scrolls in iOS 6.
Thoughts: This change is important if you’re not already high in the category, and it will likely lead to an increase in organics.
Additional App-Related Changes
Users can now add paid apps to a wishlist (not free apps, though)
The max number of apps in a folder increased from 12 to unlimited
Apps now refresh automatically when they are in the background
‘New’ banner removed from unopened apps and replaced by a blue dot
Reviews are now continuously scrolling, rather than just showing five
Apple now allows users to download older versions of an app if they have older devices or iOS versions. More details on that can be found here.
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoSeptember 20, 2013
A glance at our iOS 7 adoption tracker shows an incredible growth curve in the first 48 hours. At this same point in 2012, 48 hours after iOS 6 was released, 25% of devices had been updated - which dwarfed the 15% adoption rate that iOS 5 had seen in the same timeframe. This week, iOS 7 blew both those numbers away, and it's on its way to reach 40% of all iOS devices in 48 hours.
In this static image from the tracker, you can see the slowdown in growth during the night in North America as the two plateaus in the rise of the iOS 7 line, which picks up again in the morning. You can also see that basically all of the iOS 7 adopters are coming from iOS 6 -- those few people still on iOS 5 are in no hurry to upgrade now.
What does this mean for app marketers? First, make sure your updates for iOS 7 are on the fast track - at this pace it will be the dominant iOS version by the end of the weekend. Second, it hints at a great opportunity to re-engage with existing users and capture new ones as well. While users can back up their phones and restore all their existing apps after upgrading, many users will take the opportunity to reorganize their home screens (thanks to the new foldering capabilities) and potentially do some spring cleaning. A well-timed push campaign, new content, or targeted marketing can remind users why they started engaging with your app in the first place.
iPhone 5s, 5c impact not being felt yet
We've also added tracking for the iPhone 5s and 5c to our tracker. While there are a few entries starting to appear, the adoption rate in the first few hours doesn't skyrocket the way the OS update does, for a couple of reasons:
- With an OS update, tens or hundreds of millions of people around the world can all start downloading simultaneously. (Theoretically, at least - Apple's servers seem to have had some trouble on Wednesday.) While the lines outside Apple stores are considerable, they simply can't process the same volume: hundreds of stores selling thousands of phones pales next to the tesn of millions of phone sold each quarter for years.
- All those updating users can do so from anywhere there's wifi -- which means a whole lot of that early adoption is done at workplaces. While chewing up some company bandwidth isn't a big deal for many people, leaving work to go stand in line for hours to get a new phone is not nearly as easy.
It's likely that the usage on the 5s and the 5c will really start to take off this weekend - but we'll see! That's what the charts are for.
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoSeptember 18, 2013
With the launch of iOS 7 today and the two new iPhones on Friday, there's been plenty of speculation about what's going to happen. Well, sometime today - probably around 10am Pacific time - the speculators can start to see how well they did. To help anyone who wants to see how users are reacting to the iOS 7 release, we've created an iOS 7 Usage Tracker.
It's a live-updating tracker of activity across the Fiksu network, about 2 hours behind real time, showing the ratio of iOS 6 to iOS 7 devices we're seeing. (We're not including older version of iOS because we're using Apple's Advertising Identifier to track devices, which isn't available on older versions of iOS. But those older versions are only on around 5% to 8% of total devices.)
When the new version is available - probably around 1pm here on the east coast - we expect a surge of early adopters to start updating. Factor in the 2 hour delay and some time for the updates to actually happen and we expect to start seeing that iOS 7 line inching up around 4 or 5 pm EDT.
We'll add a similar graph for the iPhone 5s and 5c before they launch on Friday. Happy launch day - now go check out the tracker.
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoSeptember 10, 2013
As we've discussed, the upcoming introduction of two new iPhones is likely to create a significant opportunity for app marketers as users load up their new phones with apps. On the heels of today's formal introduction of the iPhone 5S, 5C, and announcement of iOS 7's release date of 9/18, here are a few thoughts for app marketers.
- This first-ever separation of the iPhone market into two current models provides a targeting opportunity for savvy app marketers. The lower-cost 5C, at the new $99 price point with a contract, will provide the opportunity to reach a larger set of value-conscious customers than previous phones, while the 5S will appeal to the premium consumers that have long been Apple's sweet spot.
- For apps with a real local focus, the new Popular Near Me tab may be a new way for the App Store to deliver extremely valuable users: those who are nearby and looking for apps to get something done right now. We've already seen that the Near Me tab is predominantly populated with local apps – not the country-wide apps that are popular everywhere. (If Apple didn't somehow weight the listings towards apps that had specific local interest, every Near Me tab would look basically the same, with Candy Crush, Instagram, Vine, etc.)
- While it may not be available to marketers out of the gate, we're intrigued by the app marketing potential in iTunes Radio based on the success we've had with Pandora.
- Finally it's not a direct marketing opportunity, but we're excited about auto-updating apps on behalf of our clients. Just knowing that most users are on the most current version of the app gives app developers more freedom to focus on new content and enhancements.
iOS 7 rolls out a week from tomorrow, September 18. Stay tuned: we're looking at adoption rates for iOS 5 and 6 so we can compare the results this year.
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoSeptember 6, 2013
The months and weeks of speculations are almost over as we count down the days to the much-anticipated Apple event on Tuesday at which the iPhone 5S, iOS7, and potentially a low-cost iPhone 5C will be publicly unveiled.
For app marketers, a new device launch – especially an iPhone launch – spells great opportunity to acquire new users in droves. As in years past, we can expect throngs of people to quite literally camp-out and line-up to buy the latest phone as soon as it hits the shelves. There will be the initial rush of people upgrading to the new iPhone from older iPhone models, in addition to others using the launch as an excuse to change over from their Android, Blackberry or Windows phone to the popular iPhone.
But before you rush out and blow through your entire marketing budget in September, there are some important things to consider. Here at Fiksu, we’ve been charting the volume of app downloads during the last two iPhone launches as well as the associated cost per installs.
We concluded that, as you can see from the two charts below, the “sweet spot’ for mobile app marketing is NOT during the iPhone launch month but actually the month after when download volumes are at a crescendo but costs per install are at their lowest.
Cast your mind back two years to the launch of the iPhone 4S in October 2011. We examined the app download volumes of our clients for the month before the 4S launch, in October, and through to November. We found that app download volumes increased by a huge 57 percent from September to October, and then by another 107 percent from October to November – remarkable growth!
Last year, Apple introduced the iPhone 5 in September 2012. When examining download volumes, we saw a different pattern. Volumes remained steady through September and October, but then shot up in November by 46 percent. That’s a 94 percent year-on-year increase in download volumes, when comparing November 2011 to November 2012.
Now let’s look at how cost per installs compared between the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 launches. With the 4S launch, we saw costs steadily drop 11 cents from September to November. One year later when the iPhone 5 launched, cost per install actually rose the month following the launch, and then plummeted.
So what does this all mean when considering the imminent iPhone 5S launch?
- It pays to be patient: Rather than focusing all your app marketing budget on launch month, waiting six to eight weeks could net you greater download volumes for less spend.
- Implement a holiday strategy: If November is indeed the app marketer’s “sweet spot,” then there is only a brief reprieve before the holiday season kicks into high gear. The good news is that the iPhone launch “phenomenon” mirrors the holiday season when our data shows that the “sweet spot” for downloads and low costs per install is actually February, rather than December.
- The rules have changed and the stakes are ever higher: Now that Apple has started to reward positive ratings with rank – and vice versa – marketers cannot rely on download velocity alone to climb rank. Marketers must now work harder – and inevitably pay more – to earn positive ratings from users, climb ranks, drive downloads and cap off 2013 meeting their monetization goals.
So as the world waits in anticipation for Apple’s latest device, and rumors swirl around colorful new options, LED cameras and fingerprint sensors, sit tight and ride out these next few weeks. We promise it will be worth the wait!