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App Store Competitive INdex
Posted by: Viki ZabalaMarch 28, 2013
Though heightened user activity and app discovery continued well beyond the 2012 holidays and into the new year, our latest Indexes reveal that the pace tapered off as we entered February, giving way to a calmer, steadier month.
In February, our Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index showed a continued downward slope, decreasing to $1.29, down 17 percent, or 27 cents, from January’s $1.56. February presented a relative bargain period for mobile marketers who held back on holiday advertising, preferring instead to spread out their spending across several months to maximize impact.
Meanwhile, the Fiksu App Store Competitive Index illustrated a decrease of 13 percent, or 810,000 downloads each day, to 5.20 million daily downloads, from January’s 6.01 million.
On the heels of a record-shattering holiday season, where marketers saw surging app marketing costs, February presented a more consistent, normalized, and valuable landscape for mobile app marketers. In the absence of major events or device launches during the month, our February Indexes provided early indications of what we can expect the “new normal” to be for marketers this year. That’s until the next big splash event, of course, which will most likely drive up acquisition and competition costs.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaJanuary 30, 2013
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.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaNovember 30, 2012
Following the iPhone 5 launch in September, October was a month of opportunity for mobile app marketers.
The Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index was $1.06, down seven cents or 6 percent, from September’s $1.13. Significant increases in organic searches and app discovery – driven by the arrival of the iPhone 5 and users’ natural enthusiasm for downloading apps on new devices – pushed costs down and created a huge opportunity for mobile app marketers to very cost-efficiently acquire loyal users in October.
Meanwhile, the Fiksu App Store Competitive Index soared to 5.40 million daily downloads in October, a 33 percent increase from September. The Index painted a similar picture following the availability of the iPhone 4S in October 2011, when traffic also surged by a proportional 29 percent, and continues the surge we saw developing at the end of September.
Organic searches soared during the month, as users eagerly explored the App Store, enthusiastically searching for new apps to download on their new iPhones. So while cost for conversions were equal or higher during this time, the heighted period of organic, natural discovery drove down the cost to acquire and engage loyal users. Many savvy marketers wisely chose to ride this “organic wave,” improving user acquisition rates without substantially increasing their spending.
From the iPhone 5 launch, we noticed consumers appeared to be less frantic about updating their devices immediately, many choosing instead to wait several weeks to make the upgrade. Similarly, some seem to be taking more time to select and download new apps, instead of downloading many, all at once. This shift may lead to an even steadier, more sustained opportunity for mobile app marketers in the weeks – even months – following a major device launch.
With the 2012 holiday season underway, early data from Black Friday and Cyber Monday suggests that mobile commerce will have a giant impact on holiday sales – and that mobile apps will have a successful season overall. We’ll see how that plays out in our November Indexes.
A big thank you to all the publications for covering our October Indexes: AppNewser, BizReport, FierceMobileContent, Inside Mobile Apps, MediaPost, Mobile Entertainment, Mobile Marketing Magazine, Mobile Marketing Watch, PocketGamer, TechCrunch, Telecom Lead, TUAW, VatorNews and VentureBeat.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaNovember 5, 2012
History has shown us the arrival of a new mobile device generates remarkable opportunities for app marketers to cost-effectively acquire and engage new users, as download volumes surge, costs to acquire loyal users plummet, and user-interest levels peak. So it was no surprise the much-anticipated arrival of the iPhone 5 in September prompted some interesting dynamics in the Fiksu Indexes. While the App Store Competitive Index didn’t depict a huge month-over-month change in download volumes, in reality there was a whirlwind of activity taking place beneath the surface.
Specifically, by examining the data from before the iPhone 5’s arrival and afterward, we identified a clear distinction in app download activity. In the weeks prior to the phone's launch, downloads decreased by 3 percent, but in the weeks after, downloads swelled by a substantial 33 percent.
Meanwhile, the Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index for September was among the lowest on record at $1.13, down 21 cents or 16 percent from August’s $1.34. The last time the Cost per Loyal User Index came close to this was May 2011, when it was $1.10, as a result of Apple’s ban on incentive-based installs, followed by January 2012 when it fell to $1.14 after the holiday advertising craze.
What does this all mean? Opportunity with a capital O! For app marketers, the iPhone 5 launch in September delivered a prime chance to cost-effectively acquire large volumes of loyal users. In fact, one of our clients even experienced a 20 percent increase in organic downloads and 35 percent revenue gains during the iPhone 5’s post-launch period. Many other clients were able to take advantage of the traffic jump.
As the iPad Mini hits shelves, we may see a continuation of this wave. However, we expect September’s bargain period of rich marketing opportunities will likely be unmatched until the post-holiday frenzy in January 2013.
A big thank you to all the publications that covered our September Indexes, including AppNewser, FierceMobileContent, Inside Mobile Apps, Marketing Vox, MediaPost, Mobile Marketing Watch and Mobile World Live.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaSeptember 28, 2012
Last week, Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 5 started hitting the shelves, selling a record-shattering 5 million units in its first weekend of availability. Additionally, more than 100 million existing iOS device owners have already rushed to update to iOS 6, Apple’s newest operating system. But, for several weeks preceding the arrival of the iPhone 5, we observed a change in consumers’ download appetites, reflected prominently in our new August Index numbers.
In August, the App Store Competitive Index dropped by 7.3 percent to 4.05 million daily downloads, down from 4.37 million in July. The Cost per Loyal User Index decreased by 20 cents in August (almost 13 percent) to $1.34, down from $1.54 in July.
“Rumors, leaks and hype surrounding the iPhone 5 seemed to be inescapable in August, and the pre-launch anticipation caused both iOS downloads and user acquisition costs to plunge during the month,” writes Kathleen De Vere of Inside Mobile Apps, as she examines the Fiksu Indexes.
Much like the weeks before the iPhone 4S launch in 2011, we observed that many consumers chose to wait for their new iPhone 5 devices rather than downloading new apps to their existing smartphones during August. Similarly, app marketers took the gas off their advertising spending during the month, awaiting the availability of iOS 6 in September and the chance to then promote updated apps. The combined effect made for a slow month overall.
We expect that next month’s Indexes will tell a very different story, now that the iPhone 5 and iOS are here. Be sure to check back next month to see how the September Indexes will reflect what we are calling “Christmas in September,” a time of rich opportunity for app marketers.