Downloads Drop in February Post-Holiday Discovery Rush; Early Indications of Market Responding to Apple Announcement

Following January's sky-high download volumes available at rock-bottom prices, February presented a steadier and more normalized landscape for mobile app marketers.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the February Index data:

  • App Store Competitive Index tracks the aggregate volume of downloads per day achieved by the top 200 ranked free iPhone apps in the U.S. In February, the Index decreased by six percent to 6.35 million daily downloads, down from January's record high of 6.79 million.
  • Cost per Loyal User Index measures the cost of acquiring a loyal user for brands who proactively market their apps. For the purposes of the Index, loyal users are defined as people who open an app three times or more. In February, the cost per loyal user rose by 15 percent to $1.31, up from  January’s $1.14.

February revealed a decline in download activity; a contrast to January’s post-holiday download frenzy. Interestingly, even though Fiksu was not working with robotic install traffic sources, our Indexes may reflect early signs of the impact of Apple's emphatic stance against robotic install tactics, following the company's February 6 announcement to crack down on this particular marketing technique.

But while consumers took it easy, downloading fewer apps in February, mobile advertisers returned to action.

Having halting their marketing spend at the beginning of the year to focus on app upgrades and internal level-setting, many mobile marketers geared up for new campaigns in February, driving total marketing costs back up slightly. Yet, the Indexes show that February still presented a great opportunity for mobile app marketers, as volume was plentiful and costs remained at a reasonable level.

Thanks to Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat, Brian LaRue of Adotas, Kathleen DeVere of Inside Mobile Apps, and Keith Andrew of PocketGamer.biz for their reports on our latest Index data.

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