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Posted by: Viki ZabalaMay 1, 2013
It’s been a memorable day for Fiksu, as we reached another notable milestone! As of April 30, 2013 – two years since our launch – the Fiksu Mobile App Marketing Platform has recorded its one hundred billionth app user action and has driven more than one billion app downloads. This data is critical to our ability to drive real-time mobile ad campaign optimization and deliver the high-performance marketing results that leading brands demand. It’s also the foundation of the Fiksu Indexes and our insights into the complex app marketing landscape.
In analyzing this month’s Index data, we found that the volume of daily downloads of the top 200 free iPhone apps and mobile app marketing costs remained steady in March – extending from February’s calm and consistent, yet valuable landscape.
We saw the Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index increase by five percent, or seven cents, to $1.36, from February’s $1.29.
The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index dipped four percent, to 5.02 million daily downloads in March from February’s 5.20 million. Notably, this represents a 12 percent year-over-year increase from March 2012.
March’s “new normal” was good news for mobile app marketers. Inventory has increased but costs have held steady, reflecting a maturity in the overall quality of apps and their ability to engage users.
Beginning of the End for UDIDs
Despite the last few months of relative stability, marketers should always be prepared for the ebbs and flows within the app ecosystem. In fact, today is a notable day in that Apple’s recent announcement goes into effect: apps that access UDIDs will no longer be approved for the App Store. While apps that are already approved can continue to access the UDIDs for the time being, the majority of that traffic is shifting to the Advertising Identifier. The change comes as no surprise to app publishers who follow the industry, but it's still a significant step in the ongoing evolution of app marketing.
We've also seen Apple evolving its stance on apps used to promote other apps, and there have been some indications that the MAC address -- which has similar privacy concerns to the UDID, but has received much less attention -- could be the next tracking option to face Apple's scrutiny. We can expect the impact of these and other factors to start revealing themselves in next month’s April Index data and beyond.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaDecember 31, 2012
Following the momentous iPhone 5 launch, which prompted a period of cost-efficient marketing and heightened organic searches, we observed a dramatic U-turn in November as holiday season spending accelerated and mobile app marketing costs jumped.
For November, the Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index increased 30 percent, or 32 cents, to $1.38, compared to October’s $1.06. This marked a sharp change in our Index’s trajectory, which steadily declined during the preceding four months, hitting a low for the year during October when the iPhone 5 launch drove increased organic searches and more cost-efficient marketing spends. November’s spike brought marketing costs remarkably close to last year’s level in November 2011, mirroring the impact of the iPhone 4S launch followed by the holiday rush.
Fiksu's November App Store Competitive Index decreased to 4.57 million daily downloads in November, down 15.4 percent from October’s 5.4 million, which had been a seven-month high, driven by enthusiastic new iPhone 5 owners.
Unlike last year, when incentivized networks were still a larger part of the mobile app marketing mix, marketers faced the reality of needing to pay more to get more during the competitive 2012 pre-holiday season. This year, updated App Store rules didn't allow app developers to have offer walls in their apps that incentivized users to install them in exchange for free in-app purchases. Therefore, that consumer acquisition source was impacted. Though incentivized networks still exist, inventory has decreased, so costs have increased as app developers pay a premium for available inventory.
Also, many app marketers target the holiday season to launch or update their apps – and to offset a decline in organic searches in November, marketers had to increase their spending to get their new apps in front of highly engaged, loyal users. Additionally, confusion surrounding Apple’s App Store freeze may have prompted some marketers to spend more money earlier instead of relying on the freeze. This would have been a good decision in most cases, as the freeze turned out to be less than 24 hours this year.
If the 2011 holiday season foreshadows what’s to come, we can expect marketing costs to continue climbing through December as advertisers spend heavily to drive up app store rankings in preparation for the rush of user activity and app discovery at Christmas time. In fact, early reports from Flurry indicate that app downloads reached 328 million on Christmas Day alone – a record high for single day, reports TechCrunch.
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.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaJune 29, 2012
Writes Thomas Hazlett for the Wall Street Journal: "On June 29, 2007, thousands of fan-boys and-girls camped in long lines to inhale a wisp of sweet techno fairy dust. The new iPhone rocked the world. Revolutionary in design, function and ecosystem, it set off the mobile data tsunami. In three days, Apple sold a million of them."
Since that day, the world has never been the same. As we celebrate the iPhone's five year anniversary today, we're reminded of just how much the device has rocked the world and shaped so many aspects of modern culture. In fact, The Atlantic recently pegged the iPhone as the "defining consumer item of its age."
Apple's iPhone undoubtedly sparked the mobile app revolution and burgeoning ecosystem, which has inspired entrepreneurs and developers around the globe, added an estimated 500,000 jobs in the U.S. alone and delighted consumers with more than 650,000 apps in the Apple App Store. But all of those mobile apps are vying for the spotlight – making mobile marketers' jobs increasingly difficult as each month goes by.
Mobile app success – and monetization - requires more than smart and broad mobile media buying. It takes app store smarts, and no one understands and analyzes the dynamics of the app stores quite like Fiksu. For more than one year, our Fiksu Indexes have tracked monthly fluctuations in competition for rank in the Apple App Store, and the cost to acquire loyal users (defined as someone who opens an app three or more times), to help mobile app marketers benchmark their performance against industry averages. In fact, we just released data for the month of May – check out the news release.
To illustrate the ebbs and flows in app store dynamics and mobile app marketing costs over the course of 12 months, we've created the following infographic. It highlights many of the major industry trends that have rocked the world of mobile app marketing along the way, including Apple's ban on incentive-based installs, the iPhone 4S launch, the flurry of activity around the 2011 holiday season and the move away from robotic install tactics.
Embed this graphic on your site - 400 pixels wide
<div style="padding:6px"><a href="http://www.fiksu.com/resources/fiksu-indexes/infographic"><img src="http://www.fiksu.com/images/fiksu-index-infographic-400px.jpg" alt="Fiksu Indexes - Analyzing 12 Months of Mobile App Discovery"></a></div>
Embed this graphic on your site - 800px wide
<div style="padding:6px"><a href="http://www.fiksu.com/resources/fiksu-indexes/infographic"><img src="http://www.fiksu.com/images/fiksu-index-infographic-800px.jpg" alt="Fiksu Indexes - Analyzing 12 Months of Mobile App Discovery"></a></div>
Posted by: Viki ZabalaMay 29, 2012
Our April Fiksu Indexes indicate that mobile marketers began picking up the pace as they moved out of the first quarter, a historically quieter period of time for app development and promotion, into the busier second quarter leading up to the summer. In particular, marketers aggressively sought new opportunities to compete for ranking in the dynamic social networking and games categories which experienced volatility during the month.
Here’s a snapshot of the latest data:
- The Fiksu App Store Competitive Index (which measures the average aggregate daily download volume of the top 200 free U.S. iPhone apps) dropped by 4.9 percent to 4.23 million daily downloads, down from 4.45 million in March.
- The Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index rose by 12.3 percent in April to $1.46, from $1.30 in March.
Movement in the social networking and games categories in the Apple App Store introduced new mobile advertising opportunities and heightened competition, causing the mobile marketing costs to increase. In particular, Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram helped draw increased attention to these hot categories during April.
But as competition heated up and marketing costs began to rise, iPhone app daily downloads continued their downward descent. This movement was expected as no major events sparked discovery during the month, and we continued to observe app marketers respond to Apple’s policy on third-party marketing services (which had spurred wide industry speculation and a flood of news stories throughout March and into April).
Thanks to all who covered this month’s Index data, including Sarah Perez of TechCrunch, Kathleen DeVere of Inside Mobile Apps, James Nouch of PocketGamer, John Mello Jr. of PC World, Shawn Hess of WebProNews, Jason Ankeny of FierceMobileContent, Kevin Stout of 148Apps and Dianna Dilworth of MediaBistro.
Downloads Drop in February Post-Holiday Discovery Rush; Early Indications of Market Responding to Apple AnnouncementPosted by: Viki ZabalaMarch 29, 2012
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.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaFebruary 29, 2012
Last month, our indexes showed the extreme marketing that took place during the Holiday frenzy as advertisers spent heavily to drive up their app store rankings and acquire an elevated volume of users. As it turns out, for app marketers who were budget-conscious in December, January paid big dividends as the post-holiday weeks provided excellent growth and value.
Hot off the presses, our newly released indexes for January show a dramatic drop in mobile app marketing costs in January—the lowest since July 2011—following the Christmas advertising rush. iOS app downloads in January reached an all-time high as all those new devices unwrapped during the holidays drove propelled app discovery and usage in the New Year.
Here’s a quick snapshot of our January findings:
- 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 January, the Index peaked at 6.79 million daily downloads, up 12 percent from December’s 6.04 million, its previous high.
- 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. This month, the cost per loyal user fell by 37 percent to $1.14, from a record high of $1.81 in December.
So, while many advertisers joined the rush to spend over the holiday season, January actually provided mobile app marketers one of the best opportunities to-date with volume at an all-time high and costs approaching an all-time low.
“We’ve observed many app brands invest heavily in the fourth quarter, seeking extreme growth during the holiday season, then reduce spending in January as they evaluate their marketing programs for the New Year and focus on version upgrades for their apps,” said Micah Adler, Fiksu CEO. “However, the latest indexes show that January is an excellent time for both growth and value—and budget savvy marketers should take full advantage of this time, instead of slowing down.”
Thanks to Kathleen De Vere of Inside Mobile Apps, Keith Andrew of PocketGamer.biz, Sarah Perez at TechCrunch, Allan Maurer at Tech Journal, Dan Rowinski at ReadWriteWeb, and Jon Russell at The Next Web for their reports on our latest Index data.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaFebruary 3, 2012
"The mobile app ecosystem is growing so quickly – exponentially, even – that sometimes it’s hard to see the larger trends occurring in the space,” wrote Sarah Perez of TechCrunch this week. In today’s Fiksu Feed, we’ll explore several app store developments, analyzed over a period of time to help unlock larger industry trends.
TechCrunch’s Perez examined app category growth from May through December 2011 on both iOS and Android to glean new insights around major ecosystem trends. Interestingly, the data reveals that games decreased in popularity on Android during this period, while entertainment apps – like Netflix, Talking Tom, Crackle and Flixster – are on the rise. In the Apple App Store, music and fitness apps are increasing in popularity while utility apps have declined. For further details, check out the full story here.
USA Today’s Roger Yu reported on an interesting new study from Pew Research Center that reveals that consumers’ love for apps can be fleeting. He equates downloading the latest trendy app – which might be recommended by a friend, family member, and a blog post or news story – to an impulsive shopping trip. Pew’s data shows that 68 percent of smartphone owners open only five apps – or less – per week. But Yu quickly points out that the apps with real “staying power, really do stick.”
It’s true that attracting loyal users – those that use an app repeatedly, register or make an in-app purchase – is an ongoing challenge for app marketers. But as Pew’s newly released study underscores, these valuable, loyal users are truly the key to building a sustainable mobile app business. Here at Fiksu, we’ve analyzed more than 11 billion mobile app actions and more than 200 million downloads to help quantify the cost of acquiring loyal users, while painting a big picture landscape of the trends impacting mobile marketers today. Our newly released December Indexes show that mobile app marketing continues to be a challenge – in fact, competition around daily download volumes reached an all-time high in December, along with mobile app marketing costs. But app promotion challenges don’t have to consume your entire life – or budget. We’ve developed a free eBook, based on numerous discussions with mobile app marketers, to help you navigate the challenging mobile ecosystem, avoid common pitfalls and effectively grow your mobile app business. We invite you to check it out!
Posted by: Viki ZabalaFebruary 2, 2012
Last month, it seemed like smartphones were at the top of everyone’s Christmas wish list. And industry data shows that Santa came through for many – in fact, 6.8 million new iOS and Android devices were activated on Christmas Day alone.
For mobile marketers eager to secure their share of the Christmas app download frenzy, December was a critical month. Our Indexes reveal the extreme marketing that took place during the month as advertisers spent heavily to drive up their app store rankings and lock-in a top rank before the App Store four-day ranking freeze which began on Christmas Day.
Here’s a quick snapshot of our December findings:
- 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 December, the Index reached an all-time high of 6.04 million downloads per day, beating November’s previous all-time high of 5.65 million daily downloads – a seven percent increase and the third straight month of increasing app traffic.
- 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. This month, the cost per loyal user peaked at a record $1.81, up 26.5 percent from $1.43 in November.
The December Indexes show that the land rush before Christmas Day was an excellent opportunity for mobile marketers seeking extreme growth during a very short time period – but at a high cost as holiday competition was fierce. For many major app brands, this exceptional opportunity certainly justified increased budgets the week before and during Christmas.
In an interview with Chantal Tode of Mobile Marketer, Fiksu’s Craig Palli explained, “Marketers were mapping to this swell of marketing opportunity and investing heavily in anticipation of new devices getting opened on Christmas. If they were highly ranked before Apple’s freeze period [Dec. 25 – 28], they could lock in their high ranking and get the benefit of incremental organic results.”
We’ve historically observed a spike in volume and costs around peak periods – such as major holidays or iPhone launches – then have seen a return to more normalized cost levels once the event passes. The opportunity to acquire an elevated volume of users over the Christmas period correlates with a strategy to drive volumes of downloads and loyal users fast. While alternatively, certain budget-conscious app marketers seeking more value and return from their media spend choose to ride the tail of these peak periods – targeting the period immediately after a major event, when costs are expected to drop and volume is still high.
Thanks to Abhishek Swain of Crazy Engineers, Jason Ankeny of FierceMobileContent, Mike Rose of Gamasutra, Alex Wood of GOMO News, Simon Sage of iMore, Kim-Mai Cutler of Inside Mobile Apps, Dean Takahashi of MobileBeat, Steve Smith of MediaPost, Keith Andrew of PocketGamer.biz, Tanya Harding of Wall St. CheatSheet and Sarah Perez of TechCrunch for their reports on our latest Index data.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaDecember 2, 2011
For the last few months, we've closely followed consumer anticipation for the iPhone 4S – tracking its direct impact on both mobile app downloads and app marketing costs.
With the arrival of the new iPhone, October was the pivotal month, putting an end to months of industry speculation and mounting expectation, and validating many of our own predictions based on insights gleaned from our Fiksu for Mobile Apps platform.
- The 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. The average volume of downloads per day increased by 29 percent from 3.8 million in September to a record high of 4.91 million in October, following the availability of the new iPhone 4S model.
- The Cost per Loyal User Index measures the cost of acquiring a loyal user for brands who proactively market their apps. For the purpose of the Index, loyal users are defined as people who open an app three times or more. The cost per loyal app user dropped 12 percent – 17 cents – to $1.47 in October from September’s all-time high of $1.64 due to the large increase in app downloads both paid and organically driven.
The first two weeks of October were similar to the month of September, as users held out excitedly for the new iPhone. But during the weekend of October 14 -16, the first three days of the new model’s availability, more than four million new iPhones were sold and app downloads soared to a record high. In fact, our Index experienced as much as a 70 percent increase in daily download volume during this time period, and recorded a significant increase in organic downloads.
For mobile marketers seeking extreme growth in a very short time period, that first weekend presented huge opportunity to secure large volumes of new users – but at a cost as competition was fierce. But by the end of the month, things had calmed down and marketing costs dropped 12 percent from September, yet volume remained plentiful.
Thanks to Kim-Mai Cutler of InsideMobileApps, Matt Brian of The Next Web, Jason Ankeny of FierceMobileContent, Keith Andrew of PockerGamer, Mobile Marketing Watch and TechJournal South for their reports on our latest Index data.
As we enter the holiday season, it will be interesting to see what’s in store for our November Indexes. Check back next month when we "unwrap" our latest findings.