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 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.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaAugust 22, 2012
Venture capital investments in mobile have boomed this year, reaching levels not seen since 2001. For thrill-seekers hoping to hit the jackpot and “win big,” new smartphone and tablet apps are providing Las Vegas-style gambling options – with real money – at the swipe of an index finger. And following a series of leaks and rumors, Google Play will now offer gift cards for its content-distribution store.
Mobile now represents a staggering 46 percent of all VC investments, with venture backing for mobile consumer apps totaling nearly $4 billion during the first six months of 2012, according to new data from M&A advisor firm Rutberg & Company. During this time, VCs invested in 479 mobile startups, with the median funding round size netting at $3.5 million. “The six-month mobile investment total represents the highest level of activity for a half-year period since the firm initiated coverage in 2001 – in addition, 2012 mobile investments are currently $1 billion ahead of the pace set during the first half of 2011, which was the largest year for mobile tech venture funding in a decade,” reports Jason Ankeny in FierceMobileContent.
Juniper Research estimates that by 2017 consumers will gamble $100 billion on their mobile devices. Game developers have recognized this huge market opportunity and are starting to convert smartphones into virtual casinos – and up the ante by adding real-money bets. In the U.K., where it is legal, Big Fish Games Inc. will soon introduce a version of its gambling app Big Fish Casino with real-money betting, Bloomberg reports. “This is the biggest opportunity that game developers have had since the advent of the Internet,” Christopher Griffin, chief executive officer of Betable, said in his recent Bloomberg interview. While in-app gambling with real money isn’t yet cleared in the U.S., gaming giant Zynga is lobbying hard because the company has plans of its own to launch real-money gaming products in the first half of 2013, according to reports in the The Wall Street Journal.
After months of speculation and increasing user demands, Google Play gift cards are officially expected to hit U.S. retailers in the next few weeks, reports Engadget. The gift cards will be available in $10, $25 and $50 denominations, and users can redeem them for just about any digital content in the Play Store. These new cards represent Google’s latest step toward a “full-fledged content store," helping Google to compete with the popular Apple's iTunes gift cards and others in the physical retail store market, according to The Verge.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaAugust 1, 2012
School’s out, and just as we saw last year, iPhone app downloads started increasing during the beginning of the summer months, causing App Store competition to heat up. Fiksu’s June Indexes reflect this trend, plus a significant rise in the costs of loyal user acquisition.
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) increased to 4.63 million daily downloads in June, up 1.98 percent from May’s 4.54 million.
· The Fiksu Cost per Loyal User Index increased by 14.3 percent to $1.44, from $1.26 in May.
In June, there was a distinct shift in mobile app marketing spending behaviors. Unlike earlier months when marketers spent cautiously and assessed attribution options (as a result of Apple’s rumored transition away from the widely used UDID), June confidence and spending picked up again. In fact, we observed more brands resuming their use of UDID - as one of several attribution methods available - while following best practices regarding disclosure to ensure compliance with Apple’s privacy policies.
June’s Index data also reflected a quarter-end burst in mobile advertising campaign spending as brands sought to deplete remaining Q2 budgets.
Thanks to all who covered this month’s Index data, including Mike Minotti of VentureBeat, Alex Spencer of Mobile Marketing UK, Jason Ankeny of FierceMobileContent, and Michael Essany of Mobile Marketing Watch.
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.