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Mobile App Marketing
Posted by: Kelsey HeaveyJanuary 31, 2014
Back in September, when we talked about the upcoming holiday season, we reminded app marketers to spread their budget throughout November and into February. Over the years, our cost per loyal user index has shown that costs stay high from November into January, rather than showing a strong differentiation between December and surrounding months as might be expected. This year's December numbers bear that out, as cost per loyal user stayed relatively steady even as download volume shot up.
In 2011, January was a bargain period – but marketers caught on to the fact that January brings loads of impressions and less competition, and last year acquisition costs in January were very similar to those in December. Both months are among the highest all year as app marketers capitalize on the holiday season and the flood of new devices.
But as app marketers increasingly spread budget to January, that value time has now moved to February. Last year, the cost to acquire a loyal user in January was only 10 cents lower than December. But February had a much steeper drop, going down 28 cents, despite having volume similar to December. With heightened user activity and app discovery continuing long beyond the holiday season, February is a bargain time for reaching peak volumes of users at a lower cost.
One reason for this is that a phone that was given at Christmas time is still new to the user in February: they're still searching for new apps to get the most out of their device. There's also a drop off in spending, as many app marketers who budget big for the holiday season wrap up their campaigns in January.
As the mobile marketplace continues to mature, marketers are spreading budgets throughout the holiday season rather than focusing solely on one-month holiday volume. We expect the cost per loyal user to drop again in February, making it a bargain time for value-minded app marketers, so take advantage. To add to this bargain month, Fiksu is offering a promotion! This month only, run a campaign on FreeMyApps, the world's largest app discovery network powered by Fiksu and get 2500 bonus installs. Embrace this time and get started now!
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoDecember 26, 2013
The busiest single period of the app marketing year is going on right now -- and yesterday, on Christmas, all eyes were on the iTunes App Store. Fiksu was carefully monitoring the App Store, watching for the "freeze" -- the period where ranks in the all-important Top Charts stop moving. In recent years, the freeze has been getting shorter and shorter. This year, for the first time, there was no real freeze at all.
As we discussed in a recent article on VentureBeat, a change to how the App Store updates made a potential freeze largely irrelevant anyway: because ranks only update every three hours, there's no longer a usable window for app marketers to try to get "free" rank. This was the first Christmas with that update schedule in place, and in our investigation, it seemed like Apple was generally able to keep up with the crush of downloads and refresh the ranks roughly every three hours throughout the day. And there certainly were plenty of new iDevices being opened yesterday -- our iPhone and iPad usage tracker shows a sharp jump in usage of the newest devices:
Despite not seeing a total freeze, we did see some interesting behavior:
- There were some stretches of time Christmas Eve where movement up and down the ranks was quite limited. This could simply be due to significant competitive pressure, as app marketers ramped up their advertising spend to prepare for the Christmas rush.
- Some users noted that when ranks did update, it was difficult to get the ranks to refresh in iTunes, even by quitting iTunes and restarting.
The high-stakes holiday season continues for the next week or so, as people with new devices continue to load them up with apps. In fact, many apps get more downloads in December than they do in any quarter the rest of the year. App marketers across Apple and Android platforms have their work cut out for them to capture their share of those new users. We'll continue keeping an eye on the app marketing ecosystems and report any additional updates as needed.
Posted by: Sarah LemelinNovember 15, 2013
Recently Fiksu flew from our offices in San Francisco and Boston to Los Angeles for a week of learning with game and app developers at GDC Next and App Developers Conference.
Fiksu was at this event last year, and it was very noticeable that the industry has gotten a lot smarter since then. Game companies and major brands have learned that mobile is the place to be. They've seen the overwhelming statistics about how mobile is not only a must for app publishers, but also a cost-effective for brands to drive engagement, with mobile CPCs up to 90 percent cheaper than desktop pay-per-click campaigns. They've responded appropriately by developing mobile apps and games. Recognizing this trend, the show focused on an important theme: the lack of solid skills and education in this booming field. Much discussion centered around advice for publishers on how to optimize these complex new aspects of their business.
Senior Online Games Supervisor Teut Weidemann from Ubisoft spoke during his presentation “Why Everything in Games Today is Irrelevant,” on the importance of constantly seeking data in the increasingly evolving mobile game industry. He joked, “If someone gives you numbers, maybe give them a hug.” But the reality is that mobile professionals are more knowledgeable about the mobile gaming industry than they used to be, and thus expect more detailed information to help them do their jobs.
If Weidemann is right, then Fiksu’s Peter Gollan deserved a hug after his speaking session which featured a sneak peek of never-before-seen metrics that Fiksu will publish in our upcoming eBook: The Anatomy of a Mobile Game Launch. The data-rich presentation attracted a huge audience, leaving not even one empty seat in the audience. You’ll have to wait for us to publish the ebook, coming out this November, to see these valuable stats -- so stay tuned!
GDC Next proved the desire for concrete data and education about the mobile industry, specifically for games. No longer can gaming publishers just make the move to mobile but are interested in how to optimize and best achieve their business goals. Specific data and trends that back up data is more important than ever for these publishers. Visit us here to get a copy of the eBook sent to your inbox the day it comes out. Or catch one of our speaking engagements in the coming months where we will be giving encore presentations of Gollan’s talk at GDC Next.
Posted by: Kelsey HeaveyAugust 14, 2013
With over 152,000 active titles in the App Store, not only are games the largest category - they also appeal to a unique and valuable audience. Game consumers can be fiercely loyal to the favorites, as well as excited about new games, actively seeking out the next game to master. To share their excitement and find the next hot game, many join communities where they can discover new games, read and write game reviews, get tips on beating the next level, or brag, trash-talk, and chat with other players. This community emphasis is a big opportunity for game app marketers to find new players.
Gamers and publishers building connections
You can see the difference in the App Store reviews for games. The current number one paid games app, Minecraft, is full of comments like “In the next up date please add roller coaster tracks” to “When will the red stone update come out?” as well as tips, tactics, and general enthusiasm.
Outside of App Store reviews, a dominant hub for many of these conversations and communities is social media. Publishers have learned that social media followers are dedicated and interested gamers, and so many have found success in making their own Twitter accounts and founding communities. Angry Birds, for example, has nearly 600K followers, and interacts with them with questions such as “What’s your favorite Angry Birds game?” and tweets about game updates. Angry Birds has successfully created a community that fosters engagement and delivers rewards for their followers.
The opportunity for game app marketers
You don't have to be Angry Birds to take advantage of the social nature of gamers. These days, popular incentivized networks can offer an integrated social play that is incredibly beneficial for game marketers. On our own network, FreeMyApps, there are over 300K dedicated followers who have entrusted their social media network as a source for finding new games. We see the excitement in comments on our social channels all the time, like “I just got that one today! When’s the next sponsor app coming?” as well as all the likes, retweets, and favorites that roll in.
Incentivized ad networks are a proven, common component of game app marketing – but not all of them include the social promotion that can give you an extra boost of active players. Loyal followers of app discovery sources like FreeMyApps come to actively seek out games, share their favorites, and comment on them with other users. An app marketing campaign with a strong social component offers game developers the ability to connect with the most engaged, high-quality users. For more factors to be looking for when choosing an app discovery incent network, download our eBook: Top 10 Tips to Identify High-Performance App Discovery Incent Networks.
Posted by: David WalshAugust 1, 2013
Last week, Fiksu attended the HasOffers client and partner Postback conference in Seattle. It was the first-of-its-kind event from HasOffers and provided a great opportunity to learn about the rapid changes that are taking place in the mobile app ecosystem and connect with other industry experts.
First off, it was a teriffic event. Kudos to HasOffers for putting together two days of engaging keynotes and panel discussions, with just the right pacing to facilitate informal discussions among the 200+ participants. The panels featured an appealing balance of advertiser and network perspectives, all highlighting the evolving challenges and opportunities facing participants in the mobile space.
The opening keynote from HasOffers CEO Pete Hamilton was upbeat and set the optimistic tone that carried throughout the event, touching on HasOffers' journey, the state of the mobile industry, and the excitement of working with partners and clients focused on the same mission.
Equally impressive was the second day keynote from Rich Wong of Accel Partners. Wong, as a HasOffers investor, delivered a thoughtful assessment on the rapid growth of the industry and the still-to-be-realized upside for well-positioned players. His comments served as a reminder of the opportunity to be seized in the rapidly evolving mobile space.
Also, a quick shoutout to Fiksu's own Steve Bagdasarian, who moderated a well-received panel on Mobile Advertising Platform Players that featured Facebook's Bryant Lee and Google's George Goffman. The three discussed an array of pressing issues facing networks and advertisers today, including:
- The challenges of improving audience targeting - and the incredibly granular opportunities afforded by Facebook's mobile app install ad.
- The trend towards focusing on meaningful metrics beyond "cost per click."
- The importance of tracking the cost and ROI from users who monetize or engage in a meaningful app actions.
- And the emerging and varying definitions of "lifetime value," with all three agreeing that Lifetime Customer Value (LTV) should be the focus of today's mobile advertisers.
For more color on the panel, see a great write-up on the HasOffers' blog.
The Facebook story
The other main theme throughout the conference was Facebook. The conference kicked off on the day following Facebook's incredible Q2 earnings results - where Facebook's share of revenue from mobile grew to 41%, up from 30% in Q1, cleanly surpassing industry espectations. The exceptional earnings, and the rapid adoption of Facebook's mobile app install ads by advertisers, drove many panel comments and hallway conversations on the incredible potential for cost-effective, and high volume user acquisition and the huge potential for the industry.
All in all, the event delivered on its promise for insightful presentations and great informal conversations on the maturation of mobile app marketing. The takeaway for many: mobile app marketing has come into its own, with the cost effectiveness and high engagement it delivers finally being recognized by larger brands and nimble startups alike.
Posted by: Jeremy SaccoJuly 24, 2013
Recently at Fiksu we've been seeing some exciting developments from Facebook's mobile app install ads. The combination of huge scale, extremely competitive CPIs, and flexible audience selection tools that the unit provides has proven effective again and again, and our clients are reaping the benefits.
To show you what I mean, I'm going to share some actual numbers from a current Fiksu client. Understandably, they prefer to remain anonymous, but suffice it to say they are a well-established social sharing app with an install base of millions of users across iOS and Android.
Goals and getting started
As a mobile-first company, this app publisher understood the challenges of mobile advertising, including the lack of screen real estate, the distracted nature of mobile users, and the lack of time available to capture a user's interest. They were also more than familiar with the challenges of managing multiple ad networks, having done it themselves in the past.
The goal chosen for this user acquisition program was simply to accelerate user growth to maximize market share: this fast-growing venture isn't focused on in-app monetization quite yet. With that objective, the client targeted a $1 CPI for their non-incent user acquisition efforts. However, they didn't want to just accumulate raw numbers: they wanted to find users who shared content with friends. So a content share became their marker of a "loyal user" -- the kind of people they wanted to go after.
Fiksu algorithmically ramped up their user acquisition program over a range of traditional mobile ad networks, delivering a steady stream of those loyal users with increasing efficiency. While initial performance was in an expected range across a spectrum of traffic sources, Fiksu’s programmatic execution achieved unexpectedly great results through its Facebook integration.
Facebook transforms the results
Given the social nature of the app, Facebook seemed likely to be a good match before we launched a single ad. But as it turned out, the results exceeded our expectations: Facebook's mobile app install ads have been a runaway success for this client.
The client's average CPI on non-incentivized ad networks is $3.47 on iOS and $1.59 on Android, although many sources yielded results well below and well above those averages. On Facebook, their CPI falls to $0.80 and $0.37 – a 75% reduction in costs on both platforms.
It's worth noting that these results are not due to low CPCs – in fact, CPCs on Facebook are higher than average. The primary contributor is an outstanding conversion rate – an amazing 24% of non-incentivized clicks turn into installs on iOS, and 11% on Android.
Most importantly, these results are coming at significant volume – a low five-figure daily ad spend -- and they represent high-quality, loyal app users. Their loyalty rates on Facebook are 46% higher than across other networks, pushing their effective cost per loyal user down even lower and allowing them to build up a huge base of happy customers.
We can achieve such impressive numbers using Facebook's granular audience selection tools: using age and gender to segment the audience has been extremely successful for this app, and our tight integration with Facebook's API gives us a deep understanding of what's working and where the most loyal users are coming from.
Facebook's worldwide reach is also a great match for this client. The app is rolled out in new markets one at a time with small test spends on Facebook mobile app install ads. Due to the focused nature of the tests, the client can quickly get enough data to analyze each market and decide if the country is worth ramping up – or if they should pull the plug.
Using this one-country-at-a-time testing strategy, the client has been able to build user bases in countries that would be hard to reach through traditional mobile ad networks, like Brazil, Russia, and Mexico – and been able to pause spending in countries where results weren't worthwhile, such as the UK.
Bottom line: the bottom line
This client was initially drawn to Facebook due to the social nature of the app, but the results have far exceeded expectations. The social sharing aspects of the app mean that Facebook users tend to share with their Facebook friends, delivering an extra dose or ROI that other traffic sources can't match.
While we continue to test new traffic sources – including incentivized networks, RTB, and other ad networks – Facebook has come to represent nearly all of this client's ongoing spend. We're looking forward to continuing to help them expand around the world and finding new ways to take advantage of Facebook and other new channels.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaMarch 13, 2013
Since we announced that Fiksu officially supports Facebook mobile app installs, we've been dying to put the new integration to the test and see how this new channel performs relative to other ad networks. We've gotten results from a few different client apps so far, and wanted to share some of them.
- Click through rates are twice as high as what we see when testing on typical networks
- Conversion rates are significantly higher than many other sources
- Loyalty and user retention are higher than a typical network
- CPI ranges are highly variable, but for the apps we've tested are within a reasonable range relative to costs seen on other networks
We should say clearly that these are preliminary results and can’t be guaranteed for every app. We're just beginning the in-depth optimization that really makes a Fiksu campaign work, so we expect to improve on the results we're seeing so far. Overall we're confident that for many apps, Facebook is going to become an important component of a comprehensive marketing plan.
Go get your likes
One audience segment that predictably works well is people who already 'like' you. By targeting a campaign at users who had already connected with their brand on Facebook, one of our clients was able to see a CPI that was less than half of their next-best-performing segment - and a third of their typical CPI on traditional ad networks.
While it's not surprising that users who've already made a connection to your brand are easier to win over, it's an important audience for you to go after. Big brands are learning that they can't just assume that a customer on their mailing list will like them on Facebook, or that a Facebook fan will download their app. There's an element of winning the customer over on each of these channels. So, it's good news that it's cheaper than other venues - because it's the first place you should start building your app user base.
Want more tips?
We're holding a free webinar this Thursday titled App Marketing on Facebook: Using Social Media to Drive Mobile App Installs. We'll have more examples from our clients, best practices for app marketing on Facebook, and some suggested strategies. Sign up here.
Posted by: Viki ZabalaOctober 23, 2012
Apple already made quite a big splash in the mobile world this fall, releasing its iPhone 5 to record-breaking sales and pushing out its iOS 6 operating system to a staggering 200 million devices. Now, on the verge of the holiday shopping season, the technology giant has unveiled a long-awaited, smaller-format tablet – the iPad Mini – that is expected to shake up the market with its ultra-sleek design and powerful display.
Debuting today in front of an audience at the California Theater in San Jose, the iPad Mini is lighter and thinner than its elder sibling. It weighs only 0.68 pounds – more than 50 percent lighter than the standard iPad – and measures only 7.2 millimeters. It also features a 7.9-inch diagonal (versus a 9.7-inch diagonal on the current iPad), comes in black and white versions, and starts retailing at $329 for a 16-gigabyte, Wi-Fi-only model. (Models with more memory and cellular connectivity vary in price up to $659 for the high end model.)
At Fiksu, we’ve been keeping an eye on the iPad Mini and how it will affect app developers and marketers. While Apple has sold an impressive 100 million iPads in less than three years, there are considerations to be assessed before racing to incorporate the iPad Mini into user acquisition strategies:
- Who’ll be buying the iPad Mini? Because of its $329 starting price, the iPad Mini could attract a slew of net new users, especially younger generations, who might consider it an alternative to devices such as the Xbox, Kindle, and PlayStation 3.
- What’s the killer app category for the iPad Mini? It could well be leisure/lifestyle apps, as pundits believe the Mini might be more used in the home than out and about. Existing tablet usage has emphasized games, media, and shopping, so those categories are also likely to fare well.
- Keep your eye on the prize. The larger iPad has an established, engaged user base and delivers a more immersive experience than its new sibling, so it provides better app-advertising real estate. In addition, the price difference may position the bigger device as a premium product, which could carry a premium price for advertising.
Pre orders will begin Friday, Oct. 26, with the device hitting shelves Friday, Nov. 2, in plenty of time for holiday shopping. And experts predict that ad spending on tablets will engulf smartphone spending for the holidays, even on the heels of last month’s iPhone 5 launch. However, the new iPad Mini could face competition from Google’s reported 10-inch Nexus tablet, which is speculated to premiere Monday, Oct. 29.
You can also read some of our recommended news articles from today’s event:
- Apple iPad Mini -- it's real, and it has a new design, CNET
- iPad Mini starts at $329, is thinner than a pencil, NBCNews.com
- Apple Unveils iPad Mini, The Wall Street Journal
Posted by: Viki ZabalaOctober 22, 2012
It’s been a few weeks since Apple launched the iPhone 5, debuted its App Store changes, and rolled out iOS 6. More than 5 million iPhone 5s were sold within days of the launch and more than 100 million device owners upgraded to iOS 6. For app marketers and developers, there’s a good number of updates in the App Store and iOS 6, and many of these changes spell opportunity for improved loyal user acquisition. Here’s what you need to know:
- New opportunities to connect with users: How can you take advance of the App Store’s Facebook integration and Apple's new Passbook app's “location-aware offers”?
- The emphasis is off the top 25 and onto search: Thanks to the App Store’s new infinite horizontal scrolling lists, optimizing discoverability through search becomes more important.
- It's time to plan your transition away from UDID: As expected, Apple announced a replacement for UDIDs: the new Advertising Identifier. How should you transition without prematurely dropping the ball on large segments of your audience?
- Shorter titles, bigger screenshots: The App Store now shows less of your title and description text and places more importance on screenshots. How can you take advantage of this through icons, slimmer, catchy titles, keywords and more?
- Don’t wait to ride the iPhone 5 advertising wave: New Apple devices lead to increased app downloads and long-term, loyal app users. How can you catch them now while there is increased volume and decreased costs – before the inevitable holiday push and increased spending kicks in?
Now is a great time to re-evaluate your user acquisition strategy to capitalize on these changes and opportunities. To learn more about the practical steps you can start taking today, we’ve published “5 Biggest Changes in iOS6 for App Marketers,” which you can download for free here.Tags:
Posted by: Viki ZabalaSeptember 11, 2012
Tomorrow is a big day for app marketers, and it’s not just because Apple is announcing the much-rumored and anticipated iPhone 5.
It’s because the arrival of the iPhone 5 heralds a fantastic mobile app marketing opportunity for brands – an opportunity that starts with tomorrow’s launch event, picks up steam as the hottest new mobile device hits the shelves mid-month and extends throughout the rest of September well into October and November. Here at Fiksu, we are calling it “Christmas in September!”
To help mobile app marketers and developers understand how to make the most of this rich and timely opportunity, we analyzed data from the last big iPhone 4S launch in October 2011 to help portray what to expect on September 21, 2012.
This infographic spells it all out. If your app is looking to ride the iPhone 5 marketing wave, now’s the time to get in on the action.
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