The main metrics governing the cost of user acquisition and retention for mobile apps continue to rise sharply year on year, says mobile data firm Fiksu, with cost per install and cost per launch both rising sharply over the last few months.
Although the data released yesterday covers all apps rather than just games, previous game-specific figures from the firm indicate that games are following a very similar trend. With the cost of building a loyal audience spiralling, breaking into the top-grossing charts has never been more difficult.
“Over the past few months, we’ve seen increased performance on Google,” says Craig Palli, chief strategy officer at the marketing technology company Fiksu.
If there’s one place where Facebook has stolen a march on Google GOOGL +0.32%, it’s in mobile ads–in particular, ads that prompt smartphone users to install and use a particular app.
These app install and app reminder ads were a $6 billion market worldwide last year, and by most accounts, Facebook owned more than half of it. More than anything, the social network’s early jump on these ads, which app developers depend on as much as online retailers depend on search ads, is why Facebook’s revenues keep zooming and its shares are worth a collective $223 billion.
Kathy Pattison, SVP, marketing, Fiksu: Overall, Facebook’s strategy at play through these recent moves and more is to subsume the internet – and they’re making a damn good job of it! Facebook continues to set the high water mark, with mobile at the forefront of its strategy.
The rise and rise of Facebook on mobile, in terms of content, advertising, and the sheer amount of time mobile users spend there, has been one of the standout stories of the past couple of years. And it seems the company has no intention of resting on its laurels.
Within the past couple of weeks alone, it has launched Instant Articles, enabling publishers to publish their stories directly into Facebook’s iOS app; trialled a search engine enabling Facebook users to find and post links to external websites without leaving Facebook; brought more native ads to the Facebook Audience Network; signed a deal with IBM to open up its ad offering to IBM Cloud clients; and struck a deal with Nokia to integrate Here maps into the mobile web version of Facebook, as well as Instagram and Messenger apps.
The iPad 2 -- released more than four years ago -- is still the most popular iPad, with a usage share of about 22.6%, according to Fiksu. This has forced Apple to rely more on bringing new users into the fold.
A little over a year ago, I argued that Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPad was "in big trouble". It was a controversial subject at the time, as Apple had sold 26 million iPads -- an all-time record -- in its most recently reported quarter.
But since then, Apple has reported five consecutive quarters of iPad sales declines. In fact, the sales slide has been accelerating recently. Last quarter, iPad unit sales and revenue declined 23% and 29%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis.
The Apple Watch has been on the market for a couple of weeks – so now it’s time to start measuring. Yahoo, Localytics and Fiksu all released Apple Watch analytics this week to track user behavior on what Brad Jones, director of product management for Flurry analytics at Yahoo, called “the smallest screen.
Yahoo’s offering will include info on new and active users, daily events, user behavior and engagement. The diminutive screen size and consumer expectation around quick, seamless experiences means that “developers will be testing heavily and data is essential to understanding what works,” Jones told AdExchanger. There are more than 3,000 apps available on the Apple Watch thus far.
According to Fiksu's iPhone adoption tracker, the iPhone 6 finally matched the prior-generation iPhone 5s with 24.1% usage share last week. This week, it has pulled firmly into the lead with a usage share of about 24.7%, while the iPhone 5s has held steady at 24.1% of all iPhone usage.
Since the iPhone 6 went on sale last September, it has been a huge seller. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) reported that combined sales of the iPhone 6 and its larger sibling, the iPhone 6 Plus, topped 10 million during the first weekend of availability.
Word-of-mouth influence is particularly important given recent research from Fiksu indicating that the cost to acquire a mobile app user through advertising rose to a new high of $3.09.
Word-of-mouth is a key driver of smartphone application discovery and a leading reason why users download apps, details Google [pdf] in a study conducted with Ipsos MediaCT. But downloads don’t necessarily equate to usage, as 1 in 4 installed smartphone apps are never used, according to the research.
On the e-commerce front, Facebook also cited data from Fiksu showing that consumers who downloaded e-commerce apps from ads appearing on the Audience Network generated 20 times more revenue for the advertiser, on average, than people who downloaded the app from an ad appearing on another display network.
The tools include new native ad templates that allow app publishers to customize native ad elements like font, ad height, background color, and borders, among others, in order to match their apps’ appearance more closely if they wish. They also include a new ad management tool that automates many aspects of the process, such as optimization around the best-performing ads, and a new customizable horizontal scroll template or native ads, making it easier for publishers to boost engagement and the overall volume of ads appearing in the app.
Facebook also released the results of a study on the effectiveness of ads distributed through its Audience Network. Overall, Facebook found that over half the revenues that developers derive from the Audience Network now comes from native formats, with publishers getting CPMs seven times higher than standard banners on average.
The social network also said marketing application-programming-interface developer Fiksu found that when users installed e-commerce apps via Facebook Audience Network ads, they were responsible for 20 times more revenue than users who downloaded those apps from other display network ads.
Facebook released a host of tools to ease the creation of native ads for its Facebook Audience Network and allow developers and publishers to reach users outside of the social network.
In order to help marketers conform to Facebook Audience Network’s native ad format, the social network created new native ad templates, as well as ad-management tools for native ads and the addition of a horizontal scroll feature.,/p>
Craig Palli, chief strategy officer at Fiksu, told sister publication MarketingTech about the importance of brands getting in there now, as the majority of smartwatch owners will either be early adopters or high value customers.
Juniper Research forecasts that wearable advertising spend will reach $68.7 million (£46.5m) in 2018, a huge leap from $1.5m (£1.02m) by the end of this year – and the growth of the Apple Watch will fuel this step up.
It’s a concept which has had marketers licking their lips in anticipation for months – another screen on which to display ads and sell dollars.