App downloads were flying high this October, rising 23 percent since last month and reaching 7.9 million total downloads. With the late September release of the latest iPhone—the 6S—consumers got straight to work during October, installing apps on their new devices. In the meantime, the cost to acquire a loyal user fell slightly. This leveling of CPLU happened as a result of app loyalty: as many iPhone 6S users added ‘vital apps’ to their new devices—apps they already have a tendency to keep and use—this drew the overall cost to acquire users in October down.

The new iPhones had a dramatic impact on app downloads in September—but not in the direction you might think. We saw a sharp decline in app download volume, down 21 percent to 6.4 million daily downloads, the lowest volume since last September. Seems like consumers anticipating an upgrade to one of the new iPhones at the end of the month cut back on their app downloads. It makes sense: why go looking for new apps when you know you're about to upgrade?

The month of August marked a watershed moment for the Fiksu Indexes, as the Cost Per Loyal User (CPLU) index surpassed $4 for the first time. That’s a 36 percent rise since July and a 117 percent increase since last year. 

In July, we saw the cost per install rise, and the cost to acquire a loyal user fall. When both these patterns happen in the same month, it is indicative of smarter targeting by marketers. In essence, they’ve been spending more to get their messages in front of the right audiences at the right time – and earning long-term loyalty in return.

Our Indexes revealed a significant rise in cost per loyal user and app download volumes in June. Increasing 24 percent over last month, app volume reached 8.3 million daily downloads. Meanwhile, June’s cost per loyal user soared to $3.21, which represents an increase of 30 percent since last month. Clearly, while the ever-increasing app downloads are providing greater inventory for in-app advertising,  marketers are still challenged to precisely target loyal app users.

This month we finally can report a slight drop in the numbers – in both mobile marketing costs and app downloads – which may come as a welcome relief for marketers. App install volume of the top 200 free iOS apps decreased 17 percent to 6.7 million, according to the Fiksu App Store Competitive Index. Along with falling downloads were declining costs, as May’s cost per loyal user of $2.47 was down 10 percent since last month.

As the proverb goes, “April showers bring May flowers,” and the same may be true for marketers in April. While this past month represented another expensive one for mobile, particularly on a year-over-year viewpoint, it also may prove to be very fruitful. As leading brands heightened their focus on strategic mobile spending and higher-value targeting, loyalty rates of app users (and the cost to acquire a loyal user) has improved slightly.

This month was a significant one for the Fiksu indexes, as it marked the first time in history that the cost to acquire loyal app users (CPLU) surged passed the $3 mark. While hitting a historic high, this number isn’t surprising since it points a larger trend of rising costs and steadily growing competitive pressures observed across the landscape.

After four consecutive record-breaking months of downloads, the February 2015 App Store Competitive Index, which tracks the average aggregate daily download volume of the top 200 free iOS apps, came in at 9.7 million daily downloads. This represents a 6 percent decrease from January and a significant 43 percent increase since last February. As expected for this time of year, it is common to see February numbers dip due to the short month as well as typical reduction in post-holiday spending.

The New Year is off to a strong start, as the January 2015 App Store Competitive Index surpassed the 10 million download mark for the first time ever, coming in at 10.3 million daily downloads compared to last month’s previous record high of 9.2 million. This represents a 12 percent growth month-over-month and a marked 61 percent leap since January 2014.