Benchmarking app store competitiveness & the cost of mobile app marketing
App Store Competitive Index
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. In December, the Index peaked at 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
The 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.
On January 24, Apple announced it sold 37 million iPhones – more than expected – during the last quarter of 2011, reporting staggering quarterly revenues of $46.3 billion.
Much of this story unfolded during December when smartphones were the Christmas gift most people were hoping to unwrap. In fact, on Christmas Day alone, more than 6.8 million new iOS and Android devices were activated.
For mobile marketers eager to secure their share of the Christmas app download frenzy, December is such 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 “pole position” before the App Store four-day ranking freeze which began on Christmas Day.
According to our research, the last half of December was the most competitive for mobile marketers: in fact, traffic and dollars spent in the final week of December increased 100 percent over prior weeks. This presented advertisers with sufficient budgets the rare chance to acquire twice as many loyal users. For many major app brands, and game apps in particular, this exceptional opportunity certainly justified increased budgets. Eager consumers actively downloaded apps on their new devices, and the brands that had secured higher ranks were able to acquire a higher volume of loyal app users.