Benchmarking app store competitiveness & the cost of mobile app marketing
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 November, the Index reached its all-time high at 5.65 million downloads per day, beating October's previous record high of 4.91 million daily downloads – a 15 percent increase and the first time the Index has topped the five million mark.
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 remained steady, decreasing by just four cents $1.43 from October's $1.47.
The launch of the iPhone 4S continues to impact the world of mobile advertisers. Compared to October's dizzying fluctuations before, during and after the new device's mid-month launch, November presented a far steadier landscape.
As expected, and as we've seen before with new device launches, new owners' enthusiasm is high and their appetite for app discovery and engagement is strong. This bears out in the numbers with daily app downloads hitting a new, all-time record peak reflecting heightened competition for rank in the Apple App Store. Additionally, the rapid adoption of iOS 5 – and corresponding app updates – played a key role in this continued escalation in November.
Comparing this November to a year ago, it’s remarkable to note that app download volumes have increased by an impressive 83 percent, highlighting the colossal expansion of mobile apps in just twelve months.
Back to this year. Interestingly, the Thanksgiving weekend did not impact either Index significantly – downloads maintained their increasing pace and mobile marketing costs held steady. From this we can deduce that marketers’ collective negotiating prowess is getting sharper; they are increasingly executing ad spends based on timely cost per user data instead of speculation based budgets.
Analysts believe Apple is on target to sell 30 million iPhones by the year’s end so, as many lucky individuals found shiny new iPhones under their Christmas trees this week, we can expect that app downloads will continue their climb in December.