New monetization rankings in the performance index I AppsFlyer
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New monetization rankings highlight AppsFlyer Performance Index WFH Edition

Avatar Shani Rosenfelder Oct 01, 2020

The 11th AppsFlyer Performance Index — ranking the best media sources in mobile advertising since 2015 — is out with a special WFH Edition! Its data covers the first half of 2020, a period in time marked by millions of people, across the globe, working from home due to COVID-19 and social distancing policies. 

What effect did the pandemic have on the rankings?

We’ve seen mobile metrics across the board spike during lockdown as people at home were looking to be entertained (streaming video & music, playing games), to communicate, work out, order food, make online payments, and more. To meet this heightened demand, we saw marketers aggressively pursue new users.

That said, there was only a marginal impact on media source rankings in H1 2020. Marketers were extremely busy, but they used the same media sources they’ve used over the past few years — a consolidated list of leading, fraud-free partners with powerful tech and scale of data to optimize campaigns.


What’s new in the WFH Edition? Enter the IAP and IAA indices!

The evolution of our index is mostly tied to our rapidly growing scale and the strict thresholds we’ve used to ensure statistically valid results. Edition I of the Performance Index included only global gaming and non-gaming rankings, while in Edition X the rankings were broken down by geo, platform, and sub-category.

Granularity is the name of the game. 

But the index has always been based on retention data as the key factor to success. That’s because each and every app we have in our system has this data. 

Despite the fact that AppsFlyer has a 65% global market share, Edition XI marks the first time we’ve had sufficient scale to release revenue and monetization-driven rankings (unlike retention data, monetization data requires unique configuration and implementation, and therefore fewer apps have this data).

  1. The IAP Index: Media sources are ranked on their ability to deliver users with the highest likelihood to complete an in-app purchase (IAP) using the share of paying users metric (install-to-purchase conversion rate). The importance of IAPs in a freemium-driven app economy is massive, and takes precedence over retention in performance app marketing.  
  2. The IAA Index: Media sources are ranked on their ability to deliver users who monetize best with ads — vital information for apps who rely on in-app advertising (IAA) as a key revenue stream.

While IAP has been around from the early days of mobile gaming, IAA arrived later, opening a whole new revenue stream, and gradually becoming an integral part of most games across multiple genres.  

As always, Edition XI also includes the Retention Index, the Remarketing Index, and the Growth Index. All in all, these 5 indices provide a complete report card on the mobile media landscape across multiple angles.

To give you a taste of the results, here are the top 3 findings:


1) Facebook quality powers social network to the #1 cross-index position

The standard Performance Index, or the Retention Index, has Google atop the universal power ranking by a small margin. Its position is driven by superior scale across the globe, and particularly in APAC. 

But, when we look at the IAP Index, Facebook leads Google by a wide margin in the universal power ranking thanks to superior quality. 

In a performance index, the share of paying users is a stronger indication of performance than retention. Add to that the fact that it also dominates the IAA Index as well as the Remarketing Index, and its overall #1 cross-index position is clear.

A platform breakdown shows Google is a clear winner in Android thanks to its leap in developing countries where the OS dominates, while Facebook controls much of iOS (note that Google stopped claiming iOS Search conversions to App Attribution Partners in early 2020, so this subset of Google conversions on iOS was not considered for this report). 


2) Unity Ads emerges as the leader of the gaming triopoly 

The leap in scale achieved by Unity Ads distanced it from its two main competitors ironSource and AppLovin (although its quality is actually the lowest among the group). The network’s growth was driven by both onboarding a large number of new clients and increasing budgets with existing ones across the globe. 

In the IAA Index, Unity Ads was second only to Facebook, thanks to its scale being significantly larger than ironSource (quality-wise there was only a minor gap). It is the main platform for game developers to create mobile games on, and as a result they have a massive long-tail of indie games that monetize with ads, many of which continue working with the Unity network post-launch. 


3) Apple Search Ads boasts best share of paying users in IAP Index

Apple Search Ads (ASA) is providing great results for Non-Gaming apps. These apps are particularly well-suited to match strong intent that can be drawn from what users search for in the App Store. As a result, ASA had the highest share of paying users in the IAP Index leading it to the #2 spot in the index’s universal power ranking. 

Part of its success can be attributed to the pandemic. Organic growth in the App Store led marketers to start and/or increase their app store optimization efforts, bringing Apple Search Ads to the front, driving impressive growth and strong performance.


For all the insights from the 595 rankings across 11 regions and 32 categories, open The AppsFlyer Performance Index WFH Edition today!