Targeting High-End Devices to Drive Value | AppsFlyer
4 Min. Read

Key Targeting Parameter Benchmarks for High-End Devices in 36 Markets

Jacob Nehman Jacob Nehman May 11, 2018

Looking for high-value users? Pass this targeting idea on to the team. We’ve pulled some interesting data on the share of high-end devices in different countries around the world.

In 2018, app marketers are focused on quality to drive success for their apps. User acquisition has shifted from volume-driven to value-driven. One way to drive value is to target by device type, while specifically selecting high-end devices.   

Why target high-end devices? There are two primary reasons.

1) High-end devices drive increased spend: In general, it is safe to assume that high-end devices are owned by users with greater spending power. After all, their devices are expensive.

It is a well-documented fact that iOS users significantly outspend Android users when it comes to in-app purchases. And since the average iOS device is much more expensive than the average Android device, a correlation can be made between device type and purchasing power.  

2) Tech-savvy users drive increased spend: People who own the latest and greatest mobile devices tend to be more tech savvy; that is to say, in general, they are early adopters of all things tech. These users are often very comfortable within their app environments, which in turn translates into increased in-app purchasing.

What was the scope of our study in terms of devices, countries and app categories?

We looked at 19 types of iOS and Android devices (the priciest smartphones – see the list at the end of this post) in 36 countries around the world across 28 categories.

First, let’s explore the percentage of high-end devices in the top 20 markets. The graph below shows that the percentage of high-end devices tends to be greater in developed countries and lower in countries that are either underdeveloped or have relatively weaker economies. You might have already considered this in your strategy based on a fairly logical assumption. But now you have the numbers by country to back it up.

This next graph illustrates the percentage of high-end devices broken down by OS.

We can see that with the exception of the Australia and UK markets, iOS clearly dominates Android by large margins. After all, the number of iOS devices is limited in comparison to the vast fragmentation of Android devices. But this doesn’t mean that you should target your efforts only for iOS. When it comes to pure scale, Android beats iOS by a long shot. Because of Android’s scale, even with a much lower percentage of high-end devices, we still see a lot of devices, as illustrated in the graph below:

Overall, there are 20% more high-end iPhones (models X, 8, and 7 including the Plus versions) than 10 high-end Android devices combined.

The US is clearly a superpower of high-end devices with both a high percentage and a large population. In fact, it has 5x more high-end devices than the second highest country.

In Japan, Android is practically non-existent, while its share of high-end iPhones is off the charts. Why the lopsidedness? In 1999, Docomo, the Japanese mega mobile carrier, invented i-mode, the first internet-connected mobile device. Other carriers, KDDI and Softbank, then released a similar device.

When the iPhone was released in Japan, Japanese device makers like Fujitsu, NEC, Toshiba, etc. didn’t think it would hit big in Japan because they were over-confident about their i-mode devices. This is why they didn’t try to make an Android device. The first Android device was only released in Japan in 2010!

In neighboring South Korea, the percentage of high-end devices is particularly high — across both Android and iOS — second only to the US. The main reason for this is that the government actually subsidizes the cost of smartphones and also intervenes in phone pricing and plans. As a result, high-end smartphones are far more affordable to the average user and therefore the “expensive device = increased spend” equation loses some ground.


Category breakdown

Different app categories have different percentages of high-end devices in different countries. That much is clear. How does gaming in the UK fare? What about shopping in the US?

To see ALL the numbers of 36 countries and 28 app categories, we created a matrix view where you can get all the data relevant to your category and country.


How to target high-end devices

Now that we know why and in which country and category to target high-end devices, let’s focus on the how. Basically, targeting these devices in campaigns includes the following options:

1) Selecting specific devices directly in the dashboards of several top media companies including Facebook, Twitter, Snap, Yahoo, and MoPub.

2) Running campaigns with other networks and informing them to target based on-screen density DPI or density per square inch (a strong indicator of a high-end device). This data is included in the bid request which enables the network to target by DPI, and it is particularly critical on Android where you need to separate the high-end devices from the numerous other devices.

3) Acquiring lists of device IDs of high-end devices from a DMP and then uploading these lists to practically any media partner or exchange to run targeted campaigns.

4) Cross-promoting among a company’s different apps where it would use its internal DMP and then channel all device ID lists through either an audience partner or attribution provider.

5) Using lists of your existing high-end devices in your retargeting campaigns for effective re-engagement and in your look-alike targeting campaigns to acquire similar high value users.


Key takeaways

  • Targeting for quality is key, so test it!
  • The US is the high-end device superpower; targeting for high-end devices in Japan and Korea can deliver significant value. But remember, localization in these countries can be challenging and requires careful planning and execution.
  • Although the percentage of iOS high-end devices is higher because there are fewer device types, Android’s scale carries weight; so don’t neglect Android.
  • Remember to factor cost, but also bear in mind that high ROI is more closely correlated to high revenue than to lower cost.

How your app performs will always, in the long run, depend on successful user targeting based on the right data. We hope these insights on device-type around the globe will help enhance your targeting strategy and propel your app’s ROI in the right direction.

*Devices used in our study of high-end devices: 

iOS: iPhone X, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus

Android: Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Huawei P20 Pro, Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 2XL, Oneplus 5T, LG V30, HTC U 11+, Razer Phone