The State of App Marketing | AppsFlyer

The State of App Marketing

Usage of mobile apps has exploded in the past year. However, the massive success of the app ecosystem has created a hyper-competitive marketplace with rising user acquisition costs, a struggle to get users’ attention and significant churn. In such a reality, generating quality non-organic installs at scale has become a key goal for app marketers. The only way to effectively meet this goal is to rely on data and analytics to pinpoint decision making.

AppsFlyer’s latest data study, The State of App Marketing, aims to do just that. It analyzes over 1.1 billion non-organic installs and 5 billion app opens, displaying valuable findings in six interactive charts. The first part includes two charts that explore when users install and engage with apps (broken down by OS and region). The second part shows how users interact with ads and how often they use apps (broken down by vertical and channel).

Part I: Installs and In-App Engagement By Day of Week and Time of Day

Chart 1: Install Activity By Region (click on different buttons to display different data)

Please note the following key points:

  1. Data is non-organic only, taking into account both installs and in-app actions by users who installed an app as a result of a marketing activity.
  2. We used a representative portion of our database for the study, encompassing:
    • More than 1.1 billion (non-organic) installs of over 6,000 apps from June 1 to December 15, 2015
    • Over 5 billion app launches were used to measure in-app engagement
  3. Time of Day data represents the total number of installs or launches that occurred during an entire hour from XX:00 to XX:59.
  4. Don’t forget to always take user acquisition or reengagement costs into account as bidding (or pricing) during high demand may be more intense, leading to higher cost (the same goes for times of low demand when media is cheaper and your risk is minimal).


Chart 2: In-App Engagement By Region

Part II: Conversion and Retention Rates Per Vertical and Channel

Please note the following key points:

  1. Data is non-organic only: Retention rates take into account the number of apps that were downloaded non-organically, and then used a day, a week and a month after they were installed.
  2. We’ve used a cross-vertical selection of over 6,000 apps with at least 100 apps per vertical.
  3. Verticals are based on App Store and Google Play categorizations.


Chart 3: Click-to-Install Conversion Rate By Vertical


Chart 4: Retention Rate By Vertical (% of Active Users from All Users Who Installed App)

Chart 5: Retention Score* By Vertical

Chart 6: Retention Rate – Direct Marketing Channels (% of Active Users from All Users Who Installed App)

Overall, what is the data telling us?

  • In most cases, Android and iOS users behave differently
  • Users download Android apps in a fairly consistent rate throughout the week – unlike iOS which has a significant weekend peak
  • Global in-app engagement on Android reaches its highest point during weekdays (excluding Fridays) and lowest during weekends; in contrast, iOS engagement is highest over the weekend and drops as the week progresses   
  • Different regions often mean different install and usage patterns, so marketers need to pay attention to every detail, especially if your app is meant for a global market – this can save a lot of money
  • Retention continues to be a major pain point for app marketers who struggle to keep users engaged with their apps over time
  • Conversion rates on iOS and Android vary considerably across verticals (excluding games)

Final Note

The app ecosystem is a tough marketplace. App marketers who want their app to stand out among millions of others must pay attention to every detail that data can offer. This will ensure they are in a position to maximize the lifetime value of every user they’ve worked so hard to acquire. It can often draw the line between making it and breaking it.