App Wars Spike In December With Record User Acquisition Costs

The holiday smartphone giving season is famous for driving record downloads as lucky gift-getters unwrap and test their shiny new things on the latest app. It is also a period of fierce competition among the app developers for visibility, which drives up marketing costs.

According to the user acquisition platform Fiksu, the bidding wars that erupted just prior to Christmas Day for app advertising produced a record spike in its Cost Per Loyal User Index. While the index stood at $1.43 in November, it reached $1.81 by year’s end.

Marketers were fighting before the holiday to get their apps climbing the Apple App Store popularity ranks before Apple’s traditional Dec. 25-28 freezing of the charts. Developers, publishers, brands all try to use ads, pricing and other merchandising schemes to push titles up the charts and make them more visible to the rush of new device owners. Marketing spend and overall traffic in the final week of the month doubled. And the market was ripe.

Fiksu also reports that daily download volume of the top 200 free iPhone apps peaked with an average for the month of 6.04 million vs. 5.65 million the previous month. Fiksu CEO Micah Adler says we were watching what he describes as a “land rush to achieve ranking before the traditional App Store freeze which then would generate substantial organic downloads through increased visibility.”

Fiksu generates its data from 200 million downloads that have been marketed with its platform as well as 11 billion app actions. 

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