Android May Beat iOS In App Loyalty

iOS vs Android

Conventional wisdom seems to hold that mobile users on Apple’s iOS do just about everything -- browse, download, click through -– more often than Google Android owners do on their handsets. There may be one key metric Android has all over iOS: app loyalty.

According to app marketing firm Fiksu, across the 4 billion app actions it has tracked on its platform, an Android app user is twice as likely to stick with an app and load it 10 times or more than an Apple iOS app user.

Fiksu helps app developers and brands get their apps discovered on iOS and Android via a platform that promotes the app and optimizes the campaign across multiple channels. One of the company’s key indices is user loyalty -- not only how many downloads a client gets, but how many loyal users a campaign generates as measured by a set number of times the downloader reopens the app after acquiring.

Granted, the sample base here was very high in actions measured -- but it accounted for only 10 different apps that were deployed and promoted across the two OSes. Still, the difference was striking, says Fiksu CEO Micah Adler. “It is not just that the Android users are more likely to convert to loyal users, but that it is the case by a large margin -– 100% more likely to convert than are iOS users.”

“I would guess that if you asked a number of brand marketers which device has a larger propensity to produce loyal users, most people would think iOS,” Adler says. “So we looked at that specific question and found the opposite was true.” 

One can only speculate on the causes behind this difference. Surely it might shift with a larger group of apps. Fiksu was testing across a sample of its own client base, so it couldn’t cut across all genres. “My best guess is that the Android app saturation level is not as great as iOS,” he says. And the user profile may well be different. But perhaps the most likely cause is that discovery generally is rougher on the Android and so when a user finds something he or she likes they stick to it. 

Whatever the cause, Adler feels the metrics suggest an untapped opportunity for marketers in the Android market. Not only is it likely an app that finds its target will get more loyalty from the audience, but the marketer may acquire that customer more cheaply. “We typically find we can get downloads more cost-effectively on Android.”

Generally, CPMs are quite a bit lower on Android than on iOS. And the cost of acquiring loyal customers on the Apple platform has been rising steadily in recent months, according to Adler’s own Fiksu Index, which has been tracking campaign ROI since the spring. It is now north of $1.50 to acquire a loyal app user (generally defined here as someone who loads an app three or more times) on iOS, while it was under a dollar in March.

There is a lot of untapped potential in Android to find and keep users, Adler contends. “The lesson for marketers is that if you aren’t thinking of promoting in Android, you should be.”

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