App marketing costs hit an all-time high in September, driven in part by Apple’s launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last month. The cost for acquiring a loyal user—iOS users who open an app three times or more after downloading—rose 34% from a year ago to $2.25, according to new monthly data from mobile app marketing platform Fiksu. That figure is also up 21% from $1.86 in August.
Fiksu pointed to the release of the much-anticipated new iPhone models on Sept. 19 as a factor driving up costs as app developers competed for the attention of these new users. “New device owners are active and enthusiastic about apps, and are prime audiences for adding multiple new apps to build out their devices,” stated the company’s analysis released today.
Apple sold 10 million of the larger devices in the first weekend alone, and last week reported selling 39.3 million iPhones across all models for the quarter ending September 27, up from 33.8 million in the year-earlier period.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said supply for the iPhone 6 “was not on the same planet” as demand.
Data from other Fiksu indices showed the cost-per-install of apps on iOS was up 41% to $1.23 from a year ago, while the cost-per-launch—which tracks the cost of acquiring a users plus subsequent engagement (divided by the initial cost)—increased 48% from a year ago, and 36% from August, to 29 cents.
Besides factors like increasing competition and user activity, people deleting apps to free up space for the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system—iOS 8—also helped drive up costs.
Fiksu’s Completive Index—which measures average daily downloads of the top 200 iOS apps, increased 4% to 5.5 million from 5.3 million in August, but was down by 4% from a year ago. The company suggested the space limitations that required users to free up storage room for iOS 8 also limited the number of app downloads in September compared to a year ago. Another possible factor was Apple’s step to cut the number of apps shown in its top charts to 150 from 300, reducing visibility for some titles.
For app developers on Google’s Android platform, marketing costs overall were lower than on iOS. The cost-per-launch on Android dropped 10% to eight cents, down 10 percent from August and 9% from a year ago. The cost-per-install, however, increased to a dollar, up 14% monthly and 33% yearly.
“The launch of a new iPhone and iOS in September only sets the stage for app marketers as they head into the busy holiday season. We expect to see even more activity as a result of the new iPads and Android devices from Samsung and Google’s Nexus family in the coming months,” stated Fiksu CEO Micah Adler.The company says its findings are based on tracking of 3.3 app installs and 4.7 billion app actions across 1.7 billion devices.