Roller Coaster Mobile App Spend, Ad Revenue Tracks COVID-19 Ups And Downs

Mobile use continues to rise, but the jerking motion could make some marketers queasy.

Overall in-app purchase revenue rose steadily during the past few weeks during the pandemic quarantine -- up 10% this week globally and 23% in the U.S. compared with the week prior -- but some sectors are faring better than others.

At the height of the pandemic in any given country, app spend and ad revenue seems to flatten or stall. Prior to hitting the height of the outbreak and on the decline, it’s more likely that marketers will see improved results.

For example, China -- which experienced the outbreak early and has since managed to flatten the curve -- is seeing installs jump this week nearly 50% mostly due to the increase seen across gaming and lifestyle apps, according to findings from the AppsFlyer study released Thursday.

In Korea, AppsFlyer data shows revenue climbed 21% since Week Four after a drop from Week One to Week Four.

Overall, the data suggests that 65% of verticals in the countries analyzed saw a revenue increase in the last two weeks. In 40% of the cases analyzed, the increase in revenue rose by more than 20%.

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The findings from the study -- The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact On App Installs and Marketing Budgets -- analyze the weekly percentage of app installs and sessions per vertical and per country.

AppsFlyer normalized the data by dividing the weekly share of installs, sessions and revenue by the overall number of installs, sessions and revenue throughout the time-frame examined.

The study shows that health and fitness apps benefited most, with revenue increasing 24% this week and 35% since the fourth week. Installs slightly fell, but activity remained unchanged.

Shopping revenue rose 15% since week the fourth week, but organic installs flattened.

After doubling during the first week, streaming app revenue fell 35% this past week, while activity and installs also halted with slight decreases.

In the past week as U.S. residents practiced social distancing, education apps are experiencing an increase in use and revenue week-over-week, growing 86% since Week Four and no less than 154% since Week One. Shopping apps' organic installs rose 10% this week, and along with existing users have generated a 28% revenue increase. All gaming categories rose in player spend this week.

For example, midcore gaming rose 22%, casual gaming rose 13%, social casino rose 12%, and hardcore gaming rose 9%.

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