iOS App Downloads & Marketing Costs Hit Record High In December

Mobile app marketing company Fiksu just released new data revealing the impact the holiday season had on iOS app downloads and user acquisition costs. According to the company’s App Store Competitive Index, a measurement of the average aggregate download volume of the top 200 free U.S. applications, December saw 6.04 million daily app downloads. That’s a nearly 7% increase from November’s 5.65 million, and a clear indication of how many folks were unwrapping new smartphones during the holiday season.

That last half of December was the most competitive for mobile marketers, says Fiksu, with the traffic and dollars spent in the final week up 100% over prior weeks. “December is a strategically critical month for app discovery,” said Micah Adler, Fiksu’s CEO. “What we witnessed during the month was a ‘land rush’ in which advertisers earnestly spent marketing dollars in order to achieve ranking before the traditional App Store freeze which then would generate substantial organic downloads through increased visibility.”


The App Store “freeze” being referred to is the time period when Apple itself goes on holiday, shutting down the queue for new app submissions and updates. For advertisers, it’s critical to get the apps in the best position possible before the freeze occurs, so as to improve discoverability during the December rush. Notes Fiksu, on Christmas Day alone, there were over 6.8 million new iPhone and Android devices activated.

The company also measures the cost to acquire loyal (that is, returning) users for mobile applications. In December, this index hit a record high: $1.81 per user, up 26.5% from November’s $1.43. The increase was due to brands participating in bidding wars, in their attempts lock in top ratings before the freeze.

Data for the Fiksu Indexes was sourced from more than 11 billion mobile app actions, including things like app launches, registrations and in-app purchases, as well as from the more than 200 million downloads recorded by apps marketed via the Fiksu for Mobile Apps user acquisition platform.