App and game developers didn’t get a discount on new users following the release of the iPhone 5s.
The average cost to acquire a new player in October was down only 5 cents from September to $1.63, according to app marketing company Fiksu. While that doesn’t seem like a big deal, that $1.63 average cost is up 54 percent compared to October 2012. Last year, the huge influx of new iPhone 5 users caused gamers to pick up a ton of new apps in the weeks following the hardware’s release.
This year, even more consumers picked up the iPhone 5c and 5s, but that wasn’t enough to push down player acquisition. It did help keep download volume up. Fiksu’s App Store Competitive Index, which tracks the download activity for the top 200 iOS apps, found that 5.6 million apps were downloaded in October. That’s down only 100,000 from September.
“During the month of October, we observed record numbers of consumers purchasing new iPhone 5s and 5c phones and eagerly downloading new apps onto these devices — keeping download volumes up,” Fiksu chief executive Micah Adler said.
Acquisition costs rose in October compared to 2012 because, according to Fiksu, marketers were ready for the influx of new iPhone owners. At the same time, the decrease compared to September is notable because other companies were holding off on advertising spending to save up for bigger campaigns later this year.
“The increase in advertising activity, as some marketers rushed to get in front of this new audience, coupled with consumers’ propensity to be particularly loyal to the first wave of apps they download on a new device, helped keep costs stable throughout the month,” said Adler. “Additionally, some marketers chose to hold back in October, preferring to limit spending while they planned for larger splash campaigns timed around the fast-approaching holiday season.”
The days following the gift-giving holidays are typically the most important for mobile developers looking to gain new users. The marketers that are holding off now are likely expecting to score big following Christmas.