- Android is gaining on iOS in mobile gaming with rising in-app spending and lower acquisition costs, according to a report by mobile app marketer Liftoff and mobile attribution firm AppsFlyer. The trends have led them to declare that 2020 will be the year of Android gaming, per a study shared with Mobile Marketer.
- The cost to acquire an Android user who makes an in-app purchase rose 10% to $33.83 this year from 2018, compared with the cost to acquire an iOS user of $36.63. The conversion rate for Android users was 9.5%, while games played on Apple-made devices saw a steep decline to 13% this year from 21% in 2018.
- The Asia Pacific (APAC) region has seen the biggest gains in mobile gaming, overtaking North America. APAC's install-to-IAP rate almost tripled to 11%, while acquisition costs dropped by nearly half to $41.87. Liftoff and AppsFlyer analyzed more than 107 billion ad impressions, 82 million installs and 14 million first in-app purchases from 555 gaming apps between June 2018 and May 2019.
While Android has typically generated more app downloads than iOS, Apple customers have tended to spend more on apps and in-app purchases. Liftoff and AppsFlyer's study suggests that game developers can't ignore Android, which runs about 85% of the world’s smartphones. Acquiring an Android user costs $3.21, a relative bargain compared with $4.85 to gain an iOS app user. Meanwhile, the plunging engagement rate for iOS makes Apple customers somewhat less appealing.
The Liftoff and AppFlyer report follows a quarterly report by App Annie that saw Google Play's app downloads grew 10% in Q1 2019 from a year earlier, extending the Android platform's lead over Apple's App Store to 170%. The report confirms other accounts about the strength of the app economy, which defies flat or declining sales for mobile devices. Amid the growth of gaming, Google has tested a paid subscription service to its app store for Android devices, possibly taking aim at rival Apple as the iPhone maker readies its Apple Arcade service.
In addition to platforms, seasonal trends are important for app marketers to consider in their campaigns. Engagement rates fluctuate between a low of 44% in April and a high of 61% in December, when the cost to acquire a user who completes a registration falls to $7.93. The following month, that cost rises 11% to $8.82.
Game developers shouldn't be afraid to look at developing markets for growth, the Liftoff and AppsFlyer study suggests. App install costs of $1.32 for China and $1.42 for Brazil are a bargain compared with more developed markets. China accounts for 25% of the global mobile games market and is forecast to grow to 728 million by 2023 from 598 million in 2018, per other studies cited by Liftoff and AppsFlyer.