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There are several business models that serve as a foundation for mobile app advertising. Each model defines for what specific performance or action an ad company charges advertisers. The most popular models are CPM (cost-per-mile), CPC (cost-per-click), CPI (cost-per-install) and CPA (cost-per-action).
Among these models, CPI and CPA are the most efficient ones for app marketers user acquisition efforts. They allow brands to measure actual ROI (return-of-investment) for a budget they allocate to advertise their apps. With a proper ad campaign data analysis, app installs ads allow app marketers to acquire high quality users and expand their app’s user base.
Since the dawn of both major mobile app ecosystems – iOS and Android – mobile user acquisition has been a challenge for app developers and brands. App stores alone weren’t sufficient to meet app developers needs in acquiring new app users, primarily because of the app discoverability problem. To meet this demand, co-called, Pay Per Install networks were launched that allowed marketers to buy app installs ads in bulk.
There are dozens of such networks that offer app marketers a technical platform to generate mobile app installs. The efficiency of these networks depends on their reach, ad formats and the number of different targeting options they support. In size such networks range from giants like Facebook, Google, Twitter that offer the best targeting options to smaller players that compete in CPI costs, better customer support or better reach in specific geographies.
Because of the overwhelming success of Facebook Ads that helped the company to generate the bulk of its revenue on mobile, other companies picked up the trend fairly quickly. The first one who followed was Twitter, with Twitter ads back in 2012, Pinterest with Pinterest for Business in 2014 and finally Snapchat joined the app install race the same 2014. The most recent addition to this family was TikTok in 2019 with is advertising platform for video ads.
All these platforms leverage their multi-million user base profile data to target app install ads like other advertising platforms simply aren’t capable.
Now the question is – how much do app marketers pay for a mobile app install on various app install ad platforms, as well as on Facebook? The following table presents CPI data points for iOS and Android for US app market in March of 2020.
An average app user acquisition cost
Meanwhile, according to BusinessInsider data, mobile app install advertising revenue jumped from $3.6 billion in 2014 to $4.7 in 2015. Also Business Insider Intelligence data reveals estimates for this and previous years – in 2018 app install advertising revenue reached $6.7 billion and in 2019 – $7.
Mobile App Install Advertising Revenue (US), in billions
Source: Business Insider
Of course today an app install and user acquisition are no longer the only app marketers concerns. App re-targeting or reengagement campaigns are increasingly common on app advertising platforms. One of reasons for the initial drive to get mobile app installs was to achieve high ranking on app stores with so-called burst campaigns.
The idea of a burst campaign was simple – generate a big number of downloads within a short period of time and signal an app store algorithm that the app needs to be ranked high on a chart. As time went by, both Apple and Google became smarter about their ranking algorithms and so burst campaign became way less effective. It forced app marketers to change their app marketing strategy and ultimately they began to pay more attention to mobile app users engagement to retain them and counteract a mobile churn.
Below you can see the list of major networks and platforms that offer app installs – some of them work on a CPI model and others use a CPC or CPM based trading approach but with the focus on delivering app installs and users.
Perform[cb] offers advertisers proprietary fraud-fighting software solution PerformSHIELD™. It allows marketers and brands to analyze traffic in real-time and do post-processing analysis of a traffic’s validity.
Moburst is a mobile growth marketing agency founded in 2013 with branches in the US and Tel-Aviv. Moburst’s clients include some of the biggest brands in the world such as Google, Uber, Reddit, YouTube, Samsung, and many other amazing startups, gaming companies, and brands. Its team of growth experts promoted 600+ products in the past seven years and helped many start-ups gain more organic users, boost ROI on paid media and improve their products. Its user acquisition is achieved through a selection of hyper-targeted, remarketing, influencers, and brand engagement campaigns get the right message to the right user, at the right time. Its mixture of media channels are ideal to fit your goals and budget, including RTB/exchanges, social, ad-networks, premium publishers, video, retargeting, influencers and search.
Services: Mobile Campaigns, Media Management and Optimization, Influencers Marketing, Mobile Strategy, App Store Optimization and SEO, A/B Testing, Product Consulting, Creative Production, Video Production, Social Management and Website Production.
Zoomd is dedicated to helping advertisers and publishers achieve their key performance indicators (KPIs) through a patented, performance-based advertising platform. The Company’s User Acquisition platform unifies more than 600 media sources under one dashboard including Google, TikTok, Samsung premium inventory and much more.
Business Models – Choose your preferred business model CPC/CPI/CPO/CPE/CPA
Fraud – Detection as part of the platform, adding you an extra layer of safety
Measurement – integrated to all major 3rd party mobile measurement solutions
Cost-efficiency – Save countless resources by managing all campaigns under one screen
Data Play – Enjoy machine decisions based on more than 500Million data points a day
Founded in 2011, AdColony was created by mobile developers, for mobile developers and has grown into one of the largest mobile advertising and monetization platforms in the world with a reach of more than 1.5 billion users globally. AdColony is known for its exclusive Instant-Play™ HD video, Aurora™ HD Interactive video, and playable technologies, its global performance advertising expertise, its programmatic marketplace, and its extensive ad SDK footprint in the top apps worldwide.
Made for growth, built for app marketers.
At RevX, we help app businesses acquire and re-engage users via programmatic advertising to retain and accelerate revenue. We\'re all about taking your app business to the next growth level!
We help you build sound mobile strategies, combining programmatic UA, app re-engagement, and performance branding to drive the results you need to scale your business: with real users, high retention, and incremental revenue.
9 million clients, CPAlead has delivered more than 100 million app installs via CPI and CPE campaigns.
Industry leading mobile reward monetization, daily payments and direct relationships with mobile app advertisers is what CPAlead is known for. With more than 1.9 million clients, CPAlead has delivered more than 100 million app installs via CPI and CPE campaigns.
Mooko is a leading mobile ad-technology firm equipped with data-driven solutions to elevate our partner’s reach across the ever-competitive digital ecosystem. Backed by over a decade of mobile marketing experience, insights into users acquired and retained are both transparent and scalable for any mobile marketing campaign.
Bidease is a mobile DSP platform for mobile marketers. Its built on a foundation of proprietary programmatic advertising technology, Machine Learning, and first party data. Bidease team optimizes campaigns across all major mobile formats for desired post-install behaviors at no risk to its clients’ bottom line.
Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Mobile Web
Campaign types: CPI, CPA, CPM
Ad formats supported: Banners, Interstitial, Native, Rewarded Video, Video
Targeting: Carrier, Device, Gender, Geo, Interests, IP, OS
Mobile ad planning, execution and analysis are complicated for startups because they cannot reach all available app marketing tools. App Samurai makes it easy for them without requiring in-depth mobile advertising knowledge!
Thanks to App Samurai, you can easily create, manage, and measure acquisition campaigns, boost campaigns, and video campaigns to acquire qualified users.
Facebook Ads is the biggest digital advertising platform with a major focus on mobile ads. It features the best ad format, targeting and reporting capabilities in the industry. The platform allows mobile app advertisers to run ad campaigns on their choice on Facebook itself, its Messenger app, Instagram, Audience Network (to show ads across the web) and its app for businesses Workplace.
Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Web
Campaign types: CPI, CPM
Ad formats supported: banners, carousel banners, video, slideshow
Targeting: age, gender, location, device, mobile OS, OS version, interests, mobile user language.
Digital Turbine is a mobile app advertising platform for app delivery and discovery. The company is double down on a mobile native format to allow advertisers cut through the noice and reach out their target audience. Digital Turbine bypasses app stores and partners with major global telecom companies to introduce apps to mobile users with sponsored recommendations and native preloads.
Mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Mobile Web
Campaign types: CPC, CPI
Ad formats supported: Banners, Interstitial, Native, Offer Wall