October 26, 2016 by Morgan Friberg

2016 Mobile Index Analysis: CPA Trends Across Post-Install Events

A few weeks ago, we released the 2016 Mobile App Engagement Index. This is a biggie – it highlights data for the first half of 2016, with many trends back to 2015, from over 7.3 million app installs and 65 million post-install mobile events. The Index compares differences in app engagement by gender and operating systems. We slice and dice data across five major app categories: Shopping, Finance, Gaming, Travel, and Utility.

In this post, we are going to focus on the average cost to acquire (CPA) a user for Registrations, Reservations, Purchases, In-App Purchases, and Subscriptions.

Average cost per registration

The Registration Index analyzes the average cost to acquire a user via mobile advertising who install an app and register for something. It’s safe to say people start to register for more things in the spring leading up to summer. Registration costs peaked in March for the first half of 2016, then drop dramatically by June.

cost-per-acquisition registration

Average cost per reservation

The Reservation Index measures the cost to acquire a mobile user who books a flight, car, hotel, restaurant, or similar reservation. The overall trend has reservation CPAs on the decline. This might indicate that booking travel or other reservations on mobile devices is hitting critical mass adoption and gaining in popularity, which lowers user acquisition costs for reservation apps.

cost-per-acquisition reservations

Average cost per purchase

The Purchase Index measures the cost to acquire a mobile user who completes a first purchase, (e.g. retail, coupon, ticket purchasing apps, etc.). June was the lowest acquisition cost month, almost half of what it was in March – the most expensive month of 2016. This shows that mobile shopping picked up in Q2, once the holidays were over, leading to lower acquisition costs.

cost-per-acquisition purchases

Average cost per in-app purchase

The In-App Purchase Index measures the cost to acquire a mobile user who completes a first in-app purchase in a mobile game (eg. extra lives, in-game currency, upgrades, etc.). From January to June, there was a 47% decrease in in-app purchase costs. With school out of session and mobile users vacationing in the summer, they had more time to play and engage with mobile games, leading to lower marketing costs.

cost-per-acquisition in-app purchase

Average cost per subscription

The Subscription Index measures the cost to acquire a mobile user who subscribes to a paid service. Subscription costs increased during Q1 2016, peaking in March which includes the famed Valentine’s Day in February. Subscription acquisition costs then dove in Q2 indicating users begin to subscribe to more paid services as school ends and the summer nears.

cost-per-acquisition subscriptions

Download the entire Index to view complete stats on the information above, plus differences in gender and operating systems. You will also learn insights across five major app categories.

app marketing

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