App Marketers Score Black Friday Deals on Acquiring New Users

By Trace Ronning | December 9, 2015

We all know that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are some of the biggest shopping days of the year, as consumers spent $10.4 billion in stores on Black Friday and another $3 billion on Cyber Monday hunting for the best deals of 2015. But this year, consumers weren’t the only ones hunting for deals during the holiday weekend. App marketers, too, hoped to score major deals over the weekend – on acquiring new mobile shoppers.

According to our research, comprised of ~37 million ad impressions, marketers had a strong weekend following a rocky start. This chart compares the average cost to acquire a new app user who completed a purchase on an average November day vs. Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.


As we can see above, Black Friday provided marketers the best value per install, as the average cost to acquire a new mobile shopper who completed a purchase was $109.29, which was 26.7% less than the cost on a normal day in November. Cyber Monday also turned out to be a great day for shopping app marketers, as they acquired users who completed a purchase for $137.96, nearly $12 less than an average November day. Given how expensive ad inventory gets during the holiday season, marketers were thrilled to see their user acquisition costs decrease, rather than see their predictions of rising costs come true.

Thanksgiving Day turned out to be the least cost-effective day for app marketers to acquire new shoppers, as marketers paid 23.4% more per user than the average November day. Shopping app conversion rates were also down on Thanksgiving day, which could mean that shoppers were ready to install new apps, but waited for Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals to make their first purchases.


Install-to-purchase conversion rates were only better than average on Black Friday, while Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday proved to be more difficult days to turn app installs into users who completed a purchase. Perhaps marketers should focus on re-engaging users they’ve already acquired on Thanksgiving Day to drive more cost-effective purchases. After all, 37% of online sales came from mobile devices on Thanksgiving Day, suggesting that users are more than willing to shop on their phones if presented with a great offer.

As for Cyber Monday, though the dip in install-to-purchase conversion rates may be discouraging, when you consider that purchases cost less than your average November day, it’s a worthwhile day to put more mobile marketing dollars into.

All told, if you’re looking for the best deals on mobile user acquisition, look no further than Black Friday. With CPAs $40 less than the average day and the highest conversion rates of the holiday weekend, it’s clear that users are primed to make mobile purchases on the busiest shopping day of the year.