Android Ad Spend Growth Steals the Spotlight From iOS 14.5

By Vungle | May 21, 2021

Close to 70% of the mobile users globally today are on the Android operating system.

Yet, the Android platform isn’t capturing the zeitgeist of mobile marketing in the same way as Apple’s iOS platform.

A little thing called the App Tracking Transparency framework created by Apple, first revealed at their Worldwide Developers Conference 2020, has captured the collective attention of the mobile marketing industry for nearly a year, and for good reason. The ATT framework fundamentally alters how mobile marketers execute user acquisition on iOS today.

A byproduct of mobile marketers spending months bracing for impact from the sweeping changes to iOS user acquisition that went live on April 26 in iOS 14.5: Marketers investing more resources into their Android campaigns.

We saw Android ad spend surge 21% on the Vungle platform in the week after the release of iOS 14.5. In addition, April marked the fourth consecutive month of Android ad spend growth on the Vungle platform. And most remarkably, the increase in ad spend on Android isn’t driven by a decrease in ad spend on iOS.

This reallocation of ad budgets isn’t a death knell for iOS by any means. The iOS platform will continue to be an indispensable part of any mobile app or mobile game company’s growth strategy. The high-quality users using iOS devices aren’t going anywhere. The means of reaching and acquiring iOS users for mobile marketers will just be different.

Over the past few months at Vungle, we’ve been closely partnering with our developers to implement more effective growth strategies to successfully scale on Android.

Here, we share some key insights and trends on the Android platform that mobile marketers should be aware of to grow their businesses on Google’s mobile OS.

1. Android is global, not local

As stated earlier, more than two-thirds of the world’s mobile users use Android-based devices. So when it comes to UA on Android, mobile marketers must think global, act local. With UA for iOS, mobile marketers can get away with running predominantly English-focused UA creative and campaigns in English-speaking countries.

For UA success on Android, mobile marketers must run ad campaigns all over the world, particularly in Android-dominated countries such as Brazil, Mexico, India, and the majority of APAC—countries where English isn’t the first language. This means mobile marketers must not only localize their ad creative and campaigns but culturalize them through full translation and culturally appealing visual themes.

What we’re seeing at Vungle: From 2020 to 2021, Android eCPMs increased 82% and 63% year-over-year in Brazil and Mexico, respectively.

2. Not all Android devices are created equal

Device targeting for iOS ad campaigns for mobile marketers is pretty straightforward. Device targeting for Android, on the other hand, is a little more complicated, to put it simply. Even as far back as 2015, over 24,000 distinct Android devices were in the market, according to data from mobile analytics company Opensignal.

But not all Android devices are created equal.

The majority of high-quality users mobile marketers intend to reach and acquire are using higher-end Android devices. Implementing device model targeting criteria for an Android ad campaign is one way of weeding out tens of thousands of irrelevant Android models.

Some mobile marketers tend to write-off countries with a high population of Android users because these users aren’t considered as high quality as users in countries where iOS is the leading platform. But we think this is myopic thinking on the part of mobile marketers. Some of the high-end Android devices in the market today cost as much as Apple devices. With a tool like MSRP device targeting, mobile marketers can pinpoint potentially high-paying Android users in Android-dominated geos.

Also Read: Device Targeting: An Enhancement to Vungle’s Contextual Targeting

What we’re seeing at Vungle: Android device models with an MSRP price over $2,000 exhibited up to 30% higher IPM (installs per mille) in non-U.S. geos. Also, we saw a 2X increase in advertisers targeting device models that were released in 2019 and later.

3. Google Play is like no other store

Perusing the virtual store shelves of the Google Play Store for users is a slightly different experience than that of Apple’s App Store. With their roots in search, Google’s Play Store puts a heavy emphasis on in-store search optimization. Consequently, mobile marketers should put more thought into their ASO strategy to improve the search visibility of their apps and games in Google Play.

Advertising on Google also slightly differs from advertising on Apple. With Google, mobile marketers can run ad campaigns across Google’s suite of properties including YouTube, Google Play, and more.

What we’re seeing at Vungle: Some ad formats perform better on Android than iOS. For instance, the conversion rate for our multi-page, full-screen ad format on Android outside of the U.S. is currently 12% higher than on iOS.

4. Don’t forget about Windows and Amazon

While this blog post is primarily about mobile marketing on Android, we couldn’t help but mention two more platforms mobile marketers can be growing their app businesses on beyond iOS. Vungle has also observed solid growth across Amazon and Windows on our platform. Yet, despite the growth, both platforms remain relatively less competitive than Android and iOS.

What we’re seeing at Vungle: Both the Windows and Android platforms experienced 100% growth on the Vungle network from 2019 to 2020. Through Vungle, Windows ad campaigns from mobile gaming studio Murka generated 2X higher ROAS than iOS campaigns and 3X higher than Android campaigns.

Also Read: Murka Hits the Jackpot on Windows, Achieving 2X Higher ROAS Than iOS, 3X Higher Than Android

Mobile marketers can no longer over-rely on iOS for UA as they have in years past. The successful mobile marketers of tomorrow will learn to diversify their ad spend across iOS, Android, and beyond.