AppsFlyer’s Ad Network Performance Index: Are You Game?

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Hands down, mobile gaming is the #1 category in Google Play and the App Store in both downloads and revenue, AppAnnie consistently reports. eMarketer estimates that the category’s revenues—including both downloads and in-app purchases—will grow 16.5% this year to reach $3.04 billion in the US alone. Global mobile games revenue will grow from $29 billion in 2015 to $45 billion by 2018 at 15% annual growth, according to intelligence firm Digi-Capital.

As the leading category with continued growth predicted ahead, AppsFlyer’s first Ad Network Performance Index is dedicated to the gaming vertical. The report provides a detailed review of networks’ performance, and includes a scorecard on gaming apps’ retention—the quality of acquired users over time, in addition to a power ranking that factors both retention and scale—the quantity of installs.

It is the industry’s most comprehensive study of its kind to date, covering over 50 million paid installs of hundreds of gaming apps running campaigns on hundreds of AppsFlyer’s integrated network partners.

Last but not least, it is important to stress that while this global report only ranks the top 25 networks per OS, many of our clients are seeing the best ROI working with other networks from among our 1,000+ integrated partners. Ultimately, each app should track and constantly test the performance of multiple networks and optimize until it finds the right balance in its own marketing mix.

Some of the Key Findings:

iOS
Programmatic ad network AppLovin proves that focusing on big data and predictive analytics (the company says it has 4x the number of engineers as compared to sales on staff) pays off as it wins top spot in overall retention (average of days 1/7/30), starting in 2nd place but then dominating on days 7 and 30.

Video networks are showing their quality with a 130% higher overall retention rate compared to the other networks in the index; video also has a 10% and 17% better overall retention rate compared to social networks and in-app networks, respectively.

Comparing affiliate to incentivized networks shows the former outranks the latter by an average of 45%, with a gap that widens over time to reach 70% on day 30.

The overall retention rate of in-app networks is a whopping 3x more than affiliate networks
Social networks have the upper hand when going up against in-app networks with an 11% higher overall retention figure. On average, the drop in retention across all networks between days 1 to 7 is 56%, and 80% between days 7 to 30.

Android

Video networks dominate with an 80% higher overall retention rate compared to all other networks in the study. Video retention was:
24% higher than social (widening over time to reach a nearly 40% gap on day 30)

63% higher than in-app networks

67% more than affiliate networks

When comparing incentivized networks to affiliate networks, the latter’s overall retention is nearly 120% higher. The gap is most evident over time as affiliates’ day 30 retention is no less than 280% higher than incentivized.

Social networks’ overall retention is about 40% higher than the rate of other networks in the report, and 32% higher than in-app networks
On average, the drop in retention across all networks between days 1 to 7 is 66%, and 85% between days 7 to 30.

For all the data–and there’s a lot–click here.

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