AppsFlyer: The State of App Marketing

Written on
Feb 8, 2016 
Adotas  |

AppsFlyer’s State of App Marketing report for the second half of 2015 takes a close look at data by operating system as well as by region, revealing differences in some of the daily behavior between iOS and Android users in different parts of the world…

In today’s hyper-competitive mobile landscape, those looking to attract app users need to leverage data and analytics to find every advantage they can get — including what day of the week or time of day is best to focus their marketing efforts. According to AppsFlyer’s data, consumers generally install more apps on the weekends than during the week on both iOS and Android. However, there is a noticeable difference between iOS and Android users when it comes to which days of the week they tend to interact with their apps.

The team at AppsFlyer, co-founded by CEO Oren Kaniel (pictured left), have put together this report. Below are key findings in parts one and two.

PART 1: Installs and In-App Engagement By Day of Week and Time of Day

App Usage Highest on Weekends for iOS, Lowest for Android

App engagement is highest on weekends for iOS users, but, somewhat strangely, the opposite is true for Android users, whose usage is actually lowest on weekends. Worldwide, Sundays are when iOS users spend the most amount of time engaged with apps and Android users the least amount. Also, while app usage declines throughout the week for iOS users, it increases throughout the week for Android users, at least until its peak of Thursday before dropping back down on Friday and Saturday.

App usage is at its highest among iOS users on Sundays in both North America, where it is 6% higher than the daily average, and Europe, where users are 10% more engaged with apps on Sundays compared to the daily average. In Asia, usage is highest on Fridays and Saturdays, and in Latin America it is highest on Tuesdays.

For Android users, engagement is highest on Mondays in North America (5% higher than the weekday average), Wednesdays in Europe (5% higher), Thursdays in Asia (7% higher) and Thursdays in Latin America (15% higher).

Latin Americans Stay Up The Latest

Worldwide, app usage is highest during the evenings, with a small lunchtime-bump that is more pronounced in some regions than in others. In North America, usage among iOS users is 36% higher from 7:00 – 10:00pm than during other hours of the day.

Looking at the daily peak in usage for consumers by region, one can make some assumptions about which countrymen are staying up the latest. Usage peaks between 8:00 and 9:00pm for people in both North America and Asia, but an hour earlier in Europe. Latin Americans are the night owls, as their usage peaks during the ten o’clock hour.

Installs Highest on Weekends – Mostly

Worldwide, consumers tend to install the most apps on weekends. This is especially true of iOS users, whose install activity is 25% higher on weekends than weekdays. Android users also install more apps on Saturday and Sunday than during the week, but the difference is much less distinct.

Looking at install activity by region, however, one finds that while consumers in North America and Europe show this same basic pattern, in Asia the most popular day for app installs is Thursday (one of the least popular days in North America and Europe). Thursday is also popular in Latin America, where it is second only to Sunday. In every region, Android remains relatively consistent throughout the week as opposed to the peaks and valleys seen in the iOS data.

Installs Increase Throughout the Day, with a Lunchtime Bump for Some Regions

North American consumers install more and more apps as the day goes on, with install activity peaking at 6:00 pm for iOS users and 8:00 pm for Android users. App installs begin to trail off around 10:00 pm on both platforms. Once again, the peaks and valleys on iOS are more pronounced. For those looking to attract iOS app users, marketing efforts should be focused around 5:00 to 10:00pm, when the download rate is almost 40% higher than average. Android marketers should be most active from 6:00 to 11:00pm, when install activity is 25% higher than average.

Looking at the time-of-day data by region, as with the day-of-week data, North American and European consumers show similar patterns, in which usage builds momentum fairly steadily throughout the day. Consumers in Asia and Latin America, on the other hand, both show a “lunchtime bump” between 12:00 and 2:00pm. In fact, 1:00 pm is the peak of the day in Latin America for iOS users.

Conclusion & Insights: Cultures Matter

Different societal and mobile device (iOS or Android) cultures play a large role influencing the behavior of mobile consumers. As our data reveals, a user’s device of choice and the locale in which they live are primary factors determining when and how they are likely to both install and use apps on their devices. In general, Western-world countries (US, Europe) have similar usage patterns, whereas users in Asia and Latin America share similar behavioral patterns – with some opposite trends evident between US/Europe and Asia/Latin America.

With such a wide range in the different types of Android users — and Android’s overall market dominance — install activity, on a global level, tends to even-out – and fluctuates much less than among iOS users.

iOS users, who buy relatively expensive Apple devices, are generally categorized as more affluent and educated. According to our data, these users are more inclined to install and engage with their apps during leisure hours – in the evening and especially over the weekend. It appears that during these times, iOS users have a different state of mind and are willing to go the little extra mile that’s required when installing an app.

For app marketers and others looking to attract app users, the data tells us that a general rule of thumb is to focus any marketing, advertising and user engagement efforts on nights and weekends. If running advertising campaigns, it’s also important for marketers to remember to take into account the impact of supply and demand on any media costs.

Given the varying app-install and engagement behavior of mobile users worldwide, it’s important to take a closer look at the data with specific goals in mind, as user behavior is different across operating systems and geographic regions.

To take a deeper dive into the data, check out the interactive charts in Part 2…

PART 2: Conversion and Retention Rates Per Vertical and Channel

Conversion and Retention Rates Per Vertical and Channel

AppsFlyer’s State of App Marketing report also covered conversion rate and retention rate data by vertical and by channel.

The main findings from this section of the report include:

The top 4 categories for ad conversion rate (from click to install) are Transportation, News & Magazines, Lifestyle and Finance; these are all intent-driven, as users who click on ads know what to expect, leading to many installs and ultimately a high conversion rate

Shopping apps often display hot deals in ads to attract users, but when they realize an app has to be installed, many bounce – hence the low conversion rate

Retention for Android is highest among Music apps; on iOS it is highest on Social Networking apps

For retention rates, there are significant gaps between platforms in certain verticals, so app marketers must make sure to spend wisely if they have cross-platform apps

Gaming retention continues to be a major challenge because of the hyper-competitive and overflowing market; advertisers need to get creative and improve their ads to better engage users


We analyzed more than 1.1 billion non-organic app installs of over 6,000 apps from June 1 to December 15, 2015. For app usage, we looked at more than 5 billion app launches. The apps represented a variety of categories including Social, Games, Entertainment, Shopping, Communication, Music, Travel, Business and more.

To learn more, check out State of App Marketing report for yourself.


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