After analyzing billions of mobile app events during the first quarter of 2013, mobile apps measurement platform AppsFlyer discovered that social networks were the most effective mobile app marketing channel, but search delivered the highest quality of mobile app users.
Comparing conversion rates, user quality and install volume across various channels, geographies, app categories, and user segments, the AppsFlyer Mobile App Discovery Report revealed that the most common mobile marketing channels included ad networks, app discovery platforms, cross sell opportunities, incentivized ad networks, search, and social.
The AppsFlyer study found that social app marketing – engagement based on social elements, like users inviting friends to use a mobile app via a social network – scored highest when considering all three measures: conversion rates, user quality and install volume. Games, travel, social apps, and geo-targeted apps all benefited using social marketing channels. AppsFlyer noted that Facebook’s Mobile App Install Ad unit played a pivotal role in driving high quality users at large volumes.
While social was the big winner, search proved to deliver the highest quality of users, but lacked the install volume ad networks delivered. Using only queries in mobile search engines and not direct App Store or Google Play searches, the data showed that paid mobile search was most effective for marketing ecommerce, utilities, travel, food and content apps.
With high download rates, but lower quality users with lower conversion rates, ad networks appeared to work best when marketing mass market apps and game apps. The report noted that app marketers using mobile ad networks should implement conversion tracking and give the network time to learn data, as well as try manual optimization to achieve stronger results.
Incentivized ad networks delivered the highest conversion rates, but lowest average user quality. For app marketers willing to measure all campaign costs and ROI, AppsFlyer believes incentivized traffic can prove cost-effective, stating, “We predict that incentivized networks will move deeper into the conversion funnel to validate ROI for advertisers and enable CPA (Cost Per In-App Action) campaigns by offering advertisers a price per specific action within the application.”