App advertising attribution firm, AppsFlyer has released the 11th edition of its Performance Index. While Facebook took the #1 spot, both Google and Facebook continued to dominate mobile advertising with a significant majority of the non-organic install market. The search and social giants hold the #1 power ranking position in 79% of breakdowns, and 82% of volume rankings across all indices.
The Performance Index now also includes two monetization-driven rankings per region and category, which rate media sources by their ability to deliver users with the highest likelihood to complete an in-app purchase, and their ability to deliver users who monetize best with ads — vital information for apps in a freemium-driven ecosystem in which apps make money primarily through in-app purchases and in-app ads.
Facebook claims #1 cross-index position, Google still going strong
The social network’s ability to drive performance at scale in both the Retention Index and the new IAP (in-app purchase) Index has propelled Facebook’s ranking forward. It also dominates the new IAA (in-app advertising) Index as well as the Remarketing Index, making its overall cross-index position as the dominant force in mobile clear.
But quality comes at a cost. An analysis of the cost of media shows that Facebook charges more. This is especially true in Gaming, where cost is significantly higher in North America, Latin America, and Europe, while Google has a slightly higher cost in APAC. In Non-Gaming, Google is more costly, but not by a wide margin, with the exception of North America where Facebook is more expensive.
A platform breakdown shows Google is a clear winner in Android thanks to its leap in developing countries where the OS dominates, while Facebook controls much of iOS.
Leap in scale moves Unity Ads to a leading position in the Gaming triopoly
Unity Ads has emerged as the leader among the three gaming powerhouses (ironSource, AppLovin, and Unity Ads) in the Retention Index thanks to a significant jump in scale, though its quality is the lowest among the three.
Part of the newly public Unity Technologies, Unity Ads took over the #1 global power ranking in Hyper Casual and Arcade, and came in right after the duopoly in 9 of the remaining 14 genres.
COVID-19 had a huge impact on mobile apps, but not on media source rankings
While the novel coronavirus has had a significant impact on apps, and our entire ecosystem, the impact of the pandemic on media source rankings was marginal. The only exception was Apple Search Ads. Organic growth in the App Store led marketers to start and/or increase their app store optimization efforts, bringing Apple Search Ads to the front, driving impressive growth and strong performance.
Although retention is a central KPI for performance app marketers, monetization metrics in a freemium-driven ecosystem reign supreme…Thanks to the scale of marketers measuring purchase events with AppsFlyer, we were able, for the first time, to create the in-app purchase Index and the IAA Index with statistically significant results.
Shani Rosenfelder, Head of Mobile Insights, AppsFlyer