Google hits the top spot in app advertising performance

Mobile ad attribution company, AppsFlyer, has released the 10th edition of its Performance Index. Google has hit the #1 spot in the power ranking (measuring both quantity and quality of app installs) for the first time since the Index launched in 2015. The search giant’s success can be largely attributed to its performance on Android and its App Campaigns product.

Facebook – top for retargeting

Low retention and high uninstall rates across the industry are driving app marketers to increase their retargeting efforts: The second half of 2019 showed a 20% increase in the number of apps running retargeting campaigns compared to H1.

According to the Index, Facebook rules in this space, thanks to its targeting capabilities and Dynamic Ads product. Facebook also dominated iOS with the #1 power ranking in 17 out of 19 global segments across gaming and non-gaming categories.

However, Google may be second when it comes to retargeting, but it’s growing faster with a 44% rise in its share of the retargeting pie, compared to Facebook’s 5% increase.

Google’s success in the Performance Index can mostly be attributed to its stronghold on Android, with the #1 position in 16 of 23 global rankings across gaming and non-gaming categories. On Android, Google has increased inventory and improved measurability across its numerous assets, generating significant scale and quality.

AppLovin-ironSource-Unity Ads — the Gaming Triopoly

Beyond the Google-Facebook duopoly, a triopoly of networks – ironSource, Unity Ads and AppLovin – has emerged by capitalizing on the massive growth in the gaming sector: Together, they controlled 35% of the gaming app install pie in H2 2019, a 10% increase compared to H1. Other players in gaming trail far behind.

TikTok Ads Surge Continues

2019 was the year TikTok went all-in on its media business with the introduction of TikTok Ads. After capturing the #1 spot in AppsFlyer’s previous Growth Index, TikTok Ads is now also the 4th largest media source for Non-Gaming apps. Overall, its share of the app install pie has jumped 120% in Edition X. The app’s success also secured its top ranking in the Growth Index for the 2nd time in a row.

The data shows that Google’s choice to go all-in on machine learning, while focusing on video and creative to power its App Campaigns product has paid off. When looking at the Retargeting Index, their numbers are even more impressive considering that ACe was only rolled out to some clients in beta. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves when the product becomes available to everyone.

Shani Rosenfelder, Head of Mobile Insights, AppsFlyer