70% of Mobile Marketers Say COVID-19 Strengthened Their Business, According to Liftoff’s Mobile App Trends Report

The Report Also Warns of a 15% Increase in Fake User Ad Fraud and the Impending Impact the ID for Advertisers (Idfa) Will Have on iOS Versus Android

Liftoff, the leader in mobile app marketing and retargeting, released its annual Mobile App Trends Report. With COVID19 restrictions prompting more at-home time, Liftoff’s report sees app downloads reach all-time highs, propelling positive outcomes for mobile marketers. Additionally, the findings caution marketers to stay vigilant in their research and planning due to an increase in ad fraud year-over-year. The report also provides insight into the impact of Apple’s coming IDFA changes on the platform wars between iOS and Android.

Drawing on its own platform data as well as that of Adjust, a mobile measurement and fraud company, and App Annie, a mobile data and analytics platform, the report analyzes over 623 billion impressions across 1,051 mobile apps, 8.8 billion clicks, 381 million installs and 487 million first-time events from September 1, 2019 to August 31, 2020. To best understand the impact of COVID19 on marketing budgets and a variety of companies’ bottom line, Liftoff’s report also contains results from a survey of 230 mobile app marketers.

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Spanning a variety of app categories across Finance, E-commerce, Travel, Gaming and more, the report reveals key trends in mobile use, including:

70% of Mobile Marketers Say COVID19 Strengthened Their Business

With the pandemic driving declining revenues and mass company restructuring, the prevailing cultural narrative is that marketing is taking a hit. But Liftoff’s data tells a different story: the report finds COVID19 propelled positive outcomes for mobile marketers, with app downloads across gaming, shopping and finance reaching all-time highs. A whopping 75% of marketers surveyed found their users to be highly-engaged, a likely result of audience desire for connection, communication and new pastimes amid the pandemic forcing lock-downs. With mobile engagement at a peak, 70% of marketers say COVID19 has been good for their business.

Revenues generated by entertainment, gaming and social apps soar as users look for new forms of amusement. The study finds apps that drive longer value in the COVID19 era have the strongest retention rates, such as apps for spending money (e-commerce), managing money (finance) or making decisions (news). In response to high engagement and retention, 64% of marketers saw an increase in revenue and a 35% increase in marketing budget to grasp the opportunity.

“Customer behaviors fluctuated significantly over the last year, but there are reasons for marketers to be more hopeful than ever about their engagement,” said Mark Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Liftoff. “Mobile marketers have a particularly captive audience right now, and the proof is in our peak levels of mobile app engagement.”

User Acquisition is No Problem — But User Identity is, With Fake Users Fraud Up 15%.

User acquisition has been a breeze, with CPIs hitting their lowest rate ever at $1.63, down 7% from the $1.75 rate seen in 2019. But the strong market demands marketers audit sources and stay vigilant: Adjust FPS data finds fake users – those that emulate clicks, installs and in-app events, and cause advertisers to pay for an activity not completed – are up 15% since last year. As mobile user acquisition, engagement and retention increases, so too, it seems, does fraudulent activity.

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Will IDFA Tip the Scales in Android’s Favor?

iOS has historically been a reliable choice for mobile markers, with revenue 82% higher than Android and strong retention rates across the board. But Liftoff’s research finds Apple’s IDFA changes might tip the scale in Android’s favor, with 80% of mobile marketers viewing the move as bad news for iOS. Nearly a third of those surveyed plan on shifting more spend to Android over iOS (29.4%) with another 44% considering it.

Android is ready for its time in the spotlight. In the past year the platform has earned widespread favor from mobile users and marketers alike, chalking up more volume and more shoppers than iOS. New app releases on Android even outpaced iOS by a ratio of 3 to 1, driving 152% more app downloads with CPIs 4x lower than iOS.

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