The cost for mobile developers to acquire a loyal user held steady last month as the new iPhone 4S bumped downloads for top apps to a record, said Fiksu, a Boston-based company that mediates between many different ad networks and ways of getting new customers for apps.
The company said that the new iPhone plus latest version of iOS bumped downloads for the top 200 free apps in the U.S. to 5.65 million per day, up from 4.91 million a day in October. A year earlier, the top 200 apps saw about half as many downloads.
As downloads rose overall, the cost to acquire a loyal user (or one that opens an app at least three times) held steady at around $1.43, down four cents from $1.47 the previous month. Fiksu’s chief executive Micah Adler takes this as a sign that app developers are becoming savvier about which channels they use to get users. Fiksu is a Boston-based company backed by Charles River Ventures that helps app makers find the cheapest way to get new customers.
User acquisition costs are key to app makers, especially companies that have already established revenue models, because these companies arbitrage the difference between bringing new users in the door and monetizing them later through virtual currency purchases or advertising.
Overall, it looks like user acquisition costs are settling in at a new level after being bumped over the summer. Developers have told us that the cost of getting a new user on iOS was half or a third as much at the beginning of the year before Apple cracked down on offer walls.