Fiksu: anticipation for iPhone 5 depressed downloads, user acquisition costs in August

By Kathleen De Vere Comment

Rumors, leaks and hype surrounding the iPhone 5 seemed to be inescapable in August, and the pre-launch anticipation caused both iOS downloads and user acquisition costs plunge during the month according to Fisku.

The Boston-based company reported the cost to acquire a loyal user — defined as someone who will open an app at least three times — fell by almost 13 percent in August, dropping from $1.54 in July to $1.34 in August.

Fiksu CEO Micah Adler likened August’s plunge to the calm that comes before a storm, explaining that many advertisers ratcheted back their marketing spend during August in order to devote more resources to the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 launches in September.

Interestingly, marketer plans surrounding the iPhone 5 launch were almost opposite to those used for the Oct. 2011 launch of the iPhone 4S. In Sept. 2011 user acquisition costs climbed to $1.64 per loyal user — what was then a record high in anticipation of the 4S’ release.

Unlike marketers, Fiksu found that consumers exhibited similar behavior before the launches of both the iPhone 4S and the iPhone 5. The company reported free app downloads fell by 7.3 percent to 4.05 million daily downloads in August. By comparison in September 2011 download volume of the top 200 free iPhone apps fell by six percent to 3.8 million daily downloads.