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AppsFlyer’s Latest Performance Index Shows Google Leads in Scale, While Facebook Dominates Quality

AppsFlyer, the global attribution leader, today released the 12th edition of its Performance Index, ranking the top media sources marketers should partner with.

AppsFlyer analyzed 580 media sources, 29 billion installs, and over 16,000 apps globally over the second half of 2020.

In this edition, Google extended its lead over Facebook at the top of the Retention Index’s Universal Power Ranking, which ranks media sources by their ability to drive loyal users at scale.

Google’s share in the global non-organic app install pie also increased by 15%. This was driven by the search giant’s continued growth in Android, especially in emerging markets, such as Africa.

In contrast, Facebook’s share of the global non-organic app install pie dropped 10% in Index 12, mostly due to iOS losses (as part of an overall drop in iOS). However, when it comes to quality, the social network reigns supreme. It is ranked second in the average of quality metrics across all of the different indices.

Facebook’s retention score, (which looks at the percentage of users who still use an app over a period of time after installing it), is 16% higher than Google’s, mostly the result of a growing divide in Android and among non-gaming apps.

The social network continues to dominate the remarketing index, while Google has significantly grown its share of app remarketing conversions by 65% in the second half of 2020.

20% drop in iOS installs among vast majority of media sources

While Apple’s impending AppTrackingTransparency framework, which will impact how mobile apps gather data about users, won’t be enforced until early spring, AppsFlyer’s Performance Index shows it is already causing shifts.

The share of non-organic installs (NOI) on iOS dropped 20% in the second half of 2020 (compared to the first half of the year). The decline was widespread, impacting the rankings of 17 of the top 20 media sources on iOS.

At the same time, the share of organic installs in iOS remained unchanged, as did the number of apps running campaigns on the platform. For comparison, Android’s NOI share showed the opposite trend, increasing by 6% over the same period.

A 30% jump in the cost per install (CPI) on iOS in H2 2020 was a key factor behind the significant drop (Android cost increased by only 10%). As a result, mobile app marketers generated fewer installs for the same budget.

The rise in media cost for iOS users was driven by two main elements: an increase in demand due to accelerated digital transformation caused by Covid-19, and a decrease in supply due to a 40% rise in the share of users who enabled Limited Ad Tracking (LAT).

Commenting on the trends and their impact on African marketers, Daniel Junowicz, Managing Director, LATAM & Africa, AppsFlyer said: “Given Android’s dominance in the African market, marketers in the region have been less impacted by Apple’s upcoming privacy changes and the findings revealed in this Performance Index.

“However, Apple’s changes are part of a growing shift that’s putting consumer privacy front and centre, and African marketers will need to be best prepared to adapt to this landscape as it evolves.

“Brands in Africa should choose the right measurement partner to guide them through these changes, and ensure they’re consistently prepared to offer their users an impeccable user experience, while maintaining the highest levels of user privacy”

“The increase in end users enabling Limited Ad Tracking (LAT) is likely due to the growing attention around user privacy in general and Apple’s privacy changes in particular,” said Shani Rosenfelder, Head of Content and Mobile Insights, AppsFlyer. “Networks that rely on iOS were impacted across the board, as were the advertisers using them.”

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