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AppsFlyer: Facebook, Google and Unity Ads dominate mobile advertising

The mobile measurement company AppsFlyer said that Facebook was number 1 in mobile advertising, followed by Google and Unity Ads in the first half of 2020, according to the company’s semi-annual Performance Index study.

This is the 11th edition of AppsFlyer’s index. While Facebook is at the top overall on both iOS and Android, both Facebook and Google dominate mobile advertising with a significant majority of the inorganic installation market, or downloads driven by advertising. And while Facebook is stronger on iOS and in North America, Google is a leader in Android, which is growing in emerging markets.

“We have seen Facebook emerge as a clear leader in quality and revenue generation,”

; said AppsFlyer Mobile Insights Manager Shani Rosenfelder in an interview with VentureBeat. “A few years ago, the Facebook Performance Index dominated. In 2018, Google Universal launched Advertising Campaigns, ranking No. 1 in 2019. With our new revenue generation index, Facebook once again captures position # 1. ”

Ranking is important because it can help mobile app and game developers decide who to collaborate on for mobile advertising, which is the core of mobile revenue generation. In the first half of 2020, AppsFlyer surveyed 495 media networks and 27 billion app installations across 14,000 apps and 58 billion app openings.

The performance index includes two new detailed income-generating rankings by region and category. The new ranking assesses media sources for their ability to deliver users with the highest probability of making an in-app purchase and their ability to deliver users who make the most money on ads. This is important information in freemium-powered ecosystems where apps make money mainly through in-app purchases and in-app ads.

With the existing retention, remarketing and growth indices, the new study provides a more complete report card on the mobile media landscape across several marketing activities, Rosenfelder said.

Facebook’s ability to increase performance on a large scale in both the Retention Index and the new IAP (in-app purchase) Index drove the company’s ranking forward. Facebook also dominates the new IAA (in-app Advertising) Index, as well as the Remarketing Index, making the overall position clear.

But high-quality installations cost money, Rosenfelder said. Facebook tends to charge more, and this is especially true in games, where costs are significantly higher in North America, Latin America and Europe. Google has slightly higher prices in the Asia-Pacific region.

Above: The major players in mobile advertising.

Image Credit: AppsFlyer

Google is more expensive in non-gaming app advertising – but not by a large margin – with the exception of North America, where Facebook is more expensive.

Device ads are increasing

Unity Ads has emerged as a leader in the next level of mobile gaming advertising. This includes IronSource and AppLovin, both of which have started making their own games. Unity, which was recently announced, is focused on revenue generation and on building a game engine.

Unity Ads rose in the retention index, thanks to a significant scale, although the quality is the lowest among the top three. Unity Ads took over the No. 1 ranking in the fast-growing hypercasual and arcade markets, and took third place in nine of 14 genres.

“In gaming, we see Unity Ads as strong,” Rosenfelder said. “Unit had massive growth and scope. They have a long tail with indie game developers using their engine. So they have an advantage. ”

Unit revenue manager Julie Shumaker said in an interview with GamesBeat that user acquisition has become critical for game developers with such crowded app stores. Unity Ads produces 22.9 billion monthly global ad impressions and reaches 2 billion active end users monthly worldwide.

IronSource and Applovin are also competitive in the gaming sector. But Facebook and Google are stronger outside of games.

While the novel coronavirus has had a significant impact on apps and the entire ecosystem, its impact on media source placement was marginal. The only exception was Apple Search Ads, where organic growth in the App Store led marketers to start and / or increase their optimization of app stores. This brought Apple search ads to the forefront, and garnered impressive growth and strong performance.

“The pandemic changed the mobile ecosystem, as all calculations increased,” Rosenfelder said. “But the ranking of media sources did not change.”

The future is uncertain

Rosenfelder said that Apple’s decision to curb targeted advertising on iOS in the name of privacy has made the mobile advertising market uncertain. Apple has decided to abolish the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA), which is necessary to link anonymized user data to advertising results. Facebook and Google may suffer if they are unable to target users with ads based on past behavior.

Apple has only said that they act to protect privacy. But some in the industry believe Apple will undermine the advertising revenue from Facebook and Google and take some of it back by increasing its own Apple search ads. This can allow it to generate more revenue through App Store sales, where it gets 30% cut. Ad-related downloads on Facebook are probably 15 to 25 times larger than Apple Search Ads, especially in gaming, as people spend a lot more time on Facebook than on the App Store.

In the face of widespread uncertainty, Rosenfelder predicted a trend towards consolidation, as we saw yesterday with Vungle’s acquisition of mobile advertising marketing company AlgoLift.

“With IDFA, there are many unknowns,” he said. – It is very difficult to predict. Maybe Apple will change its original plan. We just do not know. The point is that if there is a change in iOS, it will affect many players. “

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