For the first time since global attribution company AppsFlyer’s Performance Index’s 2015 guide, Google was number one in Power Ranking, which measures both quantity and quality of app installs and is considered the most important ranking. The index, Edition X, cites Google’s success on Android and its app campaigns, culled from an evaluation of 490 media networks, 25 billion installs, and 16,000 apps.

In Edition IX, Google ranked number one in universal volume ranking.

“The data shows that Google’s choice to go all-in on machine learning, while focusing on video and creative to power its App Campaigns product has paid off,” said Shani Rosenfelder, head of mobile insights, AppsFlyer, in a press release.

Facebook tops Retargeting index

Meanwhile, social media giant Facebook is the top performer in AppsFlyer’s Retargeting index. App marketers increase their Retargeting efforts, driven by the industry’s low retention and high uninstall rates. There was a 20% increase in the number of apps running Retargeting campaigns during the second half of 2019 (compared to H1).

But the report stressed that Facebook “is in a league of its own” in the Retargeting index.

“When looking at the Retargeting Index, their numbers are even more impressive considering that Ace was only rolled out to some clients in beta,” Rosefelder said. It’ll be interesting to see how it evolves when the product becomes available to everyone.”

Performance index winner: Facebook

Facebook ranked number one in 17 of 19 global segments in the Performance index, across both gaming and non-gaming categories.

While Google came in second in the Retargeting index, it demonstrated a faster growth, rising to 44% in share of the Retargeting pie. Conversely, Facebook had only a 5% increase.

Google’s success is due to Android’s impact

The report described Google’s success in the Performance index as the stronghold Google has on Android. For Android, Google increased inventory and improved measurability across its assets, generating significant scale.

Google held the number one position in 16 of 23 global rankings across gaming and non-gaming categories.

The 10th edition of AppsFlyer’s Performance index is the most segmented to date with 252 segments of region, platform, and category, and will cover the second half of 2019. It will cover 25 billion installs and 52 billion app opens of more than 16,000 apps.

New categories in the Performance index

There are also the following new categories, which will be included in the new edition:

  • Finance

  • Entertainment

  • Travel

  • Photography

  • Multiple gaming genres

While Google and Facebook have what AppsFlyer’s report calls “duopoly,” a “tripoly” of networks have emerged, and capitalized on the massive growth in the gaming sector:

  • ironSource

  • Unity Ads

  • AppLovin

The above three controlled 355 of the gaming app install in H2 2019, which represents a 10% increase compared to H1. Other gaming players are far behind.

TikTop is top

TikTok quickly gained in popularity, and the report stated that 2019 was the year TikTok “went all-in on its media business” when it introduced TikTok ads. Edition X has TikTok jumping 120% since Edition IX.

TikTok is not only the fourth largest media source for non-gaming apps, but it claimed the number one spot in AppsFlyer’s previous growth index. Overall, TikTok is the star of the app install.

Mintegral is another fast-moving app, reaching number three in seven regional growth rankings across the globe. Through strategic partnerships, new business offerings, an in-house creative studio, and AB certification, Mintegral gained momentum and increased by 198%.

Winner take … most

Edition X points out the fierce competitiveness for what they call a piece of the app-world “pie.”
It also notes that “organic app store discovery grew increasingly harder, and for some, even impossible. The report suggested running Apple Search Ads (ASA) as one way to overcome this challenge.

The report noted a significant difference between gaming and non-gaming indexes; in non-gaming, ASA held on to third place in power ranking, and gaming ranked sixth. Volume-wise, non-gaming ASA ranked third, but gaming only reached 13th.

It indicated that ASA is more effective for non-gaming apps, while gaming apps have many more options in standard user acquisition.

Gaming app marketers have marked success at user acquisition and use more video ads, which are not available in ASA. Many gaming apps for the masses–particularly the fast growing hyper casual genre–aim for low cost/low user value, while ASA is a high cost/high quality channel.

From a regional point of view, ASA generated the vast majority of its traffic from strong iOS markets in North America and Western Europe.

App install awareness

In 2019, app install fraud rose to enough heights, developers were well aware of the problem.
An analysis of the top 200 media sources is positive:

  • 23% improved their fraud rate by at least 20%.

  • 20% source rate of those whose fraud rate increased by at least 20%.

  • 21% increase in the number of media sources that had a fraud rate below 5%.

Fraudulent sources can drain ad budgets: the fraud rate of 8% of media sources increased by over 50%, while 4% of them had double the fraud rate they had in H1.
Edition X suggested advertisers remain vigilant and keep defenses high. With app install-ad spend on the rise, fraudsters won’t stop attempts to exploit loopholes and likely will develop more sophisticated forms of attack to bypass protection.

Snap top in food and drink, shopping verticals

Snap is moving up, coming in at number six in universal power ranking and number five in volume ranking. Since it is predominantly iOS, traffic comes from North America and Western Europe, but it is inching its way into the Middle East with a 15% increase.

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