Marketers are experiencing an undeniable period of transformation: COVID-19 has created major cultural and economic shifts, evolving customer expectations, new channels and technologies. All of this has fundamentally changed how mobile brands both operate their businesses and connect with their customers.
These continual shifts are one reason why at CleverTap, we’re constantly analyzing real-time data to discover what’s working for mobile brands right now — and to discern how emerging trends are reshaping the industry landscape.
CleverTap’s latest benchmark report
spans the first half of 2020 and examines data from over 250 apps, each with an average of 30,000 daily active users (DAUs), to pinpoint trends across user acquisition, business revenue, customer engagement, marketing campaign performance, and retention.
User Acquisition Gets a Temporary Boost
According to AppsFlyer data, early April saw a spike in app installs: +25% in organic installs and +35% in non-organic installs. Apps increased their ad spend by 20% by early May to meet heightened demand.
Because many of the brands that reduced their spend early in 2020 have started spending again, prices are now being driven up: cost per install is currently 40% higher in gaming and 30% higher in non-gaming compared to mid-March 2020. All of this means advertisers are acquiring fewer users with the same advertising spend.
A Shifting Economy Yields Major Shifts in Revenue
Many mobile businesses braced themselves for a sharp decline in consumer spending following the widespread lockdowns and worldwide economic uncertainty. But AppsFlyer data shows that industry-wide mobile revenue jumped 45% during lockdown and still remains high. Consumer spend in non-gaming apps has grown nearly 50% since mid-March, increased 50% in shopping apps, surged 75% for Fintech apps, and nearly doubled for Lifestyle apps. Gaming revenue surged 42% by early May, and in-app purchases remain 20% higher than pre-lockdown days.
A testament to strong monetization: 50% of all app categories regained positive revenue growth by the month of June.
The Impact on App Engagement Varies by Industry
In the midst of shelter-in-place, it should come as no surprise that users turned to apps that kept them either entertained or connected to essential services. And with widespread lockdowns, the industries that required consumers to travel or gather in crowds have been among the hardest hit.
Grocery apps saw a 177% increase in DAUs during the month of March as governments around the world issued lockdown orders. Content & Media apps experienced a 40% jump in DAUs beginning in early March, Entertainment apps a 20% increase, and Gaming apps a similarly steady increase in app launches.
Marketers in thriving industries like Content & Media Entertainment are capitalizing on a surge in user interest by sending more campaigns — and they’re being rewarded with higher click-through rates (CTRs). Education apps ramped up campaign activity by 20% and netted a more than 3% jump in user engagement.
Meanwhile, prolonged bans on public gatherings and severe restrictions have brought nearly all travel to a standstill. Event Ticketing, Travel, and Hospitality apps have been especially hard hit, and Ride Hailing apps grappled with a nearly 60% decrease in app launches at the end of March.
Why 2020 May Be a Turning Point for Mobile Business Growth
Sustainable business growth means more than app launches and campaign engagement. It means attracting loyal customers who stay engaged with an app, purchase frequently, and tell others.
Day 1 retention rates are up 37% for Content & Media, and Day 7 retention jumped up almost 70% over Q1. And while Food & Delivery apps saw a drop in DAUs, retention rates are up in April after a slight dip in March.
As with DAUs, industries seeing the most dramatic drops in customer retention are those involving travel and events. Ticketing apps have seen a more than 68% drop in Day 1 retention rates, and Day 1 retention for Ride Hailing apps have plummeted 44%.
While Gaming apps are seeing a rise in DAUs, Day 7 retention rates in April were down by 50% compared to February, suggesting users are churning through games quickly and moving on to new content.
Get a detailed look at 17 mobile industries including Food & Delivery, Gaming, Travel, Retail, and Entertainment, plus more of the latest mobile benchmarks in CleverTap’s complete data report: How COVID-19 Has Affected Mobile Brands
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.