Berlin-based app mobile measurement company Adjust today published the results of its annual benchmark report for 2017. The data from the report was taken between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, tracking 11,000 apps, with 10.7 billion installs and 1.29 trillion events analyzed across the world. Deeper coverage of countries included China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Turkey, UK and the US.
The benchmark report provides detailed insight into the app market and app user behavior, providing in-depth monthly analysis of user engagement, retention, sessions and fraud by country and app vertical.
How the world engages with apps - WeChat dominates in China
Compared to 2016, retention rates and engagement in 2017 were much higher. However, the current Adjust benchmark report shows that app developers still face big challenges when it comes to retaining users. By day 14 after the download, only 13% of app users return. Retention on iOS is consistently higher than on Android, but only by 1-3%.
By country, Japanese users have the highest retention rates of all: consistently around 3% above average. Meanwhile, Chinese users are the hardest to keep. After day one, 80% have left an app, and by day seven only 7% continue to use one at all. This can partially be explained by the dominance of WeChat, and the lower likelihood of Chinese users leaving the platform for other apps.
Entertainment and Gaming apps keep their users well engaged. By day 30, Entertainment apps see the highest retention rates. Meanwhile, Travel apps have trouble keeping their users on board, with only a 7% retention rate by day 12, explained by the cyclical nature of travel booking.
The report also looks at elite retention, covering the highest performing apps in their own cohort. Retention of Utilities performs best of all, with 44% retention on day one (near half of the initial user base). By day 30, almost a third of users are still around. Business apps perform second best, and great Games perform similarly on day one, though by day seven there’s a 5% difference between the three verticals.
Monetizing Apps - Fight of the platforms
The mobile app market continues to be highly lucrative. In 2017, 2 million apps were released on both stores, and worldwide mobile ad spending increased 33.6% up to $142 billion, with $17 billion being spent on performance ads. Google and Facebook drive half of all attribution, and Google’s vast network seems to be slightly the better option to reach and engage users. However, user engagement increased over time, regardless of source, by approximately 2.5 sessions per day. Utilities apps are used the most, with 3 sessions per day. This is followed by Games and Entertainment apps with 2.5 sessions per day. E-commerce, Business & Travel apps range from 1.5 to 2 sessions per day.
In the first week after install, Android sees more events. But over a month, iOS far surpasses it’s rival, with between seven and eight events per day. By day 19, users perform one less event on Android than on Apple. By global comparison, the US seems to be in the lead, when it comes to number of events. The US triggers around two more events per day than China or Russia.
Mobile Ad Fraud - Android suffers the most
Every vertical, country and network was affected by mobile ad fraud in some way in 2017. By vertical, Games are the most affected, over a third of fraud stopped by Adjust (per vertical) was targeting gaming apps. This is partially due to gaming apps spending more on mobile marketing than any other. Also, it’s not just those after ad spend who defraud Games, but users too.
Beyond the collection of ‘other’ categories, E-commerce applications feature a high distribution of mobile app fraud, about 20% of Adjust’s dataset.
While no device is immune to fraud, it is telling that around twice as much of it occurs on Android. There are a few reasons to explain this, from the ease of which Android devices can be jailbroken, to the sheer amount of Android devices sold vs. Apple’s. However, Adjust’s Fraud Specialist, Andreas Naumann, believes “click injection” to be the main reason for this trend. This type of fraud is a sophisticated form of click-spamming which only affects Android devices.
The full report, including all results and graphics, can be downloaded here: https://www.adjust.com/resources/insights/mobile-benchmarks-report-2018/