Liftoff Report Finds E-Commerce App Install Costs Fall In October But Hit ‘Seasonal High’ In November

Liftoff’s 2023 Holiday Guide for E-Commerce Apps finds October to be the ideal time to start seasonal campaigns, with cost-effective opportunities to scale spend and acquire users

Redwood City, CA (September 27, 2023) – Liftoff, the leading growth acceleration platform for the mobile industry, has published its 2023 Holiday Guide for E-Commerce Apps, which breaks down seasonal changes in CPI (cost per install) and CPA (cost per action) across platforms and regions to help marketers get the best return on their seasonal ad spend. The report also identifies the key practices mobile marketers should follow over the holidays, compiled by the experts at Liftoff’s Creative Studio.

Key findings from the report, which is based on programmatic data from over 64 billion ad impressions and 1.4 billion clicks across 6.2 million installs between September 2022 and February 2023, include:

Early to mid-October is the most economical time to target new users

CPI hit a seasonal high in early November at $3.45 on iOS and $1.18 on Android and dropped closer to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That said, costs on both platforms were lower in early to mid October, making this an effective period for app marketers to increase ROI (return on investment) and engage users before the holiday rush.

CPA-purchase costs are more variable on iOS than on Android

iOS sees more seasonal fluctuation than Android, with CPA-purchase costs peaking in November at $11.20 and dipping to new lows in January at $8.41. Comparatively, Android costs are relatively flat between October and early December, hovering between $4.84 and $3.68. 

CPA-purchase dipped significantly in October in North America and EMEA

In both regions, CPA-purchase fell massively in October to $12.14 (NAMER) and $14.46 (EMEA) before jumping to a peak of $23.77 (NAMER) and $17.59 (EMEA), respectively. Marketers in these regions stand to make significant gains by taking advantage of the dip in October before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 

CPIs and CPAs hold steady in APAC and LATAM over the winter holidays

Compared to NAM and the EMEA, costs stayed relatively constant in these markets, with CPI hovering around $1.00 in APAC and LATAM throughout October and December last year. This may have been the result of a more muted Singles’ Day in China due to the impact of COVID-19 in 2022. CPA also stayed constant at around $1.65 (LATAM) and $3.64 (APAC).

Kevan Merlehan, Sales Director, EMEA at Liftoff, said: “The holiday season is almost here, and despite lingering economic uncertainties, we anticipate consumers to spend big. In a competitive marketing environment, e-commerce marketers must plan carefully to achieve their target growth in this competitive climate.”

He added: “Install costs can vary in the weeks leading up to major shopping days such as Black Friday and Singles Day. By taking advantage of dips in cost, marketers can maximize their ROI by acquiring new users ahead of peak sales days.”

The report also includes key tips from advertising experts at Liftoff’s Creative Studio to help marketers boost their ad performance and maximize returns on top sales day. Highlights include: 

  • Gamifying seasonal promotions: Most shoppers are hunting for discounts ahead of the holidays, and interactive ads such as retro-themed scratch cards and countdowns to sales days can boost sales in peak periods. 
  • Keep content evergreen over the sales period: Avoiding generic holiday themes helps ads stand out in a crowded market. 
  • Experiment with generative AI: Leveraging AI to create voiceovers or animated mascots can help marketers level up their ads and capture user attention to drive conversions. 

To learn more about Liftoff and download the full guide, visit the Liftoff website here.