Can you Survive the Meteoric Rise in App-User Acquisition Cost?

A story broke on TechCrunch today discussing the rise in new-user acquisition costs for Android and iPhone applications based on a recent study. In this study, which covers hundreds of millions of app users, the researchers found that “that the average cost-per-install (of CPI) of mobile apps increased by 70 percent on Android and by 56 percent on iOS”, rising from $0.30 to $0.51 per user on Android, and $0.59 to an alarming $0.92 on iPhone. This means that for iOS developers, monetization of their app at a single $0.99 purchase price means that they will be losing money, which is obviously not a very great outlook for things.

Let’s take a look at some tips of how you can keep these acquisition costs as low as possible.

Start with Building Something Unique and Compelling

Okay, so you’ve got an idea for a “new” app that nobody has done before, or a re-creation of something that exists but you’re going to do it much better. Think about that for a second. Are you? If you can’t sell someone who has had a smartphone for years on the value of your app in under a minute, you might want to stop before you get started.

To stand out in today’s marketplace with countless of apps available, an app has to be nothing short of incredible, or it has to be so unique that no one has ever done it before. Regardless of how quickly the fad died off, the folks behind “Draw Something” saw a meteoric rise in their app’s use simply because they made drawing incredibly addictive and locked their users into a certain usage path that was actually fun.

Make it compelling, or don’t make it at all.

Build Something Worth Sharing

It should go without saying that if you want to keep your cost of new customer acquisition low, you should build something that both has value and is worth sharing around with friends or co-workers. If your core business plan is to build an app that is of little “real” value, you will likely find that your acquisition cost is quite high as you have to continuously sell new customers on the reasons why they should purchase your app.

Yes, in some circumstances – such as Gillette’s famous introduction of the razor blade in beard-heavy Indonesia – it is necessary to mass-educate your prospects on why they need your new product or service. However, if you’re trying to acquire new customers for a $0.99 app and your cost to acquire is $0.79 you are leaving yourself with very little margin. If any at all.

Ask for Referrals, Incentivize if Necessary

It should go without saying that if your users like your app, they will be open to telling people about it. However, you also need to recognize that many individuals don’t think about mentioning it until they are (gently) reminded a few times to tell their friends.

Better yet, if your application allows it, why not encourage sharing via Facebook, Twitter, email, etc. by offering some sort of incentive? It could be a free month of use simply for posting on a FB wall, or unlocking of some special or paid content for tweeting about the app. Whatever it is, ensure that your users are spreading the word throughout their social networks. This is essentially FREE advertising and will certainly keep your cost per acquisition very low.

In conclusion: yes, app developers should be somewhat concerned about the rising cost of acquiring new users as smartphone platforms age and app stores become stuffed full of similar apps that perform similar functions. Know that if you spend the time building a unique app with compelling features that are worth talking about, you will reap the benefits of doing so and your acquisition costs will remain on the lower end of the scale.

Will Windows Phone 8 Set a New Benchmark for App Monetization?

There’s little doubt that Microsoft is placing a huge bet on Windows Phone 8 as the core of their future mobile strategy. The operating system is set to tie in seamlessly with Windows 8 on both computers and tablets, and now that ARM and other chipset solutions are supported with Windows, likely many other types of devices as well.

One question that many folks wonder is whether or not developers will follow Microsoft into the future, or if they will continue to focus mostly on iOS and Android. And – if developers do join in – how well they will be able to monetize their apps to ensure that developing for Windows Phone 8 is a sustainable business model.

As it turns out: developers are excited. Very, very excited.

56% of App Developers Expect to Monetize with WP8

The recent 2012 Developer Intentshare Index (released by VisionMobile) suggests that a significant portion of developers preparing to monetize existing apps are likely going to do so through the Windows Phone 8 platform. 56% of developers suggested that WP8 would be their platform of choice, 30% believe the mobile web would be the best way to monetize, 29% chose iOS and 27% choice Android.

Developer App Monetization Expectations

Pic courtesy of Ciklum.

It’s unclear as to why so many developers believe that WP8 will be the way to go, but it’s likely that with such a powerful tie in to different devices operating windows, high marketing investments from Microsoft and new hardware from Nokia, many developers see this as an additional monetization channel that they aren’t currently making use of.

Integration with Ad Frameworks and Better Trials

Microsoft is also making no secret of their intention to make it far easier for app developers to offer trials, to allow users to purchase downloadable / in-app “consumable” content, and to monetize their apps through the Microsoft Advertising pubCenter. They’re also continuing to bring new countries into the advertising fold at a pretty quick pace with 17 new countries joining the program in July, bringing the total to 36.

One thing is certain: Microsoft knows that app developers need to be able to monetize their work effectively, and they are working hard to better that process in Windows Phone 8.

The Bottom Line: Be Ready for WP8

Regardless of which platforms you currently develop apps for, it will be critical to watch the progression of WP8 to ensure that if it does take off, you are well prepared. At worst you should have a backup plan that includes porting your existing apps over to WP8; at best, you’ll have dedicated code that is ready to take advantage of everything that Microsoft is bring to the table with this new operating system. Windows Phone 8 is just a couple of short months away; be ready!

Black Friday Givaway – A Huge Success

What a great weekend. US retail sales up 16% from last year. Cyber Black Friday up 26% and Cyber Monday reached almost $1.2b in sales.

But most significantly, we had an incredible response to our Black Friday giveaway that helped us break records across our network.

Unfortunately, the campaign is over, but it is not too late to join the network. We still have the highest eCPMs across a huge array of premium ad types so join today.

LeadBolt Revolutionizes App Monetization with Multivariate Testing

Did you know that LeadBolt is the first ad network in the world to release a multivariate feature for our advanced ad formats? It’s true! LeadBolt, the first ad network to pioneer the content unlocker on mobile devices, does it again with multivariate testing!

Multivariate Goes Mobile
Multivariate testing (or ‘multi testing’) is an advanced form of A/B split testing. This is a killer strategy to ad effectiveness, used by online marketing gurus across the internet. Multivariate testing involves setting up alternate versions of text, colours and other visual assets and then testing all combinations simultaneously to determine the highest performing ad settings for your users. The results are often surprising and unexpected.

Check out our short video here!

LeadBolt brings this feature to you as a part of our never-ending quest to deliver high performing ad types for our publishers!

How Multivariate Testing Works?


You can run multivariate tests on your ads instantly without technical knowledge. What’s more, once you know which combination is the most effective, you can make it your default ad style in one click. Increase your ad effectiveness by signing in to the LeadBolt portal by creating a multivariate test today.

Now that’s the power of app monetization from LeadBolt!

How to promote your own apps using LeadBolt

Did you know that as a LeadBolt publisher you can now use the traffic of other publishers to promote your own apps or mobile offer?

We offer quality mobile traffic at very low prices. Please note that we will always exclude your own traffic from your advertising campaign.

CPC PlatformLeadBolt’s CPC platform is the fastest and easiest way to drive mobile traffic to your campaigns. The benefits of using our self service CPC platform include:

  • Fast campaign setup
  • Better value than CPM advertising
  • Bid as low as $0.05 per click
  • Minimum campaign budget is only $50
  • Real-time statistics – immediate traffic results
  • Comprehensive reporting provided
CPI InstallsIf you have a larger advertising budget but do not have the time to manage your campaign, we can send installs to your app on a CPI basis (cost per install).

  • Risk free advertising
  • High volume & low CPI rates
  • Only pay for actual installs
  • No setup fees/ No additional fees
  • Fully managed campaign & we manage everything incl. optimization
  • SDK & Server side tracking available
  • Comprehensive reporting provided


Earn More With Notifications

Notifications are LeadBolt’s latest proven and engaging method of app monetization.

This new ad format is so effective, that the average eCPM’s for notification ads on Android & Apple iOS are currently $15+ on US traffic and great results internationally. Some publishers are achieving $100+ eCPMs for US traffic! We have both recurring and our unique on-demand notification type that puts the publisher in full control.

Create Buzz

Notifications allow you to display ads on the homepage of an app users’ mobile device, even when the app is not being used. If you are not convinced yet, check out our LeadBolt notification ad promotional video here.

Earn higher eCPM’s

Notifications generate significantly higher CTR’s, since users view them when it is convenient in their own time rather than during a game play or app usage. As a result, revenues are significantly higher compared to standard in-app banner ads. However, notifications can be effectively used in conjunction with banner ads as an additional revenue stream in your app monetization strategy.

Monetize Inactive Users

Have you ever wondered how long are the users going to stick with you app before downloading a new one? Depending on the popularity of your app, its active life span might only be few days long. With traditional ad formats, this is the only time you can monetize the users. With notification ads, you can reach and monetize inactive and intermittent users very effectively.

Transparency for Users

Developers can control exactly who gets notifications and how often. Once you log in to your LeadBolt account to create your ad, you will be able to easily customize the ad to suit your app, including frequency and targeting of user types. Users also have the option to opt out.

So what are you waiting for? Start creating your notification ads today!

How to increase your app installs for free

Chances are you have developed a great app. Maybe you even have couple of them. Now what?

When it comes to measuring the success of your apps, the key metrics are: install rates, number of active users, amount of app reviews and quality of user ratings. Many app developers realize that marketing becomes crucial these days. There are many ways to market your app but most of them will require some investment.

Let’s focus on increasing your app installs without breaking the bank.

Did you know?

…that you can utilize some of the big Android and iPhone forums out there to promote your app for free?

Simply create a free forum member account and you will be ready to get your app exposed to users and other app devs out there. Make sure to introduce yourself, write a brief description of your app and ask other members to provide feedback on it. You might get some good responses that will help you fine-tune your app but most importantly, people will check out what you have.

It’s a good idea to post few screenshots of your app and a link to the marketplace where the app can be downloaded.

Some of the forums offering relevant sections for reviewing apps are:



Some of the forums will allow you to create a signature that will be displayed every time you post or answer people’s questions – allowing an additional crowd to see your app.

IMPORTANT: Always make sure to comply with the forum rules when posting or responding!

You can also gain free traffic to your app by signing up to app directories such as and

The more people that get to know about your apps and use them, the more money you’ll make using LeadBolt’s high performing in-app ad formats.