Pandemic spurring business for 70% of mobile marketers, study finds



  • Seventy percent of mobile marketers reported that the COVID-19 pandemic has been somewhat positive for business, a study that app marketing firm Liftoff emailed to Mobile Marketer. Seventy-five percent of marketers said their users were highly engaged, as app downloads in the gaming, shopping and finance categories reached all-time highs.
  • User acquisition has been easier for app developers, with yearly cost per install (CPI) costs falling 7% to a low of $1.63. However, fraudulent activity is worrisome with activity generated by fake users rising 15% this year, according to mobile measurement and prevention company Adjust. Working with data from Adjust and app analytics firm App Annie, Liftoff analyzed 623 billion impressions among 1,051 apps for its annual Mobile App Trends Report.
  • Eighty percent of mobile marketers said Apple’s plan to notify users of its devices when apps want to track their digital activities to improve ad targeting was bad for its iOS mobile operating system. Almost a third (29%) of those surveyed said they plan to shift more of their media spending to rival Android next year, while another 44% are weighing whether to do so, according to Liftoff.


The pandemic has led to a massive disruption in consumer behavior, suddenly accelerating longer-term trends like the growth in mobile usage. While the health crisis has had a negative effect on economic growth and roiled countless businesses, it has led to a surge in mobile activity as homebound consumers use their smartphones to handle a wider variety of activities beyond communications, such as shopping, banking, gaming and video streaming.

Sixty-four percent of marketers saw an increase in revenue, while 35% ramped up their marketing budgets to help drive growth. Entertainment, gaming and social apps experienced soaring revenue as users looked for ways to amuse themselves while spending more time at home. E-commerce, finance and news apps showed the strongest retention rates during the pandemic so far, the study found.

“Customer behaviors fluctuated significantly over the last year, but there are reasons for marketers to be more hopeful than ever about their engagement,” Mark Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Liftoff, said in a statement. “Mobile marketers have a particularly captive audience right now, and the proof is in our peak levels of mobile app engagement.”

Liftoff’s report indicates that many mobile marketers are concerned about Apple’s planned change to its iOS mobile operating system. Apple plans to add the notification as part of its measures to protect consumer data privacy. While mobile marketers traditionally have seen revenue that’s 82% greater on iOS than on Android devices, that difference may narrow after Apple updates its iOS 14, according to Liftoff. Already, app developers have shown signs of favoring Android, with new app releases on the platform outpacing those on iOS by a ratio of three to one, driving 152% more downloads and CPIs four times lower than those for iOS, according to Liftoff.