CPA for mobile e-commerce ads skyrockets

Anne Freer | August 31, 2021

App Business

In light of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency framework updates, the price of cost-per-acquisition (CPA) advertising in e-commerce marketing rose a whopping 200% for tracked users and by 155% for non-tracked users, which shows that mobile marketers will need to turn to new strategies.

Based on the data of 33.3 billion programmatic ad bids and 2.2 billion impressions, machine learning expert MOLOCO found that mobile e-commerce marketers would fare best by diversifying traffic sources; optimizing campaigns for ROAS; and using techniques like machine learning to help maximize ad spend. 

“Apple’s privacy changes are ushering in a new era in digital marketing,” said Ikkjin Ahn, co-founder and CEO of MOLOCO. “Advertising costs are increasing, and e-commerce marketers need to adapt. This is a big reason why we created MOLOCO Cloud. For e-commerce marketers looking to optimize their budget through these challenging times, technology like ours can be an integral part of the solution.”

The report also noted that tracked users fell from 73% of Apple users at the start of 2020 to 32% by the end of June. The pace of opt-outs slowed, but additional updates may put more downward pressure on the number of tracked users on Apple’s ecosystem.

Between the iOS 14.5 and the iOS 14.6 updates, 8% of Apple users opted out of tracking. iOS 14.6 accelerated opt-out rates, and another 26% turned down tracking.

Unlike iOS 14.5, iOS 14.6 was an automatic update, pushing more users to decide on privacy. This indicates that most users will decline tracking when asked, and e-commerce marketers should adapt by using new approaches to mobile advertising optimization.

CPA costs for tracked users increased by 63% after the release of iOS 14.5 and 94% more after iOS 14.6 went live — a 200% total uptick in price. This trend gives advertisers room to expand their efforts within the Android ecosystem, where tracked traffic remains plentiful.

CPA costs for non-tracked users increased by 173% after the release of iOS 14.5 and decreased by 6% after the iOS 14.6 update — a 155% move in price overall. The price may have backtracked due to the surge in non-tracked users that occurred after Apple’s latest release. 

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