How Wearable Tech Impacts Gaming

Ever since its launch last month, the Apple Watch has been a curious success, with some people buying the device outright and others approaching it with caution, possibly waiting to see how application developments pan out before plunking down the cash. However, there’s no question that it’s made an impact in a certain field — gaming.

Even though there aren’t too many games available for it right now (several are in development and likely due out soon), the titles that are released for the Apple Watch — along with other pieces of tech — show that there is room for gaming when it comes to wearable devices. Even with limitations, like running out of battery life playing a game for too long or a smaller device screen, they’re making a much bigger impact than expected.

For a bit of perspective, Macworld recently published a guide to ten Apple Watch games that users should be playing, and they cover quite the spectrum for a tiny device. Here are just a few examples from the list, which give you a better idea of how gaming works overall for devices such as this:

Rules!: Sorting cards may not sound like the most fun activity around (it’s more like something you’d do in a mailroom), but Rules! has a certain appeal, as users move around a series of cards in particular order, depending on numbers, colors and other factors. The rules change quite often (hence the name), keeping the challenge continuous with each new round.

Letter Zap: While the concept is hardly what you’d call original (you pick and choose words from a number of pre-selected letter tiles), the execution of Letter Zap more than makes up for it, as it’s easy to put together as many words as possible within an allotted time frame.

Elevate — Brain Training: Considering that brain-training games have proven popular on mobile devices in the past, it’s no surprise that a game like Elevate work would so well for the Apple Watch. Users pick a number of rapid-fire challenges that force them to use their thinking caps to accomplish the best score possible.

As you can see from the examples above, it takes a certain approach to make an Apple Watch game operate, as it runs on a completely different level than the usual mobile devices. That said, it’ll probably take a great deal of development savvy to get something along the lines of Candy Crush Saga working on the device — though you can bet that King is definitely trying to figure out a way to make it work.

It’s a matter of making a game accessible without overwhelming the device with flashy presentation. Sometimes, keeping a design simple is the best thing going for it, as we’ve learned from games from the 80’s, like Pac-Man, that still achieve a certain amount of popularity. A lot of developers seem to be following this approach to Apple Watch, among other devices, while at the same time figuring out new tricks to make games more involving — such as utilizing a user’s heartbeat into the app itself, which a few developers of health-related programs have done.

We’ll see more accomplished game efforts in the future, but there are two basic parts to the overall goal — making it accessible on the Apple Watch (without going overboard on a pretty presentation) and making it fun. Thus far, these games, among others have managed to do it, and we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg.

‘Street Fighter V’: How To Market A Legendary Franchise

The fighting game genre has been popular for decades, and one of the legends of fighting games will be seeing a new version next year as Street Fighter V comes to the PlayStation 4 and the PC. The game was first announced during the PlayStation Experience last December with a trailer, and Capcom recently released another trailer for the game to whet the appetite of fans.

Capcom’s brand marketing and eSports product manager for Street Fighter, Dan Pantumsinchai, spoke with [a]listdaily recently about Street Fighter V and the marketing strategy for the game.

What has been the fan response been to Capcom’s reveal of  Street Fighter V, which started at the PlayStation Experience last December?

It’s been really, really positive. Fans have been playing Street Fighter for over 25 years now. The franchise is legendary in how it’s sparked interest in the fighting genre with Street Fighter II, and then re-ignited that passion with Street Fighter IV six or seven years ago. Now we are definitely seeing that fans are ready to play the next-generation Street Fighter title coming exclusively to PlayStation 4 and PC. Fans are really interested to see where we’re going to be taking the game, and they will not be disappointed.

The newly released M. Bison trailer looks great. Why did you choose this villain as the next step in your Street Fighter V video campaign?

We’ve shown two protagonists so far — Ryu and Chun-Li who were both in our announce trailer. Next we followed up with Nash, a fan favorite character that hadn’t been seen in the series since the Alpha days. He’s a very mysterious character as well, and we look forward to revealing more of his background. We haven’t shown an antagonist yet, so we felt fans would be excited to see M. Bison. He’s been a staple in all of the Street Fighter games since Street Fighter II and people are digging his new look, his new moves, and they are really happy to see him back in this game.

What can you tell us about the marketing strategy for Street Fighter V?

Our Street Fighter V campaign is focused around the tag line ‘Rise Up’, which we use in the trailer. You can see the tone we’re going with in the announce trailer, where we focused on the human element in Street Fighter, the people, the passion, and the culture that surrounds the brand. A lot of people know of Street Fighter from back in the day of playing Street Fighter II in the arcades, but since then the brand has really evolved to become a pop-culture phenomenon. We have films, music, anime, comic books, figurines, collectibles, apparel — you name it. Even Internet memes, with ‘hadoukening’ becoming such a big thing a while back.

Street Fighter has really permeated modern-day culture, and we feel that is something that really sets us apart from other brands. We have such a passionate fan base who cares about the characters not only in the game, but outside the game. We wanted to highlight their contributions to the brand and show the rest of the world that Street Fighter is something really cool you should be paying attention to. The ‘Rise Up’ tag line has to do with rising up to follow your passions, be it film or art or music and so on. Rising up to the challenge, being the best you can be, and overcoming any obstacle that gets in your way. That’s what we feel Street Fighter embodies. It’s not just the game, it’s the spirit of Street Fighter that we want to highlight with this campaign.

How does the cross-platform play between Windows and PlayStation 4 figure into your marketing strategy?

With Street Fighter V it was really important for us to find a way to unify our fan base. In the past, there’s been Street Fighter on multiple consoles, so there have been fractured communities on line, where people on one platform could only play against people with the same platform. With Street Fighter V, Sony has been a big help, and we’re true partners on this project. It was Sony who enabled us to have cross-platform play in Street Fighter V, which will allow us to finally unite the online community. So PS4 users will be able to play against PC users for the first time in franchise history, which is a huge thing for us. Street Fighter is obviously a competitive game, and opening it up to a whole new section of users is going to create more online rivalries and push everyone to become better players.

What’s the importance of eSports in marketing Street Fighter V? The popularity of eSports has really taken off since the last Street Fighter title was released.

It’s hugely important to us. As you said, eSports has seen a meteoric rise in popularity in the past few years. We’ve been paying very close attention to that, and eSports is an integral part of our strategy. We launched the Capcom Pro Tour last year, which is the first eSports league centered around Street Fighter. This is our second year, and we learned a lot from last year. It was a huge success and pushed the community and the fighting game scene to new heights.

This year with Sony’s support behind Street Fighter, we’ve been able to make it even bigger and better. We have over 40 tournaments worldwide, in different regions around the world — North America, Europe, Asia, as well as other countries that are up and coming such as Brazil and Kuwait. We’re really trying to provide equal competitive opportunities to all of our players out there. We also have a huge prize pool this year of over half a million dollars — the largest prize pool the fighting game community has ever seen. We are committed to supporting eSports and Street Fighter going into the future as well, and the release of Street Fighter V will be yet another milestone for this historic franchise.

Media, Entertainment Ads To Pass $6 Billion

With streaming media starting to take a major hold in the entertainment market — and television still playing its part — spending for digital ads on the medium are set to reach an all-time high, according to eMarketer.

The site reports that both the media and entertainment industries will see tremendous growth through year’s end, leading to an even higher number by 2019. The report, titled “The U.S. Media and Entertainment Industries 2015: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends,” points out that the two industries will spend $6.19 billion for this year alone, up 18.8 percent from the previous year. Broken down separately, media will make up 5.8 percent of total U.S. digital ad spending, while the entertainment industry will account for 4.8 percent of the total.

What’s more, the numbers are expected to grow in double-digits over the next few years, leading into 2019. However, even with these high numbers, both media and entertainment still account for the lower end of digital ad spending overall, with only health care and pharmaceuticals below them.

When it comes to the focus of digital ad spending, entertainment seems to focus more on branding (accounting for 60 percent of spending overall), while media works more towards direct response (with 55 percent). Entertainment-wise, films and video gaming seem to get the most dollars, with some getting promotion even months before their release. For example, Activision released a trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops III last month, well before the game’s November release date. One of this summer’s biggest films, San Andreas, also got a major digital push before its release today.

Meanwhile, advertising across mobile devices will make up for 53.5 percent of overall digital ad spending in the entertainment industry. Advertising for desktop and laptop devices will be close behind at 46.5 percent. Media brands will also devote its focus to digital advertising spending on mobile, by 51 percent.

“Media and entertainment industries have been pretty aggressive with mobile,” said Chad Gallagher, director of mobile for AOL. “They’re realized that consumers are on mobile devices more and more, especially at home.”

On the other side of the spectrum, programmatic advertising has been slow compared to digital ad growth. An estimated $780 million will be spent by entertainment industry marketers, or 41 percent of their overall digital display advertising budget. Meanwhile, media brands are likely to spend less than that, around $620 million, or 38 percent of its overall budget.

More details on the report can be found here.

Google Introduces More Personable Mobile Experience

Google had a terrific showcase this week at its I/O developers conference, talking about the features of its new mobile operating system, one that promises a more personal touch than ever before.

The new version of the Android OS, tentatively called M, will provide a number of new features for developers and marketers alike, including an upgrade to Google Now. Adweek broke down a number of these features, and what they mean for both groups:


  • With the introduction of On Tap into the Google Now service, there’s a deeper integration into the rest of Google. It becomes accessible when consumers view the site either on the Web or in apps, with a number of deep-links that go directly to apps, without needing to navigate away from the home page. Although there are no ads in this service yet, Michael Facemire, principal analyst for Forrester, believes they aren’t too far off. “It could be awfully similar to how you can bid for ad space on search pages,” he said. “Google can set up an environment so that there can be an auction. Brands could get their content to the top of that list.”
  • Push notifications will help in getting apps and brands suggested to interest users, utilizing the Google Cloud Messaging system. It enables developers to send their messages to any given contact, whether consumers are using an Android or Apple-based product. “Before today, you had to use two sets of pipes,” said Facemire, talking about how much easier the system will be. Apple hasn’t given a response to this new system yet, however, but Facemire is interested in seeing what it says.
  • With app ads, Google hopes to reach out with Universal App Campaigns, running through AdWords. This provides a one-stop shop in the hub itself, a useful tool for smaller developers and companies. The ads would then run across a variety of services within Google, including search, Play Store, YouTube and others.
  • With the addition of a buy button, users can now pick and choose items based upon shopping ads, which in turn provide a direct line to inventory, so consumers can know right away if a certain item is in stock. This would enable certain retailers to find success with ads, while at the same time assuring that the sale would be completed, without any delay in shipping or inventory.

Per VentureBeat, here are more details that emerged from the showcase:

  • Google will introduce a new platform called Android M, successively taking over for Lollipop. It’ll come with proper app permissions, as well as improved app links, an Android Pay system, support for fingerprint readings, increased power management and other features. It’s not slated to release until this fall.
  • Google will shift more into the Internet of Things department with a new operating system called Brillo, as well as a common language for connected devices known as Weave. It will work through small processors and low memory, and will manage and store data collected by sensors through the device.
  • As mentioned above, Android Pay will act as a competitor to Apple Pay, providing users to buy items through retail stores and in-app with a simple press of a button. Working via near field communication technology, the device will eventually be inputted into 700,000 stores in the United States.
  • Google Chrome now has over one billion active users, making it one of the company’s biggest ecosystems, alongside the Android platform.
  • A new photo service called Google Photos, which works with Android, iOS and desktop devices, will allow users to backup and store “unlimited, high-quality photos and videos, for free.” The service offers up to a terabyte of storage for free, which certainly will make competitors reconsider their offerings.
  • Now On Tap has been introduced, allowing users to access its services much more quickly through context, answers and actions. It works closely with Google’s mobile operating system, built with customer satisfaction in mind.


There were other announcements as well, including a new Polymer 1.0 program that allows developers to bring app-like experiences to the web, as well as a new Family Store, a Play Store that’s devoted entirely to younger players. You can learn more about these features, and more, here.

Google Innovates VR With iOS Support, Jump

Yesterday’s Google I/O conference brought a number of announcements to light, as you can see from our adjacent story recapping the event. However, one of the bigger announcements could mean a brighter future for the company’s affordable virtual reality project, the Cardboard.

A number of improvements are being made to the company’s virtual reality platform, which utilizes an Android device coupled with a unit made out of cardboard. In addition to small changes that make it more convenient, the company has also vowed the ability to create YouTube-operated virtual reality videos, with a possible introduction in July, according to USA Today.

One big change is that the platform is no longer Android exclusive, as owners of iOS devices can now try it out. In addition, a new program called Expeditions will bring education into the fold, enabling teachers to take kids around the world through virtual recreations of locations. The teacher can lead a classroom full of kids through a VR experience, if all of them have a suitable smartphone and a Cardboard unit. This could make for much more frequent and interesting “field trips” — the Magic Schoolbus, indeed.

With these changes, Google hopes to remain competitive with the other VR-related tech headed to market next year, including the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. It certainly has the price advantage, as the current model of Cardboard sells for a very affordable $20.

To help make VR-based videos more accessible, Google has teamed up with GoPro, creators of mobile cameras that are used by a number of extreme sports athletes (among others), to create a new platform that enables the capture of videos for VR. Using a 360-degree camera array, users can capture action in a full environment, then post said videos through a program called Jump, which will be supported through YouTube. Users can then pick and choose which experiences they want to check out.

Although the multi-camera system won’t come cheap – it’s expected to run around $8,000 at launch, using 16 specialized cameras made by GoPro – it will no doubt open the door to companies and clients that want to show a virtual experience made on their own terms. And that’s something that should be of interest to potential VR fans that want to give Cardboard a shot.

“Soon, I hope we’ll all be able to jump between the 1,000 most beautiful places on Earth with Cardboard,” said product vice president and project lead Clay Bavor. “We’re going to enable anyone who’s motivated to capture events and places anywhere in virtual reality. We’re leveling the playing field.”

Cardboard has proven to be a pretty modest hit, with over one million devices sold since last year, and a large number of apps downloaded through Android devices. No doubt these changes – and the introduction to iOS accessibility – will pick up those numbers.

Expeditions will also play a huge part, allowing students to visit exotic locations from the convenience of the classroom – and giving teachers a new platform to work from. “Who doesn’t like field trips ” said Bavor. “This is all about teachers having a new tool at their disposal. Some of the (test) classrooms have gone to Verona while reading Romeo and Juliet, or visited the Great Wall of China to learn more about the math that went into its construction.”

More details about Jump, Expeditions and more can be found here.

OrangeCon Is a Zero-Sum Game Promotion for Netflix

by Allen Weiner

The Next Big Con

Following in the footsteps of sports card collectors, comic book fan-folks and sci-fi geeks, Netflix is turning one of its most popular shows, Orange Is the New Black into a “convention” which will celebrate the start of the fourth season of the show and everyone associated with it. Unless memory fails me, TV shows aren’t generally honored with such tributes until they are off the air (or streams). Those behind The Brady Bunch, Leave it to Beaver, and even Star Trek used to hold events in which aging stars were dragged out to sign autographs while devotees dressed up in their dorkiest celebrity getups to take a stroll down memory lane.

OrangeCon is a zero sum game for Netflix, but a low-risk one at that. If it works, it will be replicated, duplicated, and ripped off by lots of networks and producers across all forms of gatherings The notion of closing the gap between star and fan (or fantasy and reality) can be big business. Or not.

Keep reading…

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

NCsoft West Goes Massively On Mobile

One of the leaders in massively multiplayer online gaming has long been South Korea publisher NCSoft, which generated more than $756 million in revenue last year on the strength of such long-running MMMORPGs as Lineage, Guild Wars, and Blade & Soul. The company hasn’t had as strong of a presence in the West, but it’s moving strongly to change that by investing heavily in existing games as well as new games. NCsoft West is bringing Blade & Soul to the West later this year, and it’s also expanding on to mobile gaming in a big way.

“Over the last several months, we’ve begun to lay the groundwork to increase NCSoft West’s investment and prominence in the West,” said Dr. Songyee Yoon, CEO of NCSoft West. “Now, with our full executive team in place, new mobile studio open in San Mateo and a number of other key initiatives underway, we have a strategy that will drive our acceleration and position the company as a key leader in the Western games industry.”

As part of NCSoft West’s growth and expansion, the company recently opened a new mobile studio In San Mateo, California and plans to grow that studio significantly over the next year. The new studio will work to develop high quality, innovative titles that are both new IP and also leverage NCSoft’s existing game portfolio. John Burns, NCSoft West senior vice president of publishing, spoke with [a]listdaily about the company’s mission to increase its Western footprint.

NCSoft has a variety of different MMOs that it’s bringing to the West. Do you think this helps in marketing — that you have offerings to suit many tastes?

I think it’s definitely a key part to the new strategy that NCSoft West in particular has. That’s a strategy that our parent company in Korea has had for some time, where they have multiple game styles. It’s one of the reasons they’re one of the leading companies in that market, and it’s something that we’re going to replicate here. It hasn’t really been NCSoft West’s strength to this point, but it’s something we’re now going to accelerate against.

One of the core strategies we have moving forward is exactly what you’re saying, is to expand our product portfolio. That really involves not only doubling down on what we consider one of our core strengths, high quality live service PC games. You see that with WildStar where we’re doubling down, Blade & Soul where we’re bringing it to the West. We announced a couple of months ago that Lineage Eternal will be a global launch. We have a couple of other products in Korea that we’re looking to bring to the West. Also in general to expand on the premium PC MMO. We continue to be big believers in that space, and we’re very interested in bringing our consumers exciting gameplay experiences on that platform. It’s also about expanding to other platforms, Which is something that we’re going to be doing. We’re announcing this week our new mobile studio in San Mateo, which is going to be our key mobile development center. That’s going to be roughly 100 people that we’ll be placing in the San Mateo offices, all designed and all built around delivering premium online persistent mobile experiences.

We think expanding our portfolio does give us some advantages, and offers our players something new and exciting on a regular basis. But also I think it’s something you’ve got to do today to be successful in the gaming space. I think the days are gone of one game every few years. You’ve got to be moving relatively quickly and that’s our intention moving forward.

The way people play MMOs on computers, usually for hours at a time and often with extensive use of the keyboard with a complex interface, is very different from the way people tend to play mobile games. How will you deal with those issues in developing your mobile games?

Yes, there are definitely significant differences between the platforms. I think the first answer to that question is what we’re going to do is bring in experts for that platform. That actually speaks to one of the things that’s been happening the last few months, where I talked about NCsoft accelerating the company. One of the ways we started to do that in the last few months is we restructured NCsoft West. We’ve also rebuilt the executive team of the company with a number of new executives joining.

One of those executives is our SVP of mobile development, Jesse Taylor, who joined us from Glu Mobile a few months ago. Jesse is a veteran of the games industry and specifically did a lot of PC development, worked on a lot of massively multiplayer games, and about five years ago moved into mobile and led several studios at Glu and recently joined NCsoft. He’s already built a team of around twenty people in San Mateo. Most of those are mobile experts who understand the space very well. We’re going to continue to build that group out as well as add mobile experience elsewhere within the company, including the publishing facility down in Orange County.

We think having that expert leadership in development and marrying that to some of NCsoft’s core strengths in high quality gaming, high fidelity experiences, and management of a live service product that excites consumers is a good starting point for mobile. I’m not saying that’s all the answers, there’s a lot more to do and it’s a difficult space to be successful in, but I think we’ve got the right ingredients.

You have all of this successful existing IP — are you looking to bring some of that to mobile?

There’s three areas that we think about. There’s existing IP that we have that we could move to the mobile platform, that has a lot of appeal provided it’s done correctly with the right level of expertise. The second area is new, internally developed product, which is why we’re building the development studio in San Mateo — they’re going to be working on some new IP. Finally there’s partnerships and acquisitions. We have already announced one, an investment in a company called TGS a while back. We’re also looking at other opportunities that will accelerate our presence in the mobile space.

There are plenty of great games out there on mobile, and the challenge for every game maker is how do you get people to your game. What’s your strategy?

I think on all platforms nowadays these challenges exist. There are so many distractions and so many great entertainment experiences. Certainly for NCSoft we see it as all starting with having a great game, and certainly if you look at our pedigree we’ve managed to be successful in that area. Specifically on a publishing level, you still need great marketing and communication and other types of publishing activities. That’s actually been true on other platforms like PC and console for a long time. You need very well thought out product plans and tactics, you need a high level of investment, and you need a great degree of innovation. What we’re seeing in mobile is you need all those elements as well.

The days are clearly gone now when you can have that good, innovative game and not do great publishing and marketing activity. That’s becoming more and more the case as mobile develops. I think that starts with companies recognizing the cost per download is increasing, so they need to invest significant marketing dollars. That carries on through needing to have an extensive 12 to 24 month product marketing plan. Again, that’s something NCSoft is used to — we’ve done that on other platforms, and we’ve been doing that for quite a long time. I think in mobile we’ll bring that level of experience, and quite frankly, investment that you need to take a new mobile title and surface it up to consumer’s eyes. Of course, one common thread is you need not only a great product, you need a great team.

ION Dives Into Twitch’s Top Streamers

When you think of Twitch, you tend to think about it being a video game-dominated streaming platform, but that’s not the case. As Twitch is looking to diversify, it’s top streamers are becoming varied, too. From anime and poker to the World of Warcraft streamers you expect to see, brands are big on collaborating with the best Twitch has to offer.

Tablets And Smartphones Have Separate Budgets

With the variety of smartphones and tablets on the market nowadays, some newcomers may think that there’s one general advertising system that works for them all. However, the truth is, with the size of certain devices like the Samsung Galaxy and iPhone 6 changing, there are other factors that need to be considered.

This article by AdWeek explains that consumer habits are changing with the introduction of these new devices, and, as a result, both smartphones and tablets have needed their own separate ad budgets, so that they can cater to these specific audiences.

“I’d say at least 80 percent, maybe higher, of clients today are creating separate budget lines for smartphones and tablets,” said Jeremy Lockhorn, vice president of emerging media and mobile lead for Razorfish North America, speaking with AdWeek. “Generally speaking, when this generation of tablets first launched, they got bucketed in with mobile. But as we’ve gotten a better sense of how people use tablets, it’s clear that it is a different and distinct use case from smartphones. Now, nearly all of our clients are treating them separately.”

Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, added that tablets actually get more grouped nowadays with spending on desktop devices, “more often than not.”

“The most sophisticated clients will have separate mobile and desktop budgets that will include advertising work for tablet,” he explained. “But this work will usually fall under the desktop budget.”

Another agency, speaking under anonymity, also stated that less than ten percent of its clients create separate budget lines for tablet versus mobile. That said, most of them do optimize for digital spending as they see fit, which also leads to separation of the devices.

Device size plays a part with these statistics as well, as the lines with “mobile” can be blurred depending on that. “Perhaps if we said ‘handset’, that might make it easier to think about,” said David Eastman, managing partner for MCD Partners. “A smartphone is a handset, a tablet isn’t.”

That said, some believe that the tablet is losing popularity to larger mobile devices. “The primary device for the traveler is moving to the newer, larger phones…because their bigger screens now deliver the experience consumers only previously expected from laptops or tablets,” said Dan Swartz, senior vice president of digital marketing, media and analytics for Upshot. “You no longer need to juggle two devices.”

Ari Brandt, CEO of MediaBrix, also added, “Marketers should definitely consider tablets a separate and discreet platform from smartphones because the user experience is different and the type of activities being conducted and content consumed are also very different.”

A lot of researchers seem to be on board with this train of thought, including eMarketer and Nielsen. “We already separate smartphones and tablets in as many of our figures as possible,” said Dan Marcec with eMarketer. “For basically all of our (mobile-commerce) and time-spent media usage stats, we have smartphone and tablet breakouts, at least in the U.S. Ad spending is the main example where we don’t because the two are still lumped together in ‘mobile’ by most advertisers and publishers in terms of budgeting and selling, respectively.”

Recategorization may be in need, although tablets still need to be considered in some cases. “I see the lines blurring,” said Rye Clifton, product strategy director for GSD&M. “Tablets are becoming more like laptops, but I don’t see them as ‘home devices’. I see tablets more as travel devices for consuming content – an easier device to take on planes than a laptop, though not quite as great if you need to do a bunch of typing and editing.”

More information on the report can be found here.

Fiksu Explains April 2015 Mobile Numbers

A lot of mobile companies are profiting these days from free-to-play games, but what’s really the measure in terms of what it costs to earn a loyal user for a game Fiksu recently measured these numbers in its latest report, explaining the Cost per Loyal User Index for the month of April.

As defined by Fiksu, the Cost per Loyal User Index measures the cost of acquiring a loyal user for brands that actively markets their apps. For the purpose of the Index, loyal users are defined as people who open an app three times or more.

According to its latest report, the CPLU Index managed to drop down to $2.74 cents in April, which was an 11 percent decrease from the previous month (which had reached a high of over $3) but still showed a whopping 80 percent rise year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the team also broke down the App Store Competitive Index, which breaks down the aggregate volume of downloads per day achieved by the top 200 ranked free iPhone apps in the United States. According to Fiksu, this number held steady for the month of April, with 8.1 million daily downloads. Although this is a drop from the previous number of 10.3 million back in January, it’s still very steady.

The next agenda on Fiksu’s report was the Cost Per Install, which measures the cost per app install directly attributed to advertising. For iOS, the number rose to $2.13 — a 39 percent increase over the previous month, and 54 percent rise year-over-year. Meanwhile, Android also showed an increase of its own, up to $2.08 for April, over 30 cents past March’s numbers. That also marks a 59 percent increase year-over-year.

Next up is Cost per App Launch, tracking the cost of each repeat app launch over time, focusing on engagement and lifetime value of mobile users. The Android index rose ten cents to $.34 from the previous month, a 169 percent increase from last year. As for iOS, it also rose 34 percent to $.41, a 75 percent increase from last year.

To conclude the report, Fiksu had a simple message for marketers: “While April represented another expensive month for mobile, it’s also an example of the heightened focus on strategic mobile spending by leading brands. As advertisers employ higher-value targeting and more precise audience segmentation data, the loyalty rates of app users will improve.

It continued, “In the coming months, marketers and advertisers should aim to employ higher-value sources, such as Facebook and video ads, which cost more on a per-install basis but lead to higher-quality results. As demonstrated this month, the cost per install (CPI) and the cost to acquire a loyal user (CPLU) will move closer together as targeting capabilities continue to improve, and each install is more likely to become a loyal user. In addition, marketers should focus on retargeting as a way to retain users and covert them into loyal users.”

Interested marketers can find the full report here.