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Women 86pc more likely to make a purchase through a mobile app: report

October 12, 2016

Women have a lower cost per action than most men

Women have a lower cost per action than most men

Women are 86 percent more likely to make a purchase on mobile, says a new report from Liftoff, suggesting that women may be the best demographic for marketers to put their attention on.

The Mobile App Engagement Index, released by Liftoff, examines mobile application downloads, engagement and behavior based on demographics and app type, in an effort to help marketers understand where and how to spend their marketing dollars. The report found that women are more likely to make purchases through mobile, giving them a lower cost-per-action for marketers.

“Marketers should consider adjusting their targeting and marketing spend to reach demographics that convert in-app at a higher rate and at a lower cost,” said¬†Dennis Mink, vice president of marketing at Liftoff.¬†“But focusing on cheaper installs is a mistake.

“Instead the focus should be on targeting lookalike audiences, or people who look similar to those that installed and converted inside of the app, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a service.”

Changing demographics
The report was made by surveying a large number of consumers and app providers. Liftoff broke down each step of the app engagement process into actions and attached a cost to each.

For example, the more marketing dollars that have to be spent to get someone of a certain demographic to install an app who makes a travel reservation is the CPA of reservations.

Subscription services are the most difficult to acquire users on

Using this method, Liftoff analyzed what actions were the most effective with which demographics and which actions were the most cost effective at getting users to install an app.

Apps that require a subscription to work are the most difficult to get installs with, costing an average of $229 per subscription. Meanwhile, apps that require nothing more than an install cost an average of $4.37 per install.

The results found that women overall had lower CPAs, suggesting that men are less likely to make purchases over their mobile devices. Interestingly, men had a slightly lower CPA, by 13 percent, on subscriptions, which were the overall most expensive action.


“To increase app engagement and outperform industry averages, the two most actionable things marketers can do is optimize their ad creative and improve their targeting by building lookalike audience profiles of their best users,” Mr. Mink said.

High tide
The results suggest that long-held beliefs about demographic preferences when it comes to mobile spending could be outdated, as a statistic that shows a larger number of women install, and have lower CPAs for, mobile games, which have traditionally been viewed as a field dominated by men.

The CPA of purchases has been trending down in recent months

Marketers and brands should take that as a warning that the currents of the mobile world can change swiftly and in unpredictable ways. If marketers want to keep up with mobile trends, they have to look at the people it is affecting.

“Across most app categories and in-app events, we are seeing a growing comfort in transacting in apps, in spite of rising mobile advertising costs,” Mr. Mink said. “Because consumers spend so much time on their phones and more comfortable buying on their phones, paid mobile advertising campaigns can be a very profitable way to grow an active mobile customer base.”


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Danny Parisi is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York. Reach him at

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