What do you get when you remove bots and UDID as your standard to identify devices but replace it with nothing else?
An App Store that is getting more costly to acquire new customers and less lucrative to make money on ads. That, at least, is what the leading marketing and ad mediation companies are suggesting.
According to Fiksu, the cost to acquire a loyal user rose to $1.31 in February from $1.14 in January 2012. This is due in part to the hangover from a wild and crazily expensive Holiday season but also to Apple issuing a warning to developers not to use bots anymore to artificially inflate their numbers. In February, the top 200 free iPhone apps saw a 6% decrease in downloads, which Fiksu attributes to no more bots to pay cheap dollars to artificially fake download numbers.
On the UDID side, MoPub posted a study that shows that developers that do not use UDID identifiers (which Apple now frowns upon) earn 25% less than developers who still use UDID.
As MoPub points out, though there are cases of apps being rejected by Apple for using UDID, the vast majority are still being accepted. But there is confusion in the marketplace. Many companies are backing OpenUDID as an alternative, but it is one of many different alternatives floating around.
The good news is that people are buying iOS devices in droves so long term, it’s still all good. Until Apple makes the call on what they will pick as their standard identifier to base ad tracking and marketing that meets their and the government’s privacy concerns, it’s all up in the air.