User Acquisition budget in 2021 has reached somewhere in the range of $78-$83 billion, which is a 40% YoY increase. Although the jump in Anroid and iOS varies slightly. There has been a 50% rise in Anroid whereas 26% in iOS, and the reason behind the growth in each OS was entirely different.

iOS has seen a 5% dip in Non Organic Installs (NOIs) but at the same time there has been a significant rise in effective cost per install, which drove budgets upward. Ad prices increased by 20% to as much as 50% across nearly all categories since the enforcement of iOS 14.5!

What this means is that marketers were able to acquire and get credit for far fewer users for the same budget they’ve invested in 2020, or – had to increase their spend for the same amount of users.

Now that big question that comes up is why did media become so expensive on iOS?

The answer to this question has many parts. The first reason is the gap between supply and demand. There has been a much lower supply of consented users and so the prices hiked up as the demand for users with full data granularity has skyrocketed for obvious reasons.

But another major reason is the inability of major media sources to adapt to the transition and target the right people and estimate the right impact. Moreover, networks can’t optimize toward in-app signals yet, although this capability is being developed with solutions such as Google’s GBRAID and Facebook’s AEM; until they do, their targeting and optimization abilities are negatively affected.

The scenario for android was totally different. The demand for Android with its full data granularity surged with NOIs rising over 40% YoY, especially in Gaming where Non Organic Installs leaped 50% compared to non-gaming at a still impressive 36%. Interestingly, global Android CPI in Gaming was down 11% this year, while non-gaming CPI increased by almost 20%.

There have also been many changes in spending trends. As seen in Appsflyer’s latest Performance Index that includes the first SKAN ranking, budgets have not only shifted to Android, they’ve also shifted among media companies.

Observing the stats of 2021, we all are very curious to know where the year 2022 is headed in respect to User acquisition budgets. This year it is expected that User acquisition budgets will continue to rise with more NOIs on both platforms. But since the transition in iOS has been there for some time now, the ecosystem is slowly adapting to it and so the cost of media in iOS won’t increase this year as much as it did in 2021.