June 22, 2023

How much does mobile user acquisition cost in 2024?

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How much does user acquisition cost in 2023?

How much mobile user acquisition costs by genre

How much mobile app user acquisition costs by channel

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It costs money to make money, which is especially true when you’re acquiring or converting mobile users. The challenge is keeping those costs low since any return on investment is less impressive when overpaying for each customer. That’s why marketing strategies must account for the type of app they’re promoting as well as the channels that provide the best value. With the latest key performance indicator benchmarks, marketers will be in the best position to keep profits high and user acquisition costs low.

How much does user acquisition cost in 2024?

Mobile app acquisition costs vary widely by type of app and channel, and even more so in the age of digital privacy. UA mainstays like Facebook and Google have become hit or miss as more users elect not to have their online activity tracked, limiting the information available to advertisers as a result. Fortunately, some helpful industry-wide data on the cost of mobile app advertising is still available thanks to the efforts of individual companies.

How much mobile user acquisition costs by genre


Casual games have long been a mainstay of mobile publisher catalogs, but the breadth of this genre (which can encompass puzzles, simulations, lifestyle games, and beyond) and shifting market conditions mean it’s far from placid. A Liftoff report1 sheds light on user acquisition costs from February 2022 to February 2023, where it found the overall CPI for casual games began to hover just around a dollar after fluctuations earlier in the year:

  • Overall casual gaming CPI: $0.98
  • Average casual gaming CPI on Android: $0.63
  • Average casual gaming CPI on iOS: $2.23

Though it’s helpful to look at them in aggregate, mobile marketers know “casual” is really an umbrella term for a broad variety of games with unique mechanics that appeal to different types of players. Here’s how Liftoff broke out the CPI by three main casual categories:

  • Average puzzle game CPI: $0.90
  • Average simulation game CPI: $0.59
  • Average lifestyle game CPI: $1.32

Though bringing players on board for your puzzle game may not be cheap, they’re the most likely fans of any genre to stick around for the long haul. Data from our 2023 Mobile Gaming Loyalty Report establishes puzzle games as the undisputed kings of D30 retention, thanks to their ability to deliver intuitive gameplay features, a seemingly unending stream of levels, and rewarding sessions regardless of length.

A graph from the 2023 Mobile Gaming Loyalty Report by Mistplay shows the average player retention, playtime, and sessions of mobile games, broken down by genre.

Looking for more in-depth data to help attract and retain players? Our inaugural Loyalty Index delivers a first-of-its-kind measurement method to help developers, publishers, and advertisers better understand how loyalty works in mobile gaming. Download the report today.

An illustration highlights exciting data from the 2023 Mobile Gaming Loyalty Report by Mistplay.


Since their players are more likely to fall into the “here for a good time, not a long time” camp, hypercasual games tend to have lower user acquisition costs for mobile apps than their casual counterparts. A report from Tenjin2 notes that the genre’s median CPI typically is $0.15 higher on iOS than on Android, but in the third quarter of 2022 that difference shrank to just $0.10:

  • Median hypercasual CPI on iOS: $0.25
  • Median hypercasual CPI on Android: $0.15

The report also broke down the median hypercasual CPI for top ad networks across both iOS and Android. Here are the lowest for each:

Lowest median CPI by ad network for hypercasual games on Android

  1. Mintegral: $0.08
  2. AdColony: $0.10
  3. ironSource: $0.10
  4. Google Ads: $0.12
  5. TikTok: $0.12

Lowest median CPI by ad network for hypercasual games on iOS

  1. Unity Ads: $0.15
  2. Mintegral: $0.19
  3. ironSource: $0.23
  4. AppLovin: $0.25
  5. TikTok: $0.29

Social casino

Social casino games have seen significant upheaval in recent years, with massive gains from the pandemic colliding against the growth of real-money online casinos. Figures from Liftoff’s latest social casino report3 show the genre at a point of inflection, with fluctuating mobile gaming user acquisition costs and a massive gap between the two ecosystems:

  • Average social casino CPI on iOS: $11.09
  • Average social casino CPI on Android: $5.00
  • Average social casino CPI overall: $7.21

Liftoff’s data also pointed to particularly pronounced regional differences in the cost to acquire social casino players; however, differences in ROAS performance mean focusing UA campaigns on more affordable regions at the expense of others may be shortsighted.

  • Average North American social casino CPI: $10.37
  • Average Latin American social casino CPI: $1.43
  • Average EMEA social casino CPI: $5.10
  • Average APAC social casino CPI: $5.68

How much mobile app user acquisition costs by channel


While Facebook is not the only social media platform in 2024, it is undoubtedly the largest, boasting just under 3 billion monthly active users according to Meta Platforms4 – and being the top social media platform for players to discuss mobile games, according to our 2023 Mobile Gaming Loyalty Report. That makes it the only marketing channel that could reach 37% of the human race. However, this access does contribute to a noteworthy mobile user acquisition cost, especially for brands looking to fully convert Facebook users into customers instead of just driving installs.

From the Meta Ads platform, marketers can organize campaigns with performance-based objectives: Revealbot’s ad dashboard5 shows that Facebook conversions cost between $10.23 to $19.32 over the past twelve months. If your goal is to convince users to install your app or mobile game, the effort is far more cost-effective. Revealbot rated these costs between $0.87 and $4.73 in the past year. This range is slightly lower than in 2020 when Adspresso data (retrieved by Business of Apps6) put Facebook’s CPI from $1 to $6.10.

Google Ads

Google is a fixture of the mobile marketing landscape, thanks in no small part to its powerful search engine and the Android operating system. According to StatCounter7, Android is used by 67.6% of mobile device users, and has remained the most popular mobile operating system in the world for more than a decade — ergo, Google’s own extensive advertising options are a great way to look for new users. Unfortunately, that means everyone is competing to reach Google’s audience, raising the overall user acquisition cost.

When examining Google Ads for mobile users, it’s important to distinguish between Display and Search ads, otherwise known as “push and pull” advertising. The Google Display Network deploys ad placements across the internet, anywhere from blogs to YouTube. Meanwhile, Search ads only appear when users are searching for related keywords. People actively searching a topic are more likely to engage with ads, significantly decreasing costs and increasing conversion rates (CVR). The below figures from WordStream8 provide a high-level overview of app user acquisition costs for Google Ads.

  • Average Google mobile app install ads CPC: $0.88
  • Average Google mobile app install ads CPA: $5.42


Where most marketing platforms calculate their average cost per user acquisition using CPA or CPI campaign models, TikTok campaigns operate on cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-mille (CPM) models. Thankfully, it’s possible to understand how it fits into the landscape by comparing these costs with overall engagement rates, as this report from Business of Apps9 shows.

  • TikTok CPC: TikTok campaigns have a starting CPC of $1, but an effective campaign can cost far less, with prices ranging from $0.05 to $0.35.
  • TikTok CPM: TikTok starts all campaigns with a minimum $500 spend, set to a rate of $10 per 1000 views. Data collected from Tuffgrow, JungleTop, and Digiday shows that completed campaigns averages can range from $1 to $6.06.
  • TikTok engagement rates: Average ad engagement can range from 3% to 9%, but it varies when examining specific ad formats. For example, in-feed video comes to 6%, take-over ads are 8.5%, while top-view campaigns can extend from 12% to 16%.

Apple Search Ads

Apple Search Ads adopted a cost-per-tap (CPT) campaign model in 2022, but the platform recently became more versatile. Today, marketers have the option to set CPA goals that fall within a maximum CPT bid, making it easier to estimate the cost per user acquisition. Much like Google, these results vary based on Search and Tab-based campaigns, as noted by SplitMetrics’ Apple Search Ads Benchmark Dashboard10.

  • CPA Search Results: $2.04 worldwide, May 2023
  • CPA Search Tab: $4.02 worldwide, May 2023
  • CPT Search Results:  $1.34 worldwide, May 2023
  • CPT Search Tab: $2.18 worldwide, May 2023

In-App Advertising

Finally, we turn to the in-app advertising environment, which is typically driven by ad networks, exchanges, and other intermediaries connecting app users to relevant campaigns. This environment is highly complex — primarily since it draws from iOS and Android platforms — but an analysis from Business of Apps11 suggests it remains a competitive and cost-effective channel for mobile user acquisition.

  • Global iOS CPI: $3.60
  • Global Google Play CPI: $1.22
  • CPI in North America: $5.28
  • CPI in Latin America: $0.34
  • CPI in APAC: $0.93
  • CPI in EMEA: $1.03

Of course, knowing the average user acquisition cost is just the first step; achieving or surpassing the benchmark is the next challenge. Mistplay’s high-value performance and low CPIs can help your app acquire more loyal users — reach out to our experts to discover the many advantages of advertising with Mistplay.

Need to brush up on your user acquisition fundamentals?  Check out our comprehensive article, “Mobile user acquisition: The modern developer’s guide


  1.  Liftoff, Inc., 2023 Casual Gaming Apps Report, Liftoff, April 2023
  2.  Tenjin, Inc., Hyper-Casual Benchmark Report for Q3 2022, Tenjin, September 2022
  3.  Liftoff, Inc., 2021 Social Casino Gaming Apps Report, Liftoff, October 2021
  4.  S. Dixon, Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2023, Statista, May 2023
  5.  Revealbot, Inc., Facebook Advertising Costs by CPM, Revealbot, May 2023
  6. Artem Dogtiev, Cost Per Install (CPI) Rates (2023), Business of Apps, March 2023
  7. StatCounter, Mobile Operating System Market Share Worldwide, StatCounter, May 2023
  8.  Elisa Gabbert, Google Mobile Benchmarks – by Ad Type!, November 2022
  9.  Artem Dogtiev, TikTok Ads Cost, Business of Apps, February 2023
  10.  SplitMetrics, Inc., SplitMetrics’ Apple Search Ads Benchmark Dashboard, SplitMetrics, May 2023
  11.  Artem Dogtiev, Cost Per Install (CPI) Rates (2023), Business of Apps, March 2023


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