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STORE INTELLIGENCE · RANDY NELSON · NOVEMBER 2018

Facebook's Mobile Users Spend 3x More In Apps Downloaded Via Ads Than Instagram's

Sensor Tower data shows that Facebook's mobile app drives the most app downloads among non-games, and its users spending the most in apps they download.

App Referrers Analysis Hero Image

Sensor Tower's latest mobile ecosystem report delves into the murky realm of referral installs on Apple's App Store to provide clarity on which apps drive the most downloads of others—and how users spent in those apps once they're installed. Based on our study of a sample of iOS apps worldwide between November 2017 and October 2018, we have found that Facebook's mobile app drives the highest percentage of installs of other apps on the platform. What's more, users referred from Facebook also spend far more in the apps they download than those referred any other non-game app in our study.

Spending by Users Referred from Social Apps

The chart below reveals by how much Facebook's mobile users outspend those of other social apps on iOS in the apps they install via advertising. At an average of $1.17 spent during our year-long study period, this is approximately three times what user of Instagram spent in apps they installed via ads on that platform. It's also about 4x the amount spent by Twitter users and nearly 10x what users of Snapchat spent in apps they were referred to download. Note that this spending is inclusive of in-app purchases and subscriptions, and does not include commerce such as Amazon purchases.

Chart showing average user spend in top iOS social app referrers between November 2017 and October 2018

Top Referring Apps

Below are the top 10 non-game apps in terms of referral installs for our study period. These 10 apps make up more than half of all referred installs for our sample apps. As you can see, Facebook and Instagram combined account for more than 40 percent of referral installs.

Chart showing the top 10 referring iOS apps by percentage of referral installs between November 2017 and October 2018

These findings are part of a larger report exclusively for Sensor Tower enterprise users that dives deeper into app referral trends, Games category referrals, and referred user monetization across specific subcategories of games. To find out more about this report, please contact our Customer Strategy team or simply follow the link below.


Sensor Tower's platform is an enterprise-level offering. Interested in learning more?


Randy Nelson

Written by: Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights

Date: November 2018

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