Nord, the King of VPNs, Soars in 2023
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VPNs have risen in popularity in the last few years as wars, government censorship, and lots of ads are helping many change their IP.
There are more than 9,000 VPN apps on the App Store and Google Play which we estimate to have earned more than $20M last month according to Explorer. And that's all net revenue, meaning what the developers get to keep after Apple and Google deduct their fees.
The leader of the group is NordVPN, and if you browse the internet you've probably seen or heard an ad for it at some point.
Nord also wrapped up its best quarter of revenue!
Stretching our App Intelligence back to 2018, in Q1, Nord mobile app, which was 4 years old at that point, already earned $950K of net revenue.
By Q1 of 2019, revenue rose to $3.2M, and by 2021, revenue was already at $5.3M.
ExpressVPN, Nord's top competitor, is on a similar path. It launched around the same time as Nord but revenue growth started a bit later. In Q1 of 2021, ExpressVPN earned $3.4M of net revenue, according to our estimates.
Let's talk 2023.
Nord and ExpressVPN have both hit new all-time highs in 2023. ExpressVPN's revenue rose to $9.5M in Q1 and dropped a bit in Q2. Nord's revenue rose to $13.3M in Q1 and to $14M in Q2.
And yes, Nord is spending on Apple Search Ads. In case you were curious.
Nord is running ASA in more than 20 countries and the one where the app shows up most isn't the US but rather the UK. The US isn't second, Australia is, nor third, that's Japan. The US is fifth, right below Japan.
The US is more competitive which means every impression is more expensive, so this data doesn't mean Nord is spending less in the US.
Spending less and getting more visibility is a good optimization for any campaign.
If you have a global user base and only spend on ads in the US, take a minute to find the top 3 countries where you're getting the most revenue per download and expand your ASA campaign to those but with a lower budget.
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.