How Mobile Manufacturers and Carriers Facilitate App Economy Disruption

App publishers looking to scale-up use a combination of channels to boost their brand awareness and user acquisition (UA). Mobile manufacturers and carriers provide an all too overlooked channel that has the potential for supersonic growth. Technological advancements have transformed these once-problematic channels into dynamic opportunities that reach users in high-intent moments with little-to-no risk of fraud. 

The Roles of Mobile Manufacturers and Carriers in the App Economy

Mobile manufacturers and carriers take two actions with major impacts on the app economy: 

  1. Deciding which apps are installed on their devices
  2. Establishing and running their own app stores

Through those actions, the global app economy is being disrupted in a manner that provides app marketers with new, highly lucrative opportunities.

Pre-installed apps are (now) a huge opportunity

Prior to the development and proliferation of app stores, the earliest phones had all of their apps pre-installed. Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) made all of the decisions as to which apps would be included on a phone. 

This pre-load system was problematic for two reasons. Firstly, it heavily restricted users’ freedom-of-choice thereby harming user-experience and the long-term revenue opportunities of both OEMs and publishers. Secondly, these pre-installed apps counted as an install even when the user never once opened the app – making their true popularity hard to measure.

The channel has since sufficiently evolved to support the sophisticated targeting and performance-based optimization of other user-acquisition channels. Today, pre-loads are in-vogue once more as the industry wakes up to their UA potential. 

Thanks to this new technology, the issues with pre-loads are now thoroughly solved. Manufacturers are able to use data-driven approaches to place specific apps on the devices of those who would deem them valuable. Furthermore, post-install tracking eliminates the fear of purchasing inactive users who don’t interact with apps; only the users who actually interact with pre-installed apps count as conversions.

Running self-owned app stores is a win-win opportunity

It is becoming difficult for apps to stand-out in the increasingly crowded leading app stores. App publishers, fed up with fighting to get noticed, are also fighting back against practices they believe are unfair. In response to these changes, most OEMs are adapting to the saturated app economy by directly distributing apps to their customers via their own app stores. Huawei, Xiaomi, and Oppo have joined forces to create an app store alliance that rivals that of the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

As well as a multitude of benefits for the OEMs themselves, promoting apps on these “alternative app stores” has distinct advantages for app marketers. Compared to Google and Apple’s stores, which each contain over two million apps, these alternatives provide excellent opportunities for discovery via higher rankings, keyword dominance, and ‘featured’ promotions. 

While marketing an app across multiple stores requires the navigation of different requirements, regulations, and research, doing so provides cost-effective routes to new audiences in different geographies.

Achieving Scale Requires a Multi-Pronged Approach 

Whether the goal is branding, retargeting, or straight user-acquisition, mobile marketing campaigns should take a holistic approach including both paid and unpaid techniques. Organic approaches such as App Store Optimization (ASO) should be combined with PPC campaigns using social and search ads. 

To attain significant results, mobile marketers need to step outside of “the walled gardens”. When it comes to user-acquisition, the benefits of combining both non-programmatic and programmatic UA techniques are considerable. To achieve true scale, adopt a carefully planned combination of all the techniques mentioned above, then embark on a process of constant optimization.

The Benefits of Acquiring Users Directly with Manufacturers and Carriers 

Successfully securing deals and partnerships with manufacturers and carriers requires a lot of work without professional assistance. However, the benefits they provide can be monumental:

  • By reaching new demographics and accessing new geographies, partnerships can help apps achieve global scale 
  • Much higher user-acquisition with significantly lower cost-per-install (CPI)
  • A CPI model that brings only high-quality users who interact with your app
  • Directly reaching customers at a time of maximum impact (the vast majority of users install apps within the first 48 hours after purchasing a device)
  • Customers who are brand-loyal to the OEM will view the ads as more trustworthy
  • 100% fraud-free user-acquisition because customers are connected to OEMs via device ID (or via contract for carriers)

It is safe to say that the targeting, transparency, and scale that these opportunities offer is unparalleled. Moreover, they break through the noise of traditional techniques and it is this relative ‘freshness’ that marks them as the opportunity of the moment.

Contact us below to acquire users via leading mobile phone manufacturers and carriers.

Tamar Avraham (LinkedIn) is based in Applift’s HQ in Berlin and leads the global business development team for publishers.