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An Interview With AVOW CRO Ashwin Shekhar

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Today, we spoke to Ashwin Shekhar, Co-Founder & CRO of AVOW to understand the company’s innovative approach to app-based advertising and how AVOW is leveraging data insights to optimize user acquisition campaigns and conversion rates for OEM marketers.

Read the complete interview

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TechGraph: AVOW has been making waves in the app-based marketing sector with its innovative services. Could you please provide an overview of how your platform stands out from competitors and what unique value it brings to app marketers?

Ashwin Shekhar: AVOW offers a comprehensive solution for mobile OEM aggregation that enables app discovery across alternative app stores while ensuring a higher return on advertising spend (ROAS). This gives app developers and mobile marketers the chance to connect and engage with a previously untapped user base that cannot be reached through SDK networks, social media, or search.

Due to our broader and better access to the latent user base paired with our unmatched customer-centric approach, we have experienced faster and more consistent growth.

Our competitive advantage is a combination of mobile OEM experts, a solid relationship with mobile OEMs that has grown over the years and garnered their applause by winning various awards and recognitions, and the drive to address advertiser growth needs.

In India, AVOW has established a strong market presence by partnering with leading industry players like Amazon Prime, Unacademy, Upgrad, Byju’s, MoneyTap, Avail, and WazirX offering incremental user growth and engagement for their mobile apps.

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Our goal at AVOW is to raise awareness around the enormous potential that lies for app developers in working with mobile OEMs. We will continue to work towards educating mobile marketers and app developers about the many benefits of including mobile OEMs in their mobile marketing mix. India is our largest inventory market, our focus is on on-device display ads delivery, retargeting, and Dynamic Preload services as major strategic areas.

Our “Dynamic Preloads” offering gives our clients the exclusive opportunity to be featured on a massive number of smartphones right from the get-go when new users activate their mobile devices for the first time.

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Ashwin Shekhar: The mobile app economy has been growing rapidly over the past few years, and it does not look like it is slowing down. This growth is mainly driven by the increasing adoption of smartphones and tablets, as well as the rise of app-based services and digital transformation. Covid-19 and its associated lockdowns and stay-home measures have accelerated this trend.

In 2022, a total of 255 billion mobile apps were downloaded alone. Mobile app revenue is expected to exceed $935 billion in 2023, with the Google Play Store and Apple App Store currently boasting 2.87 and 1,96 million apps respectively. Research has shown that close to 50% of people open a single app over 11 times each day, with the average smartphone owner using 10 apps per day and 30 apps each month.

It has become increasingly evident just how competitive and crowded the mobile app landscape is, and how ubiquitous mobile apps are in our daily lives. This shows marketers have to make an effort for their apps to stick out from the crowd. You have to get creative and come up with an innovative marketing mix to stay ahead of the curve and attract new customers. However, this is proving more difficult through traditional marketing means, which is why app developers are looking for alternative sources to tap into.

Marketers need to diversify their marketing approach, and through AVOW, marketers can do just that by making mobile OEMs a default part of their marketing mix. With strong partnerships with mobile OEMs, AVOW empowers marketers to gain a competitive edge and scale their apps. Our partnerships allow us to offer a premium, brand-safe, and fraud-free alternative to the current saturated app market, providing our clients access to a vast untapped audience.

TechGraph: User acquisition is a critical aspect of app growth. Could you shed light on AVOW’s approach to identifying and targeting the right audience for your clients’ apps? How do you leverage data and insights to optimize user acquisition campaigns and maximize conversion rates?

Ashwin Shekhar: Mobile OEMs empower mobile advertisers to connect with potential customers at several touchpoints throughout the device’s life. It allows them an opportunity to connect with users right at the onboarding stage via preloads, or app suggestions.

We recommend using a granular range of optimization options towards specific targets, learning, and taking advantage of such features provided by mobile OEMs. It is crucial for any UA campaign’s success.

To get better results and higher engagements, three layers of optimization for user acquisition (UA) and advertising (Ad) campaigns are suggested:

Advertisement placement optimization: Ad placements driving quality users are observed, and increase the bid for those placements to leverage more traffic. On the other hand, certain advertising placements drive volumes but not quality and those must be optimized by calculating the Return On Ad Spend (ROAS), decreasing the bid to get positive ROAS results and retain volumes.

Creative optimization: Avoid “advertising fatigue” at all costs and ensure that users see different ads and constantly come up with new concepts for greater user engagement. The higher the engagement of the ad, the better the conversion rate and Effective Cost Per Install (ECPI) for the advertiser.

Targeting optimization: Some app stores provide topographic targeting which aids app advertisers promote their apps to new users based on their unique app interests. It empowers advertisers to target over 200 topographic segments based on app interests and leverages audience insights beyond category and ownership and all of this is user privacy compliant.

Our proprietary technology known as AVOW Intelligence leverages all of this data and insights, and together with our dedicated and skilled media buying team, we provide our clients with the highest quality and performing campaigns, providing them with the growth and UA they seek.

Additionally, strategically putting advertising at various touchpoints helps discover previously untapped customer segments throughout their journey. While taking a performance-based approach, the down-funnel events are optimized for the highest user engagement with the app.

TechGraph: In the fast-paced world of app development, updates, and iterations are crucial for maintaining user engagement. How does Avow help its clients implement effective app update strategies and drive user retention? Can you share any notable success stories in this regard?

Ashwin Shekhar: Having an app that is updated with the latest features and security is crucial in many respects. The beauty of working with mobile OEMs and alternative app stores is that they all work on a similar underlying core, Android. This allows most developers to simply keep one version of the app updated which can then be disseminated across multiple app stores.

That is why we believe that our Dynamic Preloads offering to mobile OEMs is a key part of mobile OEM marketing. Dynamic preloads ensure that users receive the latest and most updated app version when installing an app during the set-up process, as the latest app version is automatically downloaded from the app store.

TechGraph: The app-growth marketing landscape is constantly evolving with new platforms, technologies, and user behavior. How does AVOW stay ahead of these changes and ensure its strategies remain relevant and effective?

Ashwin Shekhar: At AVOW, we aim to educate the market by showing them the benefits that mobile OEMs will bring for their business as well as the constant evolution of what is on offer. The introduction of Dynamic Preloads in the mobile OEM marketing toolkit is an example of this.

Understanding the capabilities and buying strategies of each OEM inevitably takes time. Currently, we have teams across the region and offices in Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and India.

Fortunately, our team has vast experience in performance optimization. We are more than happy to assist clients as they get to grips with OEM marketing – we truly believe that marketers in mobile need mobile OEM advertising in their marketing mix by default.

Through AVOW Intelligence, our proprietary technology, we can optimize the best inventory in real time toward the client’s KPI goals and engagement levels. As such, we can understand each placement’s behavior to determine their suitability for your objectives, ensuring our strategies remain relevant and effective.

TechGraph: As the app market expands globally, how does AVOW approach international app-growth campaigns? Are there any specific challenges or considerations you face when targeting diverse markets, and how do you overcome them?

Ashwin Shekhar: Think global, act local. That is how we approach our global market expansion efforts. At AVOW, we believe in people-powered technology, which translates to having a local presence to support our clients’ teams in their dedicated markets to grow.

As such, we use our expertise with global growth strategies, fine-tune and adapt it for local markets, and use our local presence to execute these campaigns with more cognizance towards the regional culture & fit.

We follow a 360-degree service approach to catering to our client’s needs. We support our clients through all stages of the process, from launching an app for the first time on one or multiple mobile OEMs to running user acquisition campaigns and optimizing them. We like to keep it simple for app developers, brands, and marketers to work with us and mobile OEMs by functioning as an extension of their in-house growth teams.

When it comes to tackling diverse markets, the biggest challenge is understanding seasonality and how local customs and holidays play a significant role in app growth campaigns. In India for example, the IPL is one of the biggest nationwide events that brings together hundreds of millions of people.

In Indonesia, Eid al-Fitr or Hari Raya is another significant holiday with its customs and traditions, coupled with most Indonesians receiving a holiday bonus during the month. Understanding the significance and intricacies of such events and holidays, and then leveraging them for our clients’ app growth needs is just one of the many ways in which we at AVOW excel.

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Krishna Mali
Krishna Mali
Founder & Group Editor of TechGraph.
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