Globally there has been a surge in the number of smartphone users, in Asia-Pacific alone for example the users have increased significantly from about 800 million in 2014 to more than 1,400 million in 2019. The number of smartphone users in India that was estimated to reach over 748 million in 2020 (Statista.com), has already crossed the 500million mark reaching a penetration rate of 54%, with an estimate to reach 96% by 2040.
As the number of users increase, the amount of software for smartphones are also skyrocketing. Digital Apps are becoming an integral part of our lives. These Apps have transformed our lives because of the ease, convenience, comfort, and pace it extends to our day to day lives. By merely downloading an app, one gets the ability to use the smartphone in ways that were unprecedented. This rapid adoption and seamless integration of Apps into our lives have made imagining life without them impossible. From social to work to gaming to health to shopping; the options are myriad. It is therefore clear that apps will remain hugely popular for years to come and hard to pinpoint what kind of technology, if at all, will overthrow them from their current position.
This has surely led to the emergence of the App market or App economy. Coined in the 2010s, the App Economy refers to the smartphone and tablet revolution whereby a mobile application is available for just about everything.
With more than billion downloads, India took the spot of fastest growing app market in the world in 2020 (Statista.com & Adjust). The digitization and adoption of online technology was further fueled by Covid 19 and multiple lockdowns across the country. Despite being a tumultuous year, numerous digital apps start-ups emerged, and more unicorns were born in the country, proving yet again that mobile is incredibly a shock resistant industry. Around 12 unicorns came up in India in 2020 and there were 60 start-ups by August 2021. These unicorns ’come from various categories like fintech, e-commerce, ed-tech platforms, and many more. It is expected that these numbers will grow even more soon.
This meteoric rise in the number of apps has led to increased effort by each one of them to drive installs and grow MAUs (monthly active users). Apps are trying to leverage this huge opportunity due to the fast-increasing mobile penetration in India. However, not all app verticals are growing at the same rate, so it is extremely important to have the right strategy to grow the user base. Google and Facebook are not the only solution panacea to all marketers’ needs. Many brands are realizing that planning user acquisition strategies that are effective with lesser issues and yet cost effective could be a difficult task at times.
Google and Facebook could offer lower CPI (cost per install) price at the initial stage, especially when the user base is under 500K or 1 million depending on the category. However, the price increases dramatically once that threshold is reached. Also, a lot of fraud creeps in this quest for driving installs and growing the MAU at a higher rate. This is where Smartphone OEMs beautifully integrate in the expansion strategy. Since OEM publishers cover the entire smartphone users, they are the right partners to acquire a huge number of new users in the short term at a fixed price without traffic overlap issues. All OEMs have their own app stores. This ensures the desired targeting and results in both the desired quantity and quality of users. Most importantly, the install campaign can be only delivered to the users who have not installed a particular app yet, which further optimizes the budget spent, increasing ROI.
However, dealing with multiple OEM app stores such as Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO, Samsung, Huawei, Transsion, etc. could be a tough ask for a marketer as different OEMs have different policy and test processes. This is where a specialist in terms of an OEM Consolidator comes into the picture. The consolidator can provide a one-stop service across all OEM publishers, including app uploading, air pre-install, user acquisition, optimization, and brand awareness on smartphone app stores. It helps advertisers and App developers to shorten the App uploading process on OEM Appstore, reduce the risk of rejection, control user acquisition cost and get more exposure in OEM Appstore.
The rapid digitization has ensured that more and more brands are transitioning to mobile-first strategy to reach out to consumers. This swift change means that while there would be challenges, they would also be great growth opportunities. Various reports forecast that by 2022, India will have 37.2 billion downloads a year, a growth rate of 207%, which makes it the fastest growing App market in the world. The challenge for the marketer today is not only to target and re-target the right consumer but also to do so at the right time, right place, and in the right context. This is where performance-based marketing is needed, so it can level up the conversion of new buyers in new markets with lower cost, lower risk as well as higher ROI.
Therefore, being more data-driven with the ability to customize the needs of different target consumers in various channels and increase conversion and customer acquisition is the key.
It is a common belief that consumers will never go back to the pre-covid era or habits. Hence, this is the most opportune time for marketers to adapt to changes and consider new targeted strategies to catch consumer attention and shape their behavior. The aggressive pace of growth of India’s digital ecosystem is also evident from the trends across OTTs and VoDs, all this indicates one thing unanimously and that is, that media spending will never be the same.
The present and the future is certainly DIGITAL, so mobile advertisers must not store away the option of unlocking the potential of Appstore.