app discovery apps report

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A report covering mobile app discovery apps and how developers can use them for mobile app marketing and promotions


  • 1. Table of Contents1Introduction42What are app discovery apps?53Should you make your app free for a day?74App discovery: Platform interviews 105App discovery app directory216Your Next Steps25 2013 | App Discovery Apps Report.doc 2

2. 2013 | App Discovery Apps Report.doc 3 3. 1 IntroductionAs smartphone and tablet penetration continues to grow at pace, there seems no end to the tidalwave of native apps being released onto Android, iOS and other platforms app stores. Indeed,this deluge is worn as a badge of pride by Google and Apple, and is a key component in deemingwhether you have a successful mobile ecosystem (just ask BlackBerry and Microsoft). But while appdevelopers undoubtedly benefit from the burgeoning market, theyre simultaneously suffering at themercy of platform owners, as native app stores effectively monopolise distribution and in the eyesof many devs do a poor job of making apps discoverable.From mobile ad networks, incentivised networks, ASO, non-native app stores and App Reviews, asilver bullet for app discovery has yet to be found. However, a number of companies have beentackling the discovery matter head-on, by creating apps that aim to supplement the app storesthemselves. The rise of App Discovery Apps and Services is a key theme in the mobile advertisingand app promotion industry right now and it seems like this is becoming a major new distributionchannel. Whilst App Gratis in particular has generated a lot of publicity with its huge success and a$14m funding round App Discovery Apps are becoming a category in their own right with a range ofother major players in this space.In this guide were going to take a detailed look at app discovery apps, explaining what they are and,as usual, talking to developers and the platforms themselves. Weve also got a pretty compehensivelist of all the app discovery platforms we could find at the bottom of the article.For more ways to promote your app check out our Mobile App Marketing Directory 2013 | App Discovery Apps Report.doc4 4. 2 What are app discovery apps?For the purpose of this guide, were taking a relatively broad view of discovery platforms, butessentially were sticking to mobile apps that help you find other apps. So this approach willencompass incentivised app download platforms (where users are rewarded for downloading apps),pure discovery/deal finder platforms (which aim to offer enhanced search and recommendationfeatures), daily deal apps (which focus on offering negotiated discounted apps per day), specialisedapp disovery platforms and social discovery platforms.So what are app discovery apps? A few different approaches have emerged:Daily deals appsDaily deals apps (or free app a day apps) are arguably the most popular form of discovery platform.These platforms usually negotiate discounts with developers and offer users a single deal per day.Their success is easy to understand. Users get a cheap or free app and developers get a massiveboost in downloads, pushing them up the charts. Its an incredibly simple but effective format. Thebiggest success story in this area has been AppGratis, which is riding high following a $13 millioninvestment. Some of these platforms charge devs a one-off cost to get featured, while others chargeon a CPI basis.Deal findersThe other popular discovery format, and certainly the most ubiquitous (just take a look at ourdirectory below), is app deal finders. While platforms like AppGratis offer a focused delivery ofdiscounted apps to users, deal finders help users search across app stores for discounted apps.This sub-category, typified by the likes ofAppsFire, usually bolts on a variety of enhanced discoverytools to its core offering, such as personalised recommendations, editorial content, social-sharingfeatures and enhanced search tools. But their main focus, and benefit over native app stores, is theability to notify users whenever an app relevant to their tastes is discounted.Specialised app discovery platformsA specialised platform offers enhanced search and discovery functions within a single app vertical.Examples include Game Finder, which is dedicated to mobile games, and MagicSolvers range ofdiscovery platforms that have seasonal themes. A specialised platform can really adopt a variety offormats to suit users. For instance, Game Finder focuses on discount discovery,whereas MagicSolver takes a daily deal approach. The fragmentation of app discovery does appearto be gaining traction, as it gets harder for generic platforms to compete with the market leaders.This will probably lead to smaller generic deal finding apps fading away and being replaced withspecialised ones. Specialisation also allows a greater scope for editorial input and a curatedapproach as brands can develop a following from more savvy users.Incentivised platforms 2013 | App Discovery Apps Report.doc5 5. A few incentivised app download networks have now evolved into apps themselves. These combinetypical discovery features, like daily deals and enhanced search, with incentive based downloads.The two biggest are Fiksus FreeMyApps and Tapjoys own web app. Whereas Tapjoy offers avariety of rewards such as in-game currency and credits for movie apps, Fiksu has taken a morestreamlined route, offering users iTunes and Amazon gift cards for downloading apps. Of course, allthe same controversies over incentivised downloads have followed these platforms into thediscovery space, but with FreeMyApps boasting over 9 million users, its well worth a look fordevelopers.Blurred bounderiesOf course, the above categories are by no means fixed. There are plenty platforms that mix dailydeals with a general deal searching functions and a minority of others that focus purely on socialrecommendations. There are also more unique platforms, such as Hubbl and AppFlow, whoseappeal mainly lies in novel user interfaces. App discovery is a continually evolving space, so expectmore innovations to come. 2013 | App Discovery Apps Report.doc6 6. 3 Should you make your app free for a day?Key statsWorldCrack reached 701,556 downloads after being promoted as a daily deal on AppGratis, whilemobile game Edge Extended received in excess of 1,500,000 installsAppGratis claims to be able to drive between 500,000 and 700,000 installs per day on averageAppsFire tells us it can generate more than 300,000 installs for a developer in a single dayFreeMyApps says it has an active userbase of 1.5 millionAppsFire has been download more than 9 million timesFrom what developers tell us, AppGratis CPI averages between $1 and $5Hitfox tells us CPIs for its Game Finder platform also average between $1 and $5Developers can start promoting apps on AppsFire with a budget of $2500 per dayFreeMyApps requires $50,000 minimum for a campaign, according to developers wevespoken to, although Fiksu say it can be as low as $5k or $10kAs you can see from the above stats app discovery platforms are big business right now and arereally helping developers effectively promote their apps. Its no wonder that a company likeAppGratis recently managed to secure a $14 million investment. But while these platforms havegenerated some serious results, some devs especially those on a budget say theyre strugglingto see the benefits, as promotion costs are too high and affordable platforms simply dont have therequired scale.All about the burstAtlee Cheema, an account manager at mobile marketing agency Fetch, tells us hes experienced agreat deal of success running campaigns with app discovery platforms (AppGratis specifically), buthe says the market is dominated by too few players.My frustrations is first and foremost the lack of app discovery apps, says Cheema. At least theones with actual reach. Generally it comes down to just a lack of scale. Because it is such aninfrequent event when you make one of these buys you want it to count. You want to see somekind of push in the ranking and a lot of these apps just dont to have the scale to achieve this.As Cheema points out, platforms like AppGratis and AppRewards are all about burst promotions,allowing developers to get enough push to potentially create a snowball effect, taking them into theirverticals chart-rankings. Achieving this can turn around an apps fortunes in an instant (so much sothat the emphasis on chart rankings has been criticised by many in the discovery industry).Cheema says AppGratis has successfully pushed clients apps through the rankings more thanonce, but its a risk for smaller devs to take, as the burst has to work first time around. You cantkeep discounting your app with various platforms and you ideally want the promotion early on in theapps lifecycle. For all this to work you need scale and that comes at a cost. 2013 | App Discovery Apps Report.doc 7 7. Paying your wayWe talked to Simon Billing from MeYuMe, a small iOS developer with around six games under itsbelt, including NeoDefender 3 and Cannibal Cookout. After a recommendation from a fellow dev,Billing tried out the discovery platform AppRewardsClub, which follows a similar format to AppGratis negotiating discounts with developers and delivering daily deals to its users.According to Billing, his total investment to promote Cannibal Cookout was pretty low at just $200 forthe promotion, with no additional payments or revenue share after the campaign. He also had toraise the apps price from $0 to $4.99 in order to discount it (which is another oversight of suchdiscount platforms, especially given the abundance of free apps). Billing says the results werenegligible. Week-on-week the games daily installs increased from 248 to 329. Furthermore the daybefore the deal launched, downloads had already climbed to 329.Personally I think App Rewards made no difference at all, Billing says. The extra downloads weredue to the price drop something I could h