Why alternative app stores are essential for your mobile marketing growth strategy

In today’s dynamic mobile ecosystem, there’s a silent shift taking place. Away from the limelight of conventional advertising platforms, mobile Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Xiaomi (an emerging presence in Turkiye), Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, and Transsion, amongst others, and their alternative app stores are carving out a niche, providing marketers and app developers exciting new business channels. As such, the question facing curious marketers reads: Is mobile OEM advertising just a fleeting trend or a valuable addition to your mobile marketing mix? 

Inside Mobile OEMs

Before exploring the advantages, it’s vital to truly grasp what mobile OEMs are. So, let’s spell it out. Simply put, they’re companies that make mobile smartphones. Beyond hardware, many OEMs have also entered the software market, introducing their own app stores and advertising platforms. These are distinct from mainstream counterparts like Google Play. Moreover, these alternative app stores have shaken things up, too. The magnitude of this shift can be seen in the numbers. By the end of 2022, alternative app stores had broken $39 billion in revenue. Let us explore why mobile OEMs could be a worthwhile option to consider. 

How Mobile OEMs Reshape App Store Dynamics

The increasing fragmentation of the app store ecosystem might seem like a challenge, but in reality, it’s full of opportunities. Let’s explain why:

  1. Market Expansion Potential: For brands aiming to penetrate diverse markets throughout the world, mobile OEMs offer an unprecedented edge. In Asia and other emerging markets, local mobile OEM app stores often overshadow their global counterparts, providing an essential gateway for regional expansion. This trend is also picking up pace in EMEA and LATAM, with several mobile OEMs now operating local alternative app stores in the region and plans for greater expansion forging ahead. This could be advertising within the launcher, app drawer, native apps, and more.
  1. Cost-Effective OEM Advertising: Compared to other forms of mobile advertising, mobile OEM advertising offers a premium yet cost-effective alternative. Reduced competition translates to lower user acquisition costs, maximizing return on investment. Another advantage is that mobile OEMs default to a performance-based cost-per-install model, moving away from the traditional cost-per-click model.
  1. Ensuring Brand Safety and Fraud-Free Traffic: With no additional layers between users and advertisers, mobile OEMs reduce the risk of fraud. As a result, advertisers are finding mobile OEMs to be a trustworthy channel—and an efficient way to spend their budget.
  1. Advanced Targeting Capabilities: In a commercial era defined by big data, precision targeting is paramount. With their extensive insight into user habits, mobile OEMs allow marketers to craft hyper-personalized campaigns for alternative app stores or Google Play Store. Such precision both amplifies engagement and enhances conversion rates. Moreover, advertisers also have the flexibility to select the download destination for display campaigns. As privacy regulations evolve, the advent of the Open Anonymous Device Identifier (OAID) ensures marketers can maintain their targeted approaches while upholding user privacy.
  1. Immediate User Access via Alternative App Store Dynamic Preloads: Imagine a scenario where users turn on their brand-new phone, and their first recommended download is your app. The visibility and immediate user base offered by mobile OEMs’ Dynamic Preloads are unparalleled. It’s akin to having a shop in the heart of town. Another bonus is that Dynamic preloads via Google Play Auto Install (PAI) are sourced directly from the Google Play Store, eliminating the need for your app’s presence on other platforms.
  2. Integration with Mobile Measurement Partners (MMPs): The backbone of any successful campaign is its analytical prowess, and integration with leading attribution platforms ensures marketers aren’t flying blind. Every decision is data-backed, meaning campaigns evolve in real time, optimizing for maximum efficacy.
  1. Monetization Options and Flexibility: Diversification often entails anxieties derived from complex arrangements. Accustomed to the monetization strategies of conventional platforms, app developers might view mobile OEMs with skepticism. The freedom of choice that mobile OEMs provide, in fact, gives app developers the opportunity to choose their own payment solutions and determine how they would like to monetize. To this extent, getting started with alternative app stores is easy. All you need to do is upload your app onto the store; no tweaking or special versions of your app are required. OEMs now offer a built-in auto-update functionality, which maintains your app version in line with what has been uploaded to Google Play. With the right tools and guidance, setting up shop across various app stores while leveraging tried-and-tested monetization methods is a cinch. 

Mobile OEMs: Challenges and Considerations for Marketers

As with anything, mobile OEMs do present several challenges one should be aware of before embarking on this journey.

Fragmentation and Decision Overload Among Mobile OEMs: There are many mobile OEMs around, and with that comes fragmentation. Each OEM has its own offerings and strengths, as well as its own alternative app stores. For a mobile marketer dipping their toes into mobile OEMs for the first time, it can seem daunting and a little confusing as to which mobile OEM to choose or how many of them to go with. This could lead to siloed data sets and campaigns without a proper holistic overview of the campaign’s performance and metrics. Not all OEMs offer the same advertising options either, potentially leading to more fragmentation.

Mobile OEM Market Dynamics and Geographical Insights: Not all markets are equal, and some mobile OEMs are stronger in some areas than others. In Spain, for example, Xiaomi is the top mobile OEM in the country, with over 27% market share. In Indonesia, that top spot belongs to OPPO, at over 17% market share. Xiaomi launched their GetApps alternative app store in Latin America in the latter half of 2023, opening up new markets and avenues for growth and app distribution. To the mobile marketer unfamiliar with these dynamics, a lot of research and industry knowledge is required to understand what works and where.

Xiaomi’s Growth in Turkiye: Xiaomi has also been experiencing significant growth in the Turkish mobile market, currently holding a market share of approximately 12.69% (as of March 2024). This positions them as a strong competitor behind the leading established device manufacturers.

Embracing the Mainstream Shift to Mobile OEMs and Alternative App Stores

What’s clear is that Mobile OEMs aren’t just a niche. Although their presence in the mobile marketing landscape is evolving, the advantages of alternative app stores are clear and are now part of the mainstream. A recent data.ai report shows that alternative app stores now account for almost half of all android app store expenditure.

In a saturated commercial environment, mobile OEMs also offer brands the chance to stand out and connect with new users through personalized, targeted messaging. This is not about numbers and strategy; it’s about resonating with the end-user. Mobile OEMs are now part and parcel of the mainstream and a prime example of why marketers need to keep an eye on the evolution of the industry so they can continue to adapt, innovate, and thrive. In an industry that is constantly innovating, marketers need to be familiar with all the channels on offer and how best to utilize them. Mobile OEMs and their alternative app stores offer marketers such a channel.

To effectively integrate mobile OEM advertising into your mobile marketing growth strategy, consider partnering with mobile OEM specialists AVOW. Leveraging AVOW’s strong relationships with all the major mobile OEMs, you can secure a substantial competitive advantage.

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