CEO & Co-founder
1. Appnext is a global forerunner in app marketing innovation, especially when it comes to app recommendations. What are Appnext’s most anticipated app marketing trends for 2020?
As you just mentioned, we’re really focused on our app recommendation platform which powers over 2.5 Billion recommendations daily to 300 Million daily active users (DAU) worldwide. We’ve recently launched an enhanced version of that platform that utilizes exclusive app recommendations in-app and on-device which will hopefully help us achieve our goal of 3.5 Billion app recommendations daily by mid 2020.
Looking ahead at 2020 we predict many diverse service-oriented mobile apps to emerge and flourish in their popularity in the market. Everything from financial management apps to made-to-order specialist food delivery apps to health-centric services such as mindfulness aids, pharmaceutical delivery apps and fitness coaching assistants. We are so used to organizing everything with our mobile devices now; and that mentality grows the demand for a wide array of apps. It also means users will be more receptive to a wider range of app recommendations.
Another major trend will be the ever-rising number of hours spent playing mobile games. Gamers are already enjoying unparalleled performance and graphics on the latest mobile devices, which will lead to the purchasing of impressive in-game features to becoming the norm among players. This is definitely an area where app marketing can have great results.
As well as user trends in app marketing, we know that industry trends also affect the playing field. Competition is increasing, which will inevitably drive up costs. New and emerging channels of content and social media streams (especially video based, such as the soaringly popular TikTok) will open up marketing potential and app recommendation possibilities. OEMs are becoming a hub for app placements too.
2020 will herald a shift in engagement efforts from winning new users to re-engaging with high-intent users. We’re already seeing that trend developing now. It’s clear that there is more to gain from nurturing existing users and fostering loyalty in a saturated app marketplace, so the marketing energy and budgets of app companies are pivoting to focus on this.
A final and interesting trend worth mentioning is about content leading a life beyond its app. We’re starting to see this content appear in a variety of recommendation platforms and placements. Users will be more exposed to content that drives app engagement that is actually published outside the app itself.
2. In your opinion, how should marketers define app marketing KPIs to get the maximum ROI from installs?
From our experience, the most important marketing KPIs are Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) of each channel. We recommend to keep 30-35% marketing cost of LTV as the goal and to assess the total impact of each of the media channels. Installs are actually only one step in the funnel, so we urge the analysis of the number of new customers arising from new installs and re-installs to get the complete picture.
3. What role does predictive analytics play in the app marketplace? What are some of the unique features of the Appnext timeline?
Predictive analytics is what allows Appnext to improve engagement and performance to target high-intent users that are looking for certain content and serve them with the most relevant apps. It’s at the core of what we do, and plays a huge role in guiding users through the massively crowded app marketplace.
The Appnext ‘Timeline’ is the name we’ve given to the patent-pending user intelligence tech that powers the recommendation engine. It serves apps at the right time to the right person. Based on behavioral data, the tech learns which apps users want to see at which hour of the day. This is highly dependant on the individual of course, and so our behavioral-data driven AI crafts custom recommendations for each person specifically to incorporate this. It stops irrelevant apps from annoying users, improves engagement and leads to targeted advertising that actually works.
4. Appnext has evolved from in-app to on-device app discovery platform by partnering with some of the top mobile device manufacturers worldwide. Can you elaborate on this evolution and how it adds value to the app ecosystem?
We discovered that mobile device users are very receptive to seeing app recommendations appear in the logical and natural habitat for an app; the home screen. Receiving sponsored app suggestions within the app library of the device is often more relevant and appreciated than advertising in-app.
As you’ve mentioned, we partnered with top OEMs to create a unique integrated technology feature in the device that suggests 'Apps you may use next' (what’s App-next!). It places over 10,000 apps and interacts on average 20 times a day with every single user.
The shift of in-app to on-device recommendations has led to a dramatic increase in quality, performance and ROI for our partnered advertisers. Targeted recommendations have grown substantially, and it also offers something new to recommend for the users throughout their day.
Recently AppsFlyer released its performance index (the industry-standard that offers a comprehensive report card on the performance of mobile media sources), explicitly mentioning the shift Appnext has made into the OEM arena. On there, Appnext ranks as the 3rd highest recommendation platform of ecommerce and shopping in the whole of India, right after the duopoly of Facebook and Google! Our decision to evolve in this way was therefore undoubtedly the right one.
5. The gaming sector is growing rapidly in India. Is this one of the leading verticals for you as well? Can you share a few insights into the leading industries in app marketing today?
The gaming industry is indeed thriving and India is poised to become a real gaming giant in the next 1-2 years. Video/streamed entertainment, social media and e-commerce are among the most popular type of apps in India, and games have large growth potential, especially as the market expands to more rural customers that will be experiencing games for the first time on a mobile platform.
Appnext is a huge supporter and an important growth partner of the gaming sector. We partner with top handset manufacturers to power game recommendations in their game launchers, game folders, inside the app stores and in other placements. We encourage all Indian game developers to explore Appnext’s discovery and recommendation capabilities to help them gain a solid foothold in this booming ecosystem.
6. Finally, how do you foresee the Indian market growing for you? What are some of the biggest opportunities & challenges that the country offers?
One thing is certain - the state of Mobile in India is rapidly changing and will continue to flourish and expand in the coming years. India is a mobile-first (if not mobile-only) app economy that relies heavily on non-organic discovery methods to promote mobile app growth. India, according to Appsflyer, is the #1 country in the world in the number of apps installed and used per month and has overtaken the US as the country with the highest number of non-organic installs. India has more smartphone users than the whole population of the US put together and these users are now facing the kind of rich app experiences that high-speed data can provide for the first time.
While the number of smartphone users in India continues to rise, it’s estimated that overall smartphone penetration in India will reach only around 30% by the end of 2022, with over 450 Million users. This indicates an enormous opportunity for marketers and app owners to reach the remaining 70% of India’s massive population that may soon be purchasing their first smartphone device. India is an amazing disruption opportunity for local and global apps. App developers and advertisers would therefore be smart to watch India as a global player and hotspot for mobile downloads and revenue in 2020 and beyond.