Mobile App Brands Leverage Open Platform Strategy To Power Business Growth

Aiming to be advertising powerhouses, app brands are offering an alternate platform to marketers other than Facebook and Instagram, and gradually looking to turn advertising into a key revenue stream.

Mobile App Brands Leverage Open Platform Strategy To Power Business Growth

Author: Karam Malhotra, Partner, Global VP at the SHAREit Group

Time and again we have heard of how the pandemic has reshaped the world of marketers - let us call it the M town. From the shift in the shopping attitudes to behaviours to preferences, the brand experts and marketing teams are analysing all, with a hawk’s eye.

With consumers engaging on mobile and digital channels more than ever before, brands had to quickly adapt to new expectations and engagement strategies while accelerating their digital footprint. While advertisements on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram are a part of the marketing mix, app brand marketers are also leveraging other popular mobile apps in their target markets to reach new audiences. A popular mobile app with a wide user base can be a great vehicle for a brand to tell its story and target new users. While the e-commerce platform apps like Shopee have their own advertising solutions to help brands get visibility, they also advertise on other app platforms like SHAREit, which is a content sharing and streaming app, to onboard high-value users in emerging markets.

These brands are adopting an open platform strategy to enable partners to expand more efficiently across Southeast Asia by leveraging their own user base and helping grow the digital ecosystem. But the key question is, why is advertising on an app platform gaining popularity? Not only is it an ideal way to reach audiences at scale but also efficiently. This is because the users of the app are already qualified and more likely to buy any product or service.

There are different mobile app advertising trends that we have seen emerge in the M town. Ad formats like full-screen videos with interactive end cards or rich media interstitials can be a great way for a brand to both reach an audience at scale and capture their attention. In-app ads are scaled to fit the app and therefore look much more appealing to the user than mobile web ads.

Video ads aren’t just a trend, they’re quickly becoming the standard for mobile marketing. Cisco predicts “total Internet video traffic, business and consumer, combined, will be 80% of all Internet traffic in 2021,” while Ericsson reports “Video traffic in mobile networks is forecast to grow by around 30 percent annually up to 2025” and will soon account for close to three-quarters of all mobile data traffic.

Because of covid, more and more companies have been crafting advertising strategies with mobile at the heart of it, as they look to excite and recruit consumers during key moments in time. Ramadan is one such occasion on top of the marketer’s list. It is always the time when shoppers loosen their purse strings and indulge in festive buying. Covid may have put a damper on the festivities as people could not go out and shop or gather, but at the same time accelerated the trend of online buying as consumers pivoted towards digital mediums to make purchases.

No wonder, as a run up to the Ramadan season even this year, we saw a flurry of activity in the marketing war rooms of consumer brands - especially e-commerce companies in the present context. But that’s not all. For brands like Alodokter, a healthcare superapp in Indonesia, Ramadan too, was one of their busiest times with fasting Indonesians using the app to seek medical help or for doctors’ advice. The digital health platform wanted to make more people aware that they can seek medical help on it, and wanted to position themselves as a helpline in their lives amid the Ramadan season. They advertised on SHAREit, which is popular amongst the masses, to leverage its massive user base in Indonesia.

For gaming apps too there lies a financial opportunity in offering their platform to advertisers. In-app advertising is a monetization model that drives revenue for millions of free-to-play mobile games and other apps.

In-game advertising or product placements within the game are popular but may prove difficult because once games were released, there were no opportunities to change the hard-coded ads. The gaming world is a completely different medium requiring different rules. It requires a more sophisticated form of ad delivery and a deep understanding of gaming technology and the gaming audience. Ads must reside within a digital world seamlessly and not be invasive in any way. When done wrongly, in-game ads can spoil the gaming experience, break the illusion of the digital world that a gamer is immersed in and can lead to negative sentiments for a brand that shows mismatched or poorly done up ads. However, when done the right way, the result is what every advertiser wishes for - impactful, contextual messaging that grabs eyeballs and enhances the experience.

All those in the M town may want to consider a neighbourhood strategy, wherein they map the neighbourhood of the consumer and approach them with ‘what’ they are looking for on each platform. Certain kinds of apps because of their inherent nature will offer a specific kind of audience that will be more likely to buy a product or service.

Karam is the Partner, Global VP at the SHAREit Group, a global internet technology company with the vision to ‘make digital content equally accessible by everyone’. Its diversified suite of applications, including the hero app SHAREit, a file-sharing, gaming, and content streaming platform, has been installed by nearly 2.4 billion users worldwide. SHAREit has been helping app brands reach their business goals. Under his leadership, SHAREit has ranked #4 globally after Google, Facebook and TikTok, for driving large volumes of non-gaming in-app purchases.