India Observations



by Michael Oiknine
Cofounder and CEO

Last week I had the good fortune of visiting one of the world’s most dynamic and fast-growing app markets – India. For those of you who aren’t aware, India is truly an extraordinary app market, one with fast-growing smartphone penetration and usage.

Mobile represents the primary method by which most people connect, and India’s extremely active start-up community is leveraging all of these strong growth opportunities with an unprecedented level of app activity.

Apsalar is the leader in providing mobile app attribution and audience development services for enterprise app marketers in India. Over the past year we have seen enormous changes in the issues and strategies that mobile marketers there are leveraging to drive extraordinary growth on their businesses.

More Insight Means Better Results

I believe that part of our success there is that we share a profound interest in ensuring that maximum insight can be leveraged for data-driven marketing. You can’t maximize business potential with partial information, which is why we do everything in our power to provide the richest possible insight. Things like enabling long-term customer analysis with better data retention policies, and deeper cohort analysis so you can analyze your users based upon any action and for virtually any time period.

A Bellwether for the World

I truly believe that markets like India offer not only amazing business growth opportunities in themselves, but also represent a bellwether for what will happen in markets like the US, that are somewhat less mobile-driven today, but are rapidly catching up. Here are some of the big trends that I see for the coming year in India and in other markets worldwide.

  1. Better Matters with App Marketing and Attribution

A big portion of our business growth comes from brands that get started with basic app measurement tools, but whose needs quickly outgrow cookie-cutter analysis and short time windows. Better matters when you need to understand LTV and your current platform only allows limited analysis. Better matters when your focus is on more than just raw install counts but are concerned with the quality of users you attract. Better matters when you want to create precision audiences and messaging to drive more engagement and revenue from users. That’s why we built a more advanced attribution solution; so that we could enable genuine analysis so that marketers could identify and capitalize on more business opportunities.

  1. From UA to Quality UA

Like many markets, India is fast shifting its focus from driving the most installs possible to a greater focus on quality installs. This is not to say that big install numbers don’t matter but rather that the future will be won by those companies that identify the programs and partners that attract app users that stick around, engage and transact. Getting those insights is what mobile app attribution is all about. As I mentioned above, we also see more companies trading up to app attribution solutions that enable them to conduct long-term analysis and better understand their audiences with richer cohort reporting. Ours is definitely a category in which better matters.  An install’s true value is in the extent to which it helps you drive your business goals. Lots of installs matter, but the longevity of the user relationships arguably matters even more.

  1. More Growth Means More Partners

We see more companies building broader lists of media partners as a way to driving additional scale. They’re getting choosier about which partners they work with as well, based upon a more in-depth analysis of user quality. Larger vendor lists means that the need for attribution deduplication is getting even greater. It also means that having a single SDK that can provide data to a growing number of vendors is also a strong asset. It can increase speed to market and ensure that your app performance stays strong. That’s why Apsalar works with virtually all vendors worldwide, from the largest partners including Facebook to vertical and regional networks that provide specialized audiences for particular apps and categories.

  1. User Decay is a Hot Topic

The words “user decay” may not be in every conversation yet, but the best app marketers are getting more proactive in the ways that they understand the user lifecycle and what drives it. Uninstalls are a big part of this, but so too are apps that gather metaphorical dust on the back screens of a phone. Instead of viewing customer lifecycle passively, marketers are testing and experimenting with ways to improve the length of time and level of engagement that they garner from users. After all, no one wants to lose an install in 20 minutes.

  1. Retargeting is Set to Explode

This point could almost be combined with the previous one, but it is important enough to warrant a discussion all on its own. Given that the industry is now more focused on install quality, many apps are taking proactive steps to make the most of every customer or user relationship. Once brands have attracted users, they are now implementing strategies and campaigns designed to monetize and strengthen those customer relationships over time. Instead of passively watching users decay, they are proactively partnering with media companies to target groups of users to drive incremental events. Some examples:

  1. Cart Abandons: This is the most obvious one. Why let a sale drift away when you can target abandoners with specific messages to bring them back
  2. App Cross-Marketing: The great users of one app are naturally a great prospect base for a related app.
  3. Heavy User Activation: Since you most loyal customers have a demonstrated willingness to transact in app, why not judiciously target those specific individuals to drive an incremental action?
  4. Lapsed User Reactivation: More and more data show that driving multiple launches in the early hours and days of a new install’s app relationship are among the best ways to ensure a profitable long-term relationship.

At Apsalar we anticipated this interest and earlier this year launched our Audiences product that makes it easy to create high performing audiences and seamlessly connect with media partners for precision targeting and messaging.

If you boil down all of these developments, what we are seeing is a rapid advancement in the degree of pinpoint sophistication app marketers are using to reach, engage, and monetize customers. App marketers are truly at the forefront of technology, and we at Apsalar are proud to be part of the technological changes that are making many of these changes possible.

Thank You India!

I would also like to extend my thanks to all those clients, partners and other business professionals that I met with over the past week. Your hospitality was remarkable, and I am so proud that my company is so active in this amazing app market!


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