Alternative app stores are the way forward for incremental growth 

It is widely known that Google and Facebook have dominated the global mobile industry since their genesis in advertising. However, in recent years major android mobile OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) have launched their alternative app stores and started offering users a new channel to discover and download apps from.   

As an Android user, you’ve probably noticed that your mobile phone has a branded app store on top of the Google Play Store. Samsung has its own Galaxy Store, and Huawei has its AppGallery and, this way going around their ban from Google. Xiaomi offers GetApps, Oppo’s is called App Market, and Vivo has the Vivo App Store. 

These branded ecosystems have been extremely important in China, where so far users don’t have the option of using the Google Play Store. Furthermore, the aforementioned mobile OEMs have recently been expanding in the entire SEA region with their alternative app store offering, and are also planning to grow significantly in the western markets in the coming years. 

Recent statistics show that consumers worldwide downloaded 230 billion mobile apps to their mobile devices in 2021, representing an increase of more than 63%  from 140.7 billion downloads in 2016. A large portion of this is attributed to alternative app stores, which significantly gained momentum and became highly relevant in providing app publishers with more than a billion daily active users.

Huawei’s alternative to the Google Play Store, the AppGallery, hit 530 million active users as of March 1, 2021. The Chinese giant’s application distribution center, which debuted to circumvent the absence of Google Play Services and offer a consistent experience among Huawei users, continues to grow in 2022 and plans to reach markets so far occupied by Google. 

The following examples highlight these mobile OEMs’ ambitions when expanding their territory outside SEA.

Recently, Vodafone and Oppo announced a partnership agreement to bring more Oppo products to the Europe markets. Just as strong, Xiaomi is growing its market presence across the APAC and EU regions and plans to expand extensively over markets in LATAM by opening numerous physical stores for its products and high-end digital devices.

On a side note, Vivo got the official sponsorship for the FIFA world cup of 2018 and 2022 and became the official partner for the UEFA Euro League of 2020 and 2024. This shows their commitment to making their presence felt across this region and growing their user base.

All these precedents clearly show the strongly growing presence of mobile OEMs, the impressive reach of their alternative app stores, and that there are a plethora of opportunities for mobile growth marketers to use these advantages to leverage untapped audiences. 

Top benefits of publishing apps with alternative app stores

Better User Discoverability: As the number of users on alternative app stores keeps growing, it is easy to find your niche audience in a particular app category. Users of a specific mobile OEM are brand-loyal and will view the ads as more trustworthy. Beyond targeting the audience of a particular brand manufacturer, aiming for ads within Apps installed on those devices, most mobile OEMs offer their private placements to serve Ads globally.

Broader Distribution Capability: Mobile marketers can reach larger audiences through alternative app stores, including a suitable amount of additional organic installs. Some mobile OEMs focus on specific market regions where Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store do not offer services. 

Campaign Setup: While setting up the advertising campaigns, integrations can be seamless and available with the majority of MMPs (Mobile Measurement Platforms), such as Adjust, Appsflyer, Singular, etc., where mobile marketers can track all activity – from impression to install – as well as the post-install activity, to understand the user journey and performance of each new channel available.

Fraud-free Ecosystem: Marketers gain access to a fully fraud-free and transparent user-acquisition ecosystem simply because there are no additional layers between the budget holder and the mobile OEM itself – reach advertising placement is fully controlled by the mobile OEM.

Cost-Effective Strategy: Alternative app stores of mobile OEMs enable marketers to grow globally by reaching new audiences and accessing new markets. With mobile OEMs, marketers pay lower cost-per-install for higher levels of user acquisition, and the costs are lower than that of the traditional app stores. 

With exclusive access to these untapped markets, a fraud-free ecosystem, and verification from mobile measurement providers (MMPs), working with a strong agency specialized in alternative app store advertising is the key to broadening your user base. Leverage one agency partner as your single source of truth that can help you reach closer to your UA and marketing goals. 

Reach out to our team today to know more about how you can scale your user acquisition goals by not missing out on incrementality with alternative app stores.