Google Play Finally Drives More App Downloads than the App Store

by GameHouse

App Annie published a report this week discussing that the number of app downloads on Google Play has finally eclipsed the iOS App Store in overall volume. In this weeks App Marketing Conversation Robi Ganguly of Apptentive, Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ, and Ryan Morel of GameHouse discuss this report and ultimately, what took so long?

Watch the video, or read the transcript below. Don’t forget to check out this weeks other conversations videos from Appentive & MobileDevHQ!

Ryan: Hi, and welcome to App Marketing Conversations, I am Ryan Morell with Gamehouse. As always, I’m here with Ian Sefferman of MobileDev HQ and Robi Ganguly of Apptentive. How are you guys doing?

Ian: Great. A little sleepy, doing all right?

Ryan: Yeah. I don’t want to hear you complain.

Robi: How are you doing, new papa?

Ryan: Good.

Robi: Ryan just had a new child. And that’s why you have bags under your eyes.

Ryan: Yeah. One week old today. And to celebrate that one week, apparently, App Annie released a new report saying that Google Play has finally eclipsed iOS in the number of app downloads. So my first reaction, and maybe my first question to you guys, is why did it take so long?

Ian: That’s actually a great question. You know, the number of devices, they eclipsed them by a wide margin. Price of apps, I think for the most part, there are generally more free apps, you’d think it’d be a longer time. I have no good answer other than that engagement on iOS is better, Apple’s better at producing a quality ecosystem.

Robi: I think one thing we’ve talked about before that continues to be played out in research and studies that are coming back is that a lot of folks are buying Android devices as a replacement for their previous phone, it’s very affordable, oftentimes free with a contract, and so they’re buying it as phone first. It’s for voice, it’s for testing, and then maybe they’re getting into some email and web browsing, but they’re not thinking about as apps. They’re thinking about it as a phone. And I think more of the iOS consumers are thinking of this as “my next computer”, that I can do a lot more stuff with it. So that changing perspective on what you’re getting the device for probably translates a lot to the downloads.

Ryan: So, bigger market, bigger number of people using Android devices, most of those aren’t downloading as much or not as many of them are downloading. How do you take that knowledge and apply it to the marketing efforts for your apps, or do you?

Ian: I think it’s obviously hugely important to understand how each ecosystem plays out. For me, it’s potentially less about the marketing and more about the monetization efforts. I think on Android, the other part of the report that we haven’t really talked about yet is, even with more downloads on Google Play, revenue, I think, is still double on iOS, right? So monetization is a huge problem. I don’t think we’ve figured that out yet. I will continually say that for a long, long time, and I don’t know the answers.

Robi: I think the monetization aspect is interesting, but also, if you’re thinking about this from the marketing perspective, and you think about your audience, what kind of audience you traditionally have. So let’s exclude the mobile-only [?], and look a little bit broader. If you have an understanding of your demographics, and they happen to be middle class citizens living off the coasts, in the center of the country, for example, Android is a place you really should be thinking about. That’s where we’re seeing sales map, at least in the US, and I think if you look globally, it’s even more true. Middle class or lower income people are getting these devices because they’re affordable. And you can’t ignore that, if you’re a marketer and that’s your typical demographic, that’s the device that they’re living on.

Ian: And I think that changes how and where you advertise. This is a good example, I was thinking about this this morning, listening to ESPN radio. Which is, Christian Mingle is probably the hottest startup that nobody talks about. At least based on how much they spend on advertising and where they do it. I see their ads on TV all the time, and I hear their ads on the radio all the time. But it’s never on Seattle channels, it’s never on the more progressive Seattle local radio, it’s always on Sirius, ESPN radio or SIrius CNN or anything like that, Sirius Fox News, where you can really presume that it’s coming from those middle states. And I think that’s a smart tactic, instead of going for the more, they’re not advertising on TechCrunch, they’re not trying to get that type of press, they’re going after where their target audience is. So if those are your users, I think the marketing efforts have to shift towards where those users are.

Robi: Yeah, that’s the other angle on this, is thinking about it not just as an app ecosystem but now a channel to go communicate with customers through advertising and marketing activities. Android is definitely becoming more and more important there, and that’s to be expected, that’s Google’s core business.

Ryan: I would think one thing people should be careful about is understanding that the same audience is going to monetize differently across both platforms. And simply because iOS users spend money and Android users don’t, you might be targeting 35-44 year old females on iOS, they may spend, and you may say, “Oh, great, well, we’ll make half as much as we did on Android”, but it could turn out that’s not true. So you just need to be careful about that when you’re planning your products and going about spending your marketing budget. Okay, anything else you guys want to add to this, besides the fact that it took seemingly forever?

Ian: Yeah, I think it took a long time, I expect the trend of downloads to continue to go up, and we’ll see, maybe, if they can take three to four times the amount of downloads, will they actually be equal to the revenue at some point?

Robi: Yeah, and I think maybe next week we’ll talk about this and dig in a little bit more, what are the marketplaces doing, and I think you both have pretty good insights into this, that are leading the shifts? So if I’m Google Play, I’m trying to accelerate that growth of downloads. If I’m Apple, I’m trying to maintain the monetization lead and get back on downloads. What are they doing to accelerate that stuff.

Ryan: Yeah. That’s a good idea. Okay, thanks guys, make sure to check out the segments from Ian and Robi and come back for more App Marketing Conversations. Thanks, guys.
Ian: Mobile is great for getting at your customers wherever they may be. Mobile is great at the engagement piece of the puzzle, right? So, going back and back to your customers in a way that…

By Ryan Morel

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