According to a Newzoo research report, by 2016, the global mobile game market alone will make 23.9 billion USD. And the mobile app market? Digi-Capital predicts that revenue for mobile app market will reach 143 billion USD in 2016! The mobile app world is a huge market, a healthy market, and a growing market. Who doesn’t want a slice of that cake? What makes mobile app market difficult to enter, but at the same time exciting is that you never know for sure where your next opportunity lies, or when the next ‘Big Thing’ will hit the APP markets.
And what’s more, the APP proliferation knows no boundaries, as they expand through global social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. People all over the world are connecting with one another through such platforms. More than 70% Facebook users are from outside of the U.S. Such a rate of connectivity drives mobile app market to globalize, which explains the increasing popularity of mobile social apps and games. The research firm ‘lingoport’ claims that for mainstream social games, more than half of their revenues come from the localized versions, which means they make more money selling their games overseas. With CPs, ad networks, app stores and customers becoming more global every day, the global mobile app market is maturing gradually, and constantly.
On a more concrete level, mobile devices are becoming increasingly sophisticated as we speak, it seems unrealistic to consider mobile apps as separate entities being implanted in the devices. There are different operating systems, tons of ad networks and app stores. This is when the concept of mobile app ecosystem comes into the picture. A clear understanding of the mobile app ecosystem could mean life or death to mobile app developers and marketers.
What exactly is this mysterious mobile app ecosystem that everyone’s talking about? From a macroscopic point of view, it consists of the devices, apps, app stores, app developers, operators, and customers, all existing in codependent relationship. What matter the most to app developers and marketers are the essentials of the app itself, such as analytics, app store rating, testing, performance monitoring, user engagement, etc. It all really comes down to app usage in the end. There are plenty of app solutions out there in the market trying to help app developers and marketers to test, to track and in the end, to maximize their profits. Most of them dream big but have little in term of actual real feedback. Let’s make it simpler by explaining what processes apps go through before and after release.
Before an app gets released, the developers and marketers need to make sure the app works well, in other words, that it delivers good performance and is stable. Crashes, black screens, errors and all the other issues have to be corrected. Nothing drives users away like incompatibility. Developers and publishers used to have people test the apps or games manually. We are talking about a lot of man hours and cost for many developers with small budgets and short development time. Now with the development of cloud technology, companies are able to record the scripts of the app or game, test them on multiple devices and generate a much more conclusive report.
Once the app is out on the market, being able to monitor and analyze the market and how the app is doing is crucial. No matter how flawless the app is, failing to attract the right kind of users flushes all the efforts down the drain. Developers and marketers use ad analytics to enhance their ad campaigns, identify valuable ad networks and locate paying users. Market analytics includes installs, clicks, purchases, registrations, custom events, etc. Many tracking companies are able to deliver such services. Knowing which ad network brings the most conversion helps the marketers optimize campaigns, re-distribute budgets and make informed decisions.
Of course, app testing and ad tracking are much more complicated to describe than just with a few sentences. They are the most crucial links in the mobile app ecosystem. This article only provides an overview of this ecosystem and an attempt to explain app testing and tracking for general readers. One thing we know for sure is that mobile market globalization is an inevitable trend that every mobile companies should consider seriously.