“OEM ecosystem advertising helps reach scale and find new audiences efficiently & confidently”: Ashwin Shekhar

“OEM ecosystem advertising helps reach scale and find new audiences efficiently & confidently”: Ashwin Shekhar

AVOW holds partnerships with top mobile OEMs, covering 62 per cent of India's market share

Ashwin Shekhar

Mumbai: In the ever-evolving landscape of mobile advertising and app monetisation,  AVOW is at the forefront, pioneering innovative strategies to maximize client outcomes.

Leveraging mobile OEM advertising has become a cornerstone of their approach, especially amidst the surge of sports marketing and festive seasons in India. AVOW's mastery of intricate monetization strategies tailored to diverse geographical areas, coupled with their proprietary technology like AVOW Intelligence, sets them apart in the market.

As regulations like the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) and India's Digital India Act (DIA) reshape the industry, AVOW anticipates and adapts, fostering collaborative innovation and embracing the opportunities presented by alternative app stores and OEM partnerships. With a focus on sectors like fintech, gaming, OTT, and e-commerce,

Indiantelevision in conversation with  AVOW, co-founder Ashwin Shekhar shed light on AVOW's approach to mobile OEM advertising, particularly focusing on its utilisation during significant sporting events and festive seasons, collaborative innovation initiatives, adaptation to regulatory changes, and future business strategies.

Edited Excerpts

On AVOW leveraging mobile OEM advertising to facilitate gaming monetization strategies for brands and app developers, especially amidst the rise of sports marketing with OEM players

Smartphones have seamlessly connected sports lovers to apps. During the IPL 2023, roughly 70 per cent of digital viewers engaged with their smartphones for various activities, including checking match updates, participating in online discussions about the IPL, ordering food online, playing fantasy cricket and exploring related promotions. This engagement demonstrates the seamless connection between sports enthusiasts and mobile apps, providing a rich environment for focused advertising campaigns. Moreover, sports betting and games app downloads increased by 53 per cent and 14 per cent respectively during the IPL 2023 season. (Source: Adjust Mobile App Trends)

This kind of outreach demands advertisers to master intricate monetization strategies and show remarkable flexibility in adopting diverse business models tailored to different geographical areas. On the other hand, developers must balance their approaches while implementing a mixed model of In-App Purchases (IAP) and In-App Advertising (IAA). Interestingly, over 80 per cent of mobile gamers are interested in in-game ads and 30 per cent of all the Gen Z and millennial gamers spend money on IAP.  

The emergence of several gaming centres such as Xiaomi Game Centre signifies the growth of on-demand gaming, along with an upsurge in alternative payment ecosystems. By uploading to OEM native app stores with their corresponding payment services, opening their shops, and marketing their offerings directly to their user base, game and app developers are edging away from the monopolistic shadows of Google and Apple.

On AVOW’s strategies around trends in app downloads during significant sporting events versus India's festive seasons to maximize client outcomes

India is a land of festivals where all the sporting events are celebrated with increasing enthusiasm year after year. Consumer trends reach new heights during important festivals and major sporting events.

D2C brands, gaming developers and mobile marketers plan to go big with Mobile OEM advertising during festive and sports seasons. The D2C segment along with e-commerce players made Rs 76,000 crore in sales during the festive season of 2022. where tier II and III cities outperformed, accounting for a significant share of purchases made through digital devices and smartphones.

Sports streaming via mobile apps is growing annually. In 2022, a record-breaking 32 million global users viewed the FIFA World Cup Final 2022 on JioCinema. Last year, it was estimated that over 550 million viewers engaged during the IPL 2023, with 61 per cent of IPL viewers doing so via smartphones. Revenue from digital ads climbed by 33 per cent in 2023, peaking at Rs 20 billion, or more than US$241 million.

Some of the largest RMG apps do a bulk of their advertising during the IPL season, with dream11 a sponsor of the IPL. My11Circle —another major app that has utilized mobile OEM advertising to its fullest– runs promotions on their app during the IPL season, providing daily prizes of up to Rs 3 crore for participating customers.

With over 1.5 billion untapped daily active users, OEM platforms such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, OnePlus, Realme Transsion and Vivo, represent a vast resource for mobile app marketers seeking to draw in new users and boost app downloads, Alternative app stores are a viable option for brands from all verticals, from D2C brands to e-commerce and mobile gaming. Mobile OEMs ought to be a default part of businesses’ marketing mix in 2024 and beyond.

Advertisers looking to create more personalised and engaging campaigns can employ display ads, full-screen videos, splash ads, and appographic marketing. For apps looking to stand out in a crowded app market Dynamic Preloads, which leverages Mobile OEMs’ ability to recommend apps to users during the setup of a new mobile phone, is an extremely successful user acquisition strategy. Capitalizing on Private Marketplace (PMP) deals can provide new avenues for user acquisition and generate incremental ROAS from advertising campaigns that are action-driven. PMPs allow advertisers to bid on specific ad inventories for specific times during major sporting events.

Advertisers need to pay only for installs (CPI), rather than clicks (CPC), making it a prime advantage of mobile OEM advertising. Thus, mobile app developers can reach millions of people without spending much, making mobile OEM advertising a trustworthy source to connect with quality users. Additionally, as all the layers between users and advertisers get eliminated, mobile OEM advertising fosters a fraud-free environment to run ad campaigns.

On the role of collaborative innovation in AVOW's approach in 2024

Privacy regulations including the App Tracking Transparency framework and Android’s Privacy Sandbox have a profound impact on the industry, leading to a reduction in the average mobile advertiser’s ROI and diminishing the target capabilities of publishers.

Considering such privacy changes by giant players in the industry, mobile OEMs are increasingly inclined towards collaborative innovations such as creating and adopting a new tracking standard, similar to that of the Open Anonymous Device Identifier (OAID) introduced by the Mobile Security Alliance (MSA), rather than coming up with individual proprietary solutions. These collaborations are strategic endeavours to safeguard the prospects of mobile OEMs against the depreciation of Google Advertising ID (GAID), or in places where GAID cannot be used. MMPs and mobile OEMs will work hand in hand to ensure that this new tracking standard and the subsequent attributions are carried out accurately, so the advertisers know the “where, what and how” of the campaign success. They aim to offer an efficient solution, helping maintain the efficacy of advertising campaigns while limiting the performance drop experienced by lost targeting capabilities.

On  AVOW anticipating the impact of regulations like the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital India Act (DIA) on its operations in India's advertising and marketing sector

Under the EU DMA law, industry gatekeepers like Apple and Google are now required to allow users to download alternative app stores on iOS and Android. Furthermore,  they’ll have to let consumers select the default apps on new smartphones. I believe this marks the beginning of a new era in the smartphone and apps space. Eventually, it’s all about consumer choice and allowing competition so that there can be more successful companies—not fewer. Undeniably, the industry needs big brands, but it is smaller companies that help achieve scale so that industry and technology make headway. This felt like a dream previously. However, with the DMA’s support, and the Indian Digital Competition Act, hopefully, it will turn into a fairer competitive environment for all.  We can start to see the foundations of these alternative app stores being laid in India, with the launch of the Indus App Store by PhonePe. An App store made in India, for India, with apps in 12 distinct Indian languages. This is the sort of innovation and competition that these regulations are meant to foster. An App Store that takes no commissions for in-app payments and freely allows the integration of any payment solution is precisely the freedom of choice that mobile OEMs and alternative app stores provide.

On AVOW adapting to the changing landscape of media buying in mobile OEM advertising, and it uses data and technology to ensure successful strategies for its clients

The award-winning, global app growth company, launched its proprietary technology called AVOW Intelligence to help mobile marketers overcome one of their biggest challenges- the limitation of buying OEM advertising inventory individually from different OEMs. Purchasing from each OEM platform is not only cumbersome but also lacks in providing complete views of one's marketing campaign performance. Another challenge is optimizing the campaigns across multiple OEM platforms without being able to merge them into one tool.

A first-of-its-kind tool, AVOW Intelligence processes enormous amounts of data from multiple OEMs and mobile measurement partners (MMPs), bridging the gap between media buyers and data and offering critical insights and analysis to support real-time data-driven decision-making. The tool offers actionable insights by combining different data sources for a cohesive strategy. These insights result in a highly focused yet cost-effective campaign that gradually reduces acquisition expenses.

At AVOW, we leverage our team and technology to optimize for down-funnel events. We focus on the outcomes beyond the initial install, such as in-app purchases, sign-ups, and/or subscriptions. With a deeper understanding of the user journey, we help create campaigns that are optimized for meaningful, long-term results.

On  AVOW's business and marketing strategies for 2024-25, and it aims to seize emerging opportunities while addressing potential challenges

We provide an innovative solution for mobile OEM aggregation that enables app discovery on several alternative app stores and facilitates a higher return on advertising spend (ROAS). Our unparalleled access to the mobile OEM user base combined with our unmatched customer-centric approach has led to our faster and more steady growth.

We will continue raising awareness around the tremendous potential that mobile OEMs offer and its many benefits to mobile marketers and app developers. Our team’s extensive experience in performance optimization allows us to assist clients as they get to grips with OEM marketing. It has become indispensable for mobile marketers to include mobile OEM advertising in their marketing mix by default. Since India is our largest inventory market, we will focus on on-device display ads delivery, retargeting, and Dynamic Preload services as major strategic areas.

On the changing mobile marketing landscape and legislation front, the EU’s landmark Digital Market Act (DMA) aimed at breaking the tech’s big players' monopoly has an impact on similar legislation in India and other countries. With DMA in effect, users can not only download alternative app stores on iOS and Android but are also free to choose the default apps on new smartphones. This will help foster fairer competition and support startups.

On AVOW's partnerships with players in sectors such as OTT, fintech, and e-commerce leverage OEMs to enhance customer acquisition and specific strategies that AVOW use in these collaborations

AVOW provides access to over 1.5 billion daily active users (DAUs) and over 10 million monthly downloads for its clients. Advertising within the OEM ecosystem helps reach scale and find new audiences efficiently and confidently. We leverage dynamic preloads to help brands become the users’ first choice when they start the device for the first time. We aim to increase the LTV and install rates of these apps with dedicated placements.. All these together open up avenues for larger customer acquisition.

For instance, Fintech services across verticals such as digital payment services, crypto trading, Buy Now Pay Later (short-term financing), lending, and personal finance, and insurance apps have been growing at an unprecedented rate. Notably, the fintech sector in India is expected to generate $400 billion in value creation by 2030, indicating a 4X increase from its level in 2023.

Giant Indian fintech apps, such as Navi and ACKO have used alternative app stores and mobile OEM advertising to drive incremental user growth and maximize ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) for their apps. Investing in mobile OEM alternative app stores has helped these fintech apps tap newer audiences, resulting in a more viable revenue stream.  

On the sectors that AVOW identifies  as having significant growth potential, and its intention to seize upon these opportunities

We believe fintech, gaming, mobility, OTT, and e-commerce are some of the sectors which present a huge scope to address the needs of players. We are dedicated to making mobile OEM advertising accessible for brands and apps while remaining performance-oriented in the Indian market.

On AVOW scaling its team to support business growth and expand its range of services/products

With Melissa Bohlsen as chief marketing officer and Guenole Le Gall as the new vice president of client strategy, we are all geared up for our next phase. Melissa’s acumen in mobile marketing and impressive leadership experience together with Guenole’s extensive experience and expertise in mobile advertising and digital marketing empowers the AVOW team to fulfill its ambition of revolutionizing the mobile OEM market in India and other global markets. With both of them on board, I’m confident that we will continue our growth trajectory and set new benchmarks in the industry.

On factors contributing to AVOW's success in India, and what insights can you share regarding its response and achievements in the market

AVOW has observed a remarkable 6-year track record of exponential year-on-year growth in the mobile OEM marketing space. AVOW is the only company holding strong partnerships with all premium mobile OEMs such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Oppo, OnePlus, Realme, Transsion and Vivo, accounting for over 62 per cent of the India market share.

In a dynamic market like India, we have successfully collaborated with leading industry players including Amazon Prime, Navi, Zupee, Unacademy, Paytm, Swiggy, JioMart, MPL, Byju’s and Matrimony.com providing incremental user growth and engagement for their mobile apps. To deliver exceptional value to our clients and strengthen our roots in the country, we welcomed Meliisa Bohlsen and Guenole Le Gall in our leadership team. From launching apps on multiple mobile OEMs to fine-tuning user acquisition campaigns for maximum results, our client services team in India functions as an extension of our client's internal growth teams, offering a holistic 360-degree service experience throughout their mobile business growth journey.

With the launch of our proprietary technology, AVOW Intelligence, we aim to revolutionize mobile OEM advertising by giving a smart and holistic view of media inventory across premium mobile OEMs, in one platform. This empowers us to provide clients with a competitive advantage when running user acquisition campaigns on alternative app stores.