The Game of App Installs

As the world sees more of smart phones, the veil on app installs and usage continues to lift steadily.

Everyday a whole new set of apps are being released by their creators, who hope to convince you that their app is the next best thing to sliced bread - and therefore you must download their app and use it. These apps range from utility to gaming to outright trivial - and it is the ubiquity of all apps, that makes you wonder in amazement as to the identity of the users!

But it is in the triviality of it, some have found a mother lode of gold, in the area of fraudulent installs. And since there is no sure fir practitioners had no way to second guess the deliveries, they passed muster, but as the marketers learned and evolved, the discovery and extent of wrongdoing was stunning.

Sometime ago Google made it mandatory to run all app install campaigns in adwords through a campaign type called Universal App Campaign (UAC). This would enable advertisers to garner installs for their apps, without paying huge install rates basis specific audience targeting. Google's large amount of data enabled them to offer a complete app marketing suite in one setup, under UAC.

There are other claimants to the app install pie, like, Snap Ads App Install, which allows an app to be installed, in the background while the user continues Snapchatting. The experience is seamless and efficient, not to mention very effective.

There's also mobile app installs on Instagram, which offer a variety of ad formats from photo ads, video ads, carousel ads and Instagram stories ads.

But it is the focus on growth at all costs, that is makes the app install ecosystem susceptible to greed. Getting the largest possible user numbers at the lowest possible cost, incentivize the unscrupulous operator to cut corners and deliver hugely inflated results.

How do you combat this problem? At Digeratie, we ask the toughest questions of our partners and track user behavior meticulously to ensure the system is not being gamed.

There is of course no one-size-fits-all solution that's available to fix this issue, but there are enough preventive + tracking measures that can help us stay one step ahead.

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