Why do you need incentivized installs for Android?


Android rules over 80 percent of the smartphone market share. That means out of 2 billion users, 1.6 billion are using an android phone right now. I am not trying to upset or stir passion in Fanboys by taking a side, But as a marketer, I understand that the massiveness of android user base can be a holy grail for app marketing. Retention may be important for apps, but to get started, app discovery has to happen at the first place. This is when android, with its huge user base, can be of great importance. Clubbing the massiveness of android with incentivized ads can create wonders.

How can android help?

While 80% of app revenues are generated by the 20% iOS users, it does not mean that android users do not help developers at all. Android’s contribution is far more implicit. Let’s look deeper into that.

If you look at the device fragmentation chart (2015) from OpenSignal, you may notice that more than 70% of the devices are priced below $250. To be frank, I used to fall in this category a while ago and I know this market. Most of these users do not even have a credit card or a PayPal account.

Android Fragmentation 2015
Android Fragmentation 2015

Hence, the majority of android users are unable of making any financial transactions using their smartphones. Also, a lot of these people perceive that spending real money on apps is a luxury. However, it does not mean that they do not desire premium content.

If you go by the magnitude of cheat codes used by android users to hack into games, you would be astonished. Android users dig voraciously for cheat codes. While they desire premium content, neither they want to pay for it nor are they sufficiently equipped to do so.

Incentive based ads exploit this hunger for premium content and payment barriers to acquiring users that cost a lot less than non-incentivized ads.

The virality factor that android can achieve for your app

Incentivized ads are great to exploit this unquenched thirst for premium content while creating value for advertisers at the same time. If you employ ad networks like Tapjoy, the returns can be significant. I have seen this happening within my own friend circle a couple of years ago with a game called Gunship Battle.

Gunship Battle flashed Tapjoy’s reward wall ads and gave gold coins as incentives. Being a typical android user with a $190 smartphone, I used these rewards to keep playing the game for an extended period of time. I would have put it down in the first 20 days but the rewards made me stick to the game for another couple of months.

Gunship Battle runs Tapjoy's reward walls for acquisition and monetization
Gunship Battle runs Tapjoy’s reward walls for acquisition and monetization

The best part of all this was, I referred and shared the game with my close buddies. Why did I do so? First, the game was enjoyable and the ability to steer through levels with the help of rewards felt awesome. Due to my recommendation, I had at least 10-11 friends doing the same within their own circles.

Hence, not only Gunship gained retention from its existing users, it subsequently acquired high-value users for itself through word of mouth and social media marketing. The ads played a pivotal role in making it happen. Since the Android user base is massive and hungry for premium content, expect large numbers of referrals once you start a campaign. If your app is good enough, it goes viral within a matter of weeks.

But what about those apps that were installed to gain rewards? I had a lot of them installed for a long time. Some of my friends installed a number of games after watching the promotional videos.

Incentive reward ad wall from Tapjoy
Incentive reward ad wall from Tapjoy

Of all the installed apps/games offered within Gunship, the ones that were genuinely engaging stayed for longer periods while others perished within few days.

This substantiates the fact that incentivized ads can boost retention on one side while acquiring high-value users on the other side. This brings us to the point that if you are signing up for an incentivized ad network for user acquisition or monetization, your app must be good enough.

The number approximation

To come close to a precise number, we need to do some math. From my experience, I have always seen that average cost per click (CPC) of an incentive-based install falls under a dollar. On the other hand, high-quality non-incentivized campaigns may cost you at least $1.5/click with an upper limit of $5-$6/click. Incentivized ads are a lot cheaper.

Being cost-effective you can set up a bulky ad inventory for your incentive based campaign. Considering an android game with MAU of 10000 (on which you would want to run ads for your app). With a rate of 20 ads per day per user, 200 000 ads will be served every day to the user base. Counting a modest 1% conversion of that would still yield you 2000 installs a day. That is not a bad number at all. In fact, for someone kickstarting their user acquisition campaign, 2000 installs/day is great.

Coming to the virality factor of Android now, out of these 2000 users, even if 20 users recommend the app to 10 users at the personal level, you can have 200 users coming from referrals alone in 5-6 days. Considering a geometric progression of these 200 users, you may see your android app hitting a million users acquired from referrals within 7-8 weeks or less. The rate of propagation in android is phenomenal. If your app is good enough and you can feed the hunger for premium content, android can make you go big.

Incentivized ads to break the competition on Google Play

When it comes to android, Incentivized ads is a great way to break into the steep competition on Google play that receives more than 100 000 apps every month. Without a doubt, app discovery stands out as the foremost thing a developer can think while starting. Every developer aspires to secure the top spots in the app store. Only then he/she can drive comfortable installs and ascertain if his app is good enough to remain at the top spot.

Incentivized ads may help developers reach the top spots within a short period of time. This is because a high number of installs lead to a high ASO score and a better rank for the app. This way, your app may appear at the top for a host of keywords and categories. After that happens, everything depends on upon the quality of your app.

Apps do good because of quality

An incentive based ad network can only get you eyeballs. The rest depends on upon the quality of your app. If it is not fun, eventually it will be deleted. If you see a substantial open-rate but low retention, it suggests that you simply need to make a better app than the current one. On the other hand, if your user acquisition campaign yields low open rates but substantial engagement, you should be happy. It suggests that there is something good in your android app and the virality factor of android may come into play sooner or later. However, if referral traffic is not increasing at a massive rate, maybe you should look into app performance analytics and make changes.


Incentivized campaigns cost a lot less than non-incentivized ones while providing substantial app discovery at the same time. If the app is good enough, it can take advantage of the initial exposure and build the rest of the campaign on that.

As far as android is concerned, in exchange of free premium content, incentivised campaigns can penetrate multiple cohorts of users and lead to successful user acquisition campaigns.Successful campaigns will help your app secure a better ranking on Google Play which is hyper-competitive and extremely saturated.

On the other hand, the app upon which the campaign is running can monetize by retaining users.

Arup Dey

I am passionate about Games, Content Marketing, NLE apps, and Videos. In my free time, I Read, Eat, and Code. I see life around me as interconnected subsets of small events. Helps me learn a lot! - OpenXcell