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Acquiring users in unexpected places: 5 alternative app stores.

alternative app storesAcquiring more quality users is one of the biggest challenges of app publishers today. Both the App Store and Google Play host over 1.2 million apps which makes getting noticed seem like a hopeless mission. We have discussed paid and unpaid acquisition channels but in this article we want to go deeper into a special kind of breed of acquisition channels: alternative app stores.

Although there are some alternatives to Apple’s App Store like Cydia, the potential of these is limited since a vast majority of iPhone owners does not jailbreak their smartphone. This because it comes with some risk and frankly, most people don’t know how to do it and probably don’t care either. Android, on the other hand, is a completely different story. Installing an app from outside Google Play is as easy as checking a box in the settings. Moreover, Android users are generally known to be more interested in tinkering with unofficial software. This is also reflected in the huge number of alternative app markets for Android and the amount of downloads they get. In China, Android users don’t have a choice because Google Play is not available at all in the mainland. Publishing your app on one of these alternatives can therefore greatly improve the number of downloads your app is getting! Additionally, there are benefits in the form of lower fees for publishing and more flexibility/less rules and conditions. Here we’ll discuss our top 5:

1. Wandoujia

This app store is one of the biggest alternatives to Google Play there is. Wandoujia is said to have over 300 million users (January ‘14) and 30 million apps are downloaded every day. Publishing your app on this market seems like a no-brainer but there is a catch: Wandoujia is Chinese and is only available in the Chinese language. Unsurprisingly, it’s users are Chinese as well and publishing an app that is not in Mandarin is most likely not going to bring you many downloads. If you don’t speak Chinese yourself also will be a big barrier. Translating an app is not cheap and not a one time activity. However, with a user base of 300 million you need to seriously consider if it’s not well worth the trouble.

2. Amazon

The Amazon Appstore generates over 25 million apps downloads every month. It is the exclusive app store for Amazon’s popular tablet, the Kindle Fire. As is with Google Play, app publishers receive 70% of the listing price of their app or from their in-app purchases. Since its inception in 2011 the Amazon Appstore attracted more than 240,000 apps to its platform. Clearly, many developers see the value of this app market but at the same time these big numbers create the same discoverability problems as with Google Play.

3. SlideME

SlideMe is a good alternative to Google Play because of two main reasons. First, SlideME pays out 80% of the revenue your app makes. Second, SlideME has a wide reach because many OEMs preload this app store on their devices. The company even claims to be second to Google Play in terms of global reach. They specialize in providing device manufacturers with a store that is optimized for targeting niche markets and providing an distribution channel for developers to countries where Google Play is not available.

4. GetJar

GetJar is one of the earliest app stores for mobile devices. It was founded in 2004 and hosts apps for a plethora of operating systems. It also introduced a virtual currency called GetJar Gold that can be used to purchase other apps that are participating. Users can earn this by recommending apps to their friends which creates a big cross-promotional platform. Flexibility is a key selling point for GetJar. There are little conditions a developer needs to fulfill to publish his or her app on GetJar. In addition, this distribution platform doesn’t charge any upfront costs for publishing an app.

5. Samsung apps

Given that Samsung sells over 65% of all Android phones it should come as no surprise that they have plenty of momentum to have an own app store. Samsung Apps comes preinstalled with every Samsung smartphone sold which puts it in the hands of millions of people. Needless to say Samsung Apps is a significant player in app industry. Samsung provides numerous SDKs that are designed specifically for developing apps for Samsung devices. As seems to be an industry standard, Samsung pays out 70% of your app’s revenue.

As you can see there is more between heaven and earth than just Google Play and the Apple App Store. Submitting your app to one of the alternatives discussed above can significantly drive more users to your app. In fact, One Platform even claimed that it can increase downloads by 200%. By using One Platform you can circumvent a lot of manual labor and publish your app on many app markets with just one submission.


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