Launching an app or mobile game in multiple app stores is a common marketing strategy for developers to open channels for additional revenue. However, Google Play and the Apple App Store have fast become saturated with millions of apps, posing a major issue for developers when it comes to discoverability.
But many savvy marketers – especially those with limited marketing budgets – are seeking alternative app platforms to include in their marketing strategy to leverage discoverability and gain commercial success.
Since its launch in 2011, the Amazon Appstore has grown exponentially by offering apps and games to millions of its customers. While Apple and Google’s app offering is well into the millions, Amazon still boasts an impressive 600,000 apps available in over 236 countries which still makes it a good option to showcase apps for developers.
But with an app store that seems to have a limited audience compared to its mainstream counterparts, what are the advantages of the Amazon Appstore for mobile app developers?
Continued strategy for growth
It’s safe to say that Amazon is a force to be reckoned with in the worlds of eCommerce and cloud computing. Securing over half of US eCommerce growth in 2016, the retail giant continues its commitment to long-term growth and regularly reinvests most of its profits back into the business.
Amazon’s Web Services division is also the leader in providing enterprise cloud solutions to businesses which means that they already have extensive infrastructure available to help developers with their app development and deployment.
While learning from the mistakes with its phone offering and continuing to have mobile in its sights for the future, Amazon have been able to make strides with its Kindle, TV and Smart Home devices. Mobile developers now have the opportunity to ride the coattails of Amazon’s success and take advantage of their rich ecosystem to get their apps in front of users.
The 7” Fire Tablet became the fastest-selling tablet in the US in 2016 and became Amazon’s fastest-selling tablet of all time. Not only does this show that consumers are still loyal to the Amazon brand, but there’s still an appetite for affordable tablet devices.
With a competitive market share that continues to grow, the Fire TV Stick is compatible with Amazon’s Echo device and users can now take advantage of the voice-activated virtual assistant Alexa on multiple devices in the home.
In terms of developer support, Amazon have increased its offering allowing developers to capitalise on market growth with all of its devices – most notably its recent resource centre for Alexa Skills which allows developers to seamlessly integrate their apps into the Echo interface.
Android app developers welcome
Developers of Android apps have a unique advantage over iOS developers. Amazon allows Android developers to bring their existing Android APK – the apps file format – to Amazon devices and boasts that 85% of Android apps simply work just the way are.
Compatibility is achieved as the Fire OS 5 operating system – which runs on Amazon Fire TV and Fire Tablets – is based on Android 5 (Lollipop).
This means android developers can save considerable time and money when launching their app or game on the Amazon Appstore for use on Fire TV devices.
A free compatibility test is also available for developers and takes only 90 seconds to complete. The test has the ability to flag any potential issues with app compatibility and if it successful, the developer can simply submit the app to Amazon to publish once the test is complete.
It may seem odd at first for Amazon to open up its platform to competitors, but it makes perfect sense when you consider Android’s wealthy app offering.
Essentially, a platform with Android compatibility already in place makes Amazon’s app store a more attractive channel for Android developers while allowing Amazon to increase the number of apps available to users of its own devices.
A lack of device fragmentation is also an added benefit to Android developers. As there are only a handful of Amazon devices, the common Android problem of device compatibility is seamlessly eliminated.
Amazon also provides HTML5 and iOS developers with tools to allow them to upload a URL and app store assets to help developers who test the Amazon market.
It’s difficult for apps to gain exposure in an increasingly competitive marketplace but with the success of Amazon’s eCommerce platform, the Amazon Appstore gives developers multiple ways to get their apps and games noticed.
One of the most notable opportunities the Amazon Appstore offers developers is ease of discoverability through its built-in cross-selling capabilities including algorithms that display relevant apps and games in results pages.
Recommendation functionalities such as ‘customers who also bought this also bought’ and customer reviews – which Amazon is well known for – can easily help to increase downloads without any additional work needed by developers.
The platform also encourages developers to think commercially when it comes to showcasing an app or game on the Amazon Appstore much like its traditional eCommerce category and product pages.
With up to 10 screenshots, 5 videos and a 250 character keyword limit, the Amazon Appstore offers developers a more content-rich product page compared to its Android and Apple counterparts.
As an eCommerce giant, Amazon understands the importance of delivering high-quality content and customer satisfaction. Amazon continuously offer developers with the resources and support to build quality apps and games to generate revenue and increase user engagement.
Traditional monetisation practices are also available including premium paid for games, in-app purchases and Amazon’s mobile ad network.
Discoverability of apps and games doesn’t just stop with mobile. Amazon allows PC and Mac developers to use its digital software storefront to buy and sell software and games.
This channel would be a more useful solution for large software companies that produce mainstream, high-profile game titles benchmarked against console games or desktop software solutions such as Microsoft Office or Adobe PhotoShop that require a product key.
But marketers and developers shouldn’t just throw all their eggs in one basket. The Amazon Appstore is undoubtedly a small, yet promising, platform.
With a limited presence outside the US and Europe coupled with an audience focused on tablet, Kindle, TV and the smart home market, sales and download figures are low in comparison to Google Play and Apple App Store.
At best, the Amazon Appstore should be used as part of a wider marketing strategy to optimise discoverability of a title as well as an additional channel to generate revenue. Android and HTML5 developers can also take advantage of a considerably higher return on investment when porting their app across.
With a limited presence outside the Western market, territories including US, Great Britain, Canada, Spain, Italy, France and Germany remain Amazon’s strongest territories, which makes it an exciting opportunity for Western developers as an additional channel to market their apps – especially for indie game developers with modest marketing budgets.
Marketers will need to consider their target audience and the device the user will be using to make sure they meet customer expectations in the growing Amazon app environment.
If strategically implemented as part of an overall marketing strategy alongside traditional popular app stores, Amazon’s app store environment could provide huge rewards for Indie game, lifestyle and productivity app developers.