Acquisition & Engagement

The Changing Face of Preloads

Becky Doles

Did you know that the average mobile user views their device more than 100 times per day? Did you also know that many mobile advertisers aren’t taking advantage of this valuable real estate? If you aren’t already considering mobile device preloads as part of your mobile advertising strategy, you should, and here’s why.

While not new, carriers and OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) have been actively equipping themselves to aid in the app discovery process in an already very crowded market. The most adopted practice has been utilizing preloads of big branded apps that can pay for global distribution. However, traditional preloads on Android devices have fallen short of meeting the advertiser and user standards. Why?

A shift in perception

The reality is that the end user perception of “bloatware” still exists. Preloaded apps can be viewed as unwanted and non-negotiable while consuming valuable device memory. However, carriers and OEMs are getting smarter and more sophisticated in utilizing preload solutions that offer relevant and engaging apps – which can enhance user experience and drive higher lifetime value from user engagement.

This transformation may seem underwhelming, but it’s a very important differentiator for advertisers. Evolving from a heavy pre-selection and certification process that happens months in advance of a device release to one that is customizable, relevant and real-time means app delivery becomes user-focused and can drive value over the lifetime of the device. The transformation of app preloads to a more traditional mobile advertising model allows carriers and OEMs to provide the ability to preload apps that meet the needs of their subscribers and move away from a “one-size-fits-all” mentality. This has a tremendous side effect of delivering higher engagement rates to advertisers.

Preloads utilize a cost-per-install model (CPI), meaning that the advertiser only pays for the install, versus the impression. Therefore, in addition to driving engaged user acquisition, preloads also provide the benefit of added impressions gained every time the user views the application name and icon on the home screen.

Increasing insight, extending reach

An additional key differentiator is analytics and optimization. Carriers and OEMs now have insight into how users are engaging with the apps that are available and the lifetime value driven by each app user. This provides the insights to optimize user experience and provide a more relevant experience in real-time. Consider as a mobile advertiser the power of understanding a user’s profile with full device behavioral indicators. Couple that with valuable real estate and high engagement rates, and you have a mobile ad strategy that has significant reach.

As is with all mobile ad strategies, testing is critical. Buying preloads that support real-time functionality is essential and allows for smaller test buys. In addition, having the flexibility to control which devices you include is essential to capitalizing on the market that is most effective in your user acquisition strategy. Ultimately, preloads have become a very viable solution in driving healthy, engaged user acquisition, and should be included in your consideration set for channel marketing.

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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