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Mobile apps are leveraging Smartphone OEMs during IPL to advertise big

Ashwin Shekhar, Co-Founder, AVOW, writes about why smartphone OEMs should be on every mobile marketer’s radar and considered an integral part of their mobile marketing strategy

Ashwin Shekhar

The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the most celebrated T20 formats in the sport of cricket all across the globe. A March 2022 study by Glance revealed that 61% of IPL viewers watch matches on their smartphones, and 70% of the total viewers keep regular checks on their phones for match updates, social media interactions, commentary etc. 

Let’s take stock of India’s smartphone market arena for a moment. As of March 2022, Xiaomi has been leading this market with 26.42% share, followed by Samsung occupying 17.49% market share (source- Statcounter). Other smartphone OEMs like Vivo (the erstwhile title sponsor of the IPL), Oppo, Realme, OnePlus, and Huawei have also been dominating the Indian smartphone market, bridging India’s population with its digital divide. 

As per the latest IPL App Marketing Report by AppsFlyer, the biggest industry focus for mobile marketers during this sports event is education, entertainment, finance, food & beverages, and gaming apps. Bidding on the IPL ad slots within live streaming of the event as a proactive strategy might not be the best choice for mobile app advertisers, particularly in the initial stages of user acquisition, whereas mobile OEMs can provide a grand alternative to meet marketers’ campaign’s goals. 

Decoding the scenario for mobile app advertisers

The number of matches being played in IPL 2022 has risen by 20%. Interestingly this year's IPL ad sales have already surpassed $ 530 million, with streaming platforms like Disney+Hotstar having increased their ad revenue by close to 25%. During the IPL season, there is a massive surge in the launch and promotion of apps falling in the sports and gaming category specifically. Considered as two of the top advertisers in the sports app category, MPL and Dream11 amongst other players are already leveraging the IPL 2022 season for brand promotional activities and user acquisition campaigns. With such market saturation, it means more time and toils for app developers to place their bets on advertising their mobile apps in such noisy markets. 

Mobile OEMs have turned out to be the perfect partners for sports apps to make the most of the IPL season. Let’s understand how!

App advertisers can leverage an alternate channel mix to boost their brand campaigns with Mobile OEMs such as Vivo, which had bagged the title sponsorship for IPL from 2016 to 2019 and then in 2021. IPL is the most significant event for mobile apps, specifically in the sports and gaming category, to engage large audiences and gain traffic. However, they don't need to look further to reach millions of people while keeping their budget in mind. Smartphone OEMs dominate the Indian market with an untapped inventory where advertisers can make a move to harness their ads in the peak IPL season which is completely brand-safe and fraud-free.  

OEMs provide a significant untapped inventory with more than 1.5 billion daily active users for advertisers to acquire new users interested in downloading their mobile app or similar apps in the sports category. 

Sports app advertisers are benefiting from Smartphone OEMs during IPL

The speed and relevance of ad and marketing campaigns have become increasingly important. Smartphones have connected users to sports apps so much that it is imperative for apps in this category to deliver their ad campaigns and get the most out of these campaigns to meet the campaign goals. Take Gamezy, a fantasy cricket and multi-games app as a case in point. It took a step forward by placing its bet on smartphone OEMs to reach out to the larger masses. Standing out from the crowd during this peak season is a big challenge, however with the help of app growth marketing companies and their Mobile OEM partnerships, Gamezy has been able to tap into new users all across the country.

It is time for mobile marketers to understand the advantages which can be reaped if they consider advertising their sports apps with OEMs during the rest of the IPL 2022 season.

  • With OEM app advertising, they can leverage an exclusive app store featuring per day and specific dates with multiple ad formats such as video ads, rewarded ads, native ads, and banner ads with unique ad placements.
  • They can get exclusive screen takeovers with splash ads and show the best of their sports app on the entire smartphone screen in a video format to create instant brand awareness and interest among users. 
  • This strategy can make way for Appographic Targeting to help marketers promote their app to users with similar interests beyond category and ownership to elevate their app install rates.
  • OEMs offer customised push notifications for targeting high-value users during the IPL season to enable app discovery as there is 72.71% YoY growth for gaming apps (source- AppsFlyer).
  • Marketers can explore PMP deals at private marketplaces (PMPs) with OEMs where they can bid on suggested inventories for a specific time period such as the peak IPL season to get the best out of their user acquisition campaigns. 

Smartphone OEMs provide a mix of diverse outstanding alternatives than live streaming ads during the IPL cricket matches, which according to industry estimates can cost more than Rs 1 crore for a 30-second slot to really get the ROAS marketers aim to reach. With OEMs, sports app advertisers can create and cater to various audiences that have more reach and improve their chance of visibility and gaining users. Therefore, smartphone OEMs should be on every mobile marketer’s radar and considered an integral part of their mobile marketing strategy. 

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