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[REPORT] The Trendiest Mobile App Tools (SDKs) of Spring 2017

June 26, 2017 2:56 PM

For over a year now, we’ve been doing a constant survey of Google Play, analyzing the top apps available for free worldwide. Our motivation is to uncover the hottest mobile SDKs used by app publishers.

Mobile apps would not be the same without 3rd party tools and libraries. The thriving set of capabilities offered is astonishing. Most publishers will rush to market and won’t have the time, resources or will to develop these complete products on their own, in addition to their app. And why should they, when other players in the mobile world have gone pro in developing just these kind of features…?

Our analysis has seen the trends of app publishers using SDKs, from high-level numbers to category-specific drilldown and even by geographical origin. We’ve tackled mobile apps from various angles and are happy to share the latest trends in our newest report, looking at data from May 2017. With an arsenal of over 900 SDKs and more than 150,000 apps at our hands, we have the full Android SDK picture.

Main Highlights

Please note that we are sharing here a partial selection of the findings that are presented in the full report. To access the full report (download is free) click here.

How Many SDKs are Integrated in a Mobile App?

The second quarter of 2017 is a special one. Ever since we began doing our analysis, we’ve seen a steady rise in the average number of SDKs used in apps. However, after seeing it slow down a bit the previous quarter, we have now seen it stay the same. And we must wonder what, if anything, does this mean – is this a hiccup on the trajectory going upwards or will 17.8 – the current number – become the new normal?

SafeDK May 2017: Avg. # of SDKs by Quarter

But there’s a much bigger story at play here. Our report shows the average number by different criteria, such as the store categories or install range. Here’s a sneak preview of the game subcategories for example:

SafeDK May 2017: Avg. # of SDKs in Gaming apps

The range is wide. Some game categories, for example, are higher this quarter than last and well above the global average. Arcade’s average number, for instance, was the same as the global one last quarter, but these apps have dropped an SDK by average this quarter.

But how do Games fare in general compared to other categories? Are they using more or less SDKs this quarter? Are they using more or less than News apps, Dating apps or Fitness apps? Download the report for free to get the full scope!

What are the Most Popular SDK Categories?

High-level trends seem to be fairly constant this quarter. Not just the average number of SDKs, but which SDK categories, i.e. capabilities and features, are most desired.

SafeDK May 2017: Top Payment SDKs

But as previously seen, even if high-level numbers are constant, lower-level drilldown is where the trends hide. Publishers’ desires for SDK capabilities remain the same, but their desire for the SDK themselves vary.

The Payment category is just one of such examples. Android Pay is used much less, OpenIAB is used much more and if you take a look at the geographical dive in the full report, you’ll see where a Bitcoin payment SDK is getting stronger…

Who are the Top SDK Players?

Globally, these are the strongest SDK players in the Android market this quarter:

SafeDK May 2017: Top SDK Players

Firebase is still getting stronger. How much stronger exactly? And what is going on which its predecessor Google Analytics in the meantime? Who’s conquering the Advertising world and who’s dominating the Engagement and Marketing Automation category (hint: an old-faithful climbed to first place!)? Download the full report to find out!

How Does the SDKs Map Look in Different Countries?

SafeDK May 2017: Avg. # of SDKs per Publisher Origin

As mentioned, the report also provides a drill down to some origins and categories, looking for local trends. With a year’s experience at hand, we can tell you – local trends often foreshadow global changes. It’s definitely worth taking a look!

It’s Going to be a Hot Summer!

With new players emerging in some categories and old ones getting stronger and stronger, we’re left to wonder what the future holds. Will apps be using more SDKs? If not, how will categories, origins or install bases react? Which SDKs will continue to get stronger and which ones will lose market share to other? Will there be a new player or capability that will turn the mobile table?

We have shared here just the tip of the SDK iceberg. So don’t wait, download it for free now!

How Top Mobile App Publishers Boost Ad Revenues While Maximizing UX

May 8, 2017 3:35 PM

Let’s get real for a second. App monetization is what it’s all about. Most of us get into the mobile app game not just to make the world a better place, but also to bring home the bacon. We put in hours upon hours trying to figure out where our users get lost, we pour hundred and thousands of dollars on trying to get the right users to notice us, and we consider most UX changes longer than we would a prospective spouse. That’s how important our app monetization is to us.

After all the hard work and long hours, we deserve a little something-something for our time and effort. So how frustratingly nerve-wrecking, not to say annoying, it is to learn that the very thing that should have turned a profit ends up hurting the bottom line? Especially when it’s not even the part of the app you wrote?

According to our January 2017 data analysis, most free Android apps use Advertisement SDKs in their app:

SafeDK | Most Popular Mobile SDK Categories Jan 2017

Ads are definitely the #1 source for app monetization in today’s market. It’s why we see their share consistent quarter after quarter.

And since SDKs are what we’re all about at SafeDK – ad-networks not excluded – we started monitoring what ad-networks are showing users. Allow me to share with you some real-life cautionary tales and answer the age-old question about user experience and app monetization: can I have my ads and eat it too?

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5 Myths of Using Mobile SDKs that Mobile Developers Must Know

April 19, 2017 2:11 PM

You know how some things were created to make our lives easier? The same has happened in the mobile development industry with SDKs. The growing use of SDKs has certainly made developers’ lives easier. They don’t need to spend time writing code and developing back-end stability for functionalities unrelated to the core of their apps.

According to our latest SDK trends report, a single app implements 17.6 SDKs on average, which means that mobile SDKs are popular today more than ever. But do we know all there is to know about the mobile SDK industry? Do we understand the potential and correctly estimate the risks?

While talking with many of our clients, prospects, and industry professionals, I noticed some major misconceptions regarding the use of SDKs.

Unfortunately having these misconceptions is a recipe for disaster – if you don’t know what some of your app’s code does, you could be subject to collateral damage. Therefore, I thought it was necessary to write this post and break some of these myths.

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[Infographics] The State of Mobile SDKs at the Start of 2017

March 8, 2017 4:07 PM

During the course of 2016, we’ve published two reports uncovering the state of mobile SDKs: one in April and on in October. We explored which SDK categories are most popular, exposed which SDKs are leading their category and even compared global and local trends. And judging by last year, we knew 2017 would be as interesting to explore, if not more.

We’ve just published a new report, looking at January 2017. The data comes from a thorough analysis of over 100,000 Android apps, featured in various Google Play stores around the world and available to download for free.  Together, these apps integrate hundreds of SDKs, from the top industry players to new players hoping to take the mobile world by storm.

And let us tell you right now that looking at the January data, and comparing it to the data from our previous reports (and the months in between), we’ve spotted some truly fascinating trends…

Main Highlights

Please note that we are sharing here a partial selection of the findings that are presented in the full report. To access the full report (download is free) click here.

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The Hottest Mobile App Tools (SDKs) of Q4 2016

January 3, 2017 12:41 PM

It wasn’t too long ago that app developers didn’t know what’s what in the mobile SDKs world. Who’s stronger than whom and who’s fighting to keep their head above water. All that has changed. Last May, we released our first ever Android SDKs Trend Report, disclosing who’s hot and who’s not as we listed the top players overall, in different categories, geos and whatnot.

Now we’ve published our second report, based on an analysis of over 100,000 free Android apps, comprised of apps featured in Google Play’s top charts. These apps implement hundreds of SDKs, including all top industry players.

The report looks at October 2016 data, analyzes the SDKs that are active internationally, and are integrated in the apps we’ve looked at.  The data is then compared with the data presented in the April 2016 report to reveal the leading trends.

Main Highlights

Please note that we are sharing here a partial selection of the findings that are presented in the full report.  To access the full report (download is free) click here.

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All You Need to Know About Mobile App Attribution & Analytics SDKs

September 28, 2016 12:44 PM

We’ve recently released a new Android Mobile SDKs Data Report, revealing the top SDK players in each category, as well as the most popular SDKs categories.

One such popular category is of Attribution Analytics SDKs that allow apps to track the source of their app’s installation. Most app publishers that acquire users through paid installs and engagement campaigns have implemented at least one premium Attribution Analytics SDK, which is probably why this category is among the most popular. Our report discloses which Attribution SDKs are the most popular (depicted below), as well as a geographical drill-down (which SDKs are being used by different developers around the world).

Soon we will publish a new report and will show the trends of Attribution SDKs in the past few months.

SafeDK Data Report: Attribution Category

Because this is such a popular and important category, we’ve decided to dive deeper and share some ways to optimize their cost effectiveness.

Take for example the SDK Adjust. It has recently sent an email to its entire customer base, updating them on a significant price change. And the industry responded accordingly. Many developers started looking for alternative attribution tools or ways to operate their paid media activities without implementing paid attribution tools.

Many of our colleagues started thinking and asking questions. As did we.

We have decided to write this post in an effort to help app publishers with their queries and provide some answers to hot questions. Why use attribution SDKs, when are they “just beneficial” and when are they are a must have, how much should you pay, which tools you should choose etc.

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Find out Who’s Crashing your Party! Mobile Crash Reporting Tools Review

June 27, 2016 4:46 PM

As every app developer surely knows, monitoring your app’s stability is a must. And there’s hardly anything more important than keeping your crash count down to a minimum. No developer wants to end up with a bad app reputation because he or she didn’t pay enough attention to what’s really going on with their app out in the world.

Fortunately, there is a variety of crash reporting tools at your disposal with which you can arm yourself. These tools help developers identify and respond to common crashes in a timely manner.

Think of reporting tools as alert guard dogs, always ready to let you know if something goes wrong so you can identify the culprit and contain it. They also offer critical data and analysis about the number of crashes, including which devices were affected most and so on.

But, which crash reporting tool should you implement in your app? And, how can it benefit you compared to other tools?

It’s not an easy decision. You need to choose smartly from the plethora of solutions out there. Nobody can do the selection process for you. Not even us. You are the one who knows your product best; Your KPIs, restrictions and budget limitation. But, we can try and ease the process a bit.

To help you make the best decision, we asked multiple app developers about their favorite go-to tools and put together a review of the top tools available.  We also tracked online reviews posted by developers, with remarks about advantages and disadvantages.

Needless to say, we are not engaged with any of these tools, nor do we prefer one over others. Still, we did include qualitative feedback from developers we know or comments that we’ve read through online groups and forums.

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The All-Star Winners of Mobile App Tools (SDKs)

June 13, 2016 3:53 PM

Highlights from our recent SDKs data trends report that was featured by VentureBeat.

The mobile app industry is huge. It’s young and growing at an amazing rate, feeding an entire ecosystem. 3rd party SDKs (Software Development Kits) play a key part in the mobile app industry. Hundreds of thousands of app publishers are building millions of apps, with the crucial support of 3rd party mobile SDKs that provide their apps with advanced analytics, engagement, monetization, social and many other capabilities.

App publishers can choose between thousands of SDKs to integrate, but only some will make an optimal choice in terms of quality, pricing and added value.

It appears that apps at different scales and categories vary in their choices of how many SDKs to integrate, which SDK categories are a must, and so on.

Until recently there wasn’t much data out there to rely on with regards to mobile SDK trends. App developers explored SDKs via recommendations from colleagues, professional groups, and industry events.

Well, that’s why we decided to release a comprehensive Android SDKs Trend Report, relying on data (from April 2016) attained from 35,000 Android apps, found on top charts worldwide (including all categories; Games and Family subcategories in the mix), and explore hundreds of SDKs implemented within these apps.

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Enough with the Mobile SDK Mess: A New Technology Is Born

February 9, 2016 4:05 PM

SafeDK is presenting at MWC – Set a demo meeting!

In a previous blog post I’ve written (Mobile SDKs: Use with Caution), I mentioned the potential risks related with integrating Mobile SDKs into your mobile app. ‘SDKs’ as in these off-the-shelf 3rd party tools that app developers integrate into their mobile app for advertising, payment, analytics, social and many other functions. We all know that SDKs are a necessity in the mobile development process, but not all app publishers are aware of how these SDKs can affect the app’s performance, stability, battery consumption, security and privacy.

After going through an extensive analysis of a tens of thousands of apps and hundreds of different SDKs, we realized that there are 2 major domains of problems when using 3rd party SDKs. Both are crucial:

  • Security and Privacy – SDKs may contain viruses, malwares, backdoors or, most commonly, piggy-bag your app permissions to access your users’ private data.
  • User Experience – SDKs may contain bugs, consume a great deal of battery power and data, crash your app, slow down your app, and so forth.

During the last few months, we all read about major SDKs-related issues: apps that were banned from the stores because of a specific SDK that violated Apple or Google regulations, an ad-network SDK which  displayed ads that were  incompatible with the app’s ‘spirit’ (e-cigarette commercial in a kids app, someone?), marshmellow incompatibility of SDKs in an app that was supposed to be compatible… and the list goes on and on.

Basically, app developers must all ask themselves the following, ASAP:

Do I really know what’s going on with my app's SDKs? Can I really vouch for my app when I use so many 3rd party codes?

That’s exactly what led us to establish SafeDK. I focused my entire career on mobile development, and like everyone else, I constantly implemented SDKs the messy way… It took me a while, but I finally realized I was out of control, using so many SDKs. But I sure wasn’t going to work on all these SDKs’ functionalities in-house, so I created SafeDK to provide an optimal and elegant solution to this dilemma. This is simply what we say: Implement as many SDKs as you want, in order to create a wonderful app in the shortest time-to-market possible, but use SafeDK to maintain transparency and control over the SDKs code.

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Serious About Your App Marketing? Here Are Your Must-Have SDKs

January 20, 2016 2:15 PM

A guest post by Einav Laviv, cofounder @appgo2market G2Mteam and a mobile app marketing expert.

A descent app marketer would keep bugging developers, asking them to implement 3rd party tools. I know I do.  It’s time to provide some explanations and share some recommendations while I am at it.

The basic truth is this: SDKs save lives… app marketers’ lives, that is. I remember myself begging developers to add features I badly needed, back in the pre SDKs age. I needed communication channels, analytics, and so forth. But, getting all I wanted was just not feasible as the development effort was huge. Improving core functionalities was always prioritized at the expense of marketing features. Till SDKs came and opened up a whole new world of possibilities.

Time passed and I witnessed a huge supermarket of SDKs emerging in front of my eyes. When there’s a need, there’s an ecosystem.

My challenge shifted to selecting which SDKs to use and staying up-to-date with what’s new, as there are so many (can’t complain, though)

How do I make the selection? Which is a “must” on my list? Well, first things first, I organize SDKs in categories, and made sure I covered all my bases (a.k.a categories).

You can think of mobile app marketing using three main building blocks: “Distribution”, “Retention” and “Monetization”. These are also a great way to organize your thoughts around 3rd party tools.

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