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.

How Many SDKs are Integrated in a Mobile App?

We’ve looked at the number of SDKs that are implemented by a single mobile app, on average, and how this number has changed in the past six months:

SafeDK Q4 2016 Report: Avg # of SDKs

Yes, this trend is dramatic.

The average number has grown significantly, and is now standing on 17.6 as opposed to being 15.6 only 6 months before. This trend brings great news for both SDK players and investors, as it shows that the potential in the SDK market is still huge, the market is growing and has not yet reached its limit. In short, the cake is getting bigger.

Moreover, the average number of integrated SDKs varies between different app categories. This was seen in the 1st report we’ve presented back in May.  But now we’ve discovered that mobile games no longer lead in the average number of SDKs:

SafeDK Q4 2016 Report: Avg # of SDKs by App Category

One can say that more SDKs mean more advanced capabilities, a stronger monetization strategy and so forth, we can assume that more traditional app categories are becoming more aggressive with their business efforts. Games were always considered early SDK adopters in their business approach. Can we assume that apps from other categories are growing up and quickly filling the gaps?

Which are the Most Popular SDK Categories?

Things are relatively stable here, with Analytics and Advertising still on top (though the advertising category has lost some market share, due to other categories gaining market share).

SafeDK Q4 2016 Report: Most Popular Categories

Analytics is still a must-have for app publishers wanting to know how their app is being used and how UX affects user actions etc. And with Advertising being the bread and butter of the free apps world, it’s no surprise seeing it’s still a close second.

Who are the Top SDK Players – Now and Then?

SafeDK Q4 2016 Report: Top SDK Players

Download our full report to explore all the categories such as: Advertising, Inbound Analytics, Attribution Analytics, Engagement, Crash Reporting, Social Network, Payment and Rewarded Videos.

SDK Map of Different Geos

SafeDK Q4 2016 Report: Avg # of SDKs by Publisher Origin

We’ve examined specific geos as well, looking at how trends may look in different development origins (countries). It seems that the global trend of the growing amount of SDKs integrated within apps is true across the globe, as the average number of SDKs integrated within apps was roughly 2 SDKs higher than in April.

New players

Firebase, the new mega-SDK that was introduced by Google last May is featured, and although not yet ruling the top charts, it has definitely made its appearance noticeable. Nearly 9% of all Android apps we’ve examined are already actively using at least one Firebase package.

SafeDK Q4 2016 Report: % of Firebase Penetration by Month

Also, its crash reporting SDK is putting up quite a fight against Twitter’s Crashlytics:

SafeDK Q4 2016 Report: Top Crash Reporting SDKs

So you’re using all these SDKs and that’s all great and everything… But what do you really know about these guests you’ve invited into your home? Click here to learn about SafeDK’s In-App Protection solution to control the SDKs within!

A Lot Can Change in Six Months…

In this second edition of our mobile SDKs trend report, we set out to not only reveal new trends, but to also run an interesting comparison to last April’s data.

The appearance of Firebase, the new SDK from Google, as well as the increase in the average number of SDKs integrated in apps, had reminded us how fast things change in this industry.

Other impressive discoveries included data gathered from apps in new Play Store categories, as well as specific SDKs that are gaining market share at the expense of others and much more…

Download the report to get the full picture.

We will continue to monitor the Android SDKs market, watching for more trends, developments, entrance of new players and new categories.

We will publish another report in the future to see where the trends are, as well as point out new trends and get the overall sense of the SDKs ecosystem.