Secrets of the Alternative App Market. Interview for Xsolla

Xsolla — Billing + Payments designed for publishing games globallyOur partners Xsolla had a nice chat with representatives of Opera Mobile Store — one of the biggest independent app stores in the world. Opera Mobile Store manager Viacheslav Shybaiev and Mobile Store Front at Opera Mediaworks sales director Sandra Ilyina shared their insights on the advantages of advertising in alternative stores and shared some insights of the successful app-promotion through Opera Mobile Store.

What does Opera Mobile Store do and what platforms does this store support?

Sandra Ilyina, Sales Director, Mobile Store Front at Opera Mediaworks

Sandra Ilyina, Sales Director, Mobile Store Front at Opera Mediaworks

Sandra Ilyina: Opera Mobile Store is a cross-platform mobile store distributing apps and games for J2ME, Symbian, Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices. It also offers access to online mobile games for the above mentioned OS. For app developers the Opera Mobile Store is an effective distribution platform and one of the marketing channels of Opera Mediaworks, the world’s leading mobile advertising platform.

What are the main sources of profit for Opera Mobile Store?

Viacheslav Shybaiev: Last year, we experimented with different distribution models for paid content — one-time purchases, day-passes, and subscriptions. Today, we distribute paid content by subscription — which has proven a very effective model. Of course, advertising is a much stronger source of monetization.

What do developers usually want to get from Opera Mobile Store?

Sandra Ilyina: Market presence should never be limited to native stores. Many developers realize the importance of covering the major app marketplaces. Opera Mobile Store is #4 store by traffic in the world and can offer access to 105M monthly users. Moreover, developers can let OMS users download their apps from Google Play and the App Store to help realize higher rankings there.

Opera Mediaworks, which is part of Opera, is the leading advertising platform giving access to 500M mobile end-users both on Opera’s own inventory in Opera Mobile Store and Opera Mini browser and serving ads via 14,000 premium publishers worldwide.

A detailed view of the possibilities Opera Mediaworks app marketing channels provides developers can be studied in our official presentation.

What’s going on on the mobile app market?

Sandra Ilyina: The competition in the applications market is fierce. Google Play and App Store offer 1M apps each. In 2013, mobile app use grew by 115 percent over 2012, with consumers using mobile apps more now than they ever have. By 2016, 94.5 percent of all mobile apps downloaded will be free apps. According to industry experts, the majority of apps are not profitable. Nevertheless, thousands of mobile developers profit from in-app payments. The most popular categories are messaging and social apps, followed by utilities and productivity apps. Gaming apps allowing users to interact with other players generate significant revenue.

The important factors for increasing revenue from apps include maximizing the visibility of the products in store fronts, creating really exciting and engaging products. Last, but not least, an intuitive payment interface inside the app/game is very important.

What markets should developers try to conquer in the first place?

Sandra Ilyina: Previously, the United States and Western Europe were priority markets with the highest ROI. Now, many market players are also expanding their reach to Asia and developing markets. It is true that users in those markets have lower purchasing power but billions of users that can potentially be monetized cannot be ignored. Developed markets are over-saturated with good products. Developing markets are growing fast. The freemium distribution model is highly successful there.

What are the most effective business models for mobile apps?

Sandra Ilyina: According to statistics 95 percent of Android users are not purchasing paid apps (opposed to iOS users). The best model for Android apps is an app downloaded free and requiring micro transactions inside the app. Highly engaging games and social apps generate more revenue than paid apps requiring one time payment.

How do you work with IAP?

Viacheslav Shybaiev, Product Manager of Opera Mobile Store

Viacheslav Shybaiev, Product Manager of Opera Mobile Store

Viacheslav Shybaiev: Opera Mobile Store runs the store fronts in 230 countries and some of them have direct billing connections to mobile carriers. This makes purchases using mobile accounts very convenient for our the end-users. Developers are free to use any IAP mechanism in their apps, there’s no requirement from OMS to force using any particular IAP.

What is the daily user activity in Opera Mobile Store?

Viacheslav Shybaiev: We generate 2 million daily visits. Registration of users is not required — that makes Opera Mobile Store extremely easy to use. As a part of the Opera Mini browser ecosystem, the app store product is integrated with the browser platform and is also accessible from any other mobile browser. Since we moved to the subscription model, purchases have been replaced by active subscribers.

What apps are the most common in Opera Mobile Store? Games or Utilities?

Viacheslav Shybaiev: Opera Mobile Store audience is young, our users are mostly interested in games: racing, cycling, shooters, jewels, etc. Top categories also include Utilities and Communication.

What should we expect from Opera Mobile Store in the future?

Viacheslav Shybaiev: The most important problem each app store faces is app discovery. With the explosive growth of apps it’s getting harder for users to find an app they really need. The ideal app store of the future will make it very easy to find apps of interest to the end user. Social sharing is believed to be one of the most promising methods of app discovery. Opera Mobile Store’s product roadmap includes new features to support social app sharing. Also we are working on other app discovery prototypes and innovations with completely new user interface.

Thank you for your time!

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