An In-Depth Look At Emerging Mobile Markets

We’re making big bets on publishers in emerging markets. While the smartphone revolution may have started in developed markets in the West, we’re confident that the largest growth wave of publishers will actually come from the emerging markets in the East.

In order to explore this hypothesis, we conducted a market research study with data from Priori Data. We analyzed the top 600 iOS and Android publishers in the world to determine where top publishers are currently based, then cross-referenced these publishers against estimated revenue, download traffic, and impression counts.

Where are top publishers based?

Not surprisingly, the developed countries have attracted the largest share of top publishers. The United States currently takes the lion’s share of top global publishers, with an estimated 22% of app downloads attributed to U.S-based publishers. Publishers from the United Kingdom and France also top the list, with their publishers earning 10% and 9% of app downloads, respectively.


However, the true 300-pound gorilla is China. In 2015, Chinese-based publishers and their apps will earn an estimated 15% of all app downloads. For the past three years, Chinese publishers have smashed through the charts for App Annie’s list of top 52 publishers by worldwide revenue. To put this in perspective, only two Chinese publishers appeared on this list for 2012. Just two years later, seven Chinese publishers dominated App Annie’s top 52 of 2014 list!

At a cursory glance, five of the top 10 countries with top publishers are classified as emerging markets. We feel that these are the countries to watch going forward.

Where is inventory becoming increasingly more valuable?

Based on several studies conducted by eMarketer, we forecasted mobile video ad spend in emerging markets. One interesting hotspot is the Southeast Asian market. Over the next three years, Southeast Asia will see the most rapid attraction of mobile video ad spend of any market in the world, at an estimated 122% growth rate year over year.

Other markets where mobile video ad dollars will pour in include Argentina, India, Brazil, and Russia – all have a 60%+ year-over-year growth rate for mobile spend. We hypothesize that this is due to two major reasons. First, we believe these countries are experiencing rapidly increasing smartphone and tablet penetration, thereby expanding the number of users involved in the app ecosystem. Second, we believe that each user in these markets is becoming more valuable to advertisers – more marketing dollars are being spent per user as discretionary incomes rise and consumer appetites evolve in these countries. There is a huge opportunity for publishers with traffic in these countries as well as publishers who build localized apps that specifically cater to the domestic traffic in these countries.

What’s the point?

An entire generation of mobile developers is coming of age in emerging markets. This means the mobile industry needs to be ready for new ideas about app content, app discovery, and app advertising. As a developer, make sure you understand the culture of emerging markets and the opportunity before diving in.

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Vungle's marketing team members have experience in gaming monetization, performance marketing, brand advertising, mobile analytics, app development and SaaS. We're former attorneys, journalists, research analysts, financial advisors and product managers. We are committed to producing content that helps brands and publishers across all verticals and industries grow their mobile businesses.

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