In August, Amazon opened its longstanding Amazon Associates Web affiliate program to mobile developers looking to monetize in-app purchases.
Using the Amazon Mobile Associates API, game and app developers could earn up to 6% in advertising fees on all Amazon product purchases they helped facilitate. And Amazon Appstore Developer Select launched in early October for mobile app developers looking to increase discoverability in the Amazon Appstore through premium placement.
Developers also were given 500,000 Amazon Mobile Ad Network impressions and inclusion in the Amazon Appstore Coins Reward program – all ways Amazon could incent and increase in-app engagement.
“If you look at Kindles, Androids, iPhones, iPads – those devices rise and fall based on the apps they have on the platform,” said Tim Ogilvie, co-founder of Think Gaming, a platform that applies demand-side platform-like decisioning to help mobile game developers monetize applications. “The question is, ‘What do you do if you’re Amazon and you want your devices to be successful?’ They’re providing a set of tools to basically incent developers to develop on their platform and use their SDKs.”
According to recent Gartner Research numbers, mobile app store downloads will reach 102 billion this year, up from 64 billion in 2012. Total mobile app store revenues are expected to hit $26 billion in 2013 with in-app downloads accounting for 48% of that total. Apple iOS and Android app stores will be responsible for 90% of app downloads by 2017.
Ogilvie added: “I think what [Amazon is] going for [is this idea of] you can grow share by being one of the people who is taking a toll on in-app purchases, which will be a huge driver of future revenue.”
Amazon’s in-app/developer enablement foreseeably sets the stage for the “Amazon Anywhere” effect – a ubiquity that spans devices, channels, applications and third-party sites.
One such developer is Alt12 Apps, a maker of three lifestage-oriented apps, which has amassed 11 million downloads across its BabyBump, Pink Pad and Kidfolio platforms. Alt12 Apps was an early Amazon Mobile Associates developer and has since joined the Developer Select pack.
“For us, it’s pretty important because a huge portion of the Kindle [audience] are female and women users, and we see that as an important platform to make sure we offer a good user experience for,” said Jennifer Wong, founder and CEO of Alt12 Apps. “We’ve been working with Amazon for a while now, like working with them and think it’s kind of natural they reached out to us to participate” in Developer Select.
Alt12 is fairly new to the Amazon Mobile Ads API front, but “it’s an area we are already extremely happy with,” Wong added. “We started out using the Mobile Associates API and [Amazon] kind of pinged us to try the advertising piece.” The Mobile Ads API is one part of a burgeoning SDK roster that also includes an Amazon A/B Testing Service, Amazon Maps API and Amazon Device Messaging.
Although Alt12 tends to develop first for iOS, they are optimized for Android and “want to make sure we have feature parity as we start to see Amazon and Android growing” in interest among its user base, Wong said. Another benefit of the Mobile Associates program, she added, is the direct link to Amazon physical and digital products. As Alt12 looks to develop related lifestyle and health platforms, being linked through Amazon’s APIs will enable the developer to “launch full-fledged stores” for its addressable audience.
Additionally, Amazon’s recent launch of the new feature, "Login and Pay With Amazon," ties together Amazon email identifiers and payment information to provide seamless sign-in to integrated third-party properties. This, Wong said, is “an absolute no-brainer for us. We will absolutely be integrating this. A majority of our users have Amazon accounts and I think this only facilitates making a purchase.”
Google, Amazon and Facebook are all "interested in being the company that’s plugged in across all data sets,” said Brian Long, co-founder and CEO of TapCommerce. “There’s so much you can do with data partnerships once you own that transaction.”