Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Take a look inside Android apps: AppBrain Library Statistics

For Android developers, there are lots of tools available on the internet to help build their Android apps. There are many different companies offering solutions to put advertisements into apps, many ways to connect with social networks, and even more third-party libraries to perform a particular task, like analytics, communicating with a server, or keep track of when an Android app crashes.

Up until now, good information about the relative popularity of these different options was hard to find. Is Google Analytics or Flurry Analytics most commonly used for analytics? Admob is the best known ad network, but how common are other ad networks and for instance the ad networks that use aggressive advertising?
In evaluating a potential third-party library it’s very convenient to be able to see some good example apps that make use of this library. Which apps integrate with the Paypal payments SDK, and which are the most popular apps based on the Phonegap SDK?

With the launch of Android Library stats on the AppBrain site, we provide a daily updated view on the market shares of ad networks, social SDKs and development tools. The popularity is measured both by the fraction of apps that contain a particular library, and the fraction of installs that contain this library. On the details page for every library, these stats are also available for the top 500 Google Play market apps, and for apps that were launched in the last 30 days.
In addition, the market shares within specific Android market categories can be seen, and the top 10 apps that embed this particular library.

If you’re the developer of an Android library and you want to showcase which apps are embedding your library on your website, you can make use of an embeddable widget code, as shown above for the AppLift SDK.

We hope these statistics on Android libraries are a useful tool for developers and industry watchers by providing transparency on market shares of different libraries.
You can find the latest statistics on this page:

Did you find some interesting information in our stats? Let us know in the comments!

Happy stats browsing,

Mathijs for the AppBrain team

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Infographic: The top 10 Android ad networks

Android is currently the most popular smartphone platform. Since paid applications aren’t as popular on Android as on some other platforms, Android has the most free apps of any platform that exists today.
As developing an app requires skill and a lot of effort, even a free app needs to earn some money to make it worthwhile to develop. The most common way for developers to do this is to include some form of advertising in their app. This can be something that blends in naturally (such as Twitter’s promoted tweets), but this is only possible for big developers, and for smaller developers the only real option is to use an ‘ad network’: a specialized company that sells advertising. A good example is Google’s Admob; in fact the official Android guide on monetizing your app is just an explanation of how to set up an Admob account.

Unfortunately there are also a number of more aggressive forms of advertising on Android that can be put in apps, and we see them occurring in more and more applications. These new forms of advertising pop-up ads in the device’s notification bar even when you’re not using the app that has the advertisements, or new icons are sneakily added to your desktop. These ads lead to a worse user experience, and these networks therefore try to attract as many developers as possible with aggressive marketing and high revenue promises.

We were wondering how big the problem of aggressive advertising actually is, and which ad network Android developers most commonly choose. We analyzed 140,000 apps and put the results into the infographic on the left (click it to enlarge).

We found that roughly half of all free apps use one or more ad networks. Traditional banner ad networks are the most common among the top 10 most occurring ad networks, but we are surprised to see that altogether 12% of apps include at least one network with aggressive forms of advertising.

To see what the professional developers choose we looked at only the top 500 free apps in the Google Play market. The aggressive forms of advertising are less common among these apps, yet still clearly present. The market share of traditional banner advertising, and especially of Admob, is very high, even though revenues of banner ads are generally known to be quite low.

At AppBrain we hope that the aggressive forms of advertising will not grow out of control. We are providing two products to help combat this problem:
  • The AppBrain Ad Detector detects exactly which ad networks are present in the apps that are installed on your phone. This helps you to identify the apps which use aggressive ad techniques and allows you to get rid of them.  More developers will reconsider using such ads if more users can identify which app caused annoying ad pop-ups in their notification bar and on their desktop.
  • AppBrain Ad Detector on Google Play
  • For app developers we offer a new app monetization service called AppLift. AppLift can be embedded as an SDK in your app and shows free promoted app recommendations to interested users. Each promoted install generates revenue for the developer. This system provides very high monetization with a superior user experience. More information for developers is available at:

If you find the information in this infographic interesting, keep an eye on this blog! We will soon provide a way for you to dig into the information behind the infographic.

Mathijs for the AppBrain team