In today’s blog post we are going to be interviewing Maciej Burno, VP of Business Development at Aptoide and Catappult. We want to understand from his perspective what it takes to Succeed in Alternative App Stores and hear some tips and tricks to success. Let’s head into the Q&A.
Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
“I’m the VP of Business Development at Aptoide and Catappult, previously I was working as Head of Partnerships for Games at Samsung Galaxy Store. In the past, I worked in the marketing area for different companies in the gaming industry. I have been in the gaming industry for over 20 years and I’m passionate about everything tech-related.
My story with alternative app stores started five years ago, when I was working at a publishing company and got asked the question “Can I distribute the game in an alternative app store?” and I thought “Why not?”. If it could bring traffic and positive results I didn’t see a reason not to try. That was my initial contact with alternative app stores and opened my eyes to new possibilities.
Later on, when working at Samsung and after having contact with Aptoide and Catappult I started to think “What if you could work with every store? And not only with one app store?”. After that, it was a no-brainer to join the company”.
Q. Why should I work with alternative app stores?
“Every developer is different and has distinct needs, but it doesn’t matter if you are big or small, you always want people to play your game. In the current scenario, most developers are just going to Google Play or iOS App Store and hoping to receive some visibility. But currently, there are 3.5 million apps on Google Play and 800,000 publishers, even if you have an excellent game it’s hard to get any visibility. Only the big ones have an easier time navigating these two giants’ universes.
An alternative that many take is to buy traffic, by investing in Google Ads, Apple Ads, Facebook Ads, and others to acquire users. But, at the end of the day, it can be too expensive, lowering profitability rates by a challenging amount. It’s a risky move to put all your eggs in one basket.
And that is why developers should work with alternative app stores, not just because of visibility, but it also gives them access to new users that many times come without any extra investment. It’s an opportunity to expand the audience and increase organic downloads through alternative stores. Platforms such as Aptoide, Vivo, Huawei… are much more likely to collaborate with developers and have niche focused material”.
Q. Why do developers reject third-party stores?
“I believe there are two main factors why developers reject alternative stores, first their prejudice of it and second the work it takes.
Back in the day alternative stores had a bad reputation, in the sense of not giving results and many didn’t try again after. But that’s not true anymore, we have seen multiple success cases in third-party stores.
The second and biggest barrier is that most developers think it’s a lot of work to distribute via alternative stores, and in many ways it is. If you’re doing it individually it takes contracts, finances, operation manager, SDK integration, updates, and much more for every single store. But what many forget is that you can have that centralized in a single platform”.
Q. Why is Catappult different?
“We’re an all-in-one platform, instead of having to do it multiple times, you do it only once. One integration, one contract, one SDK integration, one of everything. You can get access to 20+ alternative app stores around the world and approximately 430 million users. And we help every step of the way. The developer integrates once and in the future just sends us the updates. It saves hundreds of hours of work and simplifies everybody’s lives”.
Q. How do developers succeed in major stores vs alternative stores?
“In traditional stores, it’s necessary to build and maintain good relationships with Google and Apple platforms. Work with your team on the long-term plan and how to improve your game visibility and promotions to attract users. It’s also necessary to do user acquisition, media buying, influencers campaigns, and search optimization. Often, you know that without putting effort and marketing budget, you won’t succeed.
In alternative stores, you also need to maintain a relationship with the stores. They are willing to promote you, but they need to know about you first. Talk with your team and establish long-term expectations for this project, for example, grow the project revenues by 15% in 2 years. A good idea is also to enquire if the stores offer paid user acquisition, you would be surprised how low the prices could go. But don’t expect your revenues to be high if all you do is put your app there and forget about it. It doesn’t work that way”.
Q. Do you need to be a major game to benefit from this type of distribution?
“Not at all, it can be from small to big apps. We currently excel at apps that have in-app purchases, since it’s a great incentive to the platform to promote the game when there is revenue share. If it’s a casual game, it’s recommended to have a budget in mind, for example, you want to invest a certain amount in advertisements in one of our partner stores because they have provided great results for casual games. But we assist in that entire process. Another way to promote your game in alternative stores is to offer something extra, a special feature or gift that can be an incentive for the store to promote the game as having something exclusive. Creating a win-win situation”.
Q. Can you give us some examples of success cases?
“In the case of Catuppult our biggest success story is Lords Mobile from IGG. We started to work with the game 3 years ago and we were able to achieve approximately 20% of Google Play’s revenue. When Lords Mobile integrated with Catappult, it did not affect Google Play’s performance at all.
A second example is Mobile Legends, we started at the beginning of 2021 and we have reached approximately 10% of Google Play’s revenue so far.
Some older games, such as Clash of Kings are also another example that I would like to highlight. The developer decided to work with us and we were able to get 10x more users than Google Play. The reason why is even though the game is still extremely successful, it’s older, it doesn’t make it to the featured part of some stores and we’re able to use our power to promote the game on alternative stores. That in total gets to approximately 15% of Google Play’s revenue.
Our main goal is to bring users to the app and maximize the current revenues. When partnering with us, and having a clear strategy, you should expect approximately 10% within the first year and a 20-25% increase in revenues within 24 months. We offer a higher revenue share to the developer, additional users, and branding power. This is why you want to work with Catappult”.
Q. How to start?
“Search for the platforms that you like, and choose the best one for you. Of course, Catappult is, in my opinion, the best option.
You can contact us via our website and our team will get back to you as soon as possible. If you prefer to not talk to anyone you can simply access the Catappult uploader”.