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Professors Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne first introduced the concept of red and blue oceans back in 2005, spawning a new way of thinking about market strategy. They divided opportunities into red oceans and blue oceans, with red oceans representing existing marketplaces crowded with competitors and blue oceans being wide-open unexplored markets with unbound potential — which is where mobile partnerships come in. 

What makes mobile partnerships a blue ocean? 

Survival in a red-ocean market is a zero-sum game because a fixed universe of existing wealth must be divided among rival companies. But in a blue ocean unspoiled by competition, businesses have unlimited growth opportunities and can develop market share uncontested.

In the world of partnerships, mobile is the definition of a blue ocean right now, in part because the perceived complexity and technical barriers of app-based integrations have kept new players out of the water. As a result, the app-based partnership universe is an untapped opportunity where agile players can gain the advantage if they choose to take the plunge. 


The marketers who are out there are definitely making waves. Ticketmaster has been very successful in using native app integrations to drive app installs and allow users to seamlessly purchase Ticketmaster tickets directly from fan sites, concert listings, and music streaming apps such as Spotify. And consumers routinely do things like book an Uber from United Airlines’ app or an Airbnb rental from Quantas’s. 

Mobile partnerships are clearly the future when it comes to creating seamless and powerful consumer experiences. But along with that big open ocean of possibility comes risk, because just as the limits and potential of the ecosystem are not yet fully understood, so are its hazards. 

Three tips for avoiding squalls on the sea of app-ortunity

The upsides of mobile partnerships are huge, and here are three ways to confidently navigate these uncrowded waters:

1. Don’t get bitten by “app not present”

Let’s say you are in the business of selling movie tickets, and a consumer is reading about the weekend’s films on your partner’s news app (which prominently shows links to purchase tickets using your app). All good — unless the user doesn’t have your app downloaded. In that case, they’ll click on the link and end up at your mobile website, where the checkout experience is less sleek and the risk of abandonment much higher. That’s the “app not present” shark that can bite into your sales. 

The solution is deferred deep linking, which instead of taking the user to your mobile website, opens an interstitial that provides the option to download your app. 

Most importantly, once the user installs the app, deferred deep linking logic deep links them to the right place within it — to their selected movie at their chosen theater location — providing the most frictionless experience possible.

2. Automate to avoid install fraud undertow

Getting users to install your app is expensive, and eMarketer notes that driving app installs remains the leading goal among mobile app marketers. Through techniques such as install farms running device reset marathons, many bad actors run illicit operations to defraud marketers with fake or low-quality installs. Anyone running a CPI program should never let their guard down. No one wants to waste money on a low-quality install that has no chance of turning into a paying customer. And no one wants to waste time chasing after chargebacks, especially after hours of tedious manual analysis to look at each install and assess if it is real.

Be sure your blue ocean strategy includes an automated way of flagging sources of fraudulent installs. Use that to clean up your partner pool, and use the money and time saved to find more reliable partners.

3. Fend off install attribution pirates

Mobile install attribution fraud is unique to the app world. These bad actors not only fake installs, they also deploy illicit methods to unfairly take credit for driving an install they had nothing to do with. This means you end up paying malicious partners for installs that would have happened organically anyway or should be credited to an honest partner. 

Unfortunately, detecting signals of fraud manually is extremely time-consuming and only happens after commissions are paid out, which means even more time gets wasted negotiating chargebacks. What’s more, when bad actors defraud your CPI program and steal installs, your good partners may jump ship for one of your competitors.  

The solution is automated detection of install attribution, which should be a basic part of all app acquisition programs. Be sure you work with a mobile partnership solution with built-in capabilities to detect and flag suspicious partners who are trying to claim credit for app installs they didn’t generate.

Mobile partnerships await you, and now’s the time to dive in, when the possibilities are endless and the waters clear. Make the most of this opportunity with an Impact growth technologist at your side, reach out to grow@impact.com.Want to know more about performance fraud? Check out this animated directory. Want to dive deeper into mobile partnerships’ blue ocean of app-ortunity? Read our comprehensive ebook, Mobile partnerships: Your blue ocean of “app-ortunity.”

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