Get In The Game: Affiliate Marketing For Apps 2022

Mapendo Team
August 3, 2022
Get In The Game: Affiliate Marketing For Apps 2022

In the realm of mobile apps, affiliate marketing, which pays affiliates for promoting a company's goods and services, is one of the most effective advertising strategies. Affiliates are delighted to cooperate since they can profit from the business's use of this sort of marketing to increase clicks and app downloads.

What is affiliate marketing for apps?

Affiliate marketing is an advertising activity aimed at the acquisition of traffic or users for companies’ products or services. In the context of app install campaigns, it refers to the acquisition of mobile users for a company’s app and it is one of the main channels in every paid user acquisition strategy.

By promoting affiliate links provided by the app owner i.e the advertiser, and sharing them online you are officially an affiliate marketer. For every action that occurs (sale, subscription, install, etc) the advertiser will reward you for delivering a customer.

Looks good, doesn't it?


The main players of affiliate app marketing: 

  • App developers/advertisers;

    Advertisers are an indispensable part of the mobile app marketing world, the entity who wants to promote its business, product or service, which, in the world of mobile app marketing, is a mobile app. Therefore, advertisers are usually app developers, app publishers or even content providers, who want to grow their app’s user base.

  • Mobile measurement partners (MMPs);

    MMPs are those who act as a third-party provider to attribute, collect, and organize app data to deliver a unified overview of a brand's campaign performance.

  • Mobile ad networks;

    Mobile ad networks are integrated platform that connects advertisers with app developers or publishers looking to sell mobile ad inventory.

  • Publishers:

    Publishers are in charge of bringing traffic to the promoted product or service, which is a mobile app in the case of app marketing and app install campaigns. Publishers are all the websites and mobile apps where the ads promoting the advertisers’ apps are shown to users. Publishers are not responsible for producing ads and creatives but they only show them to the end-consumers.

Why affiliate marketing helps your app growth strategy

Now let us look at this from the point of view of the advertiser. How does investing in affiliate marketing for apps help your app to grow? Why is it important to participate in this trade? Well the benefits speak for themselves:

Benefits of affiliate marketing for apps

Mobile app affiliate marketing relationships that are effective can easily increase your earnings. The process of advertising can be streamlined, security can be enhanced, and traffic can be increased with the correct network.

But let's break down the specific benefits of affiliate marketing for app in more detail:

Affiliate marketing is an effective channel for acquiring new users for mobile apps and helps advertisers save money in their app install campaigns. Indeed, with CPA model advertisers pay only for users who generate some post-install events which are often aligned with business KPIs. This means that advertisers pay only for users who generate in-app revenues.

Most advertisers want to pay on a CPA basis (Cost Per Action). They want to gain new users that specifically sign up for subscriptions, or other valuable actions such as placing a food delivery order. Depending on the App itself, its maturity in the market, and the campaign strategy goals, CPA can be the best way to approach a new campaign. As for CPI (Cost Per Install), the Campaigns are used when the goal is strictly to gain new users for the app in question in order to really build out the user base and gain more market share. Even though CPI is less safe than CPA for advertisers, it still brings more value than CPC or CPM models, which make advertisers pay for traffic which does not necessarily lead to new users. 

  • Reach wide audiences and target high-quality users

These alliances give you the chance to diversify into new markets that you might not otherwise have the resources to investigate or to further saturate your current target markets, giving your brand a far greater online presence. Consider these partners as an addition to your present sales or marketing staff.

The users who do not carry out in-app events, and who are therefore acquired for free, can be engaged with subsequent marketing campaigns such as remarketing in order to be converted into high-LTV users. 

  • Leverage app campaign optimization to increase KPIs

Another major benefit of affiliate marketing for your app is that it works to leverage the optimization of your app campaign in order to increase KPIs. Some of these mobile ad networks are able to optimize app install campaigns not only to bring in new users, but also to acquire users who are more likely to bring high-LTV, to generate in-app revenues and to make you increase your ROAS. 

Drawbacks of affiliate marketing 

However, like anything, affiliate marketing for apps is not all smooth sailing as it may present some cons.

  • Fraud: there is risk that some installs may be fraudulent, which can increase also because of the low level of transparency provided throughout the app install campaigns by affiliate networks. Players in this industry must always improve their technology in order to fight fraud and grant legitimate installs and results.
  • Less transparency: Indeed, the level of transparency provided by affiliate networks to advertisers is lower than the one granted by programmatic partners for example. Thus, advertisers often do not know where their app install campaign ads are shown and this can generate reputational risks. 
  • Measurement: you need integration with MMPs to attribute installs and in-app events to your app’s marketing sources. However, this attribution is not always 100% accurate, especially given the iOS new privacy change making deterministic attribution possible only when users explicitly give their consent to be tracked across mobile apps. 


After taking all of these things into consideration, you should see the benefit of combining your mobile app development technology with that of other companies to market your app through affiliate marketing. This is a tried-and-true advertising strategy that is gaining popularity and is successfully boosting firms' profits without degrading app user experience.