The digital media industry often talks about how much influence, dominance, and powerful entities like Google and Facebook have. Generally, the focus is on the vast troves of data and audience reach these companies tout. However, more beneath the surface strengthens the grip these companies have on app developers and publishers alike.
In reality, software development kit (SDK) integrations are critical to why these monolith companies have such a prominent presence. For reference, an SDK is a set of software development tools, libraries, code samples, processes, and guides that help developers create or enhance the apps they’re building.
SDKs provide in-app analytics, insights on campaign testing, attribution information, location details, monetization capabilities, and more through a digital marketing lens. In the case of companies like Google and Facebook, their ability to provide these insights dovetails with their data and reach.
While that does deliver valuable capabilities to developers and publishers alike, it also perpetuates the factors contributing to their perceived monopolistic status — and the detriments a lack of competition fosters.
Almost all (90%) ad-monetized Android apps have Google’s Admob SDK integrated, data from Statista showed. The Facebook Audience Network SDK is present in 19% of all global Android apps utilizing mobile ads. It’s worth noting that the large majority of alternative “leading” advertising SDKs outside these two players are used less than 13% of the time in Android apps.
As the app ecosystem rapidly expands beyond mobile borders, app developers and publishers would benefit immensely from identifying economical and secure ways of adopting more SDKs.
The state of SDK adoption
While many SDKs are available in the market today, a few key factors contribute to Google and Facebook’s overall dominance. The most basic is around the respective organizations’ reach and industry notoriety. However, a more significant component here is the lack of resources and time app developers have.