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Section 508

March 17th, 2016

The 67 Mobile App SDKs You Need to Know About

Third-party SDKs are essential today in order to deliver ‎winning mobile apps, games, and services. SDKs help deliver apps faster, better, more reliably and with functionality based on experts in each field. But you also need to consider aspects such as cost, possible impact on performance and battery as well as SDK fragmentation (keeping track of all your SDKs).

Here’s a list of the top SDKs we use and recommend for mobile development, as well as others that we have experience in using.

Analytics
If you don’t know what your customers are doing, you can’t know what they are looking for or need. You have to get this right from the start.

Our top choices:

  • Segment; need to use multiple tools to analyze or don’t know which tool to use? Collect your customer data in one place, send it anywhere.
  • Google Analytics‎; the best all-round tool for mobile analytics and free for most apps.

We also use Adobe Analytics, Localytics, Flurry, Mixpanel, ‎Kissmetrics, Countly and Omniture.

Location
Need more accurate ‎location, indoor or outdoor, than what the standard iOS and Android SDKs provide?

Our top choices:

  • Bluedot‎; improves accuracy outdoor by 20x down to a few feet with minimum battery use.
  • indoo.rs‎; combines Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other signals to provide highly accurate indoor positioning and analytics.

And we also use Crowd Connected and Apple GeoLocation.

Customer Engagement (push notification and SMS)
Continuous and personal engagement is key to long-term success. The choice of platform really depends on where your customer data is stored and managed, but the important thing is to have a holistic tool for all communication including push notifications, SMS and e-mail.

Our standard ‎choice is Google Cloud Messaging thanks to cost, ease of implementation and ability to customize.

We also like Urban Airship, Carnival, Appboy, Airpush, ‎Amazon SNS, Push.io, Marketo, Salesforce and Apptentive.

Performance Monitoring and Troubleshooting SDKs
Remember when the Facebook app was crashing all the time and everyone was complaining? Tracking ‎platform crashes and performance of your app is key to ensure customer satisfaction.

Our recommended SDK is Crashlytics which provides detailed lightweight crash reporting for iOS and Android.

We’ve also used New Relic‎ and Apteligent (former Crittercism)‎.

Chat, Voice and Video
Need to power your app with user ‎support, helpdesk or even group video calls? It can be done easily with some of these SDKs.

Our top choices:

  • Helpshift; specialized service for app and web customer support via chat, FAQs and more.
  • C2Call‎; chat, voice and video calls.

Other tools we’ve tried include Google Hangout, Zendesk, Freshdesk, Hipmob and Happyfox (HelpStack)‎.

Distribution and A/B Testing
Pre-distribution of apps for testing and pilots used to be a big challenge. Thankfully this has changed with a myriad of great tools that have also made it easier to test new features to a controlled audience.

Our favorites:

Payments
Most payment providers still provide a relatively poor mobile experience, but this is rapidly changing with the majority of all payments likely going mobile within a few years.

Our recommended mobile payment providers are Braintree (PayPal) and Stripe thanks to their mobile-first focus and great developer support.

We know what we’re talking about because we’ve also implemented 20+ other payment solutions including Apple Pay, Android Pay, Worldpay, Paymentech, MasterCard, Visa, CardFlight and more.

Customer Feedback
Getting direct feedback on what’s good and bad outside of the app store reviews is key to positive reviews and improving your app and service.

We recommend Apptentive that helps boost app ratings and get real feedback from customers.

We’ve also used AskingPoint, HelpStack, Doorbell.io and SurveyMonkey.

Advertising and Attribution
Driving downloads is important, but what’s even more important is targeting, acquiring and keeping the right customers. With mobile advertising spend over $20Bn in 2015, there are a lot of great adtech companies for advertising and app downloads. Which one is right for you will depend on market, target audience, budget, and more.

For attribution, which essentially means tracking conversion and engagement from the customers you acquire, we recommend adjust which provides great analytics and attribution data.

We also use AppsFlyer and Kochava.

On the app download and advertising side we don’t want to make any particular recommendation, but we’ve had good experiences from Supersonic, Fiksu, Appsfire, Criteo, InMobi, AdMob (Google), Millennial (AOL), Yahoo, and of course Facebook and Twitter.

Games
This is a unique area and very specific to apps. To our knowledge there is really only one platform that you have to know about and that is Unity.

We also have some experience from Marmalade, AppGameKit and Corona Labs.

Summary
This is by no means a complete list and there are always new companies coming and going in the app development space, but hopefully it gives you a good overview of available SDKs for your mobile application based on our experience.

Are you missing any great SDKs on the list? Disagree with our recommendations? Have a different experience? Let us know!

Magnus Jern
President DMI International

Tags: app development mobile apps

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