How App Marketers Can Combat "SDK Fatigue"

Read Time: 5 - 10 min

Playing a role in the competitive mobile industry is challenging, but being a successful mobile app marketer in this ever-changing industry is VERY challenging.


The fight for a mass of quality retained users, the constant need to exceed our KPIs while minimizing media spend, and the chase for positive ROI at scale are all tough goals.


The Role of Mobile SDKs in App Marketing

Having a superb app UX is necessary, but it’s not enough. An app has to have an efficient ‘behind the scenes’ business operation, an advanced marketing team and an established business model, to make it in our industry.


Just like APIs in the online world, mobile SDKs are external pieces of code custom made for mobile apps, that help developers enrich their apps with advanced functionalities, such as analytics, automation, advertising, attribution and more.


SDKs solve an important pain, as they let the app developers work on the app’s core functionalities, while “leasing” code pieces that enrich the app with general capabilities, they would have needed to develop themselves, otherwise.


Implementing SDKs in your app is a key success factor that could put you ahead or behind today’s market curve.


We, app marketers, are dependent on adding SDKs to the app we market to ensure success with our growth, retention, and monetization efforts.  We simply can’t meet (let alone exceed, which is, in fact, what we are after) the industry standards without adding 3rd party SDKs into our apps that help us every step of the way.


We know we are not alone in this. We all lean on mobile SDKs for growth, usage analytics, engagement, marketing automation, attribution, monetization and more. But what does set app marketers apart is a seldom-discussed problem that often crops up in the early stages of implementation? SDK fatigue.


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When SDK Fatigue Occurs

SDK fatigue becomes apparent when product or R&D teams aren’t dealing well with implementing and managing SDKs. These team members become reluctant to add SDKs, and the whole SDK implementation cycle, from a request for an app marketing SDK tool to actual production becomes a logistical nightmare. Sound familiar?  


This happens not because our product or R&D teams want to make things difficult. It happens because implementing SDKs, managing them, and ensuring there is no detrimental impact on your app’s performance isn’t easy. It demands an evaluation process, an established QA testing mechanisms and it puts the dev team at risk.


No one wants to be responsible for crashing the app, even when it’s an SDK behind the issue.


Mostly it’s the Product and R&D teams that are the ones that become susceptible to ‘SDK fatigue’ which is why, understandably, they will push back on marketers when they are asked to work with SDKs.


A conflict starts 

The ability to quickly implement SDKs and pilot new capabilities is a key metric for success in the app marketer’s life. Simply put, app marketers can’t win this game without having external SDKs at hand.  


To overcome SDK fatigue, marketers must take an active role in helping other teams fight and win by utilizing the following strategies:


  1. Knowledge is power- Know what SDK fatigue is and be able to identify it when it happens in your company. We can check mark this one 😊


  1. Proactively help other team members validate needed SDKs before the implementation: Marketers can do initial research regarding an SDK they want to use. For instance, let’s say that we are after ‘rich push notifications’ capabilities. We could start SDK research by looking for top-rated SDKs that will get the job done.  We can also gather info about similar apps that use similar SDKs or the specific SDK we are looking at. I am sure your VP R&D will feel more secure if he learned that an established and dignified app he knows has implemented and is actively using the desired SDK. You can use our SafeDK’s marketplace to explore SDKs by name or category. We also invite you to use our  App SDKs X-ray Scanner (first searches are free). Use this scanner to search every Android app available and reveal the list of SDKs it uses.

Long story short. When you ask your dev team to add a new  SDK, do yourself a favor and show up properly armed.

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  1. Sharing is caring –If the people who make SDK related decisions in your company are in a better position to understand your challenges and why you require a particular SDK, and (more importantly) how your achievements impact their daily work, you will help yourself (and help them as well) win the SDK fatigue fight.  Share your marketing challenges with your product and R&D colleagues, try to connect them to your world and vice versa. Show them and engage them in the process, and help them understand that adding more marketing related SDKs is crucial to the success of the entire organization.
  2. Get to know the other side – If you become familiar with the difficulties that the Product and R&D teams are facing, you might be able to help smooth things over. 

Knowing and understanding the basics of the SDK management technical world, and being aware of related tools that help developers fight SDK fatigue will help you get the SDKs you need.  


For instance, our SafeDK’s in app protection solution lets app developers manage multiple SDKs in real-time. It lets them easily turn SDKs on or off, get real time alerts and more.


If app marketers know what tools or solutions can be used to help their company manage multiple SDKs, they can ask decision makers to implement these tools and overcome SDK fatigue before it hits.


  • Consolidation may come handy – Selected industry players offer multiple capabilities within a single SDK. Let’s take Localytics, the hostess of my guest post, as an example. Localytics offers one SDK for analytics, marketing, and geofencing. A good way to reduce SDK fatigue is by looking for vendors that provide multiple capabilities in one SDK. 


Final Thoughts

Professional app marketers are constantly on the hunt for new ways and tools that can help them meet and exceed their KPIs. In our dynamic industry, marketers must always stay updated with new capabilities and tactics.

Mobile SDKs play a critical role in helping app marketers do their job. Established Industry players keep adding new and innovative features to the SDKs they develop, and new players keep emerging.

App marketers must identify “SDK fatigue” when it crops up and take action to stop it before it damages their ability to function at a competitive, effective level. Like it or not, SDKs are a part of the ever-changing face of this tidal industry. For those who swim with the current, success is within reach.




Orly Shoavi is the co-founder and CEO at SafeDK, focused her entire career on the mobile industry. Orly held leading positions in R&D, Product Management and Business Development at companies like Intel, Radvision, modu and Telmap.