AppLovin: Monetizing & Marketing Mobile Apps – [Business Breakdowns, EP. 55]

Today we’re breaking down AppLovin. It’s a business you may not recognize but have likely interacted with. Founded in 2012, AppLovin provides a platform for developers to market and monetize their mobile apps. The business also owns some of the most popular mobile games in the world, which they use to feed richer data into their software platform.


To help breakdown the business, I’m joined by its CEO and co-founder, Adam Foroughi. Please enjoy this breakdown of AppLovin.


For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.




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Show Notes

[00:02:41] – [First question] – The first risk taken when creating AppLovin and how it all began

[00:05:05] – Why was there pushback against games and adtech back in 2012

[00:07:12] – What it was like in the early days to get the app in front of a customer 

[00:08:54] – Building a platform and software product versus becoming an advertising agency

[00:10:47] – The major components of AppLovin and how it works 

[00:15:21] – The space or areas where most people interact with them and see their work 

[00:16:26] – What he considers to be the next key chapters after AppLovin’s early days 

[00:18:25] – How they determine strategy between the app developer side of the business and app ownership

[00:25:50] – How AppLovin interacts with Apple, Android, and the relationship between products

[00:27:11] – What he’s learned about the importance of scale in advertising 

[00:28:58] – The major breakout points in the business that led to where he is today 

[00:30:22] – Their revenue model and it how it breaks between software and apps

[00:33:55] – The margins of gaming, its business proposition, and the future value of this side of the franchise

[00:35:18] – The taxonomy of apps today and how it has changed over time 

[00:38:53] – His perspective on what defines great digital marketing today 

[00:40:31] – Walking through the shifts in privacy, targeting, and data as technology changes

[00:43:13] – His thoughts on emerging platforms as competitive threats and/or opportunities 

[00:44:58] – How they’ve kept the business nimble and very product-focused on a corporate level

[00:46:53] – Their concept of meetings and how they’ve learned to run them effectively

[00:48:37] – The big lessons learned over the years becoming a big capital allocator

[00:50:24] – The missing pieces in his strategic mission that he still wants to do in five years time

[00:51:42] – What he’s learned from Facebook, Google, and game studios he’s worked with

[00:54:32] – How he thinks about defensibility and power in the business as they evolve and grow

[00:57:19] – His philosophy on the maturity of the business and if they’d pay dividends in the future

[00:59:32] – How he has most improved in his career during his time with AppLovin 

[01:02:03] – Questions that the world’s largest bear would ask him today

[01:03:18] – The most interesting trends happening around him in the digital space

[01:04:38] – What he has learned about treating software developers well as a customer

[01:06:04] – His thoughts on the eventual impact of Facebook and Google becoming competitors rather than the collaborators they are today