After you’ve spent hours planning, creating, developing and perfecting your app, there is usually just one more question: How do I get my app out there?
There are a number of ways to market your app. The effectiveness of your app’s promotion strategy will help determine your app’s success. Therefore, take some time to research these marketing methods. You may want to try deploying one or two you haven’t tried before, or you may want to invest in one of the more expensive alternatives to see if it could provide your app the breakthrough exposure it needs to make it to the next level.
We think it’s important for marketing teams to be aware of the many different ways that they can market their application. Some of these may seem obvious, while others are not as much. However, it’s a good idea to survey all methods and to try those that fit within your company’s budget and purpose.
Leverage Your Base/ Referral Programs
One of the best ways to gain additional ideal customers and to drive customer satisfaction is to leverage some sort of referral program. It could be as simple as an in-app prompt that asks users to have their friends join. Also, apps can incentivize referrals by providing some sort of in-app credit. Marketing teams can be as creative with this approach as with anything else in their UX. In order to inspire users to recommend your app and increase its virality, your app must trigger an happy, emotional response. This takes skill and dedication to the user experience. Read more about turning an existing user base into an army of brand ambassadors here.
Mobile marketers can leverage the social network Facebook to getting the word out about their app. Facebook marketing starts with creating a Facebook company profile for your app. It can extend into Facebook’s Video Advertising System, where apps like Candy Crush Soda Saga gained exposure to over 100 million people internationally on their launch day. Facebook’s video ads appear in the same format as posts, however a video plays where there used to be just an image. This method is best deployed at launch, or as a sort of “blitz” campaign. However, its costs may be prohibitive for many small startups.
As an alternative to Facebook’s costly services, product managers can consider leveraging Twitter to get the word out about their app. By building word-of-mouth interest, directing fans to your Twitter page and by leveraging your growing base of Twitter followers, one can gain a groundswell of potential users for future app launches and app updates. Also, the cost of this method is very low, depending on if a marketing team chooses to market via Twitter themselves or through employing a social media marketing manager.
Becoming a Featured App through “the Stores”
This method can launch an app into stardom, however it takes a ton of effort. Marketing managers need to be relentless in contacting editors at Apple or Google, and by leveraging app enhancements, new technology or creating apps that align to a specific season or theme (think of a tax app during early April). There are thousands of apps competing for this valuable app real estate because of its large scaling abilities and high ROI. App teams should also consider that they are required to continually perfect and enhance their UX in order to have a chance at receiving this distinction.
App Store Optimization (ASO)
ASO is the process where mobile apps take time to optimize their Google Play Store and Apple App Store app descriptions and landing pages. This method typically requires a professional content writer who is skilled at leveraging keywords to attract users to an app through the search tool. Additionally, these writers need to incorporate keywords in such a manner that conveys an app’s purpose and capabilities, but also compels prospects to download! Effective SEO’s will utilize a number of methods to get your app featured higher on the results page including keywords, titles, images and user reviews.
Incentivized Cost Per Install (CPI)
Incentivized CPI is considered by some to be the most effective short-term methods to increasing your app’s downloads. Users are rewarded to download your app with some sort of in-app credit. This may or may not have a monetary “real-world” value. The only downside, is that some CPI campaigns can result in an artificial boost of downloads, with users who are not really committed to your app in the long-run. These users may be downloading your app to take advantage to your lost-leader sign-up incentive and may never translate into loyal users of your product.
Search Marketing (Google Adwords)
Leveraging search marketing tools where your app will be featured through related Google searches can be an effective technique. This method links your app’s keywords to typical web searches through Google. Users will see your app featured at the top of a search request, and will be directed to download your app. There are a lot of different types of Google adword campaigns and methods, so marketers are encouraged to research these thoroughly to make sure they are paying for the most effective campaign for their product.
Most marketing managers may not be able to leverage this method of advertising, but for those who can- TV may be a smart move. Many users still watch their televisions daily, and this is a way to get very targeted marketing. Starting in 2015, apps like Game of War and Clash of Clans paid for coveted spots during the Super Bowl. More and more apps since have begun to deploy television as a component of their marketing mix. Although TV is expensive, its reach is massive with Nielsen’s 2014 report siting over 285 million US viewers alone. Read more about why marketing teams should consider investing in big screen advertising here.
Another potentially cost-prohibitive marketing channel is the celebrity endorsement. Many celebs have built up and established their own social media empires with potentially thousands of users receiving their message. Marketing teams can access celebrities for endorsements through their agents, proposing equity shares in a product or sometimes just getting lucky. The app Machine Zone’s war strategy app Mobile Strike leveraged the Terminator to gain recognition for their game, leveraging a Super Bowl ad and celebrity endorsements from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Since it can be risky, affiliate marketing is an often-overlooked marketing method. However, there is potential in affiliate marketing becoming an effective component of your overall marketing strategy. Through both Apple’s Affiliate Program and Google’s Display Network, other apps can market your app through an embedded banner ad display to their users and gain a reward in return for each download. This is a great way to cross-market with other apps and generate momentum amongst like-minded users.
App marketing in 2016 requires a mix of old and new marketing techniques and a mix of guerilla and mainstream methods. App companies should keep an open mind to both new and traditional channels. If user growth has stalled, deploying a different method or two described above could give your app the shot in the arm it needs to accelerate your user base.
Further, while it is important for marketing to incorporate a number of promotional channels, it is equally important for marketing teams to invest in researching and analyzing the effectiveness of these campaigns. For effective marketing, managers need to understand both their new, existing and potential customers. To do this, they can leverage tools that dissect their UX. By understanding current and future users, apps can prioritize their marketing techniques accordingly.