Eight essential strategies for app marketing
Adjust, Content Team, Adjust, Jan 31, 2023.
As an app developer, you understand the importance of having an effective app marketing strategy. With consumers globally spending 7 hours a day on the internet, and marketers making use of a growing number of marketing channels, it can be overwhelming at the start to pinpoint exactly how to effectively reach your audience.
So, how do you create an effective marketing plan for your app? We walk through eight essential app marketing strategies you need to know in 2023 and how they can be used in collaboration to reach your most ambitious targets.
How do I start app marketing?
Before we dive into strategies that are available to you, it is critical to understand just how valuable market research will be as a starting point for your app marketing.
The Apple App Store alone receives thousands of app submissions from new apps every month. What does this tell app marketers? Competition is fierce for all verticals. You’ll need to understand what you’re up against. What are your competitors doing well? How can you improve upon this? What are they not doing well? How can you fill this gap in the market?
Market research will help you develop a greater understanding of how to use the mobile app marketing methods covered in this guide. You need to be able to answer the following questions early in the development process, which should also provide you with context for the optimal launch date of your app.
- Who is the target audience for your app?
- How can this audience be grouped into user personas based on demographics and interests?
- What will each segment want or need from your product?
- How are your competitors currently targeting the same audience?
- What are my app’s key performance indicators (KPIs)?
User personas are a smart way to develop an app marketing strategy for your segmented audience groups. Each persona represents a group of users that are expected to have a similar user journey. It’s your job as an app marketer to cater to their needs and streamline this process. A user persona is developed by diving your audience into groups based on demographics, mobile preferences, and other unique identifiers relevant to your app vertical. Having a complete understanding of this will be instrumental to your app’s initial success, will help you further down the line as you begin to scale, and will ensure you are continually making fact-driven decisions based on research and testing.
The success of your app marketing strategy should be determined by meeting pre-selected KPIs. Look up some market benchmarks for your vertical to provide a starting point, and adapt as you continue marketing and gathering more data. Measuring performance with these KPIs will provide a clear view of where your marketing is successful and identify areas for improvement.
Important KPIs you should be aware of include:
- Active users
- Cost per acquisition (CPA)
- Cost per install (CPI)
- Cost per mille (CPM)
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Conversion rate
- Retention rate
What it boils down to: Put your best foot forward by first making sure your app is meeting your end user’s needs with audience segmentation and competitor research, then set your KPIs before starting to develop a marketing strategy.
How to market an app: Eight essential app marketing strategies
1. Your app’s website
This is your app’s introduction to the world. Having a landing page is a critical app marketing strategy that allows users to learn more about your app on mobile or desktop. This is a cost-effective strategy where search engine optimization (SEO) can be used to organically attract new users, as well as feed into your paid user acquisition strategy. To get started, use SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to complete keyword research around the topic of your app. Use these keywords as the pillars to build strong, compelling copy for your website.
When setting up your app’s landing page, it’s vital to offer an appealing and accurate visualization of what users can expect when they install your app. Use your landing page to its full potential by including:
- Screenshots and videos of your app in action
- Short, powerful copy
- Links to your app on the App Store and/or Google Play Store
- A clear call to action (CTA)
- A video trailer
- Social proof in the form of ratings, reviews, and/or awards
This is another way you can use keywords to reach your target audience without keyword stuffing on your landing page. Keyword stuffing is when you overload your copy with keywords in the hopes of ranking in the top search results, and Google will actually lower your ranking if it identifies that you are doing this. You can amplify the reach of your blog content by sharing new posts across your social media channels, by mixing guest posts into your strategy, and by contributing as a guest on other blogs. Continually leverage analytics to optimize and discover which type of content is the most beneficial to your overall strategy.
Examples of engaging blogs from mobile apps include dating app Bumble’s The Buzz, mobile game Clash of Clans, and fitness app MyFitnessPal.
What it boils down to: Make sure your website is showing your app messaging in the best light and is optimized with SEO to appear at the top of users’ search results.
2. App store optimization
App store optimization is the process of improving your app’s visibility in the App Store and Google Play Store. It’s similar to SEO, but used specifically for your ranking within app store search results. This is critical to your user journey because even if your campaign successfully generates a large number of clicks to an app store, your app still needs to be well-presented on its listing to convert these leads to installs. ASO can also attract organic users without cost.
Just like SEO, ASO requires you to identify and utilize keywords that will help your app rank high in the App Store. Similar to your landing page, it is essential to include screenshots and videos of your app in use. Make use of secondary app categories so users have more than one way to find your app. If possible, you should also localize your app store entry for the biggest impact.
Learn how to take your listing to the next level with our comprehensive ASO content.
What it boils down to: Before you start spending money on lead generation, make sure those leads will convert with a spectacular app store listing.
3. Social media marketing
As an app marketer, you can’t afford to miss out on social media activity. Users spend two and a half hours on social networks every day! It’s smart to post regularly across your social media channels and use it for more than just raising awareness of your product. For example, social media is a great way to build a community and get feedback from users who wouldn’t be incentivized to contact you in-app or through your website.
Content for your social media channels can include blog entries, competitions, discussion threads, and even user-generated content. Your market research will help identify which contact formats are most common for your app’s vertical, which channels are the most effective, and which types of posts have the highest consumer engagement. Engaging channels can be particularly useful for apps that have social elements, such as fitness and gaming. You can also integrate social media into your app by enabling users to easily share content from your app on their social media channels.
What it boils down to: Your audience is on social media, so you should be too.
4. Influencer marketing
86% of consumers say authenticity is an important part of their decision to support a brand. Influencer marketing, which is the use of content creators to promote your app, can help convey the personality of your brand when executed well. This app marketing strategy has taken the industry by storm, with spend on influencer marketing expected to reach $6.16 billion in 2023.
There are many ways in which influencers can be used to achieve your marketing goals.It’s important to keep in mind that there is a fine line between coming across as authentic through influencer marketing – and the exact opposite. Above all else, choosing the right influencer for your brand will be the most important step.
You can give an influencer ‘freebies’ that they can share with their audience or you can opt for a paid product placement. A paid ad will allow a brand more creative control. On the other hand, simply offering your goods to the right influencer is a cost-effective way to reach your audience. Plus, it allows the unique personality of the influencer to show through, making a recommendation feel more genuine.
Verticals like e-commerce will have unique ways to work with influencers. For example, fashion influencers could use your app to create lookbooks that can be featured across your app and shared across their social media channels.
Influencer marketing is a great way to introduce users to the functionality of your app and give them a unique reason to install based on their interest in a particular creator.
What it boils down to: Make sure that your brand and audience align with an influencer’s brand and audience before working together to get the best result.
5. Paid UA campaigns
Paid UA is the practice of bringing new users to your app through paid ads. This app marketing strategy requires you to set up campaigns and adjust your ad spend over time for the best results. With more ad formats available than ever before, you can even turn traditional marketing channels like TV into digital performance channels with connected TV (CTV) formats.
To get the best bang for your buck (also known as return on investment ROI), it’s important to know the user personas you want to attract and the specific events you want them to complete as a result of your marketing efforts.
When analyzing the success of your campaigns and adjusting your spend for better results in the future, you will have to observe data and spot trends in customer behavior. Your attribution provider will help you measure these results by tracking how many users performed each action. You will then receive reports that show the best-performing channels, creatives, and more.
What it boils down to: Maximize your budget with regular measurement and optimization of your spend for the most effective UA campaigns.
6. Retention campaigns
Your retention rate is the percentage of users who are still active after a certain period of time. Adjust data reveals the average retention rates on iOS for Day 1 (28%), Day 7 (13%), Day 21 (8%), and Day 30 (7%), but retention rates can be vastly different depending on app vertical.
After acquiring a number of users, app marketers can turn their attention to retention as a means of boosting lifetime value (LTV) and ROAS. This is a great strategy as users are cheaper to retain than they are to acquire. The aim is to identify where users usually churn and retain them before this happens. For the best results, identify your most valuable users and concentrate your retention efforts on this group.
Retention rates can also highlight areas of improvement for your app. For example, if you see that you have an unusually low retention rate on Day 1, there may be an issue with signing in or your onboarding experience. Read Adjust’s guide to user retention strategies to learn more about retention campaigns. This includes the KPIs you need to measure, which events to track, and other best practices.
What it boils down to: You’ll end up spending less money on UA by shifting focus to retaining users who have already demonstrated intent.
7. Email marketing
Creating a mailing list is a great way to regularly update users and send promotional offers. This app marketing strategy can help you increase retention rates and generate revenue. Marketers primarily use email for UA (84%) and retention (74%).
A significant benefit to email marketing is that it is an opt-in marketing channel. This means that only those who have signaled interest are going to be exposed to your marketing content. Email marketing is also a great way to offer your most loyal users unique benefits.
Your CTA is critical for email marketing campaigns. Even small tweaks can make a huge impact. For example, hardware website Toast found having a singular call to action increased clicks by 371% for email campaigns. It’s also important to personalize emails for the best results. Hubspot found that personalized CTAs outperformed basic CTAs by 202%. Test different variables to see what works best for your own audience.
What it boils down to: Adding email into your mix creates a more robust strategy overall and can be easily optimized with testing.
8. Prepare a media strategy for your app
Contacting the press at opportune moments is a smart way to spread awareness of your app and gain free exposure. A Mobile Spree talk by Dig co-founders Leigh Isaacson and Casey Isaacson detailed ways app marketers can harness the media’s interest.
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Using her experience as an investigative reporter, Dig CEO Leigh Isaacson explains that local news sources “have a lot of connections and your story can quickly take off”. However, it’s also important to avoid pushing a business pitch to reporters, and instead focus on how your mobile app is newsworthy.
What it boils down to: If there is something about your app that offers media timeliness or serves the public interest, reach out.
Ultimately, you’ll want to use a mix of these strategies. Your app’s personal blend will come from market research, app vertical, and trial and error with measurement and optimization. Learn how to measure all of your mobile app marketing efforts with Adjust.