Understanding the many ways you can market your app is essential to developing your overall strategy. This results in a comprehensive understanding of how these methods can be combined for a successful app marketing strategy. This is true for all app marketers, regardless of app vertical, budget and target audience. This article covers the nine essential app marketing strategies you need to know and how they can be used to reach your most ambitious targets.
Before we dive into what is available to you, it is critical to understand the benefits of market research. According to International Business Times, the App Store receives over 1,000 app submissions every day. Competition is fierce for all verticals and understanding your competitors is needed when developing your overall strategy.
Market research will help you develop a greater understanding of how to use the app marketing methods covered in this guide. You need to be able to answer the following questions early in the development process to enable a journey of discovery through extensive market research:
- Who is the target audience for your app?
- Why will they be interested in your product?
- How are your competitors currently targeting the same audience?
This information should also provide you with insight into the optimal launch date for your app.
User personas are a smart way to develop a mobile marketing strategy for your targeted audience groups. Each persona represents a group of users that are expected to have a particular user journey. It’s your job as an app marketer to cater for their needs and streamline this process. A user persona is developed by segmenting demographics, mobile preferences and other unique identifiers relevant to your app vertical. Having a complete understanding of that will be instrumental to your app’s success, will help you further down the line and ensure you make research-driven decisions.
How to market an app: Nine essential app marketing strategies
1. Your app’s landing page and blog
Having a landing page is a critical mobile marketing strategy that allows users to learn more about your app on mobile web and desktop. This is a cost effective method where SEO (Search Engine Optimization) can be used to attract new users. When setting up your app’s landing page, it’s important to offer a visualization of what users can expect if they install. Your landing page should include links to your app in the App Store and Google Play Store with a clear call to action. Your app vertical will dictate other needs, such as gameplay trailers for mobile games. However, displaying user reviews and including screenshots of your app’s user experience are critical.
You will also want to keep your blog updated on your website. This is another way you can use SEO to find new users and reach your target audience. Your blog needs to be strategically shared across your social media channels, using analytics to uncover the type of content that is 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 MyFitnessPal. You can also strategize guest posts and contribute to other blogs for best results.
2. App Store Optimization
App Store Optimization (ASO) is the process of improving your app’s visibility in the App Store and Google Play Store. This is critical to your user journey because even if your campaign directs a large number of potential users to the App Store, your app still needs to be well-presented to complete the install. 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. It is also essential to include screenshots of your app and a video of in-app use. You can also 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 story entry. Read our ebook devoted to helping you rank high in the App Store for a complete guide to ASO.
3. Social media marketing
As an app marketer, you can’t afford to miss out on social media activity. Users will spend an hour and 22 minutes with social networks every day in 2020. 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 user-generated content. This will vary depending on app vertical - you can discover how through market research - but the right 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 and enable users to easily share content from your app on their social media channels.
4. Influencer marketing
90% of shoppers say authenticity is an important part of their decision to support a brand. Influencer marketing is the use of influencers to reach new users and promote your brand. This app marketing strategy has taken the industry by storm in recent years, with a 65 percent increase for influencer marketing budgets this year.
There are many ways in which influencers can be used to achieve your marketing goals. You can give an influencer ‘freebies’ that they can share with their audience or you can have paid product placement. The benefit to a paid ad is that you will have more creative control, while simply offering your goods to the right influencer is a cost-effective way to reach an audience.
Verticals such as fashion apps will have unique ways to work with influencers. For example, influencers can use your app to create lookbooks, which can then be featured across your app and shared across their social media channels. This 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 an influencer.
5. Paid user acquisition campaigns
Paid user acquisition is the practice of bringing new users to your app through paid ads. This strategy requires you to set up campaigns and adjust your ad spend over time for best results. It’s important to know the users you want to attract and the in-app actions you want them to complete.
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. If you have more than one app, you can play the role of publisher and advertiser by cross-promoting your apps.
6. Set your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
The success of your app marketing strategy should be tied to KPIs. Used to measure the performance of your app, KPIs factor in campaign and in-app activity that matters most to your goals. Measuring performance with these KPIs will provide a clear view of where your app is performing well and areas for improvement.
Important KPIs you should be aware of include the number of Active Users, Daily, Weekly and Monthly (DAU, WAU, MAU), Cost per Acquisition (CPA), Cost per Install (CPI) and Cost per Mille (CPM). You should also consider Click-Through Rate (CTR), Conversion Rate, Retention Rate and Churn. For insight into KPIs and how they should be monitored, read our Back to Basics ebook.
7. Retention campaigns
Your retention rate is the percentage of users who are still active after a certain period of time. Our study reveals the average retention rates for Day 1 (26%), Day 7 (11%), Day 21 (7%) and Day 30 (6%), but retention rates can be vastly different depending on app vertical. The same study showed why the first week after install is typically when advertisers run retargeting campaigns.
App marketers can focus on retention as a means to boost LTV (lifetime value) and ROAS. The aim is to identify where users usually churn and retain them before this happens. By retaining users for longer, you will get more engagement and revenue from the users who already have your app installed.
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 other problems with your onboarding experience. To learn more about retention campaigns, read Adjust’s guide to essential retention strategies. This includes the KPIs you need to measure, which events to track and other best practices.
8. 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. According to cloud marketing software provider Emarsys, email marketing is the main driver in customer retention for small to midsize businesses: 81 percent rely on emails for user acquisition and 80 percent use email marketing for retention.
A significant benefit to email marketing is that it is an opt-in marketing channel. This means that only those who have signalled 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 (call to action) is critical for email marketing campaigns: according to hardware website Toast, a single call to action increased clicks by 371% for email campaigns. It’s also important to personalize emails for best results. Hubspot found that personalized CTAs outperform basic CTAs by 202%. For more best practices, read our guide to email marketing for mobile apps.
9. 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.
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.
For more insights into app marketing strategy, we have a guide for everything you need to know about UA management when joining a new startup. You may also be interested in learning why you need an attribution provider.