So you have just created a new mobile app that you think has the potential to be the next big thing. You put it out there on App Store or Google Play, wishfully thinking that users will start downloading your app and using it. However, the reality hits you when those download rates do not go up nearly as much as you had hoped in the beginning. It is high time we introduce you to what is called mobile app marketing. If you want your mobile application to be successful, you ought to market it to the right audience, at the right places and at the right time.
Most of what mobile app marketing consists of is digital marketing. In some cases, when the budget allows, you can use traditional marketing methods to take your marketing to the physical world. In this mobile app marketing guide, we will discuss what mobile app marketing is in more detail, creating strategy (with examples) and more. So stick around if you want to find out more about mobile app marketing.
Mobile App Marketing Definition
Not to be confused with mobile marketing, mobile app marketing strictly deals with marketing concerning mobile apps. In other words, mobile app marketing is the process of promoting mobile apps as well as further marketing efforts focused on interacting with customers to maintain user engagement and retention.
The purpose of mobile app marketing does not solely end with promoting it so that people can download it. On the contrary, it is a never-ending cycle in which you consistently engage your users with marketing campaigns to sustain their interest in your app.
Mobile App Marketing Strategy
Developing a good mobile app marketing strategy requires a deep understanding of what it is and how the process works. So let’s break it down into parts for better insight. The way people use mobile apps can be described as a sequence of stages, also known as funnel stages in marketing terms. As far as mobile app marketing is concerned, here are its three key funnel stages.
- Acquisition—this is the first step in which users interact or learn about your app for the first time. This is where you have to understand how to lure this people in, get them to download and install your app. User acquisition campaigns are intended to promote the brand to the right audience and good ones can attract new users, thus helping build a user base.
- Activation—this is the second step wherein people have already purchased/downloaded your mobile app and are using it for the first time. This includes actions such as adding personal information (email, phone number etc.) or completing an action of some sort (i.e. making a purchase).
- Retention—as the name suggests, this is the stage where you try to retain your users’ engagement levels with your app, turning it to a regular destination for them.
Now that we have broken down the process of mobile app marketing, it is time to discuss some strategy—where to start from, what to do and how to approach the marketing campaign. As is the case with all forms of marketing, you need to develop a thorough mobile app marketing plan if you want your app to succeed. This means planning for how you are going to promote it from its inception all the way to its official launch.
Even though there are dozens of steps you can take as far as strategies go, here we will try to include the main components that you should take into account when developing your own mobile app digital marketing plan.
- Define the purpose of your app: what it will be used for, what is its main concept, who will be using it and what category it belongs to. This will help you understand who you competitors are and who to target.
- Conduct market research to identify customer needs and wants as well as analyze your main competitors. If your app cannot address an existing issue that apps of similar kind have, or offer anything new or worthwhile for users—basically neglecting what their needs—then you are doomed from the start.
- Create user personas to identify the target audience for your app. Each demographic has their own unique preferences, so a more targeted approach is needed. Once you have created a user persona, developing a message targeting them will be much easier.
- Determine the marketing channels you are going to use in the mobile app acquisition phase. There are many distribution channels across the web, starting from social media and ending with email. It is key to select ones that will be most effective in terms of reaching your target audience. For example, people leaning on the younger side are more accessible via social media platforms. Therefore, the distribution channels vastly depend on who your demographic is.
- Use push-notifications to continuously engage your users and maintain their interest in your app. Once your app is up and running, the key is to retain as many of the users as you can. Sometimes people can install an app and forget all about it. A simple push-notification is all you need to remind the user about the app and get them going again. A push notification increases user engagement by up-to 88%. Furthermore, 65% of users who have notifications enabled are more likely to return to your app within 60 days than those who do not.
After your strategy is complete and is up and running, you should start monitoring its results through analytics. Even though there is a lot of data available for you to track, here are the key metrics you should pay most attention to.
- App engagement—number of active users (daily or monthly) on your app that engage in any sort of activity and how much time they spend on average using your app in a single session.
- App retention—number of users who return to the app within three months of first using it. A user is considered retained when they return to your app at least once every 30 days.
- Acquisitions by referral—in terms of marketing, this is a key metric to focus on because it helps understand from which sources you get most of your app acquisitions. Therefore, it makes it easier to determine which distribution channels to invest more time and effort in.
This is all not to say that everything in this guide is set in stone. Rather, you can use it as a mobile app marketing plan template to build your strategy upon.
Mobile App Marketing Campaign
There were times when mobile app marketing was as simple as just publishing and optimizing your app for a given app store, and that would get you downloads and purchase actions. However, with the eventual over-saturation of the market with millions of new apps (and there is no signs of it slowing down), your app needs a little bit more of a marketing push to make the cut.
Nowadays, most apps require a well-planned mobile app marketing campaign to gain exposure and popularity among the users. But the campaign does not stop there. If you want to sustain user engagement and retention, a continuous mobile app marketing campaign is almost a must. That is to say, you should always strive to promote your app as much as you can to ensure both app acquisition and engagement.
Mobile App Marketing Best Practices
The mobile platform is quickly overtaking desktop in user numbers, with Statista estimating around 2.87 billion people owning a smartphone by 2020. Couple that with the fact that by 2022 mobile app downloads will increase to 2058 billion globally and you can see that it is rising to insane levels of popularity.
Nevertheless, almost 70% of total mobile app usage comes from the top 200 apps. What this means is that even though smartphones and mobile apps are popular right now, it is no guarantee that your app will be successful. At least in the beginning stages.
Do not let that discourage you from trying though. If you do your research and follow the latest mobile app marketing trends, you can devise a decent strategy that will help launch your app to the top.
To make your job easier, we will try to present some helpful mobile app marketing tools and techniques as well channels that you can find useful down the road. Following these mobile app marketing best practices can help your app stand out more among the fierce competition.
- Use an ASO strategy. Websites climb up to the top of the search engine results by way of SEO. Similarly, you can implement an ASO strategy—which is short for app store optimization—to help your app’s ranking. It will help with visibility which will lead to more downloads, thus more visibility. It is an endless cycle in which one helps the other. ASO optimization incorporates correct use of titles, descriptions, keywords, graphic screenshots and [positive] reviews.
- Use other online distribution channels. Never rely only on the app store to market your app. Use other digital channels to promote it for better exposure. Social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have an enormous user base. Running paid promotions and advertisements on them will surely get the much needed exposure for your app. Moreover, you can create a website or run an email newsletter service to drive new app downloads. You can also try to get reviews and mentions from blogs, famous Internet personalities and so on.
- Try to consistently re-engage with your users. Most applications are downloaded and used once before they are tossed aside. You can have a pretty fun, engaging app which still ends up not being used. Apps that constantly try to engage with their users through push notifications and in-app messages tend to do much better in terms of retaining their userbase. Additionally, you can look for outside options such as Email and SMS marketing to engage with customers outside of your mobile application.
Mobile App Marketing Agencies
Creating and conducting a full mobile app marketing campaign can be a daunting task, especially for people with no marketing background. You can be an amazing software developer but lack the skills in the marketing department—which is perfectly fine—and in such cases we advise using the services of the professionals.
Mobile app marketing agencies have the experience and expertise necessary to handle your mobile app’s marketing campaign. All you have to do is find and sign up on one that fits needs your need and they will take it over from there.
With that said, here are some of the best mobile app marketing companies in business right now that provide mobile app marketing services.
- Udonis Inc.
- Blue Label Labs
- Dot Com Infoway
- Prolific Interactive
Mobile App Marketing Course
There is never a bad time to learn something new and broaden your knowledge. If you are interested in mobile app marketing and would like to learn more about it in detail, here are some sources that offer mobile app marketing courses online: Udemy and Udacity.