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Your app has been in the App Store for a couple of months and you’re not seeing the organic traction you deserve. You’re eager to explore mobile app marketing techniques in order to bolster your app’s performance. What mobile marketing strategies are available to ensure that your app is not only seen and downloaded but also provides you with a positive return on investment (ROI)?

Before you start marketing your app, think carefully about the current state of play for your business. We recommend crunching the numbers and analyzing your app store analytics before throwing money into a marketing strategy. Key areas you’ll need to consider are:

  • Are you generating enough revenue to invest in mobile app marketing?
  • Are you able to pull finances from any funding you may have?
  • Is your cash flow solid enough that you’re able to take a portion of the budget without having any long-term effect?
  • Can you still fulfil team salaries, ongoing operational costs, and other business outgoings if you invest in mobile marketing?

Only when you’ve considered these key points and decided on a marketing budget should you move onto looking at mobile app marketing in greater detail.

Why is mobile app marketing important?

Investing in specifically marketing your mobile app can prove integral to your app’s success. When executed correctly, marketing allows you target and reach a specific audience. For example, let’s say that your app is a craft beer finding tool called Tap That. After reviewing a couple of different marketing strategies, you invest in a paid social media campaign that targets men aged 18-40 in San Francisco who have an interest in beer. The result of your campaign is that both brand visibility and impressions have increased for Tap That. When mobile app marketing works, conversion is as simple as a few taps on the smartphone.

Sounds good, right?

Mobile App Marketing 101

As a merchant, you’ll be wanting to get the most bang for your buck with your mobile marketing campaign. We’ve listed some popular ways to market your app:

1. Influencer Marketing

The most successful influencer marketing isn’t just about paying celebrities money to hold your product in a 30-second clip but from authenticity. Does your target audience feel that this influencer is genuine and uses the app they are promoting?

As long as you choose the right person to promote your brand and strategize the intended goal of your campaign, influencer marketing can play in an app’s favor. But remember, the bigger the star, the bigger the potential reach… and sadly, the more it will cost. Additionally, consumers have become savvy and any stench of inauthenticity may turn them off.  

Depending on the platform your influencer is most prominent on, influencer marketing can be challenging to analyse and quantify. But there are smart methods of designing your campaign so that you can gain insights, and it’s all about sending your users through a trackable funnel. Whether it’s television, podcast, or even print, you’ll need to find a way to track the path of your customer from seeing the promotion to paying for your app.

For example, we all remember the Super Bowl commercial for Game of War, featuring Kate Upton (not exactly the most authentic influencer). At the end of the televised commercial, there is a short clip where we see someone typing out “Game of War” into a search. The app marketers know exactly when the promotion is being aired, pause all other campaigns, and track to see how many people, after the commercial was seen, typed in “Game of War” in their App Search. From there they can discern how many convert into paying users and determine the success of the campaign.

App Search Download

2. Public Relations

Public relations (PR) is a method of communicating, either directly or indirectly, with a target audience. PR strategies for an app could include holding a launch party and inviting a bunch of industry types to enjoy a sneak preview or placing a press release in relevant media, for example, a newspaper or online magazine.

PR and marketing often go hand in hand and investing in PR can help promote your brand through earned media, which means you don’t have to pay anything to get your story told. However, PR firms are often costly to hire and results are tricky to analyze and quantify.

Alternatively, you can practice writing press releases and building relationships with journalists, bloggers, and other industry professionals yourself. The key is to generate buzz, whether you are hosting an event or seeking beta users. The more people interested, the more newsworthy it becomes, and the more likely big publishers will be to spread the word about your app for free.  

3. Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is a cost-effective method of branding yourself as an expert in your field. This, in turn, can have an effect on your app’s visibility. For example, let’s say you’re the CEO of Tap That and you write a piece of content entitled “How I Created My Own Craft Beer App From Scratch.” You pitch this and it gets posted on a well-known craft beer website, thus, increasing the brand visibility of Tap That. Suddenly, you’ve become the influencer.

Thought leadership marketing for mobile apps is a tricky beast to get right and there are many do’s and don’ts that you should follow. You’ll need to have a CEO (or at least a person in-house) who can write well and secondly you’ll need to have a platform on which to post your insights. Medium, LinkedIn, and company blog are good starting off points for thought leadership marketing, especially if you can’t get your ideas into a publication with a wider reach.

Ultimately, thought leadership marketing for mobile apps is a good start but will need to be part of a larger strategy to produce any tangible results.

Ryan Holmes Medium Post

Medium post by Hootsuite founder, Ryan Holmes

4. Content Marketing

Content marketing takes on many forms, for example, blog posts, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, infographics, ebooks, and case studies to name a few. And because content marketing takes on many different forms, it also yields a vast amount of benefits, from increasing brand awareness and visibility to generating leads, sales, and customer acquisition.

Content marketing is a terrific tool that targets your audience at all stages of their journey with your app. When applied to mobile marketing, the types of content you produce will be specific to your business and its goals. For example, if you’re looking to convert consumers at the consideration stage, demo videos and case studies will be more effective than blog posts, which can be more useful for those at the awareness stage.

The thing about content marketing is that it requires a lot of work and patience. Content takes time to create, and in a world where blogs, videos, infographics, etc. are flooding every feed, even quality content may need some time to rise above the noise.

Hiring an agency to produce content will be expensive. Are you able to gain a better ROI if you hire a content writer in-house? How about hiring freelancers or contractors to produce SEO-friendly content for your blog? Or a videographer to shoot 2-minute videos for your Facebook page? Thinking outside the box when it comes to content marketing can help keep a budget on track.

Measuring the success of your content marketing strategy is fairly straightforward with tools such as Google Analytics and iTunes Analytics. These platforms allow you to perform a thorough content audit to help you identify which pieces of content via which source have increased impressions, leads, and conversions.

5. Paid Social

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram offer business owners with larger followings the opportunity to promote their app for free, however, not all entrepreneurs have that advantage. Some merchants will have the funds to run month-long campaigns and others may only have a budget for a few days of promoting their app. Additionally, depending on the limits of your marketing budget, you may want to run multiple campaigns across different channels with different messagings. This way you can test to see which ones have the biggest impact.

Whatever your budget, running paid ads on popular social networks can produce a positive ROI, as long as you understand who specifically you are addressing. Whilst it may be tempting to target your ad towards a large demographic of users, a simple and specific targeting strategy can yield better results in the long run and lead to conversions.

6. App Store Optimization

It’s already known that well-optimized websites rank highest in search engine result pages  (SERPS) and as a result, receive a higher percentage of traffic than those that rank below the fold. So, why not apply this theory to App Store Optimization (ASO)?  

ASO means optimizing your app’s content so that it appears higher in Apple’s App Store rankings. The optimization work that takes place will usually include targeting specific keywords that are searched by App Store users and implementing a keyword strategy across your app’s content.

App Tweak

ASO Tool AppTweak (Source AppJoy)

The thing about ASO is that Apple and Google keep their algorithms close to their chests. We recommend finding a reputable digital marketing agency with a track record of producing results or investing in quality tools to help you understand the volatile space of app store rankings. Whilst your upfront cost may be high, you’ll be rewarded in the long term with product visibility, click-throughs, downloads, and increased revenue.

Measuring Mobile Marketing

I know what you are thinking “all these ideas are great, but how can I measure the results?”

The answer: app store analytics.

Data is key to gaining valuable insight into how an app business is performing, whether you’re focusing on acquiring and retaining users, increasing average order value, or raising funding for series A. You need to understand your app’s performance in order to make an educated business decisions.

For the above mobile marketing strategies, you’ll want to focus heavily on a couple of core app analytics: impressions, product page view, and downloads.

For example, you’ve chosen to invest in ASO and will want to be able to track whether the work was undertaken has a measurable impact on your visibility in App Store results pages and eventually to conversions. For this, you’ll need to look for an increase in impressions and product page views, as well as your revenue for the duration of the campaign, in order to assess whether your mobile app marketing campaign is having the intended effect.

No matter what your budget for mobile app marketing, the bottom line is that if you’re not tracking the right analytics, you won’t be able to gain insight into how effective your campaigns are. You might as well be burning money in front of your eyes, but don’t because that is illegal.

At the end of the day, you want to make revenue from your app. Control offers full subscription analytics for iTunes (and soon Google Play) that will help you understand the effectiveness of your mobile marketing.