You are successful in creating a highly usable Mobile App with nice display, easy navigation and great features. But many a times after weeks of launching the App one doesn’t get the desired results. Let alone the installs, there are not even enough visitors.
The reason is obvious. Your app is not discoverable to the users. Developers put countless hours after extensive market research to come up with unique App but forget that equal devotion is needed to make that product reach the right user.
Marketing does not always mean investing huge amount of money to attract attention of potential consumers. The journey should be well planned and be developed for different phases of the App’s lifecycle.
While advertisers have varied opinions on the roadmap for Mobile App Marketing below is one strategy which is widely adopted by many app owners -
Phase 1: Improving User Experience (UX)
App design and content
App Store Optimization (ASO)
Improve Website Content. Mobile & Desktop friendly.
Social Media Optimization: Profile Set up
Implementing App Analytics
Phase 2: Reaching Users (Non Paid)
Social Media Optimization:Posts
Content Creation:Offical Blog, Video
Joining relevant groups, forums and commenting
Phase 3: Advertising
App Install Campaigns (Performance)
Display & Video Campaigns (Branding)
Remarketing Campaigns (Performance)
Facebook Like Campaigns (Engagement)
Phase 4: App Engagement
App Engagement Campaigns
Cross Device Campaigns
In the first two phases the focus should heavily be on improving the App experience and the Organic rankings in both App Store and SERPs (Search result pages). We should be going for any Paid Marketing campaigns only after we attain a certain user customer base in App Store and Social Media pages.
Phase 1: Improving user experience
- Google App indexing: It is a system that allows an app listing to appear on SERPs (Search Result pages). Once a user clicks on this listing he is taken to the relevant App store (Apple/Android as the case maybe) inside he App. If the App is not indexed you are missing out on all the searches which are related to your app and result in potential clicks. After the App is ready and launched make sure it is indexed for listing in Google and other search engines.
- App Store Optimization (ASO): Hundreds of new apps are getting launched each day. While Google Play store had close to 2.2 million apps, Apple’s App store had close to 2 million apps on June 2016. In such sea of options how to make your app to be searched and ranked is bit of a challenge. According to Forrester, 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches. Meeting the right requirements in ASO you ensure to find most relevant audience who are likely to install and use your app. The prime factors of ASO are internal and controllable. They are App title, description and keywords (only for App store).
- Adding most relevant Keywords in App Title and Description is extremely important. In fact a report in MobileDevHQ says that choosing right keywords in the title for your app can boost the ranks by 10%. Now to decide the right keywords know what best describes your app:
- App title or name – Although the maximum char limit for title in App Sore is 255 chars Apple cuts off titles after 30-40 chars (but uses the full title for keyword targeting). In Googl e play store this limit is less than 30 char.
- Description – In App store the description can be upto 4000 characters but users will only see the first 5 lines unless they click to read more. In Google Play there is one field for short description of 80 char and one for long description with 4000 char limit. Unlike App Store, Google Play uses keywords in App description as ranking factor.
- The first few lines of your app should include the App theme and key features. Use your primary keywords and their synonyms upto 5 times. (Doing it more than 5 times will make it look like spam and will not help in improving rank)
- Keyword Field – unlike Google Play, App Store has a keyword field with 100 char limit. Each keyword should be separated by comma. This field is one of the main factors for Apple to determine App ranking.
- Tools for Keyword Research: Google keyword planner, Google search trends, App Annie or Sensor tower.
- Choose high Quality App Screenshots, App Preview videos to give the users first glimpse of your App. It should clearly showcase the usability of App and compelling enough to install the App.
- Select App categories: using tools like App Annie and sensor tower find out the least competitive yet relevant categories.
- Number of Downloads, ratings and reviews. These are extremely important but with lesser control.
Phase 2: Reaching out to users (Organic/Non Paid Mediums)
- Social Media Optimization: Create business pages on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin etc. and use that space to connect with your target group. Keep your connections informed by posting about the App launch, updates, any upcoming or ongoing offers. Use these platforms also to handle any grievances in a separate section. Respond regularly to all positive or negative comments. Remember, customers appreciate prompt responses and thus you can have a dedicated team to do that for you. Add an App install link in these profiles to remind the existing or visiting users.
- Include App Download links on your site: If there is an existing mobile website make sure to add a link to mobile app. It is good to use a POP up window and a link on top of all pages to make sure the users doesn’t miss it.
- Improving Search Engine Listings: Follow the all the best practices of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) as you would do for a website. Identify top keywords you want to rank for. Build quality back links and every other off page and on page optimization.
- Getting featured on the High Authority Blogs and App Review Sites: In the search results find out the top 5-10 blogs mentioning Apps in your category. Contact them to feature you in their blogs.
- Join Developers and Entrepreneur groups on Social media: Valued opinions, feedback and any trouble shooting can be obtained in these forums.
- Incorporate App install link in your official emails: Add App Install link in your signature to make sure it reaches all your mail recipients.
- Influencers marketing: Influencers on internet these days have huge impact on their followers. Building mutually beneficial relationships with such people can do wonders for App promotion. Let the influencers know about your app, the features and launch date. Such sponsorships are often paid however, it is important for the influencers to genuinely like your app for their honest verdict on social forums.
- Make a promo video: Create a short video (20 sec- 30 sec) to give a first look of your app and developing curiosity in them. Use your website, social media, email etc. to distribute this video content. Create a Video channel on video sites like Youtube, vimeo etc. for uploading and promoting.
Phase 3: Advertising
- Google Adwords: has come up with many ad formats and targeting options in last 2-3 years to meet the App marketers’ requirements. Use keyword targeted search ads, Display ads based on audience targeting to target your potential users. Adwords and Admob (a google acquired platform) gives In App targeting option to show your ads inside App Stores (Apple and Android)
- Facebook: Create App Install and App Engagement ads in Facebook. Target customers on basis of their interest, behaviour, demographics etc. Custom audience options lets you target the users by their email ids and phone numbers.
- Youtube: Run a promotional video + App install text ad on Youtube network.
- Mobile App marketing Agencies: There are numerous DSP(Demand side platforms) which serve and run Mobile App ads on various sites and networks and work on either agreed commission or a fixed CPI (Cost per Install), CPC (Cost per click) or CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) basis.
- Email Marketing: Use email marketing vendors for both Inbound and outbound customer database to drive App installs and promote engagement.
Phase 4: App Engagement
Before starting App engagement campaigns it is always good to implement deep linking in the App. Deep linking enables advertisers to drive user engagement by tracking referrals and determine which ad campaigns are most and least beneficial. It directs a user to a specific location within an app. For example: An advertiser wants to target his existing customers and wants to land them to the ongoing sales page (screen in case of App). Using Deep linking he can directly do so instead of opening and directing them to the main App screen.
- Google & Facebook: Create and Run App engagement campaigns on both these networks.
- Affiliate and Email Networks
- Mobile App marketing DSPs
- Remarketing campaigns: Using the deep linking process in almost all the ad networks including Adwords and Facebook you can now effectively retarget different audience bucket on basis of their previous interaction with the App and direct them to most relevant landing pages inside the App. For ex: target abandoned cart users by showing them dynamic ads featuring the products they added in the cart and once clicked redirecting them to product page.