In today’s extremely saturated mobile app market, even a truly ground-breaking app can simply get lost. It’s not that there are no users but rather that they could miss it in a flood of new apps released daily. Therefore, a mobile app marketing plan is simply vital to succeed.
This text will focus on equipping you with an overview of five solid marketing tactics to make people download your app, give it a chance, and become returning users.
Remember that all marketing efforts should be based on a flawless understanding of your target audience. You need to know who’s going to use your app and adapt your messaging, visuals, and ad placements to their tastes. This will make your advertising attract the right people, who might be interested in using your digital product. It’s crucial, considering that there are more active mobile app users in 2021 than any time before.
First things first: soft launch
A soft launch is when you release your app to a restricted market (for example one country only) before publishing it globally. That way, you can test your features, ads, and user retention before spending lots of money. During this soft launch, your team will fix any code that needs fixing, improve on the user experience, test landing page and app store page conversion rates, as well as discover the initial user retention. Remember to choose your testing grounds carefully. Consider if the size of your target audience there will make this test worthwhile.
A perfect soft launch should be short: typically, between 3 and 4 weeks. Just enough time to gather and understand data and fix everything major that might come up. Be prepared. Your app must be ready and work as intended, with QA tests and an alpha test with limited users already done beforehand. Prepare everything like you would do for a classic, worldwide launch — because it will be a real launch, at least for some users. Make sure your servers are strong enough to handle a spike in user base, optimize your app store presence and landing page, be ready to track your KPIs.
With that out of our way, let’s explore our list.
Tactic no. 1: website banners
Banners are the original internet ad format that’s still here for a good reason. Whether we like them or not, they simply work. Banners come in all shapes and sizes, can be static or animated, and are placed virtually everywhere on the internet. When creating banners that advertise your new app, be sure to tailor them for your desired audience’s needs . If there are multiple demographics that you want to target, consider creating various banners for each of them.
Research marketing visual trends, so your ads look relevant. On the other hand, try to avoid visuals that feel disconnected from your app’s design style. This could make your potential users feel confused when downloading the app after seeing the ad. Consider user experience when placing your advertisements and remember that users can have an adverse reaction to seeing the same ad too many times. Optimize your banners, so they look good on all devices. If you can, perform A/B tests to compare effects between various versions and see what works best for what audience. You can also change ad placements to compare their performance.
Banners advertising your new mobile app should probably be placed on all (or most) websites your company owns, since putting them there doesn’t cost anything. But you’re going to have to pay to place those ads on sites where your audience dwells.
Tactic no. 2: paid promotion
To reach its potential users, your digital marketing campaign simply must include some form of paid promotion. The general rules are: be creative, trustworthy, and test everything you can. Thanks to A/B testing, you can compare your creations and pick better-performing ads to display more frequently, as well as tweak your less-effective ads, so they can perform better. With that in mind, let’s dive into the most relevant and efficient paid channels in 2021.
Social Media in mobile app marketing
The times when marketers had to convince their bosses to invest in social media presence are long gone. With almost half of our planet’s entire population present on social media, no one questions their inclusion in mobile app promotion strategies. The big four, meaning Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are marketing and customer support must-haves for almost every new brand or product. Although, if your mobile product aims to appeal to Gen Z, you should probably make TikTok a priority.
One of the most interesting trends in 2021 is the increase in popularity of the Story formats. Stories are a type of ephemeral content that started on Snapchat but today is available on various social platforms. Stories are usually vertical, mobile-optimized, full-screen, and typically stay published for 24 hours only.
Depending on your target audience, you can consider advertising on smaller social media that host more specific demographics, e.g.
- LinkedIn, when your audience is career-focused professionals,
- Pinterest, if you’re trying to reach women with higher education,
- Twitch, when your app is for gamers.
Luckily, you probably don’t need paid mobile app promotion on all those platforms. Choose those frequently used by your target audience and create amazing social content to persuade them to download your app. Remember that data is the most powerful tool that social platforms give you. Run A/B tests for every ad you can and try to optimize your ads for better results.
Influencer marketing in 2021
Influencer marketing can sprawl outside the realm of social media sometimes, but most influencer campaigns happen on social platforms, especially Instagram. According to Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report 2021 , the industry will grow to $13.8 Billion in 2021, with most companies selecting micro-influencers (accounts with less than 15,000 followers) to employ for their marketing efforts. This is probably because the engagement rates for smaller influencers are consistently higher than for the larger ones. It’s also worth noting that TikTok influencers receive much more engagement than similarly sized accounts on other platforms.
Start with finding an influencer that your target audience respects. It may be one person or more, depending on your budget and strategy. When working with influencers, define your marketing goals and explain them clearly to your partners, so they can understand your expectations. Establish trust and make sure you have a way to communicate back and forth. Test, review, and improve your content as you go.
Install ads in social media
App install ads are all formats that link directly to your app’s store page. They can appear in search results, other apps, as well as in social media, and typically will feature the “Install” button. You can target those ads to specific devices, so they’re more likely to appear on mobiles than desktops. You can create those types of ads on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and YouTube.
Facebook, the biggest social media platform in 2021 , offers a powerful Ads Manager that lets you choose app installs as the advertising objective for Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. Define the target audience as narrowly as you want, set your budget as low as it makes sense, and start experimenting with image and video formats. See what works best for your desired users and invest more in those kinds of ads.
On Instagram, your app install ads will appear in the user’s feed, alongside content from accounts they follow. Think about what kind of content your audience normally sees on Instagram, and try to match it, or cleverly subvert their expectations. Just remember that the quality of your visuals is even more important here than on other social platforms.
The Snapchat install ads are full-screen, so be sure to utilize all the space well. Talk to your audience employing language they use about what they can gain from using your app. Show off the real footage of your app.
On Twitter, you should focus on making your ad as informative as it can, preferably with a video or a slideshow animation, explaining clearly what your app does and who it is for.
YouTube, reported to be watched on mobile devices by 75% of its adult users , is a surprisingly great place to place install ads on. Base your preferred audience on their interests, history of watched videos, and demographics. Create short, informative ads that highlight your app’s best features. Consider offering an exclusive deal tied to the ad to give the customer an incentive to stop watching and install your app right at that moment. Additionally, if you’re already running a paid campaign on any other Google-owned site or app, it will be quite easy to set up YouTube ads.
This brings us to Google Ads.
The process of advertising apps is a little different from creating other Google Ads campaigns. Instead of designing individual ads, you set up a starting bid and a budget, then provide visual assets and some copywriting. Google algorithm takes those assets and tests how various combinations perform, with no need for any additional work from you. As a result, Google selects the best-performing ads and shows more of them across Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, and other Google-owned sites.
App Store Advertising (ASA)
It’s easy to understand why advertising your mobile app in an app store where it can be downloaded is so enticing. The user who already browses Google Play, Apple App Store, or any other mobile app store, is probably already searching for new apps to try. Just remember that iOS and Android users have different tastes and expectations, and always take that into consideration.
Apple Search Ads lets you place an ad on the App Store Search tab, where 70% of all App Store visitors come to find an app to download. The service comes in two forms:
- Basic, which includes ads at the top of search results. It’s suggested for budgets up to $10,000 per app, per month.
- Advanced — with additional placement on the Search tab (before performing a search) and more customization options and detailed reports.
In Google Play, you can advertise within search results, “Suggested for you” section on the home page, as well as “You might also like”, and “Related to this app” sections on related apps’ listings. These ads include the app icon, its name, the developer’s name, and, in some cases, a short text. Additionally, you can choose the campaign goal to be either app installs or pre-registrations if your app isn’t out yet.
Tactic no. 3: landing page
Any successful mobile app marketing plan has to include a section on this topic. A landing page is technically any website that the user will see after clicking on one of your ads (provided they didn’t click on an App Install ad, which would take them directly to the app listing in a relevant app store.) But when marketers use that term, they almost exclusively mean a special, standalone page that has one particular purpose. In your case, it will be to make people download and try out an app. A good landing page performs its singular goal effectively.
To create a well-performing LP, you’re going to need a design that establishes a pleasant and logical user experience. Remember to put Google Play and Apple App Store buttons in a prominent place and entice people to click on them with a clever call to action. The users who visit this site already showed interest in your mobile app. You can try to reinforce the promise you gave them in the ad by presenting proof, e.g., app screenshots, usage videos, or testimonials.
Tactic no. 4: App Store Optimization
As already mentioned before, app stores are crowded. As of Q1 2021, Google Play offers 3.48 million, and iOS App Store — 2.22 million apps. It’s easy to get lost and forgotten when the competition is that numerous. Fortunately, there’s ASO.
ASO (or App Store Optimization) is a process of testing and tweaking your app’s in-store assets with the goal of being on the top of a given app store organic search results. You can describe it pretty accurately as “SEO for app stores”. The goal of this constant optimization of your keywords and descriptions, as well as active pursuit of ratings and reviews, is to make it easier for users to find your app.
App store optimization key factors
Although there are common components of ASO across all app stores, it’s crucial to remember that optimizing a Google Play app details page and an iOS App Store listing are two distinctive tasks. That being said, these are key factors you want to focus on while working on both:
- Explanatory title and the overall usage of keywords.
- User-friendly and persuasive app description.
- High-quality graphic and video assets (icon, screenshots).
- Ways to encourage ratings and reviews.
Remember to test, assess, and tweak — ASO is a process, not a one-time gig.
App store optimization tools
Here’s a shortlist of ASO tools that you should consider giving a go:
- App Annie is a market data and analytics platform that offers mobile market intelligence, data-based automated reports, and track performance data from multiple apps and publisher accounts.
- Appcodes is an App Store Optimization tool that enables you to improve your App Store SEO, track your competition, play with keywords, and distribute promo codes.
- MobileAction is an “All-in-One App Marketing Intelligence Platform” that lets you nose around in your competition’s data, as well as track, research, optimize, and get suggestions for new keywords.
- Search Man’s ASO Solution includes iOS and Android Search tracking, data-driven keyword suggestions, SEO improvement tips, and a tool for leveraging chosen keywords in mobile ads.
- TheTool works for both iOS and Android app store marketing and is extremely easy to use. It offers improvement recommendations based on your app listing evaluation, helpful data insights, KPIs tracking, and competition analysis.
App store optimization resources
Since ASO is such a vast subject, a piece that covers multiple mobile app marketing tactics such as this one can only scratch the surface of this fascinating topic. If you want to know more, check out these wonderful reads:
- 10 Powerful Strategies to Boost Mobile App Downloads on Buildfire’s site goes into detail on how app store optimization works, explains major factors impacting ASO, and proposes 10 ways to improve app downloads.
- In a blog post simply named What is App Store Optimization? (ASO) Neil Patel covers basic key ASO concepts and focuses on conquering the iOS App Store’s optimization key factors.
- Finally, “The complete guide to mobile app marketing” e-book, created by a group of industry leaders, can be downloaded here.
Tactic no. 5: email marketing
Even though email predates the internet itself, it’s still surprisingly relevant today. According to Email Statistics Report 2021–2025 by The Radicati Group, the number of emails sent and received every day will exceed 319 billion with 4.1 billion users in 2021 and an estimated 376 billion with over 4.5 billion users in 2025. Ignoring a communication channel that immense would be a grave mistake.
Use of email marketing in your mobile app marketing plan should include both user acquisition and user retention tactics:
- Creating an email signature that features a link to your landing page for all employees to use, may result in acquiring new leads from people already somehow involved in day-to-day dealings with your company.
- With a newsletter subscription box featured on your landing page or the company webpage, your potential users can opt-in for the marketing communication regarding your mobile app even before it is released. Sending occasional updates, and most importantly, a link to download your app when it launches is an awesome way to ensure additional downloads, reviews, and ratings on day one.
- Consider giving something in return for the emails you’re collecting. It can be an e-book related to your app’s purpose, a trial period for a premium version, or a free timed subscription.
- Use email to stay in touch with your users and show that you care about them and the product you’re making. Depending on what your mobile app is capable of, your arsenal of newsletter topics will vary, but you should contemplate sending out news on app updates, as well as personal app usage statistics, personalized offers, and feedback surveys.
If you have an established client base with access to their phone numbers, SMS marketing is an outstanding way to communicate directly with people who are already connected to your brand. Consider personalizing the messages and remember to include a link to your mobile-optimized landing page.
Every mobile app marketing plan has to start somewhere, and we’re glad that we could have helped with yours. We care about apps achieving their potential because we too create software. You can actually work with us to develop the mobile app as well.
Originally published at https://www.monterail.com.