App marketing

App marketing – can be much more than looking for the needle in the haystack

Who doesn’t use them, those little digital helpers that can make our everyday lives so much easier? We’re talking about mobile apps that are downloaded onto the smartphone. In the Apple App Store, for instance, you can find more than 900,000 different mobile apps now. (1) Their number is increasing every day – just like their use, which is confirmed by the increasing prevalence of smartphones throughout all classes of the population. Smartphone users prefer mobile apps for news, commerce, communication, and situational services (in comparison to mobile websites). (2)

Many companies have recognized this trend, upgrading their Mobile Marketing especially with regard to mobile apps. Automobile manufacturer Audi, for example, offers 18 apps in different categories. The Robert Bosch GmbH has 26 apps – when including the apps of related brands, they even amount to 33. (3) The gamut ranges from B2C- to B2B- to B2A-apps. Mobile apps are also increasingly used within the companies themselves, for example for sales representatives’ time recording. The apps’ range of possibilities is enormous – as is their effect on the target audience.

App marketing starts in the app store

This of course increases the urgency of a good app marketing. There’s no point if companies develop an app and then don’t have a budget to market it after the launch in the app store. Much likely, this will only result in low download rates and lacking visibility.

When it comes to app marketing, for the most part it’s nothing but attention that decides on the success or failure of the mobile app. Here, marketing already starts with the app store-optimization, i.e. the SEO within the store, and an expressive name and icon for the app. The basic information given in the app store – as the description and thumbnails – should also be expressive and convincing. Regarding the description, it’s the first 200-300 characters that count, but you can also draw attention to the app’s benefits and purposes with the thumbnails and a little creativity – and even show complete use cases. Mobile apps like „Vine“ or „Pocket“ exemplarily illustrate what you can do with thumbnails. To a large extent, the ratings of other users are also crucial for the decision to download the app. Good ratings initiate downloads and provide contents for PR-activities. (4) Having appropriate tags for the app store guarantees visibility, even if the smartphone users search selectively. At least one third of all smartphone users find new apps in the app store search. When placing tags, you can be creative and think outside the box – provided that every tag describes a feature of the mobile app. The number of downloads decides on the ranking in the search results – which can be a blessing, but also a curse. The 17th rank in the search results will hardly be rewarding, but depends on the app’s popularity. (5) As smartphone users often find new mobile apps in the app store search, optimizing the app for the app store is a very important element of app marketing.

Aussagekräftige Einträge im App Store sind ein zentraler Baustein im App Marketing.

Continuity instead of singularity

App marketing should be planned on a long-term basis and start before the launch in the app store. An additional responsive landingpage for the mobile app can create a platform for generating leads of potential downloaders. Providing those contacts with a newsletter when launching the app could guarantee the first downloads as an initial spark for the app’s success. (6)

After launching the app, the app marketing should initially push the users’ attention – this is also called “app boost”. This way, the newly available app will appear in the top-charts for some time and possibly become “app of the week” for the app store’s editorial team. Even if the initial downloads necessary for this should be purchased, the app’s increased visibility yields a multiplicity of generic downloads and, thus, first marketing successes. (7) Here, incentivised downloads can generate a high amount of other downloads within a very short time. However, the ranking in the app store charts does not only comprise the quantitative number of downloads anymore. The qualitative factors in the list below are also decisive for the app-ranking:

  • number of downloads
  • frequency of downloads (in a certain period of time)
  • frequency of user-ratings
  • number of stars averagely awarded in the user-ratings (8)

With this, the quality of the app becomes increasingly relevant. For fee-based apps, it is also recommendable to offer the mobile app in the introductory period for free or at a reduced price to increase the probability of downloads and collect (ideally positive) user-ratings at the same time.

DThe “app boost” at the beginning is targeted at a greater presence in social networks, visibility in print and online media, and word-of-mouth-advertising. Blog posts, personal recommendations, shares or re-tweets – there are many possibilities to raise attention and awareness. Social media marketing is the most effective method of app marketing and in no way inferior to the actual app store-optimization. DMarketing apps via social networks is relatively inexpensive, accurate, and viral. In a quick way, the users’ involvement can be increased, and positive effects can be generated by word-of-mouth. (8) Besides the popular “Facebook Install Ads”, it is recommended to use so-called “Engagement Ads” via which direct features of the mobile app can be advertised. YouTube is also becoming an important advertising medium – and an ideal platform for short, catchy app-promotion videos. PR activities, mobile advertising or advertising reservations on the internet for generating greater coverage are further options for app marketing.

Despite these marketing activities, the users’ attention will slightly level off in the course of time. This is a good moment to attain new attention with updates. Via a continuous tracking of downloads, the analysis of user ratings and the in-app use, it is possible to continuously filter approaches for optimizations and updates. The app marketing measures also need to be tracked for increasing efficiency in this field. New useful features and optimizations on a regular basis bring the mobile app back into the mind of the users. An optimized app marketing based on the tracking data allows for accurately approaching the respective target group, and the cycle by means of active app marketing can start over again – both within and outside the app stores.

Good marketing first needs a dazzling idea

Even the most sophisticated app marketing concept is worthless if the mobile app itself is not really innovative and doesn’t offer any added value. The downloads generated by app marketing can only be helpful if the mobile app is actually used afterwards. Only if used regularly, the app can really be a little digital helper in the everyday life of smartphone users.

A dazzling idea and good usability decide if the mobile app will be successful despite thousands of similar others. The success story of the taxi reservation app „mytaxi“ exemplarily shows how a mobile app can revolutionize a complete sector. Poor apps however provoke poor ratings. Poor ratings very likely cause decreasing downloads – resulting in a maelstrom-effect that is hard to get out of even with updates. (9)
Today’s users make high demands on mobile apps, like a good usability, use value or price – all these criteria need to be considered.

Die Kriterien im Überblick, die Nutzer an eine Mobile App stellen.

There is always more behind an app than only its development. It is true that all companies should nowadays consider having an own app,but only a good mobile app that is highly visible in the app stores is a real benefit for the company, its image and for the smartphone users. This is no easy task and should definitely be considered in its entirety. From the idea to the concept, design and the app marketing – we provide you with experience, competency and support.