App Marketing – Tips for Succeeding in the App Markets

Apple’s App Store just reached its 10 billionth app download and is currently holding (according to Distimo) 350,000 applications, while Google’s Android Market offers 130,000 applications to download. The average number of apps downloaded by an iOS user = 5 per month while the average spends by an iOS user = $1.5 per month – certainly a huge market with100 Million for iOS users alone.

However current app market research shows that mobile app marketing is pretty much still in its infancy. Weever Media offers App Marketing and we have done lots of projects hence we wanted to share the most valuable insights here.

Now, if you’re in charge of marketing your app you know that to get your app on your customers’ devices it helps to know how they normally find or discover apps. Nielsen showed in a current piece of research the following patterns:

app discovery in app store
Ways to discover apps, source: Nielsen, click to enlarge

The most used and preferred method of finding an app is still the search in the app store itself – followed by recommendations by friends for apps. Interesting also the good acceptance of in-app advertising with 9% quoting as a preferred method of finding apps.

For android app market and app store marketing your app needs to be promoted utilising this behaviour. In plain English app store SEO functions to cover the searches in the stores and social media to stimulate peer-to-peer recommendations. Here are some app marketing tips to succeed in bringing your app to your customers’ devices:

App Store Search

Being used to the sophistication of traditional web search the app store or android market search comes as one big disappointment. It’s obviously early days for app stores technology-wise but we expected rather big improvements in terms of search or promotional functionality in the stores. For the time being you have to work with what’s there:

App Store Seo

The optimisation of meta tags in the developer’s app account is the one thing to do before you publish the app, most of it can only be updated only after a code update. Important tags to impact the showing in search results are:

  • Title tag – get yourself a professional SEO keyword research to increase findability in the app store search
  • Description tag – since Google picks up the iTunes preview of the app description (an html version) it makes sense to also use the right keywords here
  • Keywords tag – limited to 100 characters so make sure you’re using the relevant keywords
  • Developer & category tag – some more opportunities to match the content of the searches with your app

As usual in SEO there’re some tips to increase the search results ranking like using a number in front of your app name but I am not sure I’d recommend this here. Also the icon and the screenshots have to be chosen wisely.

App Store Ranking

Since there is now an abundance of apps you won’t gain much if yours does not appear in the top 50 search results, at least! This means you need to get reviews and downloads (depending on the app store). One good approach is to provide an app inbuilt function to ask users to review the app and direct them back to the app store where they can do so. Apparently, it now takes more than 50,000 U.S. daily installs to get into the Top 25 Free Apps ranking in the App Store. This is less for particular categories but you still need to have a good app and some good app marketing to get there.

App Store vs. Android Market Ranking

Different app stores rank apps in different ways. The Apple App Store algorithm is still rather rudimental and is pretty much based around downloads and positive reviews. In the case of the Android Market, the ranking seems to be calculated slightly differently. Google obviously knows about ranking search results in quite a bit hence the approach is more sophisticated (and the Google people are smart – gone are the times where you can buy downloads and reviews to push the app). Google’s Android Market is taking into account a measure of activity in the application and not simply new installs per day. More information here.

App Store Reviews

We did some research about the impact of bad reviews on app sales and found it relatively strong. Obviously, there’s only a high-quality app preventing bad app reviews, but there are ways to push negative comments down the line…

App Review Sites

Submitting your app to app review sites like 148Apps, AppSafari or AppVee works well for generating buzz and exposure for the app. Some require an app video and it’s also in general a good idea to create one for promotional purposes and spread it across social media platforms.

Affiliate Marketing for Apps

app affiliate marketingAn emerging way of app promotion is on a pay per download or affiliate basis. These sites provide you with good targeting technology and the biggest ones have a massive amount of traffic. This purely performance-based approach is certainly a good way to gain accessibility and visibility amongst your targeted audience and we can only recommend these sites.

In-App Advertising

In-app mobile advertising is now purported to be a $2 billion industry, the acceptance amongst the user is growing hence it’s a good way to promote your app from within other contextually related apps.

Promoting Apps through Social Media

We’ve seen earlier that recommendations for apps by friends or peers play a major role in finding and downloading apps. And where else do your targeted users hang out and talk about brands, products, AND apps? That’s right in Social Media Platforms. Your approach should be like any other Social Media Marketing project:

  • Find out where is your targeted audience hangs out, monitor what they are talking about and in which format
  • Find Influencers who could give your app good references and virtual boost (also provide them with promo codes and try to utilise them as beta testers)
  • Reach out to Bloggers in your particular app category – engage with them and eventually ask them for an app review
  • Go to forums where topics related to your app are being discussed and engage
  • Build-in some social functionality into the app to enable the sharing in the social platforms (or contents of your apps)
  • Write a blog about topics your targeted users are interested in to utilise inbound marketing principles

App Life Cycle and Pricing

app store marketing tipsTo give your app a push and bring it (back) to desired rankings it makes sense to update its code in a frequent matter and also run promotions or decrease the price for some time. This is possible before a major code update.

Cross-Platform App Marketing

What else needs to be done? We recommend building some microsites to explain your apps in more detail. Write press releases and articles to boost the SEO juice of your microsites and get good rankings in Google search.
As mentioned earlier producing a little video to showcase the USPs of your app is almost a must and easy enough to do.

If you follow all or some of the above-mentioned marketing tips and your app is of high quality I am sure you will succeed and generate lots of downloads and ‘dough’. Hard work and a quality product will always pay off. Good luck!

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