Category Archives: App Marketing & PR

Digital marketing services for media brandsYears of experience in global communications and guiding digital innovation, paired with some of the top tech talent in the world, allow us to help firms with nearly any digital marketing challenge. From revamping and updating existing systems to creating captivating marketing campaigns, we supply some of the world’s most innovative firms with the talent they need to reach their goals. We like to believe that our reputation precedes us, but we are always excited to be recognized.

We are pleased to share that we are featured on Clutch, a ratings and reviews platform for B2B service providers. Clutch uses in depth research, including considerations for marketing presence, former clients, and client reviews. After evaluating thousands of agencies across the globe, Clutch listed ComboApp as amongst the best app marketing agencies in their 2019 research.

In addition to the research that they collect, Clutch analysts conduct extensive interviews with a firm’s clients to properly assess the quality of their work and their reliability as a partner. Two of our clients have shared their experiences working with us, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. Take a look:

“It’s always refreshing when a company delivers what they promise.” – Founder, Happy Diamond Music Studios

“They made sure we understood the full scope of the marketing campaign.” – Business Development Manager, Education Products Company

We take pride in supplying our clients with top talent and solutions that leverage the most recent technology, and we are grateful that our care is being recognized.

In addition to our recognition for our app development expertise, we have also been named one of the top PR firms in Chicago by Clutch’s sister-site, The Manifest. The Manifest provides industry insights, how-to guides, and recommendations of service providers to small and mid-sized firms. Although recognition from industry authorities bolsters our reputation, we prefer to let our work speak for itself. We have included a portfolio of some of our best work on Visual Objects, a site which allows firms to have clients view and compare the work of tech firms and digital marketing companies.

We leverage top tech talent and cutting edge technology to deliver nothing but the best solutions for our clients. We love what we do, and we love who we do it with; thank you to everyone who has helped us reach this point. Above the pride that we feel is gratitude for everything you have done for us.

You’ve built an app. Now you may think it’s going to just pick up overnight and be used, but that’s not true. The reality is there’s a LOT of work you need to do to promote your app effectively. After all, why design and develop a mobile app if no one will ever use it?

This is where mobile app marketing comes into place.

Mobile app marketing refers to the set of strategies and branding techniques deployed to attract, engage, and retain users with the primary purpose of increasing a user’s overall lifetime value. Mobile App Marketing impacts the end to end mobile funnel from downloading to installing and using a mobile app.

Every company launching a mobile product needs to have an app marketing strategy. Marketing an app needs to be aggressive, especially at the beginning. Here at ComboApp, we’ve helped almost 1,000 app owners successfully launch their products to market. We break down the top 20 actionable tips on how to market an app successfully.

Mobile app marketing agency

For your convenience, we have chunked down these tips into two broader categories:

1. Marketing tips for before you launch your mobile application

2. Marketing tips for the first 90 days after you launch your application

 

First Things First: Why Marketing an App is Crucial?

Building an awesome mobile product for your business is half the battle.

Yes, more than 70 percent of the people around the globe own a smartphone, and the future of marketing is certainly mobile apps.

But, get this: over 65 percent of small businesses and almost all big brand companies have already developed a mobile app. In fact, the global app development spend hit $25.1 billion in 2018, with the figure projected to reach nearly $30 billion in 2019.

That’s some serious competition in a market that is increasingly becoming saturated.

Depending on your product’s niche, you will face tough competition from hundreds and thousands of similarly positioned apps. And, as if that’s not bad enough, you only have a measly 8 seconds to grab the attention of an online user in order to encourage them to download your app.

So, how to promote your app when users have a sea of choice? Keep on reading; you’ll be glad you did.

 

(I) BEFORE You Launch Your App

Many, if not MOST, product owners in the world make this mistake. They wait till the last (i)responsible moment before thinking about their mobile app marketing efforts. However, any marketer that has even a modicum of experience will tell you this is absolutely wrong.

A mobile app marketing plan doesn’t just happen overnight.

The reality is that to have a successful launch at the exact moment your mobile product hits the App Store or Google Play, you need to develop mobile app marketing strategy and start executing on your marketing initiatives at least 60 days before the launch date.

This first section of the article covers the main activities that should be completed before you even know the exact release date.

So, let’s start with the obvious ones:

 

1. Build a Great Site and a Comprehensive Landing Page for your App

Landing page creation for mobile app

Having an informative site for your product is the first key step in any mobile app marketing plan. And literally 99% of developers don’t even think about it.

But here’s the deal: without a website, how else will potential users find out about your mobile app organically and download it? A well designed site is crucial for SEO purposes, and it’s best to make sure that it is up even before you write the first line of code. Also, we’ll talk about how to market an app on the App Store/ Google Play later in this article as well.

No matter how amazing you think your application might be, if no one has heard about it, cannot find it online, or you aren’t reaching its target users, then it will probably flop.

That’s why you need to build a website that will engage your product’s target audience right from the outset. You might want to include run-of-the-mill features like a blog, live chat, etc.

However, if you think your product doesn’t warrant a fully-fledged website, a comprehensive landing page can do just fine. Use the landing page to tell your app’s story, and explain to potential users what it brings to the table. Use cheap/ free tools like Wix, Unbounce or Leadpages to get off the ground quickly.

When it comes to creating a sound landing page, remember that the value of relevant keywords is critical to the overall success of your web efforts. Additionally, take advantage of website analytics tools (Google Analytics will do just fine for this purpose) to track its performance and adjust your mobile app marketing strategy and tactics accordingly.

When all’s said and done, however, it’s a no-brainer that your app website should be simple, easy to navigate, and optimized for mobile browsing.

Last but not least, your website should load in a snap.

 

2. Create a Robust SEO Strategy

SEO strategy creation for app promotion

You can’t do SEO for a native mobile app – that is understandable. But you can do SEO like a pro for your website that is designed to promote your app.

Creating a rock-hard SEO strategy starts with zeroing in on the right keywords. After all, how can you market a mobile app effectively without understanding the keywords that matter the most for your target audience?

In the app space, the ideal keywords would be terms often used by potential users to recognize what your product does. For some apps, the keywords might come to you naturally, but for others, they might not be as obvious. Either way, top-down keyword research is a must-do when developing any mobile app marketing strategy.

Not sure where to start? It’s easy – head over to Neil Patel’s FREE UberSuggest Tool and type in keywords that you think are most related to your application. The tool will give you traffic volume, difficulty levels to rank against specific keywords and derivative keywords (aka keywords you may not have thought about).

One more thing you need to know about SEO: It’s absolutely critical that you start your SEO efforts at least 60 days before the launch date because it usually takes 60 to 90 days until Google picks up your website and content. So the golden rule is to already rank for some keywords when you launch the app – and then you continue with this strategy during the growth phase too.

In the world of SEO, it’s no secret that content is king. As such, you need to generate attention-grabbing, original content that resonates well with the potential users. Make sure to leverage your content and rank for relevant keywords to get long term traffic to your app site. Also, don’t forget to do link building and cross-promotions; they are the best way to build organic buzz for your up-and-coming mobile product.

 

3. Recruit Influencers to Promote Your App

Influencer marketing to promote your app

Influencer marketing is all the rage right now, and it can surely help ramp up downloads and visibility.

In fact, 33 percent of users say they downloaded an application because it was recommended by people they trust or follow online. So, it pays to make social media and direct influencers part of your app marketing plan.

Perhaps the first step is to learn how to effectively pitch influencers:

– Make sure that the influencer is a good fit for your niche.

– It’s all about engagement, so make sure that the influencer has a ton of active followers, most of whom are your target users.

– Offer value to the influencers and their followers, including exclusive access to your product, discounts, and other enticing rewards.

– Commission credible influencers to provide a sneak peek to your application, and perhaps review it.

With that said, you need to find trustworthy influencers from across many digital channels, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Pinterest, high-authority blogs, Medium, and YouTube, just to mention the top few. More importantly, you want to have a list of influencers ready to promote your app the day you launch and then increase the engagement after launch.

 

4. Create a Demo Video

Demo video creation

Chances are that your potential users don’t have a clue on how your digital product works and therefore can’t tell if it will benefit them. That’s why your mobile app marketing plan needs to include a 30-50 second demo video, which clearly and concisely highlights the value prop for your application.

When you get down to it, we are visual creatures. In fact, the human brain processes visuals 60,000x faster than it does text.

That said, it’s not enough to post the video inside the app.

Go ahead and upload it to YouTube, cross-promo sites, and other video sharing platforms across the web. Needless to say, the video should be on your site and ready for when your product goes live.

How do you make your demo video stand out?

– You can count on cute animated characters to capture the attention of your viewers.

– Keep it experiential, or make it look like a review.

– Try a live recording of your application in action.

– Make sure the overall look and feel of the video is sleek, modern and simply cool.

 

5. Create a Kickass Press Release to boost your mobile app marketing efforts

Press Release creation to boost marketing

Press releases are needed to send pitches to journalists who may be interested in covering your application (aka free publicity). Because of that, working on an awesome PR kit is absolutely key to marketing an app.

Here are some tips for how to create an amazing press kit before the app launch:

– Use tools like Cision to find a list of journalists likely to cover your product.

– Send your press release to journalists 2-3 weeks BEFORE the launch date.

– Include a review guide, preferably a PDF file that outlines your app idea, how it works, features, and anything important in between (keep it visual!).

– Incorporate high-quality screenshots of your application in action into the PR kit so you can make a great first impression and for readers to get a feel for it.

– Follow and interact with relevant journalists and tech bloggers on social media to get the conversation rolling.

– The subject line of the press release should spell out in black-and-white the value of your product.

– Get straight to the facts, and avoid blowing your own trumpet.

 

6. Post on Q&A and Social Platforms

Post on Q&A and social platforms

Social media platforms can do wonders for any app marketing strategy because you’re taking your campaigns to where your target users spend an average of 134 minutes every day.

So, it pays to post frequent blogs, videos, articles, case studies, white papers, links, and press releases on social media platforms, most notably Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Posting on Q&A platforms can also do the trick. On Quora, for instance, find threads that your application can be relevant to. However, don’t spam, but rather post informative and relevant comments for those online users seeking answers to a specific problem that your product can help solve.

When it comes to Reddit, it’s very important to find the right communities so you can engage and build rapport with your target audience. The same goes for Pinterest.

Last but not least, don’t forget that Slideshare can do wonders for app promotion and brand awareness. Make sure to create a short 5-6 slide presentation and share it with the world on Slideshare.

If your app site is already up and running, make sure to link all your posts to it to drive traffic, build buzz for your mobile product, and eventually boost downloads.

 

7. Join Linkedin and Facebook Groups Relevant to Your App

Join Linkedin and Facebook groups

Creating credibility and awareness for your upcoming product online can be daunting, but important part of the app promotion. That’s where LinkedIn and Facebook groups come into play. Join a number of these groups and communities that are relevant to your application.

Stay off by posting relevant content that’ll resonate well with group members. Here, think about tips, tutorials, industry insights, expert opinion, and other stuff that will help you build authority on the group. Also, post about your yet-to-be-launched product every so often to help build buzz before its actual launch.

The idea here is to become a valuable member of these groups BEFORE you launch your app. So then you don’t come off as spammy when you launch your product and post about it. And given that tens of thousands of apps are released every day, you don’t want yours to fall through the cracks.

Here are a few clever ways to leverage the power of Facebook and LinkedIn groups:

– Discuss or contribute to hot, current events and topics in the industry. This way, you’ll establish yourself as an authority in your niche. Ultimately, the community will also attach the same respect and authority to your application once it goes live.

– Provide value for members.

– Communicate with influencers, industry leaders, and brand advocates directly on the groups.

– Keep your conversations brief, lively, and to the point.

 

8. Create Social Media Profiles

Create social media profiles for your app

When deciding on how to market an app, consider that social media is the easiest and the most convenient way to get found online. And, consequently, one of the most valuable mobile app marketing strategies you can deploy for your digital product.

Unlike SEO, the springboard is already set for you: the platform itself. So, don’t slack off – be very active on your social media profiles. But, more importantly, create profiles across popular social media sites, including a Facebook page, Twitter handle, Instagram account, and YouTube channel.

Once the profiles are set up, make sure to invite everyone you know (including micro influencers) to like them. It’s worth noting that these social profiles should be live and buzzing with activity at least one month before the release date. This will give you plenty of time to build a community, generate pizzazz, and get people talking about your product before it hits the mobile app market.

– Plan ahead, especially when it comes to the content topic, type and style – what posts does your target audience wants to read?

– Leverage user-generated content to make your fans part of your mobile app promotion.

– Use a human tone in your posts, comments, and other pieces of content.

– Offer incentives to users who share your posts, visit your website, etc.

 

9. Make it Easy for People to Share And/or Refer Your App

Word-of-mouth marketing

Numbers don’t lie: 33 percent of app downloads usually come from referrals. Word-of-mouth marketing has always proven to work like a charm. After all, 92 percent of people say they trust recommendations from their friends and family. As such, a referral program should be a consideration when deciding on how to market an app.

But how can you incentivize users to invite their friends to download your application? First and foremost, make it super easy for them to share. Oftentimes that means making the sharing functionality embedded right in your product. Also, integrate with services that allow you to send the app over text messages: social platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, etc.

Another great way to gain referrals is to ask for reviews from current users.

– Use clear Call-To-Actions (CTAs) in your posts, app landing pages, and social media profiles.

– Give value-based incentives.

– Make sure your application is easy to use.

– Use personalized links in your email & social referral campaigns.

If you actually build your product with user referral techniques in mind, you are bound to set your mobile app marketing initiatives for success early on.

 

10. App Store Optimization is the foundational brick for your mobile app marketing efforts

App Store Optimization for marketing your app

Start off your App Store Optimization (ASO) with a short, but comprehensive app description. Optimizing for the right keywords is also important. Selecting the right category to file your product under, and doing a little keyword research to ensure that it gets discovered through search might seem like something trivial but nonetheless fundamental part of “how to market your app”.

– Understand your target user: the success of your ASO strategy hinges on having a deeper understanding of your typical customer. How would they describe your application?

– Maximize your keywords: When it comes to Apple’s App Store, make sure to use all of the allotted 100 characters to maximize the use of keywords. For Google Play, you can use keywords liberally, given that the character limit is set to 4000. Don’t forget to use the right keywords in the title because it can boost rankings by over 10 percent.

– Put your best foot forward with a unique, stand-out icon.

– Include Videos and Screenshots: The screenshots in the App Store/ Google Play are one of the most important mobile app promotion tools you have. Make sure the images are stunning, self-explanatory and with catchy captions.

– Make sure your app listing is localized as appropriate.

 

(II) AFTER You Launch Your App

So you’ve gotten so far. The launch day that you’ve been waiting for so long has come. Naturally, the first priority is to make sure your app is released without any issues or bugs. Once you’ve tested and launched it, you need to focus on your mobile application marketing efforts. Of course, if you’ve implemented all the recommended above tips and tricks during the previous 2-3 months before the launch date, now you’re in an amazing shape and position scale up quickly. Let’s see how!

 

11. Get Busy with your App-Install Campaigns

App-install campaigns to ensure organic growth

Now that your product is live, it’s time to find a fix for the empty room problem (no one has downloaded your application) with app-install campaigns. At this juncture, you might want to break out your big mobile app marketing guns, so to speak.

Spend on Facebook/ Twitter/ Adwords to get your first users. In the beginning, your app promotion should focus on getting at least a few hundred users, which are the easiest to get via paid social media campaigns. After that, you can expect some organic growth. Also, if you get a lot of downloads within a week of launching your product, it has a chance to get featured, which will get you a lot more installs. We wouldn’t recommend making getting featured a cornerstone of your mobile app marketing plan but look at it rather as a possible, and desirable, “bonus side effect” of your app promotion activities.

Tracking: Determine which ad channels drive the most installs. This way, you can focus your app promotion efforts and advertising dollars on them. Nonetheless, don’t forget about the little networks that have bigger potential for increasing your installs.

Organic growth: Before you spend a lot of money on ads to boost downloads, you might want to consider, observe and calculate the potential of organic growth first.

Use Creatives: Mobile app promotion should include the use of static and animated graphics, infographics, and videos. We usually start our user acquisition campaigns with 20-30 different creatives to test their effectiveness. In 72 hours we evaluate which images perform best and optimize the campaign accordingly.

 

12. Reach Out to Blog Owners That Rank High in Google

How to market a new app via bloggers

If you own a website or an online store, then you probably have a love-hate relationship with Google. But search remains hands down the best way to get heard and found online. That’s why you need to work with people who’ve been there and done that.

Marketing an app should involve reaching out to blog owners that rank high in SERPs (search engine result pages), preferably one of the top three on the 1st page. Pitch them sending your PR kit.

Tactically, just look up “app reviews in X”, where X is your industry. Then write a personal email to everyone you see in top 10 search results introducing your application and giving them reasons on why they should check out your product.

 

13. Get App Reviews

How to get app reviews

Quantity and tone of reviews can make or break your app marketing campaign. In fact, having fewer user reviews can do more harm than not-so-sterling feedback. Generally, you can get app reviews in the following ways:

1)    Create pop-up messages encouraging people to review the app. Most people do not like these pop-ups but they’re effective, 15% of people seeing them end up giving you a review.

2)    A mobile app marketing plan should include activities tasked to persuade users to review the app (emails, personal outreach, etc).

Of course, there are a ton of other things you can do to get more and better app reviews in no time:

– Ask users plainly and explicitly to review within the app. This is where a handy review plugin can be especially useful.

– Get a handle on your customer support. If you help and answer user queries in a breeze, they’ll definitely leave a good feedback.

– Give users an incentive to review your application. If you have a game, for instance; provide players with additional points or rewards for reviewing.

– Organize contests across several different forums, channels, and social platforms to encourage your fans to leave reviews.

– Rectify issues that most users are complaining about (and tell them about it in the comments section of your app listing). This will provide a platform where you can interact and eventually motivate the user to leave a positive feedback.

– Take advantage of updates, and release notes to boost reviews.

 

14. Submit Your Mobile App to Review Sites

How to market your app via app reviewer sites

Whereas # 13 is about organic reviews from people who use your product, marketing an app should also involve soliciting reviews from websites that review apps professionally. While there are myriads of app review websites, the following 8 are considered to be the creme de la creme:

TechCrunch – This site is a darling for techies, and listing your product on this site can do wonders for installs. It’s an ideal site for standout brands and apps.

ProductHunt – If your application ends up being reviewed on ProductHunt, you’ll put it in front of millions of tech enthusiasts across the globe. Just make sure to go over their best practices before submitting it for review.

Mashable – Here’s another amazing site that can build buzz for your product. With a huge audience, Mashable provides you with a great platform to showcase what value your application can offer its users.

AppAdvice – If you’ve built an iOS application, AppAdvice is a great place to get it reviewed professionally.

FeedMyApp – Your app gets reviewed and tagged. This platform caters to all app genres and OSs.

AppStorm – This review platform covers the entire OS gamut, including the not-so-popular Windows.

148Apps – Please note that 148Apps does only iPad and iPhone app reviews.

PreApps – at PreApps, you can get just about any kind of app reviewed, from productivity to games and every application in between.

 

15. Apply for Awards

Apply for awards as part of mobile app marketing plan

How can users trust your application enough to download it? Turns out, the best way is to get recognition. The good news is that there are lots of sites that accept applications for design/ feature awards. Marketing an app can be made easier by applying for the following awards to build reputation, credibility, and trust for your product:

Appy Awards – Organized by MediaPost, Appy Awards is an annual event that recognizes the best of the best apps for the year. Given that MediaPost has many publicity channels, you can easily get your application in front of millions of potential users.

Best App Ever Awards – This Award honors the best mobile games and apps in two categories: Best Android Apps and Best iOS Apps. It has proven quite effective for applications like Minecraft. Even better, this is an award organized by 148Apps.

Apple Design Awards – If you build iOS apps, you might want to enlist for Apple Design Awards. If nominated, your product will be light ahead of other applications in your niche. Make sure that the creativity of your app is up to Apple’s scratch.

Appsters Awards – The app review site also recognizes over 5000 app developers across many categories. So, if you think you did a bang-up job with your application, Appster Awards is for you.

The Webby Awards – Webby Awards is all about honoring the best of developers doing great things in the internet age. If you believe you’re a Webby material, your product will get a new lease on life.

Best Mobile App Awards – This award finds and recognizes people that make apps great. It’s sponsored and starred by big brands like NBC, Yahoo!, CNET, and ABC.

The bigger question is: why to apply for app awards? It’s simple. When you get awarded, you’ll build awareness & credibility for your application, and you’ll ultimately see an increase in the number of installs. Awareness is king for mobile app marketing purposes.

First, it’s free publicity – and who doesn’t like that?

Second, if you get any awards, go back to your app description and website and update both accordingly. Street Cred and public recognition are very powerful strategies to go viral!

 

16. Sponsor a Contest

Sponsor a contest to market your app

Mobile app promotion, depending on a type of an app and its intended target audience, can be augmented by a sponsored contest.

Find websites that sell complementary products to your application, whether its t-shirts, caps, mugs, subscriptions, vouchers, gift cards, and so on. Offer awards for your contest, for example, high quality t-shirts. The participants will need to download your application and complete specific tasks in order to qualify. Your options when it comes to running a contest/raffle are simply unlimited. For example, we’ve run multiple campaigns for our clients with custom apparel from ScreenPrintThis.

 

17. Post your app on Product Hunt / HackerNews

Post your app on Product Hunt

Product Hunt is one of the most influential platforms for new applications, software, and techs.

This online community is certainly one of the best sites to show off your product’s best features and appeal to tech enthusiasts. If your application is stellar enough, ProductHunt can be a great place to get noticed by potential investors, developers, and users alike. HackerNews is yet another incredible website that can take your app recognition to a whole new level.

Once your application is live, your app marketing plan should include reaching out to these sites to list your app. If you get lots of upvotes, it will be amazing for downloads. Of more importance is that websites like Product Hunt have strict product curation algorithms, which is why you need to read their best practices before you consider submitting your solution to them.

Once listed, go harass your influencers, online fans on social media and friends to upvote you on these platforms. That’s a free tactic on how to market an app which works every time!

 

18. Leverage Affiliate Marketing Programs

Leverage affiliate marketing programs

Whether you’re looking to increase app installs or boost revenue from your mobile app, affiliate marketing can be what the doctor prescribed.

Like influencer marketing, affiliate marketing makes use of external partners or collaborators to drive potential leads to action. In return, you will offer a commission to them for every install they encourage. It’s a win-win mobile app marketing model that has proven to be effective in the digital age.

You can offer rewards or free credit to affiliates when their referrals download your application. You can use a unique referral code to facilitate the whole process and ensure that your affiliates are satisfied with your reward system. Your mobile application marketing campaign might also want to take advantage of tools and networks like Apple App Store Affiliates.

 

19. Make Sure To Use Push Notifications to Engage With Users

Push notifications to engage with users

Push notifications are a big part of mobile app promotion and are opened way more often than emails (almost 3x higher open rates). Make sure you leverage this tool as part of your mobile app marketing mix so you can engage with your users at length when the product is live.

– Generate new content frequently to keep users using the app for long. Consider creating a captivating video, audio, blog posts, white papers, and other exciting creative content to keep users engaged.

– Don’t go overboard with push notifications, otherwise, users will turn off the feature. If your application is heavily used, limit notifications to one or two per day. In other cases, your mobile app marketing strategy should call for push notifications twice a week.

– Segment your users and tailor your notifications to make sure that the right message reaches the right person.

– Point notifications to messages that are easy to find and read.

 

20. Check the App Analytics/ User Feedback to Improve Your Mobile App Over Time

Mobile app marketing services

An app is not a one and done deal. Once it is released on a mobile app market, keep it fresh, relevant, engaging and continuously evolving. Make sure you use feedback from users and improve the product over time. Successful mobile app marketing strategies make heavy use of analytics.

According to Kyros Insights, using analytics like a pro and acting on insights is one of the best ways to improve your app loyalty metrics. And of course, as soon as you fix issues, leverage the mobile app marketing techniques above to inform your current customers of the improvements you’ve made.

 

Summary

Pre-launch and post-launch mobile application marketing is no picnic given that you’re going up against cut-throat competition from millions of other worthy apps. Leverage the 20 handy tips on how to market your app to improve its visibility, increase downloads, and stay ahead of the competition.

Not sure how to market your app? Don’t have time or resources to do all this by yourself? No worries.

ComboApp has been helping app developers and companies successfully market their mobile apps since 2009.

Simply call us at 773.305.0886 or click on the Contact Us button in the header of this site. We look forward to helping you become the next unicorn!

Mobile commerce grows rapidly as more users browse products and make purchases from mobile devices. Smartphone spending had increased on 96% during Q1 2016, according to eRetail Sales Index. While many retail companies hesitate to develop mobile apps, the trend is clear: Clutch survey shows that half of all surveyed businesses will have an app by the next year.

Having a great shopping app can help a retailer to reach consumers on mobile platforms, drive more sales, and increase brand recognition. However, you should make sure that your potential customers know about the app and will definitely use it. Placing links to the app on your website and QR-codes on offline promotions may attract some users, but to garner maximum reach, you should use more time-tested and effective marketing methods.

The app marketing agency Comboapp shares marketing tips for shopping apps that can be easily incorporated into a general promotion strategy.

1. Make sure the app provides real value to users

Marketing services for a retail app

Who is your target audience? What features will they find useful? If your consumers are mostly millenials, they will enjoy social engagement with the app. If they’re baby-boomers, put an emphasis on helpful information on the products your app offers. Make sure your promotional message will describe additional opportunities for app users, such as:

  • Customized push notifications about sales and discounts
  • Trackers for deliveries and packages
  • Creation and management of shopping and wish lists
  • Sharing product pics to social networks to get feedback
  • An interactive map to navigate through the store

To find more ideas, check out the strategies of successful retail apps such as Net-A-Porter and ASOS.

The secret here is to describe the advantages of the app’s features and translate this message consistently through all available channels (i.e. website, social media, emails, offline promo, app promo page).

2. Benefit from owned media

Social media channels for promoting a retail app

Websites, blogs, and social media accounts are the main channels for promoting an app. People visit them for additional information and insight. It won’t help to make links to your app download page that look like annoying ad banners. Instead, place them in a form of essential information and additional feature.

  • Create informative posts to describe all advantages of your shopping app, and share these posts across social media.
  • Add appealing screenshots of the app that will show off its functions and opportunities.
  • Always add relevant hashtags to social media posts for increased visibility.

3. Motivate users to market your app

Motivate users to market your app

First, add a little bit of virality. World of mouth works more effectively than advertising. Think of a referral network that increases viral sharing though customers. It can be additional features, discounts, or little offline incentives for those who invite users to install the app. Make it easy for users to spread information from the app in social networks through sharing buttons. Ideally, each new user invites one more user after an install, which leads the app into a viral cycle:

Then, ask speakers and exhibitors to share information on the event app through their social media outlets. In order to encourage installs, speakers can also add some key takeaways from their presentations into the app in advance.

4. Optimize the app download page

App Store Optimization for marketing your app 

Users may find your shopping app through an app store search. To increase your app’s visibility in search results, use ASO (app store optimization techniques):

  • The app title should contain the main keywords, which users will use in order to find the shopping app: brand name, product titles. Browse your competitors’ app descriptions and think about the most sought-after terms to include.
  • Use 3-4 keywords in the app description. Include information on the app’s functions and features. Add screenshots and a promo video if possible.
  • Optimize in-app content and promo-site texts. That way, users will be able to find your app through a simple search.

By optimizing your app’s presence on the app store, you will increase the chance for users to find it through search and download.

5. Increase user engagement

Increase user engagement for your retail app

App installs are only half the battle. A larger part of customers may never use the app after downloading it. Use reminders to encourage users to engage with the app in order to fully benefit from its features:

– Push notifications are a great method for re-engagement. However, this method is quite intrusive, so remember to keep the messages brief and informative. Do not send more than 1 push notification per day. Use pushes to make important announcements or provide customized reminders.

– Facebook Engagement Ads are a more delicate way of engaging existing or potential app users. An engagement ad in the Facebook news feed will be shown to users who have downloaded an app or liked the brand’s page.

Marketing a shopping app takes a great deal of time and effort, but it pays off with higher rates of customer engagement and brand loyalty. Be sure to test out all the different promotional methods and find which method works best for your niche and target audience.

Good luck!

Need some help with your mobile app marketing efforts?

ComboApp has been helping app developments and companies successfully market their mobile apps since 2009.

Simply call us at 773.305.0886 or click on the Contact Us button in the header of this site. We look forward to helping you become the next unicorn!

Acquiring users for free-to-play mobile game is hard, but keeping them engaged is even harder. A mobile game need to have an active and loyal user base in order to be successful and profitable.

How can you get your game discovered and bring it to a new level? The trick lies in finding a balance between acquisition and retention, tracking in-app analytics and using additional marketing methods.

We share 5 smart steps for growing mobile game user base on Appsflyer blog.

Everybody wants their app to go viral. It`s like winning a lottery: you just sit still and watch your user base grow without any efforts from your side. The cost of acquiring new users decrease with each user, attracted through social channels.
Now, the only thing you need is to add some share buttons to your app and wait for users to invite their friends… Right?

The truth is, it`s not so simple. In order to gain virality, you need users to:
 

  • feel some emotions they want to share, like joy, amazement or pride;
  • propel vanity;
  • reward user for inviting a friend;
  • Read more on Tune blog.

Mobile app development company Cheesecake Labs has composed the Top List of mobile marketing agencies in the US, and included ComboApp.

Designing mobile marketing strategy is not an easy task. Professional agencies can save lots of time and efforts by developing and implementing a customized marketing solution. Check out the Top 10 Mobile App Marketing Agencies article to find out about industry leaders.

Choosing the right monetization model for an app is crucial. It will either work effectively and in chime with app`s features, or will disrupt user experience and bring no revenue. Apart from several standard monetization options, app developers can choose among trending ones, like paywalls and sponsored ads.

What are the main things app developer should pay attention to before implementing monetization model? What are the latest industry trends?  ComboApp answers questions and talks about 3 Best Monetization Models in Meduim Blog.

While the recently launched Apple ad blocking feature casts a shadow on the mobile ad industry, it also brings a release to millions of smartphone users. We`ve all been there, facing mobile websites, overloaded with molesting banners, interstitials and auto-playing videos that drive attention from the page content and slow down the load time. Ad blocking apps have reached top charts hours after launch, proving that users are so tired of aggressive ads, they are ready to proactively stop them and to pay for this opportunity.

Ad blocking has already conquered the web: PageFair and Adobe 2015 Ad Blocking Report shows there are 45 million users in US who utilize ad blocking, and the
number is growing year over year. Now it’s time to face this issue on iOS devices. Ad blocking brings positive changes to users, making their web surfing experience more enjoyable. But will publishers, ad agencies and advertisers be agile enough to adapt their strategies and avoid losses? ComboApp is trying to weigh up pros and cons for all parties involved.

There are some serious predictions about disruptive outcomes for publishers. Advertising is the main source of revenue
for most of them, especially when it comes to middle-size and small publishers. Adobe and PageFair report claims ad blockers would cost publishers $21.8 billion this year. Web development firm 10up
predicts
 that publishers will lose between 3% and 11% of their ad revenue due to ad blockers within the next
eight month. This tangible threat of ad revenue losses makes publishers think about alternative ways of making money:

 

  • Less free web content. It is quite possible that big part of publishers, who now
    provide free content in exchange of ad displaying, will switch to paywalls. Publishers could also move from the
    web into their own mobile apps where ads are not blocked or deliver content to social media apps like Facebook.
  • The rise of native ads. Mobile ecosystem will make a shift from programmatic display
    ads to native ads that could avoid blocking. Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer says that advertising should be vibrant and content rich in
    order to keep up with Internet development:

“We are big believers in native ads because they enhance the user experience and are much less disruptive and they are great properties in terms of value they give to advertisers.”

The perspective of switching to less aggressive ad format rises the controversial question: Who should be in charge of distinguishing whether each ad format is “good” or “bad”? Should ad blockers allow ads that track users` activity or have obscure content if they don’t fall into aggressive display ad category? Eyeo GmbH, that created popular desktop ad-blocking tool Adblock Plus, has a practice of letting companies show their “acceptable” ads in exchange for payment. Eyeo is reaching to other ad blocking apps` developers now, including popular iOS-based app Crystal, to establish mutual policy on allowing certain apps to pass filters. Users play an important role in whitelisting ads as well. According to 2011 AdBlock stats, 75% of users either whitelisted sites or allowed acceptable ads.
The team of iOS app Crystal says that as much as 71% of their users whitelisted particular websites.

The creator of ad blocking Peace app, Marco Arment, has pulled his app from App Store right after it became a number one paid app in US. Marco said that this success “just doesn’t feel good”, and ad blocking approach should be more complex:

“Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white.
This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn’t serve our goals or beliefs well enough.
If we’re going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app.”

The supporters of ad blocking believe that this trend opens an opportunity for all market players to fix the fractured system of intrusive, behaviour-tracking ads. Publishers should get rid of excessive ad placements and third-party networks cookies on their sites. Ad agencies, networks and advertisers should choose more sophisticated and native-looking ad formats to provide users with simple and relevant ads.

There are still time to find the balance between user experience and monetization. According to RadiumOne recent report, there are no significant decrease in the number of ads being delivered on iOS devices after the iOS 9 launch. The ad blocking feature is available on the newest iPhone models only, and will be adopted by users gradually.

Should app developers prepare?

Whereas publishers are the first to experience the biggest impact from Apple ad blocking feature, app developers could prepare to tune their marketing strategy according to new trends ad blocking will bring.

 

  1. The overall influence on mobile inventory number won`t be massive, since in-app ad spending outreach mobile web browser dollars nearly 3-to-1. (Source: eMarketer). With ad blocking enabled in Safari, ad spending will likely to shift to apps that offer more controlled experience.
  2. It`s time to turn from standard programmatic ad format to native-looking ads, that doesn`t look like ads at all: content rich ads, simpler and more transparent formats.
  3. Targeting matters even more, since relevance increases the  advertising experience. Marketers need to provide relevant ads in terms of geo location, app category and demographics to engage potential users.

 

 

Eugenia Dychko, Content Manager

The updated iOS features will change the way apps are searched, discovered and displayed.  App developers will need to adapt their app marketing strategy based on these changes. ComboApp chose the most important and overlooked iOS 9 features that app developers should consider.

Search API, Deep Linking

What’s New? Deep-linking based technology is integrated into the Search feature. This means that Spotlight will use user’s apps as a major search channel, thus exposing in-app content that will help to improve app discoverability. App content could now be displayed after typing App Store keywords. This is how it works. A user searches his or her device for “pasta” and gets results from a recipe app even if he or she doesn’t have the app installed.

How should app developers adapt? Think about what content can be found within your app and pay more attention to keyword relevant content. Deep-linking will certainly help enhance app promotion and app retention by providing a new channel for attracting potential user’s attention to enhance LTV via reactivation campaigns.

Siri Suggestions

What’s New? Before a user reaches the search box on his or her device, Siri fills a search page with apps and new suggestions that are most relevant to the user. Siri does this by learning user’s habits and gathering behavioral data.

How should app developers adapt? If your app is one that gets regular user attention, you will definitely benefit from the search page shortcut. On the other hand, apps like contextual and seasonal ones may experience a small negative effect when a user is constantly distracted by popular app suggestions. If your app icon could potentially get lost among tons of other apps that are already installed on a user’s device, don’t forget to create relevant short names for you app to make it more visible and easy to discover.

Reduced OS and Apps Sizes

What’s New? iOS 9’s file size is small in comparison to iOS 8 (1.3 GB vs 4.58 GB). There is also a technology called App Thinning that helps optimize the size of installing an app. No more space restriction when it comes to installing app updates!

How should app developers adapt? Small iOS 9 size has stimulated its quick adoption so developers should not hesitate with adjusting a marketing strategy. As for App Thinner, app developers should be careful. Now in Xcode 7 a bit code is generated during compilation for platforms that are supported by the app. This option is enabled by default but some third-party libraries are not compiled with bit code. If your app uses these libraries, then you should deactivate code generations (Include ENABLE_BITCODE=NO into the project settings).

Ad Blocking Option

What’s new? It’s the first time that Apple is allowing users to block ads. It is only available in Safari extensions, so this affects mobile web ads only. Ad blocking is supposed to help bring advertising relevance and quality.

How should app developers adapt? There will be no impact on in-app ads so no need to worry. If your user acquisition activity depends on the mobile web then it’s time to reconsider your marketing strategy and turn to better performing app inventory.

Some additional tips on iOS 9:

 

  • App Transport Security technology, as it is clear from the name, can help make data transportation more secure. It is enabled by default so if you server does not satisfy the ATS requirements, connection will end up with a mistake saying “An SSL error has occurred and a secure connection to the server cannot be made.”
  • We strongly recommend that app developers look through the official list of iOS 9 innovations and implement them all, if possible, into apps. You can get your app featured after release because Apple likes to feature apps that have implemented maximum novelties.


Although there is a lot for app developers to consider and apply, iOS 9 provides a great opportunity to create valuable in-app experience and reach out to a wider audience. If you need professional help getting your app high on the App Store and acquiring new user for your iOS app, contact the ComboApp team.

 

Eugenia Dychko, Content Manager

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