How to Market Your New App


Apps Demand a Specific Approach to Marketing

Got a new mobile app that needs marketing? I wish I could say there’s an app for that, but marketing a new mobile app involves a lot of the same elbow grease and detailed, tactical campaign work.

After Much Toil Your New App is Finally Approved…What Now?

After a lengthy wait, your company’s iPhone, iPad or Android app is approved for download. Thank Heavens! During the development stage your team built in great keywords to the app name and description to give it the best possible chance of being found in app store searches, so it’s time to turn your attention onto promoting the app outside the app stores.

Coordination  is the key to a successful app launch. The more downloads generated in the initial short period of time, the better the app store ranking. Better app store ranking means better positions, better positions means more downloads, more downloads means better ranking.

Launching PR, main website, email promotion, and paid ad campaigns in as coordinated an effort as possible will help deliver that burst of initial interest and hopefully downloads.

One method to promote your new App is via pay per click (PPC) creating an AdWords and/or AdCenter campaign promoting the app. For the best ROI and quality score, targeting keywords specific to the app (versus apps generally) makes the most sense.

For example, buying keywords for “iPhone apps” will generate lots of impressions, but a likely low CTR, quality score and download return (particularly if the app isn’t free) due to the very broad nature of the search.

More targeted keywords, for example, “iPhone currency converter app” will produce more target specific traffic and make perfect sense to purchase. Needless to say, it makes sense to run this campaign targeted to mobile devices, but you can also target desktops and laptops in a separate campaign as people may browse for apps via their computers.

Another good tactic is to create a Facebook ad campaign and target profiles interested in the app’s subject area (e.g., fantasy football) as well as profiles interested in mobile apps and technologies (e.g., iPhone apps, Android phones). That way you tap into the tech savvy Facebook users who are interested in your subject.

What Are The Tactics To Drive Efficient Paid Downloads?

Once all the traditional marketing channels are covered, it’s time to turn your attention towards mobile specific channels.

The most common tactic is to run paid marketing campaigns on a relatively low cost CPC basis with specialised mobile advertising networks like AdMob (Google owned) and iAd (Apple owned). These networks serve mobile banner and in-app advertising targeted to geographic and device specific audiences.

Both of these platforms support reporting on downloads to help refine campaigns and budgets based on conversions, and its possible to refine matching placements after sufficient data has been collected. Additionally, Google AdWords offers in-app advertising as well, with the ability to target placements in particular apps that are a good target audience fit. This can be really useful for a niche subject, but don’t be afraid to use a little lateral thinking too.

Healthly Marketing Budget? Take Advantage of Pricier Placements

If you have a larger budget in terms of app marketing spend, there’s plenty of pricier options for promotion. Mobile YouTube takeovers are available from Google, a great way to capture a broad mobile audience. Video ads (at a pricier CPC) are also available from AdMob.

Engaging in traditional media and print advertising, or leveraging an ongoing print campaign to include a barcode or QR code to scan with a mobile phone to link to download the app is a great offline channel tactic. Contacting Apple for in-store app demo events is another offline strategy to generate buzz and interest.

Success Metrics. How to Measure Performance

The primary goal of any campaign is to drive downloads, especially in an effort to enhance app store rankings. For paid apps, additional metrics around revenue, cost per download and ROI become immediately relevant.

For free apps, cost per download is a good metric to measure, but can be hard to pinpoint an appropriate value. Many free apps have downstream revenue associated with them for transactions or advertising revenue, that can also be measured.

However, you measure your success it’s important to set out your goals prior to launch so you are clear on your ROI and return on effort!

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