There are millions of apps on the Play Store/App Store and yet a user’s mobile device will hardly have 20 to 30 apps installed and 10 apps used daily! How do you make your mobile app seen among the millions? How do you ensure your user is continuously engaged on the app after downloading it? Let’s cover app marketing strategies for 2022 to help you make your app a success.
When we talk of app marketing, we classify it into three broad stages-
A user goes through each of these 3 stages of app marketing. It starts with them hearing your app’s name and ends with them being your loyal user. And even though there are only 3 stages, a lot goes in between.
Even though every app owner has one goal in mind, to get the maximum downloads, a sure shot of your app’s success lies in increasing the long-term customer value. Your business goal may not be fixed at all times. One time, your app marketing campaign may focus on re-engaging passive users while another time it may be aimed at boosting awareness.
Having a goal in mind is the basic principle in life and it applies well to even your app marketing strategy. It may include-
Increasing the target audience
Boosting app awareness
Get sign-ups for a mailing list
Re-engagement of passive users
Increase sales through the app
Increasing customer loyalty
Upselling and cross-selling
These are just the goals in a broader sense and you have to apply them at each stage of the sales funnel. When it comes to creating content for your app marketing, the goals you set up act as a guide to increase its effectiveness.
Let’s go through each stage of the app marketing funnel and see what strategies need to be applied to market the app to the users.
The awareness stage starts much before the app launch. A well-planned app marketing strategy takes roots from the pre-launch stage to increase visibility and introduce users to the app idea. You have to target the intended audiences and get them to have a sneak peek into the app’s features. You try to show them the value of the app. Let’s get into the app marketing strategies for the awareness stage.
If you are to market your app as something different, thoroughly research the market to understand your customers’ needs and what drives the market.
Study your competitors
Be active on social media
Participate in forums
Email survey forms to your contact list
There are numerous ways to get a grip on what the users want and how they want it. Market research is exhausting and overwhelming at times but it is worth every minute spent. Ultimately, it’ll prove to be useful in app design and marketing to understand where you’ve gone wrong and what measures need to be applied to rectify it.
Build user persona
Who are your customers and what do they want? Know your customers, their interests, and preferences to tailor content and better address their needs and the pain points. Persona research should be a part of your app marketing strategy. It is not just about the description of the audience. It is about what they think of your brand. Some of the attributes to address in your strategy are-
Who is your target audience- name, location, education, job, income?
What are their interests and preferences?
How do they pay for their purchase?
Which social media and gadgets do they use?
What are their challenges- pain points, goals, views?
This gives you a perspective of your customers’ expectations and now you design your content to fulfill them.
Creating user personas helps in every stage of app marketing strategy. in fact, they are used much before at the time of app design and development to understand the business needs of the target audience. They are invaluable to provide user-focused outcomes.
What has competitor research got to do with your app marketing strategy? It improves your marketing plan. Here’s what you’ve got to do to make it work-
Search for the top 5-10 competitors and compare your app in terms of price, monetization model, features, functions, downloads, ratings, and reviews.
Check how competitors respond to feedback.
Check how often they update the app
Analyze your competitors’ social media marketing strategies and observe how they present their apps to the followers
Through competitor research, you find out the weaknesses in their app, products, and marketing strategies. For example, if a user has given negative feedback on the competitor’s app feature, you use it to improve your app and market this feature to the audience. In short, competitor research helps you to address the customer’s pain points better.
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Build an app landing page
YA pre-launch app marketing strategy is to build a dedicated web page or landing page for early app marketing. Create short teaser videos and upload them on the web page or social media platforms. As you keep uploading teasers, get users to opt-in for emails regarding app launch updates. This way, you gather a sufficient contact list much before your app is officially launched. The same page will then contain the link to the mobile app’s page on the App Store/Play Store for downloading at the time of launch and after it. The page will contain FAQs, videos, app reviews, features, and a CTA to download the app.
Create social media profiles
And yes, create separate profiles on social media channels in your mobile app’s name. You start by first promoting the posts on your main business account and then lead the users to the app’s social media profiles. Share teaser videos, sneak peek images, polls, surveys, and everything you could to keep the users curious about your app launch.
Summary of awareness stage
The app soft launch stage is one of the early stages of app marketing and it allows you to learn techniques of user engagement and awareness. In this stage what you do is-
Survey the market and collect valuable feedback
Design the app to suit user interests
Research your users and segment the target audience
Start with social media campaigns
Set up an app landing page
The awareness stage ends with the app launch on the App Store/Play Store.
Now that you have raised awareness of your app, it’s time for a user acquisition strategy. And there’s no full-stop to your app marketing yet. It goes now in full throttle. The focus is on increasing the app’s discoverability and gaining customers for your app.
Boost your app marketing strategy in the first week of the launch. It will ensure a high ranking for your app in the App Store/Play Store. Use a combination of paid ads and organic efforts to increase app visibility and downloads.
App Store Optimization (ASO)
App Store Optimization is to mobile apps what SEO is to websites. ASO is required to increase your app’s visibility and downloads. You have one focus in mind, to get your app to rank on the first page of the App Store/Play Store results. Your app store strategy to get users to discover and convert is by the following methods.
Keywords- Choose the right keywords as they have a considerable impact on your app ranking and downloads. If you have proper keywords in place, users will find your app among the millions in the App Store/Play Store.
Category- Choose a category suiting the app. Your choice has to be based on relevance.
Title & description- Insert a keyword in the title if relevant and if the character limit allows it to. Make the title unique but it has to tell the viewer what the app is about. All the app features and functionalities are rounded up in the app description. Insert emojis to make it attractive. Format it in points and keep it clean and concise.
App Icon- It is the first visual representation of your app. Make it relevant and catchy.
App video & screenshots- Include a short video giving a glimpse of what users can expect inside the app. Similarly, the app screenshots should display the app’s best features and value.
As and when you keep updating the app, include its details in the app updates. It lends credibility to your app.
Start running sponsored ads as soon as your app is released. The curiosity is high initially and if you thoroughly plan your app marketing strategy, you’ll gain enough traction for your app.
Start from social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok where your audience is.
Using Apple Search Ads, you place your app at the top of the App Store search results.
Through Google App campaigns, create ads for various available networks, including YouTube, Google Display Network, and Google Search Network.
Use influencers to promote your app. Create coupon codes for influencers to know how many app downloads have come through influencer channels.
Enlist the services of online paid app directories. These websites review the app and its features. Submit your app to these directories for potential review.
TModern paid app marketing allows you to promote the app on your budget. You choose whatever suits your business goals. The best is to try everything on a small budget and then focus on the strategy giving the best result.
Organic app advertising
As much as you pay to market your app, don’t neglect organic promotion. It is a mainstream marketing strategy to increase awareness and subsequent app downloads. There are many ways to promote your app through organic means.
Backlinks- Link back to your app store page through blogs, forums, and guest posts on other websites. It improves the organic search results.
Referrals- Encourage app users to promote your app and entice them with certain rewards such as in-app freebies, coupon codes, and others.
Freemium options- Make the app or the in-app purchases free for a brief period when you launch the app.
Word-of-mouth- Nothing works like people talking about your app and recommending it to their friends.
Cross-promotion- Here, you promote your app through a cross-promotional platform. You earn credits when you promote other apps on your website or app and in turn, they promote your app on their platform.
App Reviews- A user who comes to the App Store/Play Store is guided by the app reviews and ratings. Ask existing users to review the app. Do it by pop-up forms through in-app messaging techniques.
The main benefit of organic app marketing is the results are long-term. Its effects may not be visible in the short term. But as you consistently work on it, the momentum builds up gradually and the effects stay for a longer-term.
Varied content strategy
When there are 10-20 similar apps in the market, why will the audience download your app? In such a scenario, your app content becomes the differentiator. Audiences get bored consuming content with repeated ideas and formats. The best content strategy is to have a mix of ideas and keep the audience looking forward to something exciting and new every time instead of being predictable. There are plenty of engaging content ideas, all it needs is planning, creativity, hard work, and knowing the pulse of your audience.
Explainer videos- If a user has downloaded your app, give them due credit by uploading short explainer videos of the app features or products inside the app.
Sneak peek- Teasers of new product launches keep the users curious. Revealing bit by bit engages them with the product and they gradually develop a relationship with it.
Tutorials- Product usage, benefits, features- explain what the product is, what are its benefits, how to use it, and much more through short engaging videos.
Sale promotions- Reach the audience instantly with push notifications. Sales and promotions should be at the top of your content marketing strategy because there is nothing like getting products for free or at discounted rates.
The way you deliver the content to your audience matters. A boring blog or a video will not do the trick. Instead, dig into some trends on social media. Make use of social media and blogging features to hook the audience. For instance, inserting memes and gifs in educational blogs keeps the audience engaged and makes them grasp the subject instantly. Similarly, infographics, live videos, and podcasts work for app marketing too. The idea is to not stick to one format but explore different formats to engage your users to a deeper level.
Summary of Acquisition stage:
An app becomes a success when it is marketed to be discoverable. The faster its visibility, the more downloads. A post-launch app marketing strategy for user acquisition is a continual process and you have to refine it as you keep collecting data and analyzing it. Keep a track of the source of channels getting you app downloads to plan your acquisition strategies better.
No beating around the bush, we’ll tell you a fact. It takes double the efforts to keep the users hooked to the app than acquiring them. 25% of the apps downloaded are used only once before they are uninstalled.
This is why we stressed at the beginning of the blog that app downloads should not be your app marketing goal. Instead, your focus has to be on increasing the customer's lifetime value. It is an indicator of your app’s success. Moreover, through it, you know how much money you have to invest in acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones.
Let’s get into some strategies for user engagement and retention.
When users use the app for the first time, you initiate their onboarding process. The aim is basically to let them feel the value of the app. You show them the maximum benefits and this lays the foundation for their use of the app. Take Netflix, Twitter, or any other streaming app or social media app as an example. They first ask about the user’s interests and preferences during onboarding. It is then used to display personalized relevant content to the users from the very beginning. Use sliders or tooltips to introduce app features. If yours is an e-commerce app, delight your users by giving them a discount on their first purchase. Onboarding is to get the users acquainted with the app and nudge them to come back for more.
Push notifications increase app engagement rate 3-10 times. 65% of the users return to an app within the first 30 days when the notification is enabled. Include a photo, video, audio, or other interactive elements as an attachment to your push notifications to make the campaign more impactful. Behavioral push notifications are sent in response to a specific action done by the user. These receive up to 800% more opens. For instance, send triggers about discounts, sales, and items left in the cart. Send location-specific push messages and this is incredibly amazing for brick-and-mortar businesses. Push notifications have a high response rate and they provide valuable insights into user behavior. This simple communication channel improves user retention and the engagement rate of your app.
Segment your app users based on their user persona. Send personalized push alerts to increase app engagement. Swipecart, an app-builder, provides the segmented push notification feature to reach and engage with your app user community in real-time. Analyze the push notifications data such as open rate, click-through rate, and others to measure and improve its effectiveness.
It is a great marketing tactic to retain your app audience over longer periods. Unlike push notifications, these are sent to users who are in the app. It allows marketers to engage users at the right time by facilitating onboarding, sharing product updates, or promoting relevant offers. These hyper-targeted notifications are triggered when a user is active within the app. They boost traction and aid in familiarizing users with the app. Some of the in-app messaging types are-
In-app notifications are meant to target your most active app users to turn them into loyal customers.
Mobile app retargeting ads
Let’s understand the concept of mobile app retargeting with two instances. One is in which a user has installed an e-commerce app, added an item to the cart, and uninstalled the app without buying the item. Another instance is the user has added an item to the cart but has neither bought the item nor uninstalled the app. For this instance, a push notification is one option to get them back to the app. The app retargeting strategy works for both instances.
Marketers target such users with retargeting ads on social media, emails, or websites. When the user clicks on the link they are either taken to the specific in-app careen or the Play Store/App Store to download the app.
This technology, known as “deep link”, sends the users directly from anywhere (emails, social media, referrals, etc) to specific in-app locations instead of a website. It saves time and improves the user experience. It is used by marketers to drive app growth, engagement, and retention. Basically, deep linking works for both app users and non-app users-
If the user has the app- The link takes them directly to the specific in-app location.
If the user doesn’t have the app- The link takes them to the App Store/Play Store app page for the user to download and install the app after which the relevant in-app screen will be displayed.
The benefit of retargeting mobile advertising or deep-linking is it improves customer experience, boosts app conversions, and increases retention.
Gamification triggers accomplishment emotion and increases user engagement. It is a reward system and is all about fun and simplicity making the users understand at which stage they are and what they should do next. Gamification is used in gaming apps, e-learning apps, productivity apps, healthcare apps, and even e-commerce apps.
Implement gamification in your app with design elements such as-
Badges- This indicates the users’ performance within the app. For example, fitness apps reward badges to users who have completed a set task.
Levels- These are applied to gaming apps or even mobile wallets. For example, you reward the user with a scratch card when they complete a level in a mobile wallet app.
Performance charts- This compares the user’s previous performance or tracks individual records.
Points- These are rewards a user gets upon completing a task or as they progress in it.
Leaderboards- This shows the performance of the user to the performance of others. Use them in gaming apps or productivity apps.
Progress display- It shows users how far they have moved in a task and serves as a recognition for their work.
Gamification, when included as an app marketing strategy enhances your social presence as users tend to share their accomplishments on their social profiles. The benefits are-
Increased user engagement
Increase in social presence
Increase in-app store search results or visibility
Gamification motivates users to explore your app further. Keep it enjoyable and meaningful. Don’t forget to analyze the data to see if the gamification strategy has indeed worked for you.
Just like a website offers you insights into visitor metrics, mobile apps have their metrics to track and monitor user behavior. Of course, the app downloads and reviews are a good indicator of your app’s success. But beyond it, other crucial metrics need to be studied, analyzed, and considered to improve your app content marketing strategies.
Acquisition- In acquisition, there are two significant pieces of data to be analyzed. One is the number of downloads in a given time frame which may be the duration in which you have marketed your app. The other is to analyze the channels from which the users are coming. When you know the sources, you can invest your marketing resources better to boost user acquisition.
Activations- Don’t be surprised if users have downloaded your app but not used it yet. Instead, go for a deeper analysis to understand and fix the issue. The activation rate is the percentage of downloaded users who have actually launched or used the app. Anything above 85% is considered a good rate.
Retention- On average, a mobile app user has above 50 apps installed on their device. And the fact is they access only 5 to 10 out of these daily. So, how do make sure a user accesses your app more frequently? For this, you’ve to track the retention metrics and see where in the user journey people drop off the app. Track the weekly and monthly retention charts. Analyze users’ in-app behaviors to find out the flaws and improve them.
Engagement- Again in engagement, you have two crucial metrics. One is measuring the users who use the app through the Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU) data. The other is the average session length and frequency to see how often users launch your app and the time of an average session.
Uninstalls- The churn rate is the opposite of the retention rate. It is used to measure how many users leave the app or uninstall it for a given period. If the churn rate is high, you have a major issue in hand and you’ve to dig deep to find if it is the bug issue or the speed. The reasons may vary but it will require a definite correction.
Reachability- For this, you’ve to track the click-through rates (CTR) of push notifications, emails, and in-app messaging. Also, your ability to connect to users through different channels is crucial to measuring your reachability.
Cost per conversion- It is the total cost of user acquisition by the number of conversions. For this, you’ve to go through the entire user journey and see if the user performs the desired action. For instance, for an e-commerce app, the user journey would be,
View products- Add to cart-Checkout-Identify the flow of the user journey from the initial viewing products to the final checkout. The idea is to discover the drop-off points and recognize the areas having a greater impact on sales.
We recommend Swipecart, a mobile app builder that offers you comprehensive mobile app analytics to make your app retention strategies better. It provides a wide range of data from real-time visitor tracking to push notification analytics to make your marketing decisions user-centric and increase app retention and engagement rates.
Summary of retention stage:
In the retention stage focus on building communities and social connections for your app. Your goal is to ultimately make users find value in your app and become loyal to the brand. They, in turn, become brand advocates and this acts as an organic marketing strategy giving you good returns in the long run.
App marketing is a complex multistage process. It is a continual process directing efforts across various platforms and channels. Sometimes, you win customers and sometimes you lose them. You have to win back lapsed customers and gain new ones. So, your mobile app marketing is a loop as you guide your users through the stages
A good mobile app design with features to engage your users is a prerequisite while having an app for your business. Start with Swipecart, a mobile app building tool to design winning apps. It is free and you can complete building an engaging mobile app in minutes. It offers features such as segmented push notifications, AI-based product recommendations, analytics, and much more to make your app marketing process easy and successful.