Mobile marketers are seeking the best ways to generate app downloads, drive engagement within their apps, and increase their app store rankings. However, many express frustration with app campaign promotions that produce short-lived spikes in downloads and never materialize into loyal app users. There is no silver bullet to app marketing success; rather, the approach that works is a well-laid plan with clear objectives and goals.
Here are six elements that should be considered keys to success in app promotion for all levels of marketers.
1. Clearly define goals and success metrics and get the right measurement solution implemented
Measurement, as always, is important. However, traditional online measurement methods don’t work in the mobile app space. Using software development kits (SDKs) to track your in-app campaign goals and activity is critical to success.
For example, you can use an SDK to track how much consumers are spending within an app over a defined period of time and how often they open the app. Many of these SDKs also enable you to track by geography and the value of the consumer. Depending on its capabilities, you can map out your in-app success metrics (e.g., purchases, engagement) and create a model for the value of customers to inform how much you should be investing into acquisition channels, such as Facebook and Twitter.
2. Own the experience and demand transparency
Remember how important user interface experience became on the desktop and how interaction designers lauded the importance of each screen pixel? Consider the size of most smartphone screens -- each pixel is even more valuable because of the smaller size. The experience consumers have with your app can be a high-value brand experience. Invest in the best interface design you can afford and keep it simple.
Don’t outsource the experience and pay for installs blindly from the lowest bidder. When working with vendors, every app owner should know how much of their cost went to media and how much for the vendor. Insist that your media partners are transparent on inventory costs, and ensure that your paid media is appearing in “well lit” placements. One of the major pitfalls of doing incentivized app installs is the quality of audiences, which include people only looking for synthetic currency to level-up in games instead of becoming regular active consumers of the apps they downloaded.
3. Don’t treat all installs the same - segment by channel and activity
Every customer has a different value to your brand, and so does each app install. Measure lifetime value and quality of app users. One pitfall of using incentivized app installs is ensuring you reach high-quality audiences and turning people who download your app into regularly returning users. As you determine your success measures and segment by channel, optimize your audience targeting and the price you are willing to pay based on your install quality score. A recent study by AppsFlyer revealed that search and social deliver the highest-quality users.
4. Make sure KPI data is being fed to your bid management software
Having KPI data is great, but it is a lot better if you can make it actionable. Use bid management software that has built in measurement and SDKs so you can optimize app ads in real-time, instead of having to manually run reports and then make changes to your ad campaigns. Ensure that optimization algorithms are in sync to your defined KPIs and automatically adjust to them, so you can optimize by channel and segment to deliver the best returns.
5. Treat the app install as just the beginning of the consumer experience
An app install is similar to an email registration and is just the start of a relationship. The consumer has voluntarily set aside some portion of their digital identity to interact with you. Capitalize on this opportunity. Re-engagement ads on Google/Facebook and Twitter enable you to reach app customers with timely messages to bring them back to the app and communicate product news, sales, as well as new features. Finally, using push notifications to supplement re-engagement ads with customers that already have downloaded your app.
6. Focus on the channels that matter
Finally, remember to focus on channels that matter most and learn to hone your fishing skills in the ponds with the majority of the fish. Per a recent eMarketer report, Facebook, Twitter and Google account for more than 70% of mobile ad spend. With such strong footholds in mobile engagement, these channels should drive a disproportionate amount of your app marketing budgets as well. Focus on getting these search and social channels right to maximize the value of the intersection.