Introducing the App Promo 10-part App Marketing 101 Series: Product (Pillar 1)

Marketing 101 - App MarketingWith such a positive response from the community for our App Store Optimization 5 part series, we have decided to continue offering a marketing series via our blog to help add to the conversation and education of the importance of marketing in the business of apps. We are pleased to introduce to you our 10-part App Marketing 101 series which has been constructed to provide you with tips, tricks and information on all 10 major pillars of app marketing.

Our first article focuses on the most important element of any successful marketing initiative – your product. Knowing who your audience is, defining your product to better articulate it to the market and ensuring your product meets the needs and the quality desired by your audience are topics we cover in our first of our 10-part series.

No matter what marketing efforts you put behind your app, the success of any campaign will come down to your product.

Being a product owner, it is extremely important for you to understand your app’s purpose and demographic and translate these ideas into a working product that has the utmost quality for your user.

 

Define Your App’s Purpose

Regardless if you are building a game, utility or a communication tool, the key to app success is to understand what you are building and why it will benefit your user.

Your app’s purpose should be extremely focused. Don’t try to accomplish too many things at once or you risk confusing, overwhelming and losing your user.

Look to your competition to help you define things. What are they doing well, what are they missing at and what can you do better?

A great exercise to help you fine tune your objective is to explain your app in six words or 140 characters (like a tweet) or less. This is not only a great way to clarify your concept but the output can also be used to create your marketing messaging in your upcoming campaigns or your unique selling proposition (USP).

 

Put Yourself in the User’s Shoes

Once you have determined WHAT you are building take yourself through the remaining 5 W’s to help understand your demographic.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you building this app for?
  • Why will they use it?
  • When will they use it?
  • Where will they use it?

It is extremely important to know whom your user or users are and to continue to think like them throughout the idea, design, development and especially testing phases of your app project.

Keep this demographic in mind when it comes to your marketing. Target your paid media to this audience. Cater and create your marketing messaging using the answers to the questions above. Maintain a consistent vision of who your user to be sure that you end up with a product that your users want.

 

Don’t Cheap Out on Quality

Marketing is there to bring visibility and traffic to your application. But it can backfire if your application is not ready for the spotlight.

Be sure that when you kick-off your marketing efforts your product is available and working. Your project timeline should have a strong emphasis on testing – both from a code and user perspective, to flush out bugs that will cause the app to crash and give a poor user experience.

It is often wise to schedule a marketing launch a time after the actual production launch of your app (or general release). This will give you time to see traffic and usage of your application from real users in a manageable volume. The feedback you gain during this time will help determine how ready you are to

 

Use your Product Roadmap as a Marketing Tool

The app ecosystem is an active one. Users expect to see updates to their apps and look forward to fixes, design changes and new features when it comes to their favorite applications.

These updates act as a form of marketing to your current users as the notification they will receive will keep your product top of mind and will spike usage. Be sure to spread out your updates to allow for usage to drop before you release another version to maximize its impact.

Keep on top of new operating system software updates and update your product with features that utilize them if it makes sense.

Updates to your app are also a great reason to establish a marketing campaign outside of launch so start to view them as more than just code releases.

2 Must Have Tools to Help with App Marketing Success

A big part of marketing any product is gathering, analyzing, assessing and learning from the data that is collected during any promotional efforts. In order to properly understand what elements of your campaign are working and which are not and especially to judge the overall success of your campaign it is imperative that you implement tools to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) or success metrics which are defined at the start of your marketing project.

Two common success metrics that are used in App Marketing are downloads and chart placement. Here are two FREE tools that you can use to help measure these metrics for your app when marketing.

 

1. Distimo Monitor

Distimo are leaders in app data and often publish industry standard reports on success of applications across platform. Outside of their industry reports, Distimo also provides a free dashboard service called Distimo Monitor which analyzes and tracks your apps download performance across platforms: iOS, Windows, BlackBerry, Nokia and Android are a few of the major platforms they support. This tool becomes increasingly important to help track mobile apps that are on more than one platform making it easier and more efficient to check the status of downloads for your app in one single place rather than logging in and checking it out individually. In addition to download, Distimo Montior can also track revenue, rankings and reviews, allow for drill-down by country and also allow your ad networks to be plugged in to ad them into the mix. To start using Distimo Monitor, visit monitor.distimo.com and sign-up for a free account.

2. AppAnnie

AppAnnie is a free website which also offers analytic services to help track and measure your app download success. But what AppAnnie really excels at is helping you track changes in chart placement for both iOS and Android applications. Their store stats allow you track the changes in the Google Play and App Store charts daily, highlight your highest rankings, identify the features that you may have achieved, and summarize the ratings that you have gained across all countries your app is available for. This tool is extremely useful in helping you understand day-by-day what impact your marketing has on where your app stands in the marketplace against others in the your categories. To start using AppAnnie, visit www.appannie.com and sign-up for a free account.

 

App Promo in Action: Cannes Lions Festival Photos

Our friends at Cannes Lions Festival have provided some great images from the workshop that we held in France this year and so we thought that we would share them with you.

The workshop, entitled, “The Secrets of Being a No.1 App and Not Lose Money” had over 250 participants at this year’s festival and walked participants through a series of activities to help them understand better the business side of applications. A copy of the presentation can be downloaded here.

Thanks to all who participated this year! If you are holding a conference or are an organization who would be interested in this type of workshop, please contact us.

Cannes Lions Festival App Promo Workshop

Cannes Lions Festival App Promo Workshop

Gary Yentin App Promo Cannes Lions Festival WorkshopGary Yentin App Promo Workshop Cannes Lions Festival

ASO Tip #5 – The Importance of Reviews & Ratings

ASO Tip #5 - Ratings and Reviews

Welcome back to the last of our 5-part series of App Store Optimization (ASO) tips.

The goal of this series was to help app publishers and developers with a critical part in the app ecosystem: the app store product page. So far we have covered off improving your name; looked at how important it was to get your icon right; reviewed what to do to improve your screenshots; and, last week, revealed the secret formula to writing a successful product description.

This week we focus our last tip on the importance of reviews and ratings especially as it relates to discovery and downloads.

We all know how important customer feedback is. Comments and ratings provides invaluable information direct from the consumers of our applications. This is obvious a great source of learnings which can be taken back to influence the application’s product roadmap whether its through a bug fix or feature enhancement.

What might not be well known is how important ratings and reviews factor into discovery and download of your app.

From a Discovery perspective: ratings and reviews are considered as metadata for search and can even help to categorize your app in search results according to news which broke this week on TechCrunch on possible enhancements Apple is making from their recent acquisition of Chomp, a leading app search engine, which uses customer feedback to influence discovery. If this is true, then gaining reviews becomes key for app publishers not only to get valuable feedback but also to ensure that their page is rich with keywords which can help them be found in search results.

From a Download perspective: ratings and reviews could mean the difference of a potential user downloading your app over a direct competitors – especially in list view on the device. We covered how important it was to stand out from the crowd with a great name and especially a killer icon. Well those little stars that get lit up when you get a rating and the numbers that grow when reviews are written are another way for your app to get noticed. If there is an app in the list that is similar to yours and you have stars (any stars) and more reviews, you are much more likely to be the one that is tapped on to continue forward and downloaded. Of course, when you start to be compared to others that also have many reviews and ratings, the importance of what your star rating and how many positive reviews you have become a factor.

So what to do? How do you get reviews and ratings? Here are a couple of ideas to get you started

  • Ask for them! Have a call to action to “Rate and Review Our App” on your product description, in your marketing materials, your emails and newsletters, your social networks – wherever it makes sense
  • Use pop-up notification reminders in your app to ask for active users to give their feedback
  • Build a resident area in your app, like in your menu, which prompts users to rate and review
  • Hold contests and promotions to gather feedback leveraging your social networks and databases

We hope you have enjoyed the ASO (App Store Optimization) Series. Please feel free to reach out to us directly at info@app-promo.com if you have any questions or keep the conversation going on our Twitter account @AppPromo.

 

ASO Tip #4 – The Secret Product Description Formula

App Store Writers BlockWelcome back to the ASO (App Store Optimization) article series.

We have covered so far in this series ensuring that your name and image assets: icon and screenshots are working hard to sell your app within the app store environment. Today we tackle the product page element which usually takes the most time to complete and because of this work effort is often left untapped – the product description.

App stores provide developers and app publishers with 4000 characters to tell potential downloaders in words what their app is all about. Since often marketing copy is not there forte, we find app descriptions with a few lines, incorrectly focused on providing support and FAQ or even left blank.

Product descriptions are powerful marketing opportunities for two reasons:

  1. They spell out what your app is and why the consumer should download it (in this way they are the word counterpart to your screenshots). A great product description will convince users who have tapped onto your app for more information to download.
  2. Descriptions, if done correctly, will also be keyword rich making them a powerful tool for search engine results helping fuel additional discovery.

So why do app publishers often resort to not utilizing this area properly? Bottom line is that they are often overwhelmed and don’t know how to begin writing it. In essence they get app store writers block.

To help you move past this block and to ensure that your app description is written to maximize conversions and search discovery, we break down our secret formula.

  • Start with your Elevator pitch – what is this app and why should the user download it (USP/Benefit)
  • Move into reconfirming your price or use this area for price promotions
  • Highlight ratings/reviews/awards/press – keep this area updated as you receive these
  • List Features make sure to include all core features and avoid being too technical
  • Wrap up with a final sentence which reconfirms why the consumer should download the app
  • Provide additional contact points – links to your Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and your website
  • Remind users to rate and review your app

Download our Cannes Lions 2012 Workshop “The Secrets of Being a No. 1 App”

A big thank you to the Cannes Lions festival organizers and the 250 workshop participants who joined us today in learning The Secrets of Being a No. 1 App. We are extremely pleased with the attendance and are happy to see such a positive response from the creative community after participating in our sessions today.

Our workshop took participants through a series of exercises focusing on the topics of:

  • App Store Optimization
  • App Marketing
  • App Monetization

The goal of the workshop was to teach participants tactics and techniques to help them better market and monetize their applications.

DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION: For those of you who were unable to attend or for those that attended and would like a copy, you can download the slides to our presentation in PDF format by clicking on this link: The Secrets of Being a No. 1 App.

We welcome feedback! Contact us and let us know your thoughts? Interested in App Promo performing this workshop at your event, contact us to discuss.

ASO Tip #3 – Screenshots Sell Your App

Welcome back to the App Store Optimization Series (ASO).

In this series we are focused on better positioning your app within the app store environment to increase the saleability and discovery of your app which will ultimately help you succeed. We’ve covered improvements on your app name and tips to better your app icon and in today’s post we will tackle selling with screenshots.

Like your app icon which is another illustrative asset on your product page, your screenshots go along way in telling prospective downloaders what your app is all about, even moreso than what you explain in words in your product description.

Here are 3 things you should be considering when creating your screenshots to ensure you are representing your app in the best way possible to help it gain downloads.

1. Start by showing the “meat” of your app

If your app is a game, start with a screenshot of game play. If its a recipe selector, start with a screenshot showing how a recipe is selected. Whatever your app is, your first screenshot should focus on the “meat” or the core action the app has to offer. Often times prospective downloaders scroll to the bottom of the page to review screenshots and don’t bother to scroll left and right to see more than what the few that are immediately available leaving your first screenshot with the heavy burden to depict your app in one still image enough to get the consumer interested. Don’t waste this opportunity with a settings page, a splash or title page or a shot of your app that doesn’t resonate what your app is all about.

2. Use High Quality Images

Work with your design team to use the original design assets to create screenshots using the correct aspect ratio and sizes dictated by the particular app store your are submitting to. Stretched, low quality, fuzzy screenshots will degrade the impact these selling assets have on your product page and may ultimately detract from the download.

3. Give some context to your screenshots

You don’t have to just use a screenshot still from your app. Use this opportunity to layer on some marketing copy and branding on the image before submitting. Adding short, impactful phrases which put the screenshot in context are extremely beneficial and go along way to communicating to users what your app is all about. Additional branding elements like brand colors, game characters or fonts also reinforce the style and flare of your product to the user adding a professional and polished look to your shots.

Here are some great screenshots from our client, City King, which we worked with them to apply ASO tips to maximize their effectiveness in the app store.

City King Screenshot  City King Screenshot

App Discovery a Focus at WWDC 2012

WWDC Apple Developer Conference 2012WWDC brought a lot of great advancements both on the hardware and the software side for all of the Apple products this year. Apple announced the much rumoured iOS6 which brought us a new app, Passbook, which aggregates boarding passes, store cards, movie passes and more and also unveiled a new Map app no longer utilizing Google Maps but instead proprietary to Apple.

As experts in App Marketing and Discovery, what peaked our interest the most from this year’s developer conference was a key focus on improved app discovery tools which were being rolled out to developers to help their apps gain better traction in the marketplace.

Two major enhancements in particular brought app discovery to the forefront.

1. Facebook Integration

Last year we saw iOS5 bring Twitter integration to the iPhone. This year it was Facebook’s turn. Integrating Facebook at the operating system level will dramatically increase usage with Facebook as was proven with Twitter since iOS5 launch. According to Apple at WWDC, since October, users who adopted iOS 5 sent more than 10 billion tweets, they comprised more than 47 percent of all photos uploaded to the site, and Twitter’s adoption rate on iOS grew more than three times in the latest iOS update.

Outside of Facebook use on the device, Apple made a point of highlighting that the App Store will too be updated with Facebook integration. Users will be able to recommend, like and share apps directly from the App Store to their Facebook page and their friends feeds. This update will increase the virality of applications and will go a long way in spreading word on apps that are worthy to mention to your networks.

2. Smart App Banners

Probably the most important update related to app marketing and discovery was in Safari which will identify mobile sites that also have an app and show a Smart App Banner which will either send the user directly to the App Store to download the app or link directly into an app that is already downloaded. In this way, users who weren’t aware that their favorite mobile destination has an app will more prominently be sold on this product if available.

 

E3: 3 Things We Took Back From This Years Show

E3Another E3 is over. We are back from LA and are still processing everything that happened at this infamous gaming industry show. From software to hardware, mobile and consoles there was a lot to take in this year but one thing is for sure – the gaming space is growing and thriving.

Here are THREE things that caught our eye at this year’s event.

1. Playing the Odds with Mobile Gaming

We talked to a number of gaming companies and found that there is a definitive emphasis on developing games for mobile platforms. What we heard was that due to the cost effectiveness of developing for mobile versus traditional consoles and because of the more immediate measurable reaction to the games – gaming companies are developing and launching a large number of games for mobile in order to test out what works and what doesn’t in the marketplace. Mobile’s low cost of entry compared to consoles and its fast and efficient distribution system to reach the market has made it the perfect sandbox to figure out which game is a winner with users for gaming companies something not available with the traditional console.

2. Ubiquity of Gaming and Emphasis on a Second Screen

There was definitely a common focus by the top game publishers – Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony, on ways to play games anywhere you are with on any screen. Microsoft Xbox’s SmartGlass exemplified this the most with their app which allows Xbox users to take the game they are playing on their TV and transfer it to any smartphone or tablet that is in front of them. The app can do the same for other entertainment like movies or TV that you are watching on the Xbox. Users can pause anything they are doing on the Xbox and resume on a tablet and smartphone freeing the user up to continue the experience anywhere they want to go. IGN did a great recap of SmartGlass in their article which covered Microsoft’s announcement at E3 which you can read here.

3. New Gaming Console Hardware from Nintendo

With most of the emphasis at the show on software whether it be actual games or gaming console applications, Nintendo’s new next generation Wii U console stood out as one of the very few newsmakers on the hardware side of things. Where Microsoft took the approach of making any tablet or smartphone be a second screen using software/app, Nintendo created their own physical second screen with the Wii U GamePad controller. A great infographic summary was published by Nintendo Wii U Facebook on there new product highlighting among many things the GamePad’s motion sensors and the consoles IBM Power-based multi-core processor.

 

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