TIP: Let People (and Search Engines) Know Your App is Coming Soon!

A great way to build momentum and buzz as well as start seeding your SEO efforts is to launch a Coming Soon page. A great Coming Soon page will provide just enough information to get your audience excited without overly commiting to things that may change. Be sure to include the ability to share this page via email and social networks as part of your app marketing efforts. It’s also a great idea to ask for email addresses so that you can contact those interested when your app is live.

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Every Tuesday App Promo will be providing tips on app marketing and promoting applications based on their experience leading marketing campaigns for applications across platform. These tips are like regular marketing vitamins aimed to boost discovery and visibility for app publishers to better succeed in the business of their apps.

The Rise of App Search Engines

Despite the fact that on-device app stores are still the number one source to find applications, any user will tell you that the experience within these stores is extremely frustrating and fairly static leading to poor discovery of apps.

From the developer’s perspective, the process of submitting and updating their applications across different platforms is time consuming and can lead to error in messaging and updates. And as the volume of apps continues to grow, it is becoming more and more challenging to acquire the visibility their apps need to be successful.

To combat both consumer and developer woes, there has been a number of application search engines that have grown in use and attention.

The rise of application search engines is indicative of the problem associated with discovery of apps. They attempt to solve this problem by providing unique and more robust methods for consumers to find applications across platform. They also aid developers and app owners in providing a single point of access to multiple platforms as well as increased and additional insight into their app performance no to mention an additional distribution point.

The app search engine space is heating up with the latest arrival, start-up Quixey, just announcing they raised $400,000. We are sure to continue to see new search engine arrivals to the market with perhaps some of the more traditional search engine players like Google and Bing starting to play in this game.

If you aren’t familiar with application search engines, here is a breakdown of three of the heavy hitters in the market to help you get up to speed.

 

uQuery

uQuery is a social search engine for applications combining search with social networking. uQuery currently only indexes the United States version of iTunes App Store. But where it lacks in platform support, it makes up for in its ability to add a relevant contextual “friend” layer through Facebook Connect.

Like other app search engines, uQuery starts with the search field allowing users to search for applications by name or topic. It also allows users to search by predefined topics much more robust than what is found in the App Store and the ability to search by star ratings and price range. Users can also search by their favorite developer if they so choose to.

Where uQuery differentiates itself is on the recommendations that are offered either from your own network or from everyone in the uQuery network. The issue with gaining suggestions from your own network is that it requires others from your network to have joined uQuery. So it is in your best interest to get more of your network onto using uQuery in order to really benefit from this feature.

uQuery Search results present the same information you would expect to see in the App Store leveraging screenshots, star ratings and description. uQuery adds a social layer to this page by showing users who have liked this app. They have also made it easier to download by using QR codes, similar to what would be found on the Android Market.

Outside of its social search, uQuery also provides a “Trends” report that gives a quick look at what’s going on in the USA iTunes App Store. This report illustrates the number of apps published, number of developers, a breakdown of Paid versus Free apps and finally a run down of applications by category. A great resource to refer to when considering developing an app for iOS to get a quick understanding of the current landscape.

 

Quixey

Unlike uQuery and Chomp, Quixey is a multi-platform search engine that aims to be the source for functional search for apps no matter what device you may be using – smartphones, browsers, desktops and the web.

Quixey prides themselves on providing search results oriented to what you want to do in your own words. Users enter terms such as “baking a muffin” or “taking red eye out” into the search field and Quixey provides results accordingly.

Quixey’s results display not just the apps but also snippets about the apps which come from multiple sources which use your search terms to help you decide if the app is what you are looking for. They also allow you to filter by platform and price as additional criteria.

App pages on Quixey echo their mandate to provide you with as much information from across sources as possible. Pages provide information expected from the app stores but layer on additional insight from Tweets, blogs like TechCrunch, as well as questions and other links indexed from the web. All pages provide either one-click access to the proper store to download or in the case of Android, also the use of a QR code.

Quixey’s focus seems to be on not only creating www.quixey.com as a destination for app discovery but to gain partnerships around the web to use their plugin and API so that the Quixey search bar is readily available wherever you are on the web.

While the benefits to the consumer are obvious, with their multi-platform approach, Quixey also serves as an easier way for developers to manage their apps across platforms. This feature allows app owners a one-stop shop to control messaging for their apps across all versions as well as a backend that provides visibility into what people are saying about their app across platform.

 

Discovery & Monetization Hot Topics at AppNation IV

AppNation

Increasing discovery and making money were two hot topics of conversation at this year’s AppNation IV in San Francisco both on the agenda and in the exhibit hall.

Among many topics on the agenda was “Masters of Monetization” with Foursquare CRO and VP of Advertising from CBS Mobile presented by IAB. In addition were workshops on “The Art of App Discovery” and “App Store Optimization Strategies”.

The exhibit hall echoed the agenda with leading ad networks – TapJoy, BluTrumpet, AdMob & Millenial Mobile; CRM and retention solutions – AppBoy, AirPush & HelpShift; and App Discovery Solutions such as Fiksu, AppTrailers & Quixey all showcasing their services aimed to combat the challenges app publishers are facing in today’s thriving app economy.

As pioneers in the Business of Apps, App Promo added to the conversation as a Sponsor by officially launching our App Store Optimization packages (ASO) at the event. These packages were introduced as ready-to-go solutions for app publishers to improve discovery of their app in and outside the app store by focusing on keywords and search along with enhancing other elements aimed to increase downloads.

We also had the pleasure of meeting many new app publishers who told us their stories and voiced their challenges of getting their app known and making a business of it. The conversations we had with many of the app publishers who were part of the “App Garage” reaffirmed the need for marketing an app in order to succeed. Many of the applications in the “App Garage” were having issues getting the attention they require to take their product to the next level. In fact, from our own audit of the crowd, about 6 out of 10 app publishers did not have a clear business or marketing plan when we spoke with them about their products.

Two things were very clear from our time in San Francisco at AppNation this year – the excitement and activity around apps has never been stronger and the challenges these apps face in getting noticed and found are even greater.

That’s why we are excited to be here to help!

TIP: Sync Your Price Promotions to Events

Tie discounts and giveaways of your app to holidays and events related to your niche or product focus. If you are an education app – mark your price down for Back to School, for example. Christmas is an especially great time to discount your app to leverage the purchasing behaviour of the general audience at this time. Speaking at a conference? Make your app free to download for that day only and make sure your audience knows about it.

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Every Tuesday App Promo will be providing tips on app marketing and promoting applications based on their experience leading marketing campaigns for applications across platform. These tips are like regular marketing vitamins aimed to boost discovery and visibility for app publishers to better succeed in the business of their apps.

5 Things to Consider Before Developing Your App

So you have an idea that is perfect for a mobile app and are ready to get started. You are full of ideas on design and know exactly what plaforms you want to tackle and want to get into market as soon as possible.

Before you jump full feet ahead, locking yourself into the decisions you have made, there are a couple of things you should think about in the planning phase of your app project that will help set you better up for success with your new mobile product especially when it comes to app marketing.

Market Positioning

There’s no doubt that you have captured a great idea to go to market with, but have you done your research to see what’s out there first? You don’t need to be the first in market, but knowing who else is playing in your space will help you take a look at your concept to see how you can differentiate yourself.

Perhaps your design will better. More improved user experience. Additional features not yet in play by others. Or maybe you will set yourself apart with pricing.

Doing your research before beginning development and design is a must as the output from this exercise should identify what is going to set yourself apart from the rest in the market. You will need to take this differentiator and use it to drive requirements for both design and development.

 

Branding

Once you have nailed down what you are building, you are going to want to use that same research you started on your competitors to understand how they are presenting themselves in the market.

What names are they using for their app? What colors are they using for their design? Take a look at their icons to see if there is a common thread between them all.

Use the information you gain from this exercise as input into decisions for your own branding. These branding decisions should govern your overall design from icon down to the colors and fonts used in your application.

 

Price Point

Figuring out your revenue model before you start to develop is extremely important. Again, you are going to want to go back to the competitive analysis that you performed for positioning and branding to find out what others are doing in your space.

Next you are going to want to ask yourself if you want to make money off this app and if so, how? Will it be through activity via ad revenue? In-app purchases to access additional exclusive content? Or will the app itself be paid?

After looking to your own monetary objectives for your app and seeing what is out there in the marketplace – your final decision will be required at the start of your project to be sure that the technical solutions are implemented to support it.

 

Monitoring & Analytics

No matter what your app is all about, you are going to want to track activities by your users. All app stores provide insight into downloads, but it is up to you to implement some sort of tracking capability within the app to understand use behavior.

Make the decision to implement analytics right at the beginning of your project. Determine what metrics you will want to collect. And then find a solution provider that has an SDK that you can easily implement to achieve your monitoring goals.

Implementing analytics in your app will provide you valuable information about what your users are doing in your app to help drive marketing, advertising and future product upgrade decisions.

 

In-App Marketing Areas

Before you have nailed down the requirements for your design and development, be sure to build in marketing areas in your app that will service you when you are live.

Marketing opportunities to your existing users like push notifications to pull users in via daily reminders or breaking news, for example and pop-up reminders to ask for ratings and reviews need to be decided well in advance to development to ensure that they are implemented without re-work.

In addition, you will want to consider in your design areas in the app which promote sharing of your application using social networks and email to utilize social networking as a marketing avenue for your product.

When considering the features of your app, take a moment to consider what you can add to your app that will help drive new users as well as keep existing users coming back. Focusing on these two objectives will help ensure that you have incorporated elements into your product which are aimed to achieve these goals.

TIP: Make it Easy to be Published

Make it easy for the media and bloggers to pick up your story by doing some of the work for them. Include a media kit with your press release. Send some hi-res logos, screenshots and the QR code to download the app. If you have a video for your app, include this as well. Your kit should include all the additional information a blogger would need to put the story together.

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Every Tuesday App Promo will be providing tips on app marketing and promoting applications based on their experience leading marketing campaigns for applications across platform. These tips are like regular marketing vitamins aimed to boost discovery and visibility for app publishers to better succeed in the business of their apps.

TIP: Attach Excitement and Urgency to Your App

Contests are a great way to create some excitement and urgency for your campaign. If done right, they are guaranteed to to increase activity and downloads. Your contest prizing should always include free downloads of your app (if your app is premium) and the grand prize should be relevant to your app or branding to help make sure that the audience you are attracting are still your users.

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Every Tuesday App Promo will be providing tips on app marketing and promoting applications based on their experience leading marketing campaigns for applications across platform. These tips are like regular marketing vitamins aimed to boost discovery and visibility for app publishers to better succeed in the business of their apps.

App Marketing 101 Series: Analytics & Monitoring (Pillar 10)

App Marketing 101 Series: Analytics & MonitoringWhat all marketing efforts boil down to is results. For applications, the most common metrics are usually either downloads or activity. In this final article in our 10-part App Marketing 101 series, we break down what you need to know to properly assess your marketing efforts for your app.

Although results are gathered at the end of any marketing campaign, it is imperative that analytics and monitoring be considered right at the start of any effort. Metrics are intrinsically tied to the goals and objectives of the campaign. It is during the planning phase of your marketing effort where you not only identify these goals but should also be detailing how you will measure each objective in order to determine if they are successful or not.

Once you understand what data you need to collect, you will need to pinpoint what methods or resources you will need to gather that information. Understanding the methodology you need will ultimately influence the decisions you make in implementing your marketing efforts – which is why it is important to do this all upfront.

When the campaign is underway, don’t wait until the end to start to look at the data. Monitor your results throughout your efforts to see what is working and what is not and make the necessary adjustments. Just be sure that you give your choices enough time to culminate before changing them up again.

At either the end of your campaign or at particular milestones in your ongoing marketing, you will want to put all the pieces of information together to gauge the full impact of your efforts. Identify and celebrate your successes but don’t be afraid of points of failure as these are valuable learnings to take into your next attempts.

 

What to Measure?

The short answer is to this question is everything possible, but here are some typical metrics you should be collecting and analyzing in your marketing efforts.

  • Product: Downloads, unique users, page views, session length, time of use
  • Pricing: Purchases, in-app purchases
  • App Store Marketing: ratings & reviews
  • Social Media: Fans, followers, active users, post views & impressions, retweets, demographics
  • Paid Media: impressions, clicks, click-through-rate (CTR), cost-per-click (CPC), cost-per-acquisition (CPA), social impressions
  • Search Engine Marketing:
  • Contests: participants, page views, session length
  • Press & Blogger Outreach: media deliveries, online pickup, positive/negative sentiment
  • Community & Networking: thread/discussion activity

 

Analyzing App Downloads

When it comes to apps, the first metric that comes to mind is downloads.

When looking at your downloads, consider more than just the total number. Look at what your peak times are for downloading to help determine key time slots for future marketing for your users.

All app stores provide geographic information that should be taken advantage of. Breakout your downloads by country to determine your geographic heat spots. Doing this will help identify where the most interest is from your users, another insight to take into future marketing and product efforts.

If your product has both a paid version and a free trial or “lite” version, analyzing your downloads for both during the campaign will help you assess your pricing model. Are  those that are downloading your lite version converting to paid? If not – look to either the process to upgrade or the price point.

Ultimately, while running any elements of your marketing campaign, you will want to look back at the impact of these efforts on your downloads. To gauge the full impact, compare significant amount of download data pre-campaign against the campaign period (and if possible also against post-campaign results). Additionally,

Before any marketing effort, be sure to baseline your downloads to allow you to quickly identify if your efforts are producing growth. Calculate both the total downloads prior to starting your marketing efforts as well as your average daily growth and use these numbers to compare against results during the campaign.

 

Looking at activity to understand your true user

Although downloads are a good stat to focus on in terms of interest in your app, if your goal is to understand the use of your app you are going to want to include activity as a core metric in your monitoring.

There are two main places to gather information on usage of your app. The first in in the app store via the reviews and ratings attributed to your app. Keep an eye on these as you continue your marketing. Are you increasing the number of reviews and ratings? Have these improved with your marketing efforts? What are your users telling you during this time?

As ratings & reviews are being calculated along with downloads to help position applications in storefront charts and features, it is definitely something you will want to include as part of your marketing goals.

The second place collecting data on your user’s activity is within your app itself, well that’s if you planned ahead in your product development to include statistics to do so. Implementing an analytics package when developing your app will go a long way in helping you truly understand the success of your app.

Take a look at the activity within your app during your marketing. Do you see spikes in activity that correlate to your campaign elements? How do these compare to the increase you may be seeing in downloads? Are new users staying an using your app or downloading it and leaving it behind? What areas are they most interested in?

By analyzing user activity – you will get a better sense of the longer term impacts of your marketing efforts. These metrics give insight to your users rather than those that are simply interested in your product, perhaps because of compelling positioning in your marketing campaign (short-term impact of marketing).

 

Analyzing PR & Online Buzz

A core part of any marketing campaign is to get the word out. Whether this is through a formal press release over the wire or through a more personal outreach to bloggers and online publications you are going to want to understand how successful your PR efforts have been.

If you are using a PR distribution system to send out a press release, some of these metrics are easily available via the reports they provide. Look especially to both the number of online pickup achieved through their network and the types of sites that ran your release.

If you are reaching out to press and bloggers through an email system, look to your open rate to gauge interest and then search online using keywords from your release to understand who ran your story.

Without investing in tools or systems that are devised to do so, the best way to gauge online buzz is through good ol’ fashion search engines. Search for your app name or other keywords during your campaign and make note of the sites that mention your product.

A great way to track reader usage is through URL tracking sites like the use of bit.ly. By converting your download page link, for example, into a bit.ly URL you will gain a better understanding of the traffic pushed to download your app from referring sources.

Of course, you will ultimately want to look to your downloads and usage during this time to gauge impact of the posts achieved to see if they result in achieving your overall campaign goals. This won’t be a one-to-one correlation but you will be able to infer spikes of download or activity during peak periods of online buzz, especially if this is isolated from other marketing campaign elements.

 

Understanding data from Paid Media

Out of all of the marketing resources you utilize in your campaign, paid media will come with the most amount of readily available real-time data.

When running mobile, online or search ads – it is best to split-test. Run a couple of versions of your ad at the same time and then look to the analytics provided to decide what is working and what needs to be stopped or changed. Monitoring this continually through your campaign will not only improve the active campaign’s overall results, but it will also teach you what to continue in future marketing efforts.

Whether it is during the campaign or at the campaign end, you are going to want to look not to the impressions made during marketing (unless your goal is pure brand awareness) but rather the connections or clicks made during the campaign. This is where the click-through-rate is important or as it is usually denoted “CTR”.

You will want to understand what a good CTR is for a campaign in order to quickly make a decision if the campaign is worth putting money into. Although these are always specific to the network and ad trafficked, industry CTR averages are available for speculation online so take a look at these conversations to help put things in perspective. Ultimately, you will want to run a few test campaigns yourself on various networks to really understand what to expect in using paid media for marketing your app.

 

Measuring Social Media

Like online buzz, you will want to look to your social media efforts during marketing to understand how they helped deliver results.

Facebook makes this incredibly easy through the use of their Insight tool if you are a page administrator. This tool not only breaks out user activity, but can also provide data by post (impressions, activity) and demographic. Like Paid Media, you can use the data in Insights to see what type of posts are working for your community and which are not. Outside of Facebook’s Insight reports, use tracking services like bit.ly to understand who is entering your community to ultimately download your app.

For other social networks, like Twitter, you will need to lean on third party metric systems to really get a sense as to how your marketing efforts are doing within these communities. However, without investing too much money on these services, you will be able to look to your follower growth and perform searches to see what people are saying about your product. Again, the use of a tracking URL will also help to determine referral traffic to your download page. But unlike Facebook, most other social networks are not yet well set-up to provide you with additional data (like number of reads on your tweet etc.) so if this is of interest to you, you will have to look for alternative analytics solutions which do exist to integrate with.

Regardless of social network, you will want to look to follower or fan growth and sustenance as a metric to indicate interest in your brand and use of any download links

TIP: Submit Your App Everywhere

The app stores are not the only place for users to discover your app. There are an increasing number of alternative app stores like GetJar, Handango and app search engines like Quixey which you should consider cataloging your app. Create an account and submit your app to maximize your discoverability as well as use their free analytic tools to gain further insight. The more places you are the better your chances are that a user will find you and download.

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Every Tuesday App Promo will be providing tips on app marketing and promoting applications based on their experience leading marketing campaigns for applications across platform. These tips are like regular marketing vitamins aimed to boost discovery and visibility for app publishers to better succeed in the business of their apps.

App Marketing 101 Series: Community (Pillar 9)

App Marketing 101 Series: CommunityYou don’t have to look to far for opportunities to market your app. The best place to start is with you and your networks. In part 9 of 10 of our app marketing 101 series, we look at how to leverage your own networks and find net new ones to help market your app.

 

Use your Networks to Spread the Word

No one can do a better job of selling your app then you which is why using your own network is extremely important to get the word out.

If you work for a company send out internal announcements to your team announcing the launch, success stories and feature updates for your app. Ask them to download, rate and review your product.

Use your own social networks to post announcements and send links. Both personal (Facebook) and Professional (LinkedIn) networks will come in handy here. Now’s not the time to be shy with your accomplishments. Use your network to push the word out and ask your network to help share the announcement with their own networks.

Update your business materials with a call to action to download your app using a QR code and/or the direct download link. Use this in your email signature, on your business card, and letterhead. Showcase your app on your social networks. Mention it on your voicemail. A good rule of thumb is that anywhere you would traditionally plug your website you should now start to include marketing for your app.

 

Market at Conferences & Networking Events

As a representative of your app, a great way to increase your network and gain visibility for your product is through attending, sponsoring and speaking at conferences, industry and network events.

If you are speaking at or exhibiting at an event, arrange for a giveaway of your app to the participants. Use promo codes if you have them available. Or issue a one-day sale corresponding to the day of the event. Be sure to update your entire event collateral with a clear call to action to get your app.

Beyond gaining downloads, these events are a great way to grow your communities so come equipped with business cards providing your Facebook page, Twitter and LinkedIn details.

 

Submit Your App for Awards

Nothing gives credibility faster to an app then awards. But you don’t need to win the grand prize in order to see the benefits.

Getting nominated for awards from credible sources is as much a marketing opportunity as winning one. Of course the latter is a bigger story.

Whether you are nominated or have won an award, update your marketing collateral to reflect this achievement including your app product page and even release notes.

 

Talk Directly to Users in Forums

Being active within forums related to your app is a great way to seed word of mouth directly with users as well as to gain valuable insight in what your audience would expect from your product.

Become a valuable resource within these forums to further your credibility and sell your app. Ask and answer questions. Add to the conversation.

Avoid hard selling your app. Make the community aware of your app by including it in the signature of your posts. Choose your avatar as your app icon and your forum name your brand or app name.

When you choose to explicitly use forums for marketing keep your messages beneficial to the community and in context to the conversation. Often times Forums have topics started specific for this purpose. It’s a great idea to post your releases here, as often bloggers are members and will crawl these communities for future stories.

 

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