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

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.

 

App Marketing 101 Series: Search Engine Marketing (Pillar 8)

Search Engine MarketingIn Part 8 of our 10 part app marketing 101 series, we look at a SEM or Search Engine Marketing to help improve the discovery of your application online. A large part of discovery for your app will happen as a result of search. Your goal as an app owner is to make sure that your application comes up in the search results when users are looking for it. But as this is everyone’s goal, you will also need to find ways to make sure that you are not only in the results but that your ranking is high enough for users to find you.

Search engine marketing (SEM) touches on many aspects of your marketing campaign from app description, to press release to configuration of paid ads. So making sure that you spend some time and effort thinking about search engine optimization (SEO) at the start of your marketing will maximize your campaign.

Finding and Selecting Keywords

When it comes to search nothing is more important than the keywords you choose to attach to your product marketing destinations. Keywords are extremely effective tools to ensure that when a user is looking for your app or a service/niche your app fulfills, you show up as a result.

1. Make Your Own List

The best place to start when identifying keywords is to make a list. Think like a user as they approach a search engine. What keywords would they use to get your app as a result? What keywords are you already starting to use in your marketing efforts? Your positioning statement and elevator pitch you mastered describing your app’s purpose and benefits are a great place to gain some valuable keywords.

2. Look To Your Competitors

Add to this list by looking to your competitors. View your competitions keywords by using the Page Source option in your browser. Do some searches within the search engines to see who comes up. Leverage those words that work for you to be sure that your product comes up amongst the rest. You will also want to identify opportunities where relevant keywords produce little competition as these terms have a larger chance of pushing you up the rankings for this result.

3. Ask Your Network

Ask your friends, coworkers or users to describe your app and what terms they would use to search for it. Getting an outside opinion from someone not as close to the product is an optimal way to figure out what actual users need when it comes to search.

4. Use Online Resources

Finally, using Keyword Tools like Google’s AdWord Keyword tool found here: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal is a must have resource to utilize when you are selecting your keywords. Use this tool to help choose and validate keywords. In using keyword tools like Google you will be able to learn upfront which keywords should result in the most searches and what the competition is for each. These factors are great ways to focus on

When selecting keywords, be as specific as possible. Avoid focusing solely on vague terms like “app”. Leverage terms that are unique to your product and product offering. Key industry terms are extremely useful as are any sub-brands that may be associated to your app. If you’re apps is a game, for example, use your character names as keywords. If your app is content-based, use your topics and authors.

Additionally, it’s inevitable that your list of keywords will be long. Make sure you understand what your top or priority keywords are versus the long tail terms. Consistently echo the top keywords in as many places as possible.

Keywords will grow as your product grows so don’t see this exercise as a one time deal. Whenever your product grows to add new features or your industry changes to include new terms, make sure that you update the metadata for your marketing pages, product descriptions and other sites.

Maintaining and grooming your keyword list will come in handy for future press releases and paid advertising like AdWords when the time comes for your next marketing campaign.

 

Where to Use Keywords

The answer is everywhere you can online.

You will definitely want to incorporate these keywords in the metadata of your web marketing site for your application. The most effective way to do this is:

  • Add your keywords to the metadata of each page
  • Include keywords in your title tags
  • Use your keywords in the content on your site
  • Leverage your keywords in the alt tags for your site’s images

But your site is not the only place you should be using your keywords. Consider anything that will be posted online as possible search results. If this is the case, then you will want to make sure that your keyword strategy is consistent in the following places:

  • Facebook posts
  • Tweets
  • App description within the App Store
  • Blog posts
  • Press Releases
  • YouTube video descriptions

 

Search Engine Optimization for Mobile

As app owners, the best place for a user to find your product is on their phone. This will increase the chance to download which is your main goal. As your product is mobile, it is definitely important to make sure that you optimize for mobile search.

The biggest step in mobile SEO is to make sure that you have a mobile optimized marketing page. A fully optimized mobile page will rank higher in the mobile search results than that of a desktop page so it is in your best interest to have this created when you are developing your online marketing presence. In addition, this page will be of better use to the users who click on it, as they won’t have to work (pinch, zoom etc.) to use it.

When building your mobile site make sure you consider site performance, rendering and speed. You will also want to leverage the keywords you are using on your desktop version but cater it for mobile.

Remember that search on mobile is on average much shorter than that on web so you will want to think about fewer and shorter keywords for mobile

You should also utilize Google’s Mobile Keyword Tool to see which desktop terms work and don’t work as well using this medium and perhaps what new keywords should be added.

 

SEO Takes Time So Plant Seeds Early

The key thing to remember for search engine marketing is that it takes time for the keywords to be crawled and used by the search engines.

Knowing this, make sure you give enough time to start to judge your results and make modifications. Also, you may wish to start your efforts early through a coming soon page both for desktop or mobile even before your product is released – including your priority keywords both in the metadata and visual text on these pages.

If you are in a hurry, you can try to speed things up by submitting your sites to the engines directly but there is no guarantee on the turn around for these requests.

 

App Marketing 101 Series: Contests & Promotions (Pillar 7)

Contests & PromotionsOne of the most effective short-term marketing tactics is the use of promotions or contests to spike activity for your product whether this be downloads, purchase or in-app usage. Attaching a sense of timeliness or urgency to any marketing campaign is a proven way to maximize your results.Whether the time of year provides you with an opportunity to promote your app or you choose to create a moment to put attention to your app through a contest – a valid reason to market your app. In this week’s app marketing 101 series article, we review the ins and outs of using promotions and contests to effectively market your application.

Leverage the Calendar Year

You only have to look as far as your calendar to find key marketing opportunities. Promoting your app around events that are relevant to your app niche or purpose is a great way to increase visibility in context to the right audience.

Some great event-based marketing opportunities are:

  • Holidays (Christmas, Valentines Day)
  • Seasonal Milestones (Back to School, Winter)
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Conferences
  • Industry Events
  • Company Anniversaries & Milestones

Promotions during this time can take many forms but all use the calendar event to form positioning for the market campaign. For mother’s day, as an example, you may run a paid media campaign focusing on why Mom’s use your app. Later on that year you might run a campaign focused on how this is a must-have app for students during Back to School.

Identify the event, find true relevance in it as it relates to your product and then run a promotion around it.

Some promotion ideas include:

  • Contests
  • Price changes and discounts
  • Giveaways
  • Advertising Campaigns
  • Press Release
  • Media & Blogger Outreach

 

Price Promotions

Discounting your price, or putting your app on “sale” is one of those ways to promote your app around an calendar event. But you don’t always need to tie it to a seasonal milestone.

Price promotions can take many forms. You can offer your audience a limited offer, free trials, discounts and markdowns or even a giveaway.

It is important that when entering a price promotion you have a plan with clear goals in mind and you have also analyzed the download and usage data and feedback from your users to see if this is the right thing for your app.

If your app is doing well with the pricing model you have established, it may not be the best time to alter the price. Pricing changes are best used when traffic is low and you are looking to increase new users.

Frequent price changes can signal a weakness or deficiency to your users and competition and can also start to train your audience to wait till there is a sale to purchase so be wary of how many times you go to make a pricing change.

 

Contests

There is a reason why contests are the first thing that comes to mind when you start thinking about putting together a promotion for your app. If done right, contests can create a flurry of traffic and downloads due to their time sensitive and often urgent nature.

When thinking about running a contest, make sure you have a specific goal in mind. Are you looking for downloads? Activity within the app? Viral sharing? Feedback?

Once you have your goal in mind, it’s time to be creative to come up with the contest model and prizing.

Keep these in mind when developing your contest:

  • Keep it simple
  • Get people engaged
  • Encourage sharing
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Make it fun and exciting
  • Keep it legal – know the rules and make sure your users do too

Ultimately a contest is only good if people know about it so make that part of the contest plan includes how to get the word out. Using a social network, like Facebook, to run a contest is effective in this way, as interactions with the contest will instantly become available in the participants wall featuring it to their friends.

 

Prizing

Prizing is a key element in any contest. You will need to gain prizing that is both enticing enough to make people participate while still keeping the prize relevant to your app to ensure that you are attracting the right users.

If your app is premium, always give away the app for free as a lower tier prize in the contest.

Beyond what the prize is, make sure you understand the legalities around giving it away. Be familiar with contesting regulations in the regions you wish the contest to run in.

App Marketing 101 Series: PR & Blogger Outreach (Pillar 6)

An important part of getting the word out for of application is the use of press. In this week’s App Marketing 101 article we look at how to write an effective press release and use PR and Blogger connections to maximize visibility of your app online.

Whether you take a formal route of writing and distributing a press release or informally reach out to your favorite blogs, the value of being featured online is both immediate and long term.

Short term, readers of blogs, news sites and traditional publications where your release was picked up will read your story. Longer term, however, those stories that were published online will be an important part of your search engine marketing, being available as results when users search for keywords related to your product.

 

Writing a Press Release

Before writing any press release, make sure you clearly understand what message you want to convey to your audience. Ask yourself:

  • What is the news?
  • Why is this important to my audience?

Launch announcements, success stories, use of new software features or technology or how your app may be advancing efforts in your industry are all great ideas for a press release.  But really, anything is release worthy as long as you clarify the benefit for users to read your story.

Press releases are best when kept short and to the point. Usually between 400-600 words is effective. It is also wise to organize your release into small paragraphs so readers can quickly and easily digest your story. Keeping your release shot will help you focus on only the most important information as well as have it all ready for republishing online especially as a blog post.

The two most important elements of your press release are your headline and your first paragraph.

Your headline needs to be catchy, descriptive and illustrate what the news is and why it’s a benefit to the audience. It should always include your app name.

If your headline provides the what and why, your first paragraph will focus on the who, where and when. Your first paragraph continues to flush out details related to your headline and should always include your call to action, which, most always will be to download your app.

Your press release should be written so that it provides all of the salient points of your story. For your app, you will want to make sure it’s clear:

  • What your app does?
  •  Why is this app needed?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What platforms is it available on? And where is it available?
  • What are the features of your application?

You will want to make sure that you have all the necessary elements in your release for bloggers and the media to use to create a story. This should also include a quote from yourself, a brand owner or C-Level executive that can easily be lifted to include in any story.

Lastly, be sure to include a valid and available contact at the end of your press release that can answer questions, provide more information or arrange for an interview.

Above all else, make sure your news is interesting, spelled correctly and is accurate.

 

Your Release & Search Engine Optimization

A significant benefit of your press release is that it will exist on the internet as a search result. This is why writing your release with keywords in mind is extremely important.

When it comes to optimizing your release for search, focus on your headline and your first paragraph (especially the first few lines of your press release).

Leverage keywords you have confirmed work through paid media campaigns and your website if they are available. Lean on available online tools like Google’s Keyword Tool to help identify what words provide the most results.

Using your keywords will take some creativity. You will want to make sure that these words aren’t just listed randomly. And especially do not want to risk

 

Distributing Your Press Release

The most effective way to distribute your press release is through the use of online PR sites.  They are especially useful if you don’t’ have connections with the press or have a press list created.

PR sites not only distribute your release to their network. They will also provide analytics and reporting which will illustrate the number of impressions your release has been read, the number of media deliveries as well as the number and names of publications that have picked your story up.

 

Bloggers & You

PR websites are great for distribution, but their networks often don’t focus on the independent blogger.

Gaining blog attention is critical when it comes to today’s press.  The intimate, independent and niched nature of blogs has made them an essential information online source for all audiences.

Identify blogs that are related to your app. Mobile blogs, technology blogs and blogs by platform are a great place to start before looking to industry and subject matter verticals.

Start building relationships with those bloggers by reading, commenting, following and liking their site.  The better your relationship with a blogger, the more likely they will pay attention to an email from you when you have some news to share.

When contacting bloggers with news, don’t just send them your press release. Do some of the work for them but providing a synopsis in your email focusing on the five W’s: who, what, why, when and where questions any story needs. Include screenshots, links to videos and your app store product page and most importantly, promo codes or actual binaries to test and try out your app.

Maintaining a list of bloggers that you have reached out and noting your success or interaction with them will come in handy for future stories you will want to run. Overtime, this will become your own press list you can you use for ongoing press for your app.

 

Prepare for Interviews

With the word out to the media and bloggers, you will need to be prepared for interviews. Interviews can come in many forms: over the phone, via webcam, in person or by email.

A great interview tip is to minimize the amount of talking you are doing and let the interviewer guide you through the process. Stick to answering the questions. Keep it simple and to the point.

Requests for interviews happen most often after your press release or outreach so make sure that you are accessible and are on top of your emails and answer unknown numbers on your phone.

 

Utilize Review Sites

Beyond blogs a great online resource for app discovery are app review sites.

Most app review destinations have a link on their site to submit your app. Don’t forget to include promo codes if your app is premium. Most often, your press release won’t come in handy for these types of sites, but the elements in your press release – app purpose, audience, benefits and features, will, so be sure to leverage this information when you submit your app.

Although most of these sites are free, many of them have started using an advertising model where you pay to be featured or reviewed on their site. Prices are usually less than paid media but do your research before paying for placement. You will want to know the traffic and the audience of the site before sending the funds.

 

App Marketing 101 Series: Paid Media (Pillar 5)

Welcome back to our weekly App Marketing 101 10-part series. In part 5, we tackle best practices in use of Paid Media to increase discovery of your app. Unlike some of the other marketing opportunities we have outline in our 101 series, advertising almost always requires funds to include in your marketing plan. That being said, paid advertising is both a great way to create discovery en masse and gain valuable insights on keywords and your demographic.

 

How to Create a Successful Ad

If you have some budget available, you can purchase ad space via the many ad networks that exist. Most are self-serve and are easy to access and utilize.

In order to maximize return on your investment for your ad purchase, most of your effort should go into creating your ad.

Before creating any ad, make sure you have a clear idea of your campaign objective. For the most part this will be to increase downloads for your app. Whatever the objective, make sure you keep your ad creative focused on achieving the copy you write to the image you select.

Keep your ads simple. There is not very much real estate to play around with for most of your ad opportunities, so you won’t want to clutter your ad with a lot of copy, busy backgrounds or too many images. Many ad networks cap the character limit image size forcing you to be extremely creative in how you get your message across.

Despite character and image restrictions, you will need to play around with copy and design to ensure that your ad grabs attention and is enticing enough to meet your objective. Images are the first thing that catches a users eye online and play a powerful role in the feeling and mood you are trying to convey with your message.

Mention your pricing or call out the promotion you are advertising in your ad. This is especially useful if your app is free or if a price change such as a giveaway or discount is in place for your product.

Above all else, include a strong call to action. If you are looking for downloads of your app, make sure you say, “Download this app”.  Be clear on what you are asking your audience. Ads are not the place to be vague, so don’t be afraid to be direct and ask for what you are looking for from this ad campaign.

 

Select the Ad Opportunities Best Suited for Your Audience

When it comes to advertising online, there are many opportunities to consider. Think about who your audience is and where they are more likely to find you to make your decision on where to spend your budget.

Paid Search: Search ad opportunities like Google’s AdWords allows you to purchase simple text or text & image ads. This is a great way to test out your SEO strategy and the results from these campaigns should always go back into making future search decisions.

  • Facebook Ads: These ads are best known for their social reach as interactions with the ad appear on the users wall causing a ripple effect with their network. Facebook ads also allow for extremely specific targeting based on the wealth of information it knows about its users.
  • Twitter:  Promoted tweets and followers as ad opportunities to consider with this social network.
  • YouTube: Paid promotion of your demo video or your channel connected acts similar to AdWords with the ability to choose keywords seeing YouTube is as much a powerful search engine as it is a social network.
  • Mobile Ad Networks: Since your product is mobile, it makes complete sense to advertise using this medium. Mobile ads see much higher click through rates (CTRs) but have the most limited space to express your message.
  • Incentivized app advertising: Although this area has been under some heavy scrutiny from some OEMs, purchasing ads which reward users with points within in-app game experiences for clicking or even downloading your app has proven to be quite successful for many app owners

 

Always Target Your Ads

Almost all ad networks will allow you to target your ads based on demographic. Always take advantage of this feature when trafficking your ad. This will, of course, mean that you will need a good idea of who your audience is for your app.

For ad opportunities, like Facebook, this will not only mean the basics like country, gender, age group and education level but also includes interests, martial status and workplace/occupation.

At launch, the choices you make for your demographic will most likely be based on stereotypes, commonsense and experience. But as your app matures in the marketplace and through the various marketing and ad campaigns your run you should be looking to the data available to you to refine your target.

 

Testing Ads is the Key To Ad Success

Testing your ads is an important tactic to ensure that you are maximizing your budget. Its extremely common to traffic one or two campaigns that have minor changes between the two to understand what works and doesn’t work. This method is called split-testing and should become a common practice to exercise when purchasing an ad campaign.

When split-testing ads you will want to keep on top of the metrics your ad provider has available for you in order to make decisions on what is working and what needs to change. Split-testing works by taking a single ad campaign and running multiple versions of that ad with minor changes. The easiest and usually the most effective change is through the ad image you decide to run with your message.

Before making any decision on the ads you are testing, let them run for a while. A couple of days is usually all you need to see what response you are getting from the ads you have running. Look at the click through rate (CTR) as the key metric for success with your ads. Compare this interaction between ads and keep those that work and kill those that are not maximizing your budget.

 

App Marketing 101 Series: Social Media (Pillar 4)

Social Media has become the holy grail for marketers and it’s no wonder as if done properly a brand can see tremendous success for significantly less money than traditional marketing and advertising.

Where social media saves you in money, it makes up in its need of significant time and effort. If you choose to use these as part of your marketing strategy for your app, make sure you are invested to keep your networks active.

Social networks need constant and consistent attention if they are to grow and be a successful part of your marketing strategy.

Facebook Page

The first thing that comes to anyone’s mind when you mention social media is Facebook.

The effectiveness of Facebook comes from its social reach. Interactions with your product Facebook page by one person has a ripple effect with their entire network, meaning you only need to convert one to instantly communicate to many.

Facebook’s made it pretty easy for brands to market their products through Pages. Your first step is to create a Facebook page for your app. If you already have a page for your brand, update it to market your app.

Some key marketing opportunities to take advantage on this page:

  • Create an effective cover photo for your page adhering to the Facebook Guidelines about marketing products with this image
  • Use your Info About & Description fields to highlight what your app is and the benefits they will provide to your user
  • Update your Info Website section to include download links to your application
  • Create an album featuring screenshots of your app as well as the QR codes
  •  Take advantage of defining a username (or vanity URL) for your Facebook page after reaching 25+ fans

Your Facebook page will only be effective if you have traffic and fans so you will need to include plans to grow this page as part of your marketing. Running Facebook ads is one way to do this. But also be sure to include mention of your Facebook page in all of your marketing collateral including your website.

As you gain fans to your page, you are going to want to interact with them. Some effective ways to keep them engaged are:

  • Create a poll surveying the most utilized scenario for your app
  • Start a discussion topic related to your app’s subject matter or asking for feedback
  • Ask questions to your fans via your wall
  • Post your announcements and product releases
  • Leverage your Tweets and YouTube videos

Facebook’s “insight” reporting is extremely useful and, beyond the social reach factor, is the other reason marketers and brands gravitate towards using it. Be sure to review your Facebook reports often to get a good understanding of your demographic and use this information to better your marketing and your product.

 

Twitter

The key to Twitter is to see it more as a broadcast tool than a community builder. You still have an opportunity to grow a following and interact with your audience using this social network, but it is less personal compared to Facebook.

Be sure to update your profile on Twitter with your app logo. Use the 160 characters they give you to state what your app is about and include the download URL. You can also take advantage of the background and new cover photo which are available visual assets on this page to market your product.

Once you are up and running start following to get followed. Follow people and brands that align well with your offering. The secret to growing your Twitter community is to follow others. When someone follows you, follow them back.

You can increase the discovery of your Twitter page through the use of Twitter directories but avoid opportunities to pay for followers as Twitter heavily frowns on this and could suspend your account.

Like Facebook, you are going to want to keep your Twitter feed active. And also like Facebook, you aren’t going to do well by hard selling your audience. Make sure you treat your tweets like micro-blog posts – something meaningful to you, your brand and what your app is all about.

It’s best to construct your tweets even shorter than the 140 characters Twitter gives you to set them up for re-tweeting. Re-tweeting is basically re-posting somebody’s tweet in your Twitter feed as is as commonly done as creating new Tweets. Your feed should be a good mixture of Tweets you write and re-Tweets from your followers.

You will also want to make sure that you are using hashtags in your Tweets. Hashtags are used by Twitter to organize Tweets. This makes it easy for users to search and find Tweets related to a certain topic or subject matter. Become familiar with the hashtags your followers use and incorporate them into your own posts. The use of hashtags will help introduce your Tweets to an audience outside of your following providing an opportunity for you to gain more followers.

 

YouTube

If a picture is worth a thousand words than a video is worth a million. YouTube is undeniably the powerhouse of online video that is why it is a fantastic marketing opportunity for your app.

Create a YouTube Channel for your app making sure that your app brand/icon; description and download links are in your profile.

Next, shoot and upload your videos.

You are definitely going to want to create a demo video for your app. These are becoming exceedingly common and can be leveraged in some app store product pages as well as your other social networks and your website.

For any video you upload, take some time to write a description that will convince users to view but is also packed with keywords to help your video show up in the search results.

YouTube also equips you with the ability to embed links in your video through the use of annotations. This is especially effective in your app videos to help drive users to download the app right from the video.

App Marketing 101 Series: App Store Marketing (Pillar 3)

Welcome to the third article in our 10-part article series on App Marketing. Last week we covered everything you need to know about Pricing your product and the use of Pricing as a Promotional Vehicle. This week’s marketing pillar covers this ins and outs of better use of the app store to market your product.

Since it’s inception, the application storefronts have been the most powerful merchandising and promotional vehicle for app discovery. With the app stores so influential, it is incredibly important to understand how to use them to your advantage.

App publishers need to look at their product page and other areas in the app store not simply as a distribution center but as powerful marketing opportunities which, if utilized correctly, will assist in increasing discovery and downloads for your app.

Your Product Page is a Marketing Opportunity

Be sure to put some thought into the elements that make up your product page in the app store. Don’t treat this as a just a mandatory step in the submission process, but rather an important marketing opportunity.Remember, all parts of this page need to be geared towards one goal – download. Your name, icon, description and screenshots are tools you have to convince the user to download your application. Make sure you use all options available to their full potential.

Some quick tips:

  • If you are not an already established brand, then choose an app name that is relevant to your app’s purpose
  • Your app icon is your logo so make sure it is creative, high quality and represents what your app is all about
  • Upload as many screenshots as possible, prioritizing those that showcase your features and content
  • Don’t waste screenshots on loading screens or standard device processes like calling, texting or shutting down – focus on your app
  • Include a video if the store allows it, a well done demo of your application goes along way to converting the audience to a user

 

Don’t Forget Your Keywords

The app stores search algorithm’s and their use of metadata is still somewhat a mystery. What we do know is that optimizing your description and utilizing keywords does make a difference.  Some app stores like provide fields to input keywords up to 100 characters.  If this is available use it!

When selecting your keywords:

  • Start first with keywords you may already have from your web SEO efforts.
  • Don’t need to include your app name.
  • Many developers believe that you only need commas to separate, not spaces, which should free up some characters.
  • Select keywords that will maximize results – avoid general terms and use words relevant to your app’s niche and purpose.
  • Additionally, write your app description including all of your keywords.  List your features, your content and even go as far as include the types of users or scenarios you feel your audience may use to search for an app.

 

Choose Your Category Strategically

When it comes to choosing a category for your app within the store, do your homework. Perform searches to see where your competitors show up. Look in the categories you feel you would most fit to see what apps are featured.You will want to choose a category that is a logical choice for your audience to find you. But be on the look out for opportunities that will allow you to stand out. Categories with fewer total apps or that have little to no other apps with your offering may be better suited to provide you the visibility you need.

 

Reviews & Ratings Can Be the Key to Climbing the Charts

When a user enters the app store they make most of their download decisions in the list view. Here they are given only a couple of things to help them make their decision: app name, icon, price and the rating and number of reviews.Ratings & reviews aren’t just great vehicles to collect feedback on your, they also help your app standout in the list. Apps with more activity (ratings & reviews) are more apt to be tapped on than those that have no star ratings or comments.Additionally, app stores have started to factor in activity (ratings & reviews) as part of the criteria used to build the merchandising areas – like the top chart.

Actively encourage feedback from users. Include a call to action in your app, your webpage and social networks to request reviews and ratings.Create an area in your “About” or “Info” area of your app that has a link to review and rate your app. Consider a timed pop-up to appear in the app while the user is interacting with it to remind them to give feedback.Make getting feedback from your users a core part of your ongoing marketing efforts for your app.

 

Add a Personal Touch When Submitting

The app store submission process is automated and for the most part the thousands of developers and product owners who submit their app have no visibility or access to the people behind the process.Just because you don’t have a name, doesn’t mean you can’t differentiate yourself by personalizing your submission using the notes & comments. Don’t leave this optional area blank. Use it to highlight how your app is unique. List new APIs that you are using. Spell out features or design that you feel differentiate your app. What you want to do is create a reason for the reviewer to remember your app. This is a great first step in building a relationship with this team and could help increase your chance of being featured in their marketplace.

 

Think Beyond the OEM Application Stores

 The manufacturer and carrier storefronts are not the only places users can find your app. There are many app catalogs, third-party app stores and app search engines you should utilize as part of distribution. Search these out and make sure you submit your applications so that they are available.

The alternative app stores usually have additional marketing opportunities you can take advantage of such as advertising and paid features. They also provide analytics and reports that can provide further insight into your users to feed back into marketing. The more places your app exists, the better chance your audience can find and download your app.

App Marketing Series 101: Pricing (Pillar 2)

App Marketing Pricing

Welcome to the second article in our 10-part article series on App Marketing. Last week we covered the importance of understanding and being able to clearly articulate your product. This week we will talk about how to price your app and using pricing as a marketing tool.

Determining the price of your app can be as complex as coding it, especially with the growing options available.

Free, paid or freemium? In-app purchase or subscription?

Pricing is not just a mandatory step in the submission process but is also an important part of marketing your app. Users will factor in price when making the decision to download and use your app, so choose wisely.

Determine Your Revenue Expectations
Start with understanding your revenue expectations.

Are you trying to recoup the cost of developing the app?  Or are you looking to turn a profit? Do you see this app as your primary business? Or will this app drive sales for a business already established?

Once your expectations are clear, it’s time to ask yourself how your app will meet these needs and what monetary goals will you set to gauge it’s success.

Do Your Research
To help with your pricing decisions, look to your competition to understand what pricing models and figures they are using.

Position yourself against these apps and make sure that your app is able to hold its own if not stand out from the crowd.

If you are expecting to make your app premium when other apps with the same offering exist as free, for example, you will need to either rethink your pricing model or modify your offering to ensure the value is there to increase your chance of success.

Price to Sell
Don’t forget the user when you make your pricing decision. Will your user pay for your app? Would they be annoyed with ads?

This is a good time to leverage your networks, existing database, social networks and forums if you have them. Getting some feedback directly from your potential users will help guide you in the right direction.

Test, Test, Test
Once you make a choice, give your pricing decision some time before making any changes.

Price changes should be planned and should be rooted either in marketing or as a reaction to your market.

If you do decide to modify your price, keep in mind that changes in price will have an immediate impact on volume (increase or decrease) so let things cool down before you make the call as to whether your decision was a successful one.

It’s Easier to Take Away than to Add
When setting your price, it’s better to err on the side of more then less.  Users are more apt to accept a price reduction than they are an increase so if you are teetering between two numbers it’s better to select the higher amount.

Starting high will also give more room for promotions.

Use Pricing as a Marketing Tool
Planning changes to your price in the form of sales, discounts, coupons and giveaways are great promotional opportunities for your app.

Sales & discounts work well to stimulate known lulls in purchase behavior as well as to spike growth related to calendar events and holidays that fit well with your product.

Coupons and giveaways act as great prizes for contests and rewards to your community and social networks.

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.

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