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App Marketing: the crucial line item too many app developers miss

Mobile Phones And Abercrombie

The Roadshow’s four stops include: Seattle (March 24), Vancouver (March 25), Toronto (April 1), and Montreal (April 2). Get all the info here. 

You’re developing what you hope will be a killer utility app or mobile game, you’re past proof of concept, you’re gotten some serious investment dollars, tested, tested, and retested, and are ready to launch. The one thing you may have overlooked? How you’re going to market the damn thing.

According to Gary Yentin, CEO and Founder of App Promo in Toronto, more often than not, developers are rushing to launch without a marketing plan in place and the budget to fund it. “I’m still amazed six years later [after the App Store launched], that people don’t put a line item in for marketing,” he says. He says that even seasoned VCs overlook it and instead get too fixated on the technology.

Of course, in order to market intelligently, you need the right analytics. You need to know who your users are and what they’re doing. But according to Yentin, many developers haven’t even put the right SDKs in place for tools such as Flurry or Google analytics, or any of the other mobile measurement platforms. “You can advise them to do it but sometimes they just don’t have the time,” he says. “They’ve set a launch date and that means they would have to go back and re-submit to the store.” No app developer wants to do that.

Even for those who have planned to capture data out of the starting gate, there are issues to solve. While there are a number of valuable analytics tools that can provide vast amounts of data, Yentin says that all too often, most developers are just too busy and overwhelmed with making things look good and work right to make good use of them.

“Developers are always super-rushed and have limited resources, and to be honest, a lot of them don’t know how to understand and interpret the data,” says Yentin. “It’s kind of a catch 22; you can put the KPIs out there but then you have to understand how to use and understand those KPIs.”

He’s contrasting this to giants like EA, Disney, or King, that have specific teams of up to 50 people dedicated to analytics. For mid-size and smaller developers, this just isn’t realistic, and for Yentin, it’s essential at the start for these mid-range players to build in an internal resource to monitor and interpret analytics, or outsource if that’s not possible.

Collecting data over time is important, but the first week after install is most critical, says Yentin. A lot of players won’t return after that first week, so it’s an essential time frame in which to get the most important data: what time of day users open the app, how often they come in and out, how much time they spend, how they interact with the app and its functions. Learning why people leave is as important as why they stay.

Developers also make the mistake of failing to determine exactly who their user is. He provides the example of a gaming client who had exclusively targeted males 18 to 24. All the creative in the game and all the advertising were aimed at this audience. But when the developers started to look into the demographics, they saw that they had a 30 percent uptick of females. “That was something they never dreamed about,” says Yentin. “Here they’re creating for one group, and then find out they have a completely different sex playing the game. That’s kind of significant when you think about how you’re going to go about acquiring users.”

But before developers find themselves in a similar situation doing a quick correction by targeting a percentage of advertising spend at gossip sites and fashion publications (yes, a terrible, awful stereotype, but it makes the point), developers can feel out their audience ahead of time. Yentin says it helps to get your app on a test flight. For smaller developers that can mean something as simple as using a meet-up group in your local city which can provide invaluable information and data. “A lot of people do all this research and great planning on the product side without considering the audience in terms of what that audience will actually do,” he says.

Being in Canada, he often sees another route to early learnings. “We see a lot people do their MVP [Minimum Viable Product] launches in Canada because it’s very similar to the U.S. market,” he explains. “Once they see what resonates with the audience, and tweak it, then they hit the big time.”

Ninety percent of App Promo’s business actually comes from outside Canada, from places as diverse as China, Japan, Russia, Europe, and Mexico. “It turns out, we’re a very good testing ground!”


Written by , @VentureBeat


@VentureBeat Mobile Developer Roadshow – Toronto, Ontario

venture Beat road showVB’s Mobile Developer Roadshow is coming to Toronto!

@VentureBeat is  hosting an invite-only roadshow on April 1, 2015 in Toronto to reveal the latest trends and case studies in mobile acquisition and monetization.

The Event

This event, geared towards mobile professionals including developers, product marketers and business development professionals, will be a focused, single-track discussion tied to VB Insight’s research on mobile user acquisition and monetization.

All attendees will learn the very best mobile app acquisition and monetization strategies, network with leading industry peers and also receive complimentary copies of the VB Mobile Games Monetization Report ($499 value) and the VB Mobile User Acquisition Report ($499 value).


This event is free and is invite-only to guarantee the absolute highest quality of attendees.

Business casual attire is requested.


John Koetsier
VP, ResearchVentureBeat
Ian Atkinson
VP Business Development
Michael Sikorsky
Robots and Pencils
Albert LaiZ
Co-Founder / CEO
Big Viking Games
CEO and Founder

Google app store gets more oversight

A Google logo is seen at the garage where the company was founded on Google's 15th anniversary in Menlo Park, California September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

(Reuters) – Google Inc is tightening supervision of its freewheeling Play store, forming a special team to screen new apps for malware and sexually explicit material, and strengthening its age-based rating system.

The change brings Google Play, a bazaar for digital games, social media apps and entertainment software, closer to Apple Inc’s tightly controlled App Store. But Google is not adopting Apple’s practice of only approving apps that meet its stringent quality standards.

The change underscores the growing importance of apps in the success of the companies’ rival mobile gadgets. Google, whose Android software runs most of the world’s smartphones, and the iPhone and iPad maker each manage online hubs with more than one million apps ranging from calendars to video games.

Google said in its official blog on Tuesday that its expert team will screen each app submitted by developers to spot earlier anything that runs afoul of its rules. Google had only used automated technology for screening at the time of submission.

The new process will not create bottlenecks, Google said in a post, promising that approved apps will become available on Google Play within “a matter of hours” after submission.

Apple does not disclose its app review period, but the website puts the average wait time at seven days for Apple’s App Store.

Developers must answer special questionnaires about their apps to help independent ratings organizations assign age-based ratings, Google said.

“We know that people in different countries have different ideas about what content is appropriate for kids, teens and adults, so today’s announcement will help developers better label their apps for the right audience,” Google said in the blog post.

As of May, apps submitted without the questionnaire will not be published in Google Play, and existing apps that do not seek a rating could be blocked in certain markets or for certain users, Google said. Until now, Google has let developers rate their own apps using a system created by Google.

Google, whose Android software runs most of the world’s smartphones, and Apple each manage online hubs with more than one million apps ranging from calendars to video games.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; Editing by Richard Chang)


Great first review for @AppPromo from @clutch_co

App Store Optimization and User Acquisition Partnership

Mobile app marketing
Project summary:

The client is Craig Weinberg, currently a vice president of mobile strategy at 3Q Digital and a former long-time mobile strategy lead with many companies. This client has partnered with App Promo for multiple engagements during the past five years. The client has utilized App Promo’s expertise to implement mobile user acquisition campaigns as well as App Store optimization strategies.

Feedback summary:

This client is very satisfied with their long-term partnership with App Promo. This client highly recommends App Promo and points to their understanding of the mobile ecosystem and reliability as reasons for recommendation.

“The App Promo team has become one of my trusted mobile strategy advisors, especially when it comes to mobile landscape and ecosystem. App Promo has helped me acquire hundreds of thousands of users for mobile apps that my teams have worked on.”— Vice President of Mobile Strategy, Digital Marketing Agency

VP of Mobile Strategy, 3Q Digital
51-200 Employees
San Mateo, CA


Please describe your organization. What is your role and responsibilities?

I’m currently the vice president of mobile strategy at 3Q Digital, an independent digital marketing agency. However, I’ve been in multiple mobile strategy lead roles where I’ve partnered with App Promo.


What was your goal for working with App Promo?

I’ve worked with App Promo on a number of projects of varying sizes. My first engagement with App Promo was to help me manage a mobile user acquisition campaign. In addition to user acquisition, App Promo helped to implement an App Store optimization strategy to increase our visibility across the app stores.


What was your process for selecting App Promo with which to work?

Gary Yentin, the founder of App Promo, and I have had a professional relationship for the past five or six years. Gary and the App Promo team have become one of my trusted mobile strategy advisors, especially when it comes to mobile landscape and ecosystem.


Do you have any statistics or metrics to track improvement from the project?

App Promo has helped me acquire hundreds of thousands of users for mobile apps that my teams have worked on.

Is there anything unique or special about App Promo that really makes them stand out compared to other business partners?

The App Promo team has a great focus on customer service. They pay attention to detail and execute on the strategy they set. They are extremely knowledgeable, reliable, and dependable.

What advice would you give to future clients of theirs?

My only suggestion to potential future clients is to ensure the App Promo team fits the scale of your project. The App Promo team is a small shop. If you’re talking about a larger project, you might have questions about scale, and they might need to bring in some of their partners to make sure that they have the bandwidth to cover it.

We ask you to rate App Promo on a scale of one to five, with five being the top score. What would you give them out of five for the quality of their work?


For schedule, as in being on time and meeting deadlines?


For cost, as in value for your money and sticking with the original estimates?


For the overall score?

Four and a half.

How likely are you to recommend App Promo to a colleague?

Five. I’m in the process of writing an email recommending that we use the App Promo team for a project right now.

Client Case History : Sobrr

Sober  Life in the Moment

Sobrr Inc. sees great success in China- An @Apppromo Case History

@Appromo is pleased to share with the press our client – Sobrr ‘s recent success in China as penned by Bruce Yang, CEO of Sobrr Inc.

Our recent launch in China presented the Sobrr team with a huge challenge:  How to attract the attention of our target audience — high school and college users – in the increasingly fragmented China marketplace.

In the U.S., YouTube stars like Pewdiepie, Jenna Marbles, Bethany Mota and Michelle Phan regularly collaborate with brands.  But in China, while influencer marketing is important, it can be a perilous endeavor.  China’s Weibo (a micro-blogging platform similar to Twitter) is filled with so-called influencers with thousands of “fake” or “zombie fans,” so in order to create introduce Sobrr authentically, our team had to do their homework.

On November 7th, a single “tweet” from Weibo’s VIT named App Bacteria (App菌) evidently resonated.  Thousands of Weibo users instantly downloaded our fledgling app  – and engagement went through the roof.  The VIT in China not only checked out the app but created an amazing micro-blog ‘story’ about her experience on Sobrr, featuring a series of great images.

Since then, thousands of new users have continued to come onboard on a daily basis.

Over the last three weeks, the app has acquired close to 60,000 users in China, with daily active engagement consistently in the 10,000 range.

This momentum has catapulted Sobrr to become one of China’s most-popular apps in the social category.  This is all the more impressive when we consider the app is limited to iOS-only  (a small portion 17.3% of the China market), and was developed outside the country.   If the current growth rate continues, Sobrr will be positioned to challenge Instagram or Facebook as the favorite made-in-US social app in China next year.

We are thilled to see Chinese users respond to the freedom Sobrr offers, with no need to stress over social sharing since all posts expire every 24 hours — just long enough to make an impression that may lead to a new friendship.  The general trend is that women prefer to post “vibings”  (photos), while men prefer to comment.  It’s a good combination.

About Sobrr
Available for iOS and Android, Sobrr is the first app to introduce the concept of 24-hour friendship. In real life, people socialize, but only become friends with whom they like. Sobrr returns this control back to the user. Everything on Sobrr expires in 24 hours, including photos, messages, and, even, friends (unless you really, really like them).
Founded in 2014, Sobrr Inc. is a team of Silicon Valley veterans and UC Berkeley
students and alumni lead by Co-Founders Bruce Yang, formerly of LinkedIn and Fitbit, and former Microsoft employee Vivian Xu.Sobrr was recently awarded “Most Innovative App” by the Silicon Valley Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurs Forum.

Download the iOS version:              
Download the Android version:       

– See more at:

A New Way to Promote Your App on Google Play

A New Way to Promote Your App on Google Play

Posted by Michael Siliski, Product Management Director, Google Play

Google Play now reaches more than 1 billion people on Android devices in more than 190 countries, helping a growing number of developers like you build successful global businesses. In fact, in the past year, we paid more than $7 billion to developers distributing apps and games on Google Play. We remain as committed as ever to making Google Play the best place to find great apps, games and other entertainment.

App discovery plays a critical role in driving your continued success, and over the past year Google has provided bestpractices to enhance app discovery and engagement, as well as app promotion tools to get the most out of search and display advertising for developers. We are always looking for new ways to help you get your apps in front of potential new users. That’s why, in the next few weeks, we will begin piloting sponsored search results on Google Play, bringing our unique expertise in search ads to the store.

With more than 100 billion searches every month on, we’ve seen how search ads shown next to organic search results on can significantly improve content discovery for users and advertisers, both large and small. Search ads on Google Play will enable developers to drive more awareness of their apps and provide consumers new ways to discover apps that they otherwise might have missed.

In the coming weeks, a limited set of users will begin to see ads from a pilot group of advertisers who are already running Google search ads for their apps. We’ll have more to share in the coming months about the expansion of this program as we look at the results and feedback. We believe search ads will be a useful addition to Google Play for users and developers alike, and we hope this will bring even more success to our developer community.

We #Love #Apps – Valentines Day 2015 Promotion

App Promo

@Apppromo LOVES #ASO!

Share with us the applications you #LOVE and @Apppromo will offer a 15% discount on our #ASO services. Optimization of your app store product page is key to your app’s success. It is the destination for all of our marketing efforts (ads, search, social media) and it is the first thing customers see when then come across your app within the app marketplace

Don’t miss out on this Loving promotion! 

                                           @Apppromo LOVES #AppPreviews

We’re pleased with the successful launch of our App Preview service. The reviews for the service have been great. Our script-to-screen process covers it all – from storyboard and graphics to original video (if needed) and professional voiceover.  Check out our work at on the @Apppromo website  HERE   and we are pleased to offer a  15% discount on all #AppPreviews for the month of February. Contact us today at for a custom quote for your application.

App Promo will be attending and featuring their #ASO and #AppPreview packages and well as showcasing some of their clients at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona March 2-5, 2015. Contact us to schedule a meeting, or tweet us @Appromo to meet us, we would love to hear from you. Contact Us
Astrochicks is announcing the launch of their new radio podcast series, Astrochicks: Where the Stars Collide, featuring Celebrity Astrologers Jacy Nova & Patty Kamson, produced by Paul Robinson. The radio show is a spin off the popular gossip blog, that serves juicy gossip with a cosmic twist. Make sure you check out the podcast at:-


A clear understanding of specific audiences — and how to reach them —  can make or break a new app.  The 2015 Mobile Personas Study is a comprehensive analysis of mobile behavior, attitudes and trends to help agencies, brand marketers and manufacturers develop effective mobile strategies. Now available for the US and Canada!
Click for more information
Copyright © 2015 App Promo All rights reserved.

Why Google Play is banning app testimonials (and what developers should do instead)

The company’s update to its app store policy seems like a direct hit against ASO. Experts suggest alternative techniques

Google’s decision to ban user testimonials from app descriptions in the Google Play store could make certain aspects of app discovery more difficult. (Image source: Google Play screen shot)

Perhaps Crest did it best when it kept it simple with that old claim that four out of five dentists recommended its toothpaste. It’s not the way we normally think of testimonials, but companies have long used glowing comments from customers in some way that get reproduced on websites, including blurbs from critics plastered on movie posters and book jackets.

Android apps, at least in Google’s view, should be considered a different beast altogether.

In a recent change to its Google Play store developer guidelines, the company suggested there were too many times when what was supposed to be honest validation of an app or mobile game seemed more like an exercise in manipulative app store optimization.

“Please do not include user testimonials in your app description. They tend to be dubious and are frequently utilized to include references to popular search terms and competitor apps in violation of the policies outlined here,” Google noted under the “Keyword Spam” section of its Play policies and procedures. “Let your users speak for themselves via Play’s comment review system.”

According to experts in the marketing of Android apps, Google’s decision won’t put any developers out of business overnight, but it could make certain aspects of discovery and driving installs more difficult.

“It’s a reasonable request,” said Jeff Hughes, who published a book called Android Apps Marketing. “Testimonials are an effective way to promote a product but Google is asking developers not to place them in the app description because they can’t be verified and in some cases developers are using certain keywords found in other similar apps so that their own apps will be found in a search. Google, like Apple, is trying to ensure a more level playing field for all app developers.”

According to Tom Cummings, client accounts director at app marketing firm Fiksu, users are already well-conditioned to look at the reviews section to see what other “real” people think.

“App developers should use their descriptions to highlight what their apps do, provide meaningful updates, and outline key features and benefits,” he said. “App developers that give more time and attention to user feedback and reviews, when improving their apps, are most likely to improve their actual ratings.”

Value of testimonials varies

Dave Bell, co-founder and CEO of Gummicube, advises a range of clients on marketing app strategies. He said the value of user testimonials varies largely based on the type of application.

“For most consumer applications, the typical user behavior is to check out a couple of the most recent reviews posted of the current version of the app and base their decision on those comments,” he said. “When you are marketing an app with a more complicated value proposition (for example, like a business application) testimonials can be particularly useful.”

Like testimonials, reviews are always an important factor in the organic discovery and download of an application, said Gary Yentin, CEO and co-founder of App-Promo.

“However, that said, people tend to look at reviews as an aggregate and hence look at the sum of all the reviews for the application in the review section, so removing the one or two from Google Play will not make much of an impact,” he said. “The best form of app marketing is organic and social where people refer the app to their friends. This is still the most powerful and most viable form for app marketing.”

Bell, however, said good app store optimization (ASO), which has become a bigger topic in mobile circles over the last year, is far from an attempt to fool consumers.

“With millions of apps in the marketplace, the app stores are becoming more and more like the Internet and today 70 percent of all downloads are actually coming from search,” he said. “Even when you look at paid marketing channels, having an understanding of organic user demand and user behavior inside the app stores can help developers design advertising/promotional campaigns that have higher conversion and better returns.”

The historical challenge with ASO, Bell added, is that nearly all of the keyword tools in the marketplace simply pipe in data from Google Web Search or the Google Keyword Planner. “Unfortunately, there is very little overlap between web search behavior and mobile search behavior in the app stores–so finding a partner with the right dataset is extremely important,” he said. Gummicube is focusing on aggregating this kind of data and leveraging it for its clients.

Apple had similar concerns

This issue is by no means isolated to Google. Several years ago, Hughes pointed out, Apple stopped allowing reviews by those who received a free download code from the developer. Apple had a similar concern, that the reviews from free downloads would naturally be tilted in the app’s favor.

“I would also draw a distinction between copying a review from iTunes, which may be less desirable or have less value, versus including an added-value testimonial like providing a snippet of a review from a magazine or website,” he said, adding that while it’s possible that Apple may implement similar policies, it is likely that it will pursue an agenda to guard its specific ecosystem, “which isn’t really the same ‘under the hood’ as Google Play.”

Cummings agreed. “The one exception would be testimonials included from major publications or reputable reviewers,” he said, citing online journals such as Lifehacker, “but even then it may cause the app description to be rejected. Developers will have to decide on a case-by-case basis if the endorsement is worth the risk of delaying approval.”

Google’s decision doesn’t necessarily mean developers should avoid testimonials, especially if they are legit, Hughes said. The Play store isn’t the only place to post them. “By all means use testimonials on your app’s website if you have one… and you should,” he said, noting some developers lack even basic ways to be found online. “Cross marketing between apps from the same developer is also another way to gain more exposure for your app.”

This article appeared in Fierce Developer on Jan 12th, 2015  –



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