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.


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