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.

2 Must Have Tools to Help with App Marketing Success

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

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

 

1. Distimo Monitor

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

2. AppAnnie

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

 

App Promo in Action: Cannes Lions Festival Photos

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

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

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

Cannes Lions Festival App Promo Workshop

Cannes Lions Festival App Promo Workshop

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

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

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

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

  • App Store Optimization
  • App Marketing
  • App Monetization

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

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

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

App Discovery a Focus at WWDC 2012

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

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

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

1. Facebook Integration

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

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

2. Smart App Banners

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

 

E3: 3 Things We Took Back From This Years Show

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

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

1. Playing the Odds with Mobile Gaming

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

2. Ubiquity of Gaming and Emphasis on a Second Screen

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

3. New Gaming Console Hardware from Nintendo

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

 

3 App Discovery Points Every Android App Publisher Must Know

Android App Discovery PointsWhere fragmentation is an app publishers worst nightmare on the technology side with various hardware and operating systems, it becomes a powerful opportunity for app discovery with more than one distribution center available for publishers to use to aid them in their mission to gain app sales.

Google Play is a give-in but to really take your app to the next level you need to be looking outside this store to maximize your reach. Three discovery points every Android app publisher must have on their radar at this point are: Amazon, Facebook and YouTube. We’ve broken down what you need to know about each of these discovery powerhouses including the reason why your app needs to be there.

Amazon AppStore for Android

Launched back in March of last year, Amazon’s AppStore for Android now has over 25,000 applications in their inventory according to their February 2012 report by leading app store analytics company Distimo. This may be quite small compared to the 400,000+ apps in Google Play but this app store  packs a punch when it comes to making money for developers. The same report concluded that out of the top 110 apps that appear both in Google Play and in the Amazon AppStore for Android, 42 of them make more money on Amazon then they did in Google Play.

If you are a paid application then Amazon is definitely the place for you. Distimo said that paid apps in the Amazon AppStore made up over 68% of all apps in this marketplace while in Google Play this percentage is 38% and dropping.

Revenue may be easier to gain in this store because, like iTunes, Amazon is a well known and trusted online/mobile shopping destination. With books, clothing, furniture, music and more in the same location as applications, the Amazon store is sure to attract a large audience who are already connected to purchase anything Amazon recommends to them

Facebook App Center

The most recent app store to be announced by a large industry player, Facebook threw their hat into the ring of mobile applications May of this year. Although this store isn’t ready for primetime, we urge that any app that has Facebook Connect or uses Facebook APIs prepare for its unveiling by creating an App Detail page and Submitting Your App.

With over 800 million active users according to Facebook itself, this app distribution center is expected to have a lot of eyeballs when it launches and with over 10.5 billion minutes spent on Facebook online only (this doesn’t even include mobile) this is one opportunity that you don’t want to miss out on for your app.

Facebook’s App Center will be well equipped to serve your app well. It will even support paid applications to help earn you revenue and it was recently unveiled that it will handle the tricky part of getting the app to your phone with their streamlined app install and launch experience via  “Send to Mobile” which will use Facebook notifications when you are on a desktop and find an app that you want to install on your device.

If you don’t have Facebook APIs running in your app and you have been thinking about it, now is a good time to prioritize this on your product roadmap. No word yet on when App Center is about to launch but word on the street says that it is soon.

YouTube

Although not an app store, YouTube, being the second largest search engine according to comScore, makes this discovery point extremely valuable to Android app users. We strongly suggest to all of our clients the creation of a 45-60 second marketing YouTube video for their application as part of their marketing collateral. Not only can you utilize this video as part of your product page within Google Play to enhance the saleability of your app; having this app live within the YouTube environment will allow app publishers to take advantage of the search results.

It is extremely important that any YouTube video you send live be well equipped with keywords and calls to action in order to maximize conversion of video views to downloads of your app. App publishers should maximize the use of the video title, description and tags by creating copy that is chock full of keywords geared towards search engine optimization.

In addition, a link to your app should always be evident in your description for all of your apps. Publishers should also utilize the Call-To-Action Overlay which YouTube makes available for your video which allows for a transparent ad unit to appear during viewing which can be used to illicit downloads of the app.

Above all else, however, your video should be high quality, engaging and relevant to your target user in order to be effective.

 

 

App Discovery a Key Focus at Mobile Web & Apps World – CTIA 2012

It was definitely a sign that the app space has matured as the focus of this year’s Mobile Web and Apps World 2012, of which we participated this year at CTIA, had more to do about the business of applications than APIs, tools and technology. And even the APIs that were discussed at the session were mainly focusing on making money as was the case with Mastercard’s overview of their OpenAPI payment platform for use by the developer community.

With an agenda full of presentations and panels on monetization, marketing &  advertising strategies it was a chock full day of what to do to succeed with an app both in terms of discover and revenue.

Discussions kicked off with a SuperSession on Marketing & Monetization of Apps led by Josh Rochlin of Xtify with panel members Ted Verani from Trilibis, Dan Lowden from Digby, Derek Ting from Enflick and our very own Gary Yentin from App Promo. The panel discussed costs, discovery, revenue challenges and ended discussing the recurring  argument of HTML5 web apps and mobile web and which is better or will win the “war”.

Fisku, a mobile marketing firm focusing mainly on media buying for apps, reviewed the top 5 Mobile App Marketing Super Practices including the importance of working with multiple traffic sources and the need for real-time tracking.  Mobile leaders, Poynt and AirPush ads, talked about mobile ad strategies that they see being effective in the marketplace. And Urban Airship, Bottle Rocket Apps and MTV formed an afternoon panel led by consultant, Chetan Sharma to discuss media consumption strategies on mobile stressing mostly the importance of a strategy to keep users engaged and using apps including the use of push notifications.

Of course, we here at App Promo, are truly excited to see such a flurry of conversation and focus on the business of applications and we expect that forums like this will continue to grow as more and more app publishers are looking to make a true business out of the products they have in market. Congrats and a big thank you to Larry Lockhart at NextVision Media for putting this session together to add the conversation at this years CTIA.

Check out coverage of MWA 2012 at CTIA in Wireless Week: http://www.wirelessweek.com/News/2012/05/CTIA-making-money-mobile-web-apps/

 

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