App marketing: what you need to know to develop a killer strategy

A big mistake that we usually see from entrepreneurs that are considering the idea of creating an app for their business is to start the app marketing process after the application is ready. As we discussed in a previous article about the journey to develop an app (check the infographic below), the marketing strategy starts way before the project definition. Like any promotion plan, there’s not a one size fits all approach because it will depend on your audience, your budget and other resources available.
In this article, we will explain what you need to have outlined to create a killer app marketing strategy.


App Marketing

As the mobile application is a very competitive market – there are 2.6 million Android and 2.2 million iOS apps-, you need to have a savvy marketing strategy to stand out. Despite the competition, it is a lucrative market as, by 2023, the mobile industry is set to contribute with more than $4 trillion to global GDP, according to a recent study. 

Some experts say that 2020 is expected to be the mobile’s biggest year, and mobile advertising is predicted to grow into a billion-dollar business in the next few years. 

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • How do users find apps?
  • Which are the channels worth investing in?
  • How to find your target audience? 
  • How to analyse your competitors?
  • Which strategies can you use to promote your app? 


How do users find apps?

You may already know very well how to attract visitors to your website, corporate blog or even to your social media profiles.

It turns out that in the case of an application, the situation changes a little bit. Why? In all these channels, it is possible to know where the traffic comes from and about the user’s behavior.

However, to find out what are the best channels to distribute an application, it is necessary to rely on studies and research, in addition to the data that publishing platforms (such as Apple and Google) provide.

Direct app store search

Direct search in the app store, either by the name of the app or by the subject it deals with, is the main factor of downloads. It corresponds to more than 60% of the download source.

This reinforces the importance of optimising the app’s presence in stores so that it is more easily found. We will explain it in detail when we talk about ASO. 

Word of Mouth

The second biggest conversion factor is the recommendation of friends and family, who through their own experiences and preferences, end up making a difference for more than half of the users.

In this case, what the good old “word of mouth” shows its strength once again, highlighting that the relevance of the application has a powerful effect for it to go viral eventually.

Most downloaded ranking

The chart of most downloaded apps is another factor that must be taken into account, and ranking well in it is a golden ticket to maintaining a high number of installations.

It is evident that to reach this point you will already need to be at an advanced stage of your strategy. But it is worth mentioning that getting this social proof so convincing at the decisive time for the person looking for an app is essential for them to choose their solution.

Social networks

Social networks are also handy channels for the public to get to know and become more interested in an application. This is why new ads have been created precisely to promote the download of an app directly through company profiles and pages on these channels.


Which of these channels is worth investing in?

The download numbers coming from websites, blogs and social networks are nowhere near as expressive as those from direct search and referrals. But that does not mean that it is not worth investing in each of the means that we have shown above. Especially because all these channels are in one way or another connected, and will make a difference to the final result of your app in searches. Why can we say that?

A good branding job, solid content marketing planning and a strong presence on social networks can contribute, for example, to the increase in direct searches in an app store. After all, the faster the brand identification is, the easier it will be for users to remember it when looking for a new app.


Who is your target audience? 

So, ask yourself first – what problem does your app solve, or what need does it fulfil? Once you know the answer to one, or both, of these questions, you will have a much clearer image of your potential customer base. Get real data on customers’ demographic characteristics and behaviour, as well as their personal histories, motivations, goals, challenges and concerns.

An important tip is to focus on both satisfied and dissatisfied customers (or competitor’s client if you don’t have a product yet). In both cases, you will undoubtedly learn something about your product’s perception and what challenges your customers are facing.

Knowing who you are supposed to talk to means, you get the chance to create a better marketing strategy and learn which channels to use. In other words, knowing your audience means knowing your market. 

Who are your competitors?

Defining who your competitors are in your content strategy goes beyond mapping companies that compete directly for the same market as you.

Typically, companies that sell a product/service similar to yours are also competitors in creating content. After all, your competitors are solving pains for a very similar persona, often the same as yours.

Do some research, see what data is out there. What is your competition doing? In which areas do they fall flat? Proper research can open up new doors. For example, 36% of all gaming industry revenue is taken up by smartphones. So, a company that isn’t sure whether they should branch into making this new piece might convince a mobile game of information. 


Which strategies can you use? 

Social Media

As social apps account for 50% of app usage time, please take advantage of it. It would be best if you built up your social media channels before you launch your app. Set up complete profiles in advance, get some traffic going, and hype things up. Post regularly, provide interesting and useful content and try to interact with your audience. 

However, don’t spread yourself too thin. Take a look at your audience, and figure out where you can get the most traction and the best results. One or two platforms will most likely be enough. 

App Store Optimization (SEO for apps) 

Google Play

Rank well on Google Play will naturally use this to your advantage.

But, also, it is concerned with creating increasingly organic and natural search experiences, both for the user and for those who create websites and produce content.

Therefore, when creating an app for Android, you have up to 4000 characters to describe it well, that is, to draw public attention and still rank well in the Play Store.

Apple App Store

The Apple App Store, on the other hand, has a structure that was adapted from iTunes.

Keeping the same standard, the App Store lets you use 100 characters to enter keywords relevant to your strategy. This is the main difference between the two platforms, but it is not so difficult to adapt to that.

While Apple demands greater care with keyword research, Google requires a captivating, natural description that wins over readers and makes sense for crawler robots.


A quick comment about the release date

A bad release date can be disastrous. With that in mind, plan ahead, and check your calendar. Launch your app when there is no hype coming from big companies or from competitors that are stronger than you. 

Final thoughts 

SEO Brief

Getting the most out of your app launch means creating a proper plan of attack. You need to market your app to the best of your ability – be strategic, monitor your performance and optimise it!