Developing a mobile app is a difficult and time-consuming job. Right from getting the idea to designing the app and developing it, it requires a lot of effort. Once the app is ready, that is when the real journey begins. How do you let people know about your app? How will your users know that this app is going to help them or change their lives? Even more importantly, how will you be able to engage and monetize your app?
This is one of the biggest challenge you will face as an app developer – getting users to download your app and keep using it. Most app developers fail simply because they are unaware of the tools and tricks that can be used to create a successful marketing strategy for apps. Before you get started on your marketing efforts, you need to do some groundwork. Here we will outline these steps and get you started on your mobile app user acquisition journey:
Step 1: Formulate a Plan
As with any strategy, failing to plan is planning to fail. This is one of the most important steps in having a well-defined acquisition strategy. This lays the foundation for the individual components of your approach – like identifying your target users, team required to implement the strategy and the costs involved. However, do not forget to leave some room for flexibility as plans tend to evolve over time.
Step 2: Identify your users
You cannot go about acquiring users if you don’t know who they are and their behavior patterns. Only when you have identified your audience, you will be able to strategize the best way to reach them. Ideally, you would have already done this exercise when you were designing your app. If not, then now is the best time to research your users’ likes, habits and interests.
Step 3: Know important metrics
You need to ascertain some key metrics that you will track so that you know how your app is performing. Metrics could vary for different apps but some key variables to look out for are:
Install rate: number of times your app was installed
Cost per Install (CPI): The cost you pay for each install
Return on Investment (ROI): The amount that you make over your marketing spend
Lifetime Value (LTV): The profit you will make from a customer on your app
With the above in place, you are now ready to embark on acquiring users.
There are 2 broad approaches that you can use for marketing your app: Paid and Organic.
There are quite a few paid channels that you can use to acquire users:
- Social Media Marketing: Engage users creatively on social media with interesting and relevant ads
- Email Marketing: One of the most effective forms of marketing, you should work on creating a mailing list and sending them appropriate material
- Content Marketing: Producing engaging content is a sure-fire way to connect with your potential users. Content marketing should not feel like marketing but should compelling material that interests your users.
- CPI (Cost per Install): Paid referrals through affiliates helps you pay only for actual downloads of your app.
- CPC (Cost-per-click): Use search engine marketing to be visible when your users are looking for your app or related keywords
- Video ads: Videos are the most popular form of marketing. They are most engaging and have a long shelf-life.
You should aim to use a mix of available paid channels so that your users become aware of your app.
Although paid marketing can start giving you instant results, more and more customers are wary of ads and rely on other ways to gather information. Here is where organic marketing plays a big role.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization is important for increasing traffic to your website organically. Although time-consuming, once you establish your website for relevant keywords, this is quite beneficial.
- Reviews and Ratings: Most users check out for other users’ review of the app just before downloading. Having negative ratings and reviews can put off your users. Focus on generating good reviews by reminding your existing users to leave you a favourable review.
- Influencers: Users tend to follow influencers when they recommend your app. Identify and work with influencers in your niche.
- AppStore Optimization (ASO): Similar to SEO for websites, this is optimization of your app so that your app is visible to users on top. ASO involves highly targeted keywords in the title and description. The visuals in your screenshot and video should also be optimized to meet the AppStore or Play Store standards.
Analyze and Optimize
Although preparing the groundwork and embarking on your marketing strategy is important, it is equally essential to monitor the results of your efforts. If you do not invest in analytics, you could end up wasting your precious budget on ineffective channels while ignoring most effective acquisition methods.
Analytics can not only give you a deep understanding of user behaviour but also allow you to track key metrics such as downloads, active usage, sales etc.
Using attribution and analytics tools like Unliche will give you pertinent information like:
- Organic vs Paid installs
- Most effective channels and partners
- In-app event level analytics
- Uninstall and retention data
- Fraud traffic detection
Deep analytics will allow you to analyze which approach is working and optimize and revisit your strategy accordingly.