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20 Best App Marketing Strategies To Drive Growth
Updated on February 13, 2023
With smartphones surging in popularity, more feasible apps have launched in the market, creating challenges for apps to stand out. As a solution, numerous app marketing services have started to test and implement different strategies that drive app growth. This blog post lists and explains such top 20 app marketing strategies.
List of top 20 app marketing strategies
- User acquisition campaigns
- Performance marketing
- Programmatic advertising
- App Store Optimization (ASO)
- Connected TV advertising
- Referral marketing
- Apple Search Ads
- Google app campaign
- Social media ads
- Content marketing
- Email marketing
- Paid advertising
- User onboarding
- Featured apps
- Word of mouth
- SEO-optimized website
- Public Relations (PR)
- Influencer marketing
- Quora marketing
- In-store advertising
Now, Let's discuss the above app marketing strategies in detail.
User acquisition campaigns
User acquisition campaigns, also known as customer campaigns, are digital campaigns that run to acquire quality users. These campaigns employ a user acquisition funnel (as explained in the image) to achieve goals such as:
- Attracting leads.
- Nurturing the leads until they are sales-ready.
- Converting the leads.
- Making efforts to retain the users.
Why is user acquisition important?
User acquisition is essential for every business, regardless of its size and years in the industry. The following are the benefits user acquisition campaigns deliver:
Performance marketing is one of the app marketing strategies that is growing high in popularity. It is a type of digital marketing strategy that drives guaranteed results through performance-based campaigns that make advertisers pay for intended actions, such as:
- App installs
- Ad clicks
- Lead generation (filling forms, subscribing to the newsletter, etc.)
Advertisers in performance marketing are only entitled to charge from publishers if their campaign goals are met. Following are the six steps involved in successful performance marketing.
How does performance marketing work?
Performance marketing requires you to create objective-specific ad campaigns and put your ads on any channel you think works best, such as apps, websites, social media, etc. Ads start performing immediately after the placement is done successfully. You pay for the ads based on the specific metrics that you choose through a payment model. Following are the top payment models widely used:
- CPA: In Cost Per Action, you pay for specific events such as clicks, installs, register, subscribe, sign up, etc., on your ads.
- CPM: Cost Per Mille is paid for every thousand impressions on ads. If you pay $100 for 1000 impressions, it means one impression costs you $0.1. Note that impressions do not associate with a click or any actions with ads.
- CPC: Cost Per Click requires you to pay for each click on the ads.
- CPL: Cost Per Lead requires you to pay for acquiring leads through actions such as filling in a contact form and signing up for email newsletters or webinars.
Benefits of performance marketing
- Fast scaling of a business.
- Assured app growth and expansion of audience reach.
- Advertising based on budgets.
- High-quality traffic, leads, and conversions from different sources.
Programmatic advertising is a marketing method that uses unique algorithms and technology to automate buying and selling of ad space. It even facilitates ad placement optimization while eliminating manual negotiation challenges.
Steps involved in programmatic advertising
- Data collection: The first step in programmatic advertising is to gather data about potential customers, including demographic information, browsing habits, and purchasing history. This data helps target the right audience with the right message.
- Real-time header auction: You auction on the preferred ad inventory via real-time bidding.
- Unified auction: The DSP uses unique algorithms to bring direct buyers, header auction bidders, and non-guaranteed bidders to one place, allowing the winning bid to buy the ad space while prioritizing direct buyers.
- Ad creation: You create ads using images, videos, and text or pre-made templates.
- Ad delivery: The winning ad is displayed to the target audience. The DSP continually optimizes the campaign, adjusting bids and targeting to ensure the best performance.
App Store Optimization (ASO)
ASO is an app marketing strategy that refers to increasing the app's visibility in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. ASO is an organic approach to promoting an app by improving different aspects of your app's presence on the app stores so that its ranking and visibility improve.
Factors that impact ASO ranking
Below are a few things you may have to look into your ASO game, thus enhancing your app marketing strategies.
Keywords are people's search terms to look for your app in the app stores. You can rank your app in the top five listings by aiming at the right keywords, improving its visibility. After you have identified the keywords, include them in the on-page metadata. For iOS apps, keywords must be added to the app title, subtitle, and keyword list (up to 100 characters). In the case of Android apps, you must insert the keywords in the app name, long description, and short description.
Below are a few pro tips for using keywords:
- Use only keywords that are relevant to your app.
- Only use the singular or plural form of a keyword; never both.
- Avoid using the word 'app' or competitor app names.
Your app's name influences people's understanding of your app. Thus it is a crucial app marketing strategy. Choose a name that defines your app instead of just going for something fancy or catchy. The Google Play Store and Apple App Store allow up to 30 characters in the app name/app title.
Additionally, you can add a subtitle of maximum 30 characters in the App Store. For app names, the Google Play Store allows up to 50 characters, whereas the App Store allows up to 30 characters. Utilize the character length to the fullest to describe your app. Here are examples of some ASO-optimized app names: Spotify - Music and Podcasts, Google Maps - Transit & Food, Weather Live - Local Forecast.
Your app description should be user-focused. Write a crisp and compelling narrative describing your app's usage and benefits, encouraging the user to download it immediately. As touched on earlier, include relevant keywords, but avoid keyword stuffing. Also, it is essential to keep the description up-to-date with app updates and release notes so the user learns about the current version of your app.
The Play Store allows you to enter long and short descriptions. The long description can be up to 4000 characters, whereas the short description can be up to 80 characters. On the other hand, the App Store only supports long descriptions of up to 4000 characters with no special characters allowed.
The visual elements of your app listing are the app icon, screenshots, and videos. Let's talk about each element one by one.
- App icon: The app icon is an essential branding element, and the first thing users notice. Moreover, the icon is shown on different app pages – app listing, category page, editor's choice, etc. Therefore, you need to design one that is simple, relevant, and easy to comprehend what the app is about.
- Screenshots: Screenshots give users a sneak peek into your app and influence their decision to install the app to a certain extent. Make sure that the screenshots you include are striking and represent the features or functionalities of your app well.
- Preview video: You can even include your app's preview video by keeping it short yet descriptive enough to convey the app's features and benefits.
Reviews and ratings
Bad ratings impact the ASO ranking of your app, and these are the important app marketing strategies. Moreover, since they appear in the app listings, they affect the users' decision to download your app. Positive app reviews and ratings can always work in your favor; it's a given. So try to collect positive reviews from your existing users, especially for the latest version of your app. Reviews work like word of mouth for potential users.
One more thing you can do is localize the screenshots and other preview content according to the geo-locations. It helps you capture local audiences and connect with them much better.
Several UX factors, like crashes, session lengths, deletions, retention, etc., determine the ASO ranking. All these aspects indicate whether the app offers a positive experience to the users. If not, users might uninstall the app or leave negative reviews, which negatively impacts the ASO ranking.
This field is specific to the Apple App Store. You can add text about upcoming updates and events to your app. Promotional text can be up to 170 characters in length and can be updated multiple times. However, it does not impact the ranking. You can rather use it to promote app features.
Benefits of ASO
Connected TV advertising
Connected TV advertising, or CTV, is the placement of television ecosystems connected to the internet, such as smart TVs, gaming consoles, and streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku.
Ads for Connected TV advertising can be video, display, or interactive. Advertisers then partner with CTV advertising platforms, such as GreedyGame, The Trade Desk, SpotX, or LiveRamp, to place their ads on the appropriate CTV channels. Once the ad is placed, it is displayed to the target audience, who can watch it while streaming their favorite TV shows and movies. The ad is served seamlessly within the content, ensuring a non-intrusive experience for the viewers. To better understand how CTV advertising works, see the image below:
Benefits of CTV advertising:
It is safe to call referral marketing a type of word of mouth, but it involves more proactive methods of mobile app promotion. In word of mouth, promoting your app lies with your existing customers. In contrast, in referral marketing, you encourage people to use your app by incentivizing them, which puts you in control. In most referral programs, both existing and potential customers are rewarded, making it a win-win for both parties and a helpful app marketing strategy for your app business.
Apple Search Ads
Apple Search Ads (ASA) is an app marketing strategy specific to iOS apps. It allows app owners to bid on keywords people search for the most. The winning bidder's app appears at the top of the search results whenever a user searches for the keyword. Especially in fierce competition among apps, Search Ads are a convenient way for mobile app promotion.
Apple Search Ads offers two different plans: ASA Basic and ASA Advanced. The tools, controls, and budgets you get with ASA depend on your chosen plan. Therefore, choose wisely to boost your app marketing strategy.
Google app campaign
Formerly called Universal App Campaign or UAC, Google app campaign is a tool where you can run promotional campaigns across Google-owned platforms, including Google Search, YouTube, Google Play, etc. You can run campaigns for app install marketing, engagement, and pre-registration using Google app campaigns. This tool also includes conversion tracking to know your cost-per-install, cost-per-action, or cost-per-pre-registration and other essential ad campaign performance metrics that form a core part of your app marketing strategy. Learn more about Google app campaigns.
Social media ads
With the popularity of social media channels rising by the day, they have become an effective app marketing strategy for many app businesses. Mobile app promotions happen on social media in two ways: Organic and Paid. In the organic method, you must create a social media presence and start following your targeted users. Engage them with relevant, regular, and well-structured content, thus, promoting your app. On the other hand, the paid method of mobile app promotion involves app install promotions, where advertisements are targeted toward your audience to get app installs. This is also a useful app marketing strategy bound to drive results.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram support app install marketing where viewers are redirected to your App Store or Play Store listing whenever they click the ad's CTA. Although not all apps can benefit from social media ads, you can research and identify the requirements of your app and promote it accordingly.
Content marketing strives to create and distribute valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a specific target audience, ultimately driving profitable customer action. This type of marketing aims to educate and engage customers rather than directly promoting a product or service.
Benefits of content marketing
- Higher audience engagement: Providing valuable and relevant content allows apps to build stronger relationships with the audience quickly.
- Increased brand visibility: An effective content marketing strategy can increase brand visibility and help establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry.
- Improved SEO: Quality content improves a publisher's search engine rankings, making it easier for potential customers to find your app.
- More leads and conversions: Any form of content- images, video, text, and podcast- is the best way to educate customers and makes audience targeting easy.
- Better customer loyalty: Consistent, informative, and valuable content can help build a customer’s trust for a brand, in turn, improving their loyalty.
- Higher revenue: Content marketing attracts customers and retains them for a long time, which means the customers may contribute more to the revenue.
Email marketing is a form of digital marketing that involves sending promotional messages or advertisements directly to a group of people through email. Email marketing aims to increase brand awareness, drive sales, and build customer loyalty.
Benefits of email marketing
- Cost and time-efficient: Email marketing does not require a huge budget or a lot of time to attract prospects. It only needs a well-thought strategy to work.
- Targeted reach: You can reach specific audiences that you have identified as potential leads with email marketing.
- Measurable results: You can easily measure the success of your campaigns by tracking CTRs, conversions, queries, and other relevant metrics.
- Better engagement: Emails are the best way to engage with your customers, build stronger relationships, and ensure loyalty.
- Personalization: Emails can be personalized for specific clients by including the recipient's name, location, and other relevant information, making the message more impactful.
- Improved lead generation: Email marketing campaigns capture good leads and drive them down the sales funnel, leading to increased conversions and sales.
Paid advertising is a digital advertising model in which brands and businesses (generally known as advertisers) participate in real-time bidding to buy desired ad slots and display their ads as search engine ads or PPC ads, app store ads, banner ads, video ads, and native ads.
Benefits of paid advertising
- Targeted reach: Paid advertising allows businesses to target the desired audience based on demographics, interests, location, and other factors to improve reach and drive conversions.
- Immediate results: Unlike organic marketing, paid advertising delivers outcomes in hours or days.
- Measurable results: Paid advertising provides data-driven insights and metrics on the advertising campaign's performance.
- Cost-effectiveness: Paid advertising is more cost-effective than traditional advertising methods such as TV, radio, or print advertising.
- Increased brand awareness: Paid advertising increases brand awareness and recognition, helping you establish your business as a leader in the industry.
User onboarding is the process you adopt to guide new users about the value your app offers. This approach can include live training, webinars, demos, and client success storytelling to educate users on the app's new features, functionalities, and USPs. The end goal of user onboarding is to make random app visitors proficient in using the app, thereby becoming genuine users.
Benefits of user onboarding
- Increased user retention: Onboarding helps users understand the app's functionality, making it easier for them to use it and stay engaged. It can lead to increased user retention, as users will stick around if they understand how to use the app.
- Better user experience: Onboarding provides a smooth, intuitive, and personalized experience for users. It helps establish trust between users and the app, leading to a better overall user experience.
- Higher conversion rates: By helping users understand how to use the app, onboarding can lead to higher conversion rates. This strategy can increase sales, sign-ups, and other desired goals.
- Better feedback: Onboarding allows users to provide feedback and ask questions, making it easier to identify pain points and improve the app's overall user experience.
- Increased user satisfaction: Onboarding helps users get the most out of the app, leading to increased satisfaction and a better overall user experience.
- Better user engagement: Onboarding helps users understand the app's features and functionalities, leading to higher engagement and increased app usage.
The Featured sections in the App Store and Google Play Store are where the app stores recommend your apps to the users. However, getting featured in this section is not a piece of cake. Some critical criteria must be met to feature on the app stores, which is why it is a lesser-known app marketing strategy.
Some common criteria an app must have:
- A flawless UI and UX.
- Localization according to geographical location, culture, etc.
- Outstanding performance.
Learn more about other Apple and Google Play criteria.
Word of mouth
The simplest way to promote your app is to keep your friends and family circle aware. Here's how word of mouth functions as an app marketing strategy – find people who are likely interested in your app's offerings. For instance, if five of your friends install your app, they may tell five other people, who may tell five other people, and so on. It creates a spiraling word of mouth and promotes your app to a large audience for free.
Why word of mouth works
Trust is the key factor behind the success of this app marketing strategy. According to a report, 88% of people said that word of mouth from the people they know influences their buying decisions. When people hear positive feedback about a product or service from friends or family, they are more likely to buy it. Such recommendations are highly workable in a world where information about anything is easily accessible. If you still wonder if word of mouth can bring results, think about the times you read through product reviews and checked the ratings before installing an app.
A good example of an indirect app marketing strategy is an SEO-optimized website. There are three main reasons why you should have a search engine optimized website for your app:
- Organic reach: Optimizing your website for search engines improves your ranking on the search results, thereby improving the organic traffic to your website. More traffic means a greater audience to market:
- Exposure: When users look for something on the web, your website can appear as a search result, reeling in your app as a solution. Intent-based searches on the web cause your app to be discovered by many users.
- Legitimacy: Having a website is an indicator that your app is legitimate. It must be featured on your website with adequate information to convince the users that it is a real solution.
How to SEO-optimize your website
Below are ways you can optimize your website to boost mobile app promotion.
- Collect user data and create user behavior reports by understanding user engagement within your website by metrics such as session time, bounce rate, etc. Analyze the data to identify the pages that perform well and make improvements.
- Perform thorough keyword research and identify long-tail keywords based on intent. Long-tail keywords help you understand what the users may be looking for and create pages accordingly.
- Content marketing goes a long way in optimizing your website and creating a vast reach. Write long-form content as it ranks higher than short-form.
- Focus on on-page and off-page SEO. Where on-page SEO involves optimization of the meta tags, headings, and URLs, and off-page SEO comprises practices like link building, social posting, influence marketing, etc.
- Work on optimizing your website for mobile devices, which means you must make the website mobile-friendly in terms of design and responsiveness.
- Improving page speed helps in a good user experience.
Public Relations (PR)
A Public Relations or PR campaign aims to build or enhance the branding of a business. It helps brands to achieve a massive outreach among potential customers, competitors, and investors.
How to run a PR campaign
There are many ways you can run a PR campaign.
- Press release to announce the launch of your new app.
- Invite media and influencers to the launch party.
- Get featured in newspapers and relevant blogs.
- Do guest posts on high-quality blogging sites to gain visibility.
Benefits of PR
Below are a few benefits of employing PR campaigns as an app marketing strategy for your mobile app promotion.
- Creates mass awareness: PR campaigns are highly effective for pre-launch promotions. You can place your app in front of prospective customers and gain considerable visibility through PR. In addition, PR mentions aid in improving your Google ranking.
- Increases outreach to investors: If carefully designed and implemented, PR campaigns can help you reach more investors and generate more funding for your app business.
Influencer marketing has been helping millions of brands to reach their targeted audience. You must find the best influencers and collaborate with them to promote your product or services. Once you find the right influencer with the right audience, influencer marketing can be a great app marketing strategy. Following are the popular influencer marketing platforms:
Other influencer marketing solutions
Below are a few worldwide platforms and similar services for influencer marketing.
App marketing through Quora is an underrated app marketing strategy but has a lot of benefits. With over 300 million users on Quora as of 2022, you can get good exposure for your app by being active on the platform. Here are some tips for using Quora:
- Assign a reputable person, such as the CEO or Product Manager, to answer questions.
- Identify highly relevant topics to your app and answer questions on them.
- Answer popular questions with few answers, as this increases the chances of getting exposure.
- Focus on the structure of your answers so that they address the topic in a readable format.
- If you already have the content on your app or blog, repurpose it to answer the questions.
This technique may only work for some app categories. For instance, if yours is a retail app with physical stores, you can use the traditional advertising method – through pamphlets and banners. For this app marketing strategy to work, you can even offer special discounts and benefits to users who download the app, which makes it a win-win!
So these are some most sought-after ways of promoting an app. If you wish to explore more app marketing strategies. In that case, a good option is to get on board an app promotion platform or user acquisition platform where you have to specify the campaign's details, such as its goals, budget, and targeting, and the rest is taken care of by the platform itself.
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