Just because BRW’s Top Five Marketing Tacticis for Mobile Apps was created with big brands in mind, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t some tips and ideas that all app developers and marketers can take from their advice.

Five Mobile App Marketing Tactics For Big Brands

When internet analyst and all-around digital guru Mary Meeker from Silicon Valley venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers delivered her most recent Internet Trends presentation, mobile figured heavily. Interestingly, she tells us that while the advent of the web took 15 years to disrupt everything, with the smartphone, it has only taken five.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as we’ve all witnessed first-hand the monumental shift in behaviour to mobile everything. Mobile and digital disruption has permanently changed the status quo in marketing – even the path to purchase and the hallowed sales funnel have morphed into a sales cycle. Tried and tested traditional advertising techniques certainly don’t work like they used to, but moving to a mobile acquisition model is no piece of cake. Mobile is anything but easy.

There are relatively few marketers out there with mobile runs on the board, says Simon van Wyk.

While most marketers have awakened to the fact that their customers are on mobile, and have started to make mobile a priority, there are still relatively few mobile and app marketers out there with real runs on the board.

You could say app marketing is a bit like a bunch of teenagers and sex. Everyone’s talking about it, but only a few are actually doing it. And for those that are doing it, it’s all a bit messy, spontaneous and full of angst. Let’s say there’s very little chance of a meaningful ongoing relationship developing from it.

So it was a pleasure to meet a real mobile marketer with an enormous amount of app marketing success to her credit. Iryna Newman, as director of mobile acquisition at Groupon, spearheaded the daily deal company’s transition to mobile first.

Iryna, who is now head of mobile at OpenTable, generously shared her thoughts on mobile app marketing with me, which I have summarised into five key points. The entire conversation, which is well worth a listen, is available as a podcast from the HotHouse website.

1. Tracking

While you need to do your homework on the best vehicles to advertise your app based on your own user profile and target market, it’s critical that you can track your results. Iryna’s key message for app marketers is to hold off spending until you can comprehensively track your activity so you can clearly understand which channels are responsible for driving your most efficient app downloads. As such, it’s essential to set up rigorous conversion tracking that includes Apple’s IDFAs. In most cases app marketers need a technology partner to tackle the complexity of app conversion tracking and correctly match the app download to the source.

2. App Store and Google Play

While you need to create a marketing plan to drive users to the App Store and Google Play, hitting the sweet spot of a Top 25 ranking in the App Store requires downloads. According to mobile app analytics firm Distimo, research conducted during May 2013 indicates that an iPhone app needs 23,000 free downloads per day to reach number 50 in the top free charts in the Apple App Store. For paid applications, this number is considerably lower, at 950 downloads. To reach the number 50 in top grossing charts, an app needs daily revenue of $12,000.

With the enormous number of apps vying for attention in the app stores, achieving a high number of downloads can be quite a challenge. But as it’s the only thing that figures in your ranking in the App Store, using an advertising platform to turbocharge those downloads is often the only solution, even if that approach requires a serious budget. While reaching the top 50 certainly delivers greater visibility, for most marketers, the goal is to get into the top 10. According to the same report from Distimo, a free iPhone app needs to achieve more than 70,000 downloads per day to reach a top 10 free position, and a paid app needs more than 4000 downloads per day to do the same. Once you get there the number of “free” downloads increases exponentially.

Iryna says that whereas the App Store ranking is based squarely on the number of downloads, Google Play is better built for discovery where you can optimise placement by employing best practices in SEO. It’s all about optimising the title with relevant keywords, and crafting the description copy to ensure that it’s rich with appropriate keywords and synonyms, yet ever mindful of the user experience. Overly keyword-stuffed descriptions will be punished by Google – and rightly so.

Rather than basing the ranking simply on the number of downloads, your authority in Google Play strongly influences your rank, and this comes down to the number of good reviews you receive (your ranking takes a hit with bad reviews and uninstalls). In terms of what to do, Iryna points to a gem of an article on TechCrunch written by Craig Palli, chief strategy officer at technology marketing company Fiksu. The author recommends you identify your most successful keywords and make sure to include them in your app title. Palli thinks this is critical to success, potentially affecting your search ranking by up to 100 places. He also recommends that marketers should consider removing the app name from the title in order to focus the description on the best keywords. If you include the app name in the body of the app description, users will still be able to find it by name as the body description is searched under Google Play. Palli suggests that you should use the best keywords five times in the body of your app description as this can affect search ranking by as many as 20 places.

3. Facebook

Facebook is emerging as something of a stellar platform to advertise and promote mobile apps. Iryna has seen promising results from using the social network and believes Facebook is an extremely effective advertising platform for app marketers, offering high-quality users and prominent ad placement. While it’s not rocket science, by targeting a campaign at users who have already connected with and liked your brand, marketers can expect to see significant cut through with attractive CPI and CPC rates. Iryna has seen click-through and conversion rates that are significantly higher than other channels.

4. App trailers

The ability to try before you buy – in the same way that you sample music before buying a track – is a massive consideration for app marketers. Consumers want to see the app in action and understand exactly what it does and what they’ll get out of it. That’s hard to do with a 100-word description and a few static screenshots. Iryna believes that using video provides the quickest way for users to initially assess your app. Not only can you get more people to download your app, these people are also more qualified.

5. Retention

Of course, launching an app is one thing, successfully maintaining the interest is quite another. User retention after download needs to be a major priority. Retargeting of course allows mobile marketers to re-engage consumers who have previously shown an interest in an app but have never actually committed. With mobile retargeting, marketers can take advantage of location tracking and real-time bidding to retarget relevant ads at the right time and place, to the right audience, and on the right device. You can also use app trailers to excite dormant users, and show them what’s new if you have a major update.

As mobile devices continue to displace traditional media and computers and mobile everything becomes the status quo, the ability to plan, implement, track and refine mobile marketing strategies is only going to become more critical to your business success.

Simon van Wyk is the founder of digital agency Hot House. He regularly writes columns and articles for BRW and other publications. You can see more of his work and BRW marketing advice online here.

Which of these tips are you going to put into place for your mobile apps?

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