By Laia Cardona, on 28 September 2016
It is official: according to Gartner’s recent study, the app market has reached its maturity phase. Users interact with mobile apps on a daily basis for an entire world of different reasons, and appear to be satisfied with them.
There is no doubt left that apps are a great opportunity for brands to connect with their target audiences and improve their results. Getting an app to succeed however, depends not only on its technological development, and it is just as important for the inital plan to include both a business model and an app marketing strategy, with a budget on par or even higher than that dedicated to its creation.
5 achievements that will improve your app marketing strategy
1) Encourage people to use your app
An effective app marketing strategy is aimed not only towards user acquisition, but towards user retention also. The truth is that 90% of the time, users who download an app stop using it within 6 months. These three ideas will help you improve your app’s user retention and make your users stick with you.
Communicate with your users through push notifications and in-app messages
Maintaining regular contact with the users who have downloaded your app will improve you engagement levels. To do so, there are two very popular techniques:
- Push notifications: messages that pop up on the user’s phone’s homescreen encouraging them to use the app. This technique increase, on average, the probability of a second use by 25%.
- In-app messages: messages that appear when the user is active within the app. They normally respond to the user’s behavior and seek to increase the duration of the session.
Push notifications and in-app messages can be used as complementary techniques, for example, by using a push notification to get the user to enter the app, and then the in-app messages to guide them towards the right actions.
Try In-app Cross Promotion
If you have more than one app in the same category, in-app cross promotion might just be the technique for you. This happens when different apps promote each other as an exchange, to send users from one app to the other. It enables you to manage the user database all as one, and retains users in the most apps possible.
Use coupons on social media
Coupons and discount codes catch users’ attention and maintain them active. Using them in combination with social ads is definitely a winning strategy to reach out to new audiences and encourage their conversion.
You can learn more about this in the article: “Your basic guide to creating an App Marketing Strategy”
2) Design a simple and short conversion process
Before launching your app in the market, your monetization strategy needs to be crystal clear. There are 5 main ways to generate income through your app:
- In-app advertising: using your application as an advertising platform, in other words, making the app free your users to use, in exchange for showing them ads through it.
- In-app purchases: encouraging the user to acquire premium features within the app.
- Subscriptions: making users pay a set amount on a regular basis in exchange for having access to premium features.
- Paid apps: the user makes a one-off payment to be able to install the app.
- By sending traffic to an m-commerce page (converting the app into a sales point).
Depending on which of these strategies you have chosen, you will need to define your conversion objectives and the path that will lead your users toward it, known as the “conversion funnel”. Deifning this funnel correctly is one of the most important decisions you will make when designing your app, as it is crucial to minimize the amount of people abandoning you along the way. My recommendation is to make it as simple and short as possible, with 2 or 3 steps, maximum. But be careful! Never sacrifice vital information to reduce the number of clicks. Be certain that your users always remains informed about what is happening in the process: trust encourages conversion.
3) Understand the importance of ASO
One of the keys to your app’s success is its visibility in the app store. Thousands of new apps are being uploaded to the app store everyday, making careful positionment vital for your app not to get lost among the noise.
ASO, or ‘App Store Optimization’, has three main goals:
- To improve an app’s visibility, increasing the chances of it going up in the rankings, being displayed in the first places for different keywords and securing a place in the list of featured apps.
- To increase the amount of installs, reducing the cost per acquisition.
- To maximize the app’s income.
In order to achieve these goals, we rely on two types of factors:
- Off Metadata: external factors which are not entirely under our control, such as number of installs, ratings and reviews. Although we can not control these 100%, we can help by having a solid app marketing strategy that attracts new installs, and by creating a high quality app that users are satisfied with and leave good reviews and rating for.
- On Metadata: Factors that are directly under our control and should occupy center stage in our ASO efforts. To do so, our keywords should be extremely well defined, the app’s entry in the different app stores should be optimized for different sectors, and we should be regularly monitor the keyword rankings
4) Optimize your app’s usability and user experience
An intuitive and easy to use app is much more likely to win over its users’ hearts. As well as having a great base design, it need to be regularly updated to keep up with the evolution of different operating systems. This checklist can help you keep all the important aspects of usability under control:
- Adapt to all platforms and devices. Test anything and everything that may be necessary for you to be sure that your app works and responds correctly on all device models.
- Include incentives to buy and share, like by including discount or promo codes in your ads.
- Make navigation as easy as possible. Especially if you have an m-commerce app, it is vital for users to be able to find what they need quickly.
- Test your conversions. Use tools like Mixpanel or Apptimize to run A/B tests to see which designs and processes are best in terms of conversion.
- Take care of your looks. An attractive front-end will score your lots of points when attracting and maintaining your users’ interest.
- Ensure that any app activity is smooth and fluid. In a mobile environment, users prefer to scroll up and down within the same screen rather than changing sections. Try to minimize the number of different screens users have to go through.
- Include an autocomplete option for information. Storing payment and shipping information make the conversion process significantly easier. Like Amazon's famous “One-click purchase” option, for example.
- Run usability tests in video format. It enables you to view the real way your app is used, and to make changes that will promote interaction.
5) Choose the right metrics to measure your success
Last but not least, you need to be able to measure the progress of your app marketing strategy correctly. Depending on your business model and campaign objectives, you should prioritize different indicators. To make that decision a little easier, here are 12 metrics that I find most important when measuring the success of an app marketing strategy.
- Acquisition. The most basic metric is the number of users who download and install the app. To go the extra mile, you can categorize them by demographics, time, source, etc.
- Users. Get to know your target1 Monitoring your users’ activity will allow you to identify patterns and improve your conversion and engagement.
- Events. What your users actually do in your app, individually defined.
- Segments. A metric that categorizes groups of users according to what they do within the app.
- Retention. The percentage of users who return to the same app after using it for the first time. Improving your retention rate is fundamental for your monetization strategy to work.
- Lifetime Value (LTV). The average income generated by each user in their lifetime within your app. This can be calculated monthly or per user.
- Time spent in app. How much time has a user invested in your app over a determined period of time? An objective way to evaluate how useful your app is to your users.
- Session duration. Remember that in-app messages can help improve this!
- Conversion funnel. The definition of the steps to follow to reach conversion.
- Screenflow. By knowing the total number of visits to each screen and the transitions between them, you will be able to identify that most popular interactions, and the possible points of abandonment.
- Loading time. Pages that take longer than 6 seconds to laod are a very common cause of abandonment, so be sure to keep an eye on this metric!
- Attribution. The number of app installs coming from each source.
An article that may interest you: “The 5 most disastrous app marketing mistakes”