App Promotion Tips and Trends

January 20, 2016

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As users have flocked to mobile and mobile apps, the number of apps have exploded. Sure - there are tons of silly apps, “reskinned” apps and other apps with very questionable value, but there are also several mobile-first companies, and brands are just now entering with conviction. **Competing in the app store is not about rising above the volume, but connecting with your target audience.  ** App store search still leads in app discovery, so any app promotion should be built on the solid foundation of  a well-designed app and an optimized app listing.

Where to go from here?  How do you promote your app after app store optimization?

App promotion free

There are several channels for paid install or impression campaigns, but let’s start with free ways to promote your app(s) that ultimately make any paid efforts more effective.

Add web interstitials

When someone from a mobile device navigates to your website where the content also is available in your app - suggest they install or open the app via an overlay, banner or other prompt. Yelp provides a good example. [caption id="attachment_1360" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Yelp-interstitalYelp Interstitial[/caption] The majority of local Google search (a search with a location component like “breakfast North Park”) is via mobile devices.  Let’s say the first result for the search “Breakfast North Park” is a Yelp listing. When selecting the Yelp result, Yelp’s website recognizes the request is coming from a mobile device and presents an overlay suggesting the user open the result in the Yelp app (or install it if not installed). Google has come out against the use of full screen interstitials but encourages app “banners”. [caption id="attachment_1358" align="aligncenter" width="600"]app-interstitialSource: Google Webmaster Blog[/caption] Not unlike redirecting mobile vistors to a m.domain.com site, with the added step of asking the user to decide to install/open the app or continue to a web version of the content.

Set up incentivized sharing

Almost like an in-app affiliate program or viral sharing tool - incentivized sharing encourages users to share your app with their networks and rewards them for it. A simple example is giving a user 100 gold coins for every install that is generated with sharing to their network. Sally shares her new favorite quiz game with 10 friends, 3 of whom install - Sally receives 300 gold coins. [caption id="attachment_1359" align="aligncenter" width="600"]branch-rewarded-referrals Source: Branch.io[/caption] Here is an example from Branch.io who provides feature in their service amoung many other app promotion, retention and engagement tools.

Find a Social Network Channel

For many marketers, “social media marketing” all falls in one marketing bucket next to PR, SEM, content marketing, web etc.. What tends to get lost is your app may find much more traction on one social network than another. Facebook and Twitter are huge with lots of engagement, but developing a profile on Pinterest or Instagram may provide a better return on your investment. Nathan Chan started Foundr magazine - a subscription app with new issues monthly, and drives thousands of new installs weekly by cultivating Instagram. foundr-app-promotion Driving traffic and installs via a social media channel only works when you find the balance of fun, engaging content with clear calls to action.  Nathan shared in his strategy for Instagram the balance is 5 posts to 1 “download this app” post.

Email your list(s)

Perhaps stating the obvious, but worth mentioning.  You have a huge group of people extremely likely to use your app - your company’s leads and current clients who are already using or familiar with your service. A study of major retailers with mobile apps showed shoppers with the stores' mobile apps shopped more frequently, longer and spent more than non-app users. These retailers now include links to install their app in their weekly email "flyers" - as mobile users are valuable enough to make a prominent call to action. Not unlike how you would have a link to your company website in your signature, consider adding a link to your app in your email signature as well.


The above are just some of the trends for app promotion in 2016. We'll cover more app promotion tips, including deep dives into the specifics of implementing  in future posts.

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