App developers are always on the prowl for new ways to drive installs and improve their conversion rate. They’ve taken to combining their ASO strategy with paid marketing campaigns such as Facebook Ads to attract and convert the right users. As with any ASO or paid acquisition strategy, the creative presentation and technical guidelines of Facebook Ads campaigns need to be considered. Performance should be also regularly be re-evaluated to make the best results are being achieved.
Facebook continues to be a platform ripe for marketing. There are many techniques for using Facebook as a marketing platform, including creating Facebook pages and utilizing influencer marketing. Mobile app ads are another key tool for app developers and marketers, but there are some important things to keep in mind while designing a Facebook mobile installs campaign.
There’s no denying just how large of a reach Facebook has. At the end of the second quarter of 2018, the social network reportedly saw 2.23 billion monthly active users, only furthering its popularity. While 32.8% of its users view their feeds on laptops and desktops, nearly 95.1% of Facebook users are accessing the social site via their mobile devices. Facebook undoubtedly has a mobile-minded userbase, and advertisers have taken notice.
In the early days of mobile apps, marketers used Flurry Analytics in their iOS apps and Google Analytics in their Android apps. Apple released an analytics module in iTunes Connect (where marketers and devs manage their apps) that only worked for iOS apps. Then Facebook started offered event-driven analytics as part of both Parse and the Facebook SDK.
The mobile analytics space has been fragmented by platform, and challenged with incorporating app data back to a multi-channel marketing campaign or a web property.
There were signs that Google was going to start to view their (primarily web) analytics service differently when KPIs like “visits” – which describes a web site visit – were changed to “sessions” – which was the way most referred to opening/starting a mobile app.
Google’s aim is to have access to data – which they monetize by organizing and aggregating for discovery. Google did this with the web and became one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Social media and their walled gardens, and mobile apps and the information essentially hidden from Google in the app silos presented real challenges to Google being able to collect and aggregate data.
To make things worse for Google, the market was flocking to mobile apps, not just for games but for reading and watching videos and even search.
One of the places Google is uniquely positioned, Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics service by far. GA offers all the basics one would expect from an analytics package – like number of sessions, when and from where, how long a session lasted, where they came from etc.. But GA also provides (free) tools for attribution, funnels, segmentation and more, all tied back to AdWords and AdSense.
Where Apple provides a basic analytics service for just iOS apps, Google’s mobile offering works across Android and iOS (connecting data from the same app across platforms), and the web.
A content publisher who both sells ad space and promotes content can now see how an article (for example) performed on their website, and in their app (both iOS and Android).
This is all free from Google.
If app downloads are the ultimate vanity metric, then user lifetime value (LTV) is the ultimate KPI. It is just that measuring LTV is not so easy, especially across marketing and consumption channels.
Google’s Mobile SDK gets marketers closer to a holistic view of their digital business and marketing efforts.
How Google Mobile Analytics Can Help Your Mobile App Marketing Campaigns
More than just merely providing data the volume of users of a given app, Google Mobile Analytics help marketers segment their audiences and maximize their mobile app marketing efforts.
Quick Quiz: who knows you better? Google, Facebook or your spouse?
They each know you in different ways, but the three (2 companies and your partner in life) are probably closer than you think.
What that means here is Google can provide insights to who your audience is by broad demographics, but also with very specific personas.
LTV takes on a whole new meaning when you can not only track user LTV by source or funnel, but by persona. Persona X converts with the highest LTV from Facebook ads, Persona Y via web ads, Persona Z shows the highest LTV when acquired organically in app store search.
- Which channels created the highest number of downloads and which drove the most in-app purchases?
- Which channel and persona showed high downloads but low retention?
- Which channel can you scale, or what other channels can you use to reach a valuable target persona?
Google Mobile Analytics enables marketers and app developers to wade through data and make informed decision for better apps and better marketing.
Google Mobile Analytics Features and their Benefits
Marketers using Google Mobile Analytics stand to benefit from the data gathered from seven major features. This data when gathered provides the marketer with important information regarding the success or lack thereof of a given marketing campaign. Google Mobile Analytics features include the following:
Mobile app install attribution tracks user interactions with an app that has resulted from specific marketing campaigns or activities.
The user interactions that can be measured include anything event driven:
- App installation
- In-app purchase
- Repeat launch app
- Level completion
Native Android and iOS SDKs help marketers measure the level of user interaction with an app and its content.
For app publishers that have content parity on the web (a website), this feature helps connect in-app events and locations with the corresponding location on the web. An example question – Did users read the recent article on Tesla longer in your app or on the web?
Cross-device data employs a Measurement Protocol that uses a user ID feature to monitor data across devices and sessions when they are logged in. Measurement Protocol measure usage across digital platforms beyond apps and web log ins. This allows marketers to measure a user’s online activity and offline conversations.
Events in the world of mobile apps measure in app activities by users. These events can include passing levels, adding items to cart (in the case of ecommerce) or up-voting. All of these and more are measured by Google Mobile Analytics’ event tracking feature.
Demographics and Remarketing
Demographics and remarketing is a two-fold feature of Mobile Analytics that provides marketers with data regarding:
- The gender, age and interests of a user
- Tools to build audience lists for retargeting
Facebook’s SDK is amazing at building audiences, but any app that spends to acquire users should use both Facebook and Google SDKs for analytics if for nothing more than the insights to users (in aggregate) these services provide.
Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis
As the name suggests, Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis is a report feature that allows developers and marketers to get insight regarding just how much revenue a given cohort have brought to the app since making their first visit.
The report shows retention rates for different groups and uses and allows developers and marketers to develop a long-term picture of how users value the app and the features therein over time. This feature supports making positive long-term marketing decisions.
Mobile app usage and the enormous volume of apps continues to impact marketing departments and requires mobile marketing and promotion to evolve.
We see the impact and change in ASO, messaging, notifications, shopping. Continue to stay on top of trends – specifically related to mobile app marketing, or get passed by those who are embracing mobile and spearheading the related marketing efforts.
The end game for mobile marketing and app marketing is not just more users or installs, but improvements in retention and engagement, more social/viral sharing and increased user LTV.
Here are four ways you can use expected 2016 trends in mobile marketing to help boost your mobile apps’ ROI.
Brands will aim for omnipresence (app, web, social)
Greater exposure is a plus for any brand or product. As consumers move from “just” the physical and web to social apps (Facebook, Pinterest), mobile devices and mobile apps – brands are recognizing each of these represent a customer development and acquisition channel.
Coordinated messaging and shared attribution across these channels is the goal and challenge of many marketing departments in 2016.
Many large retailers have proven the value of a mobile app (or several) for their businesses, and now use the mobile app as the hub for all other marketing efforts – from email marketing to social media properties.
Mobile app marketers can capitalize on the trend of omnipresence by ensuring (or advocating) for a mobile-first perspective in all company marketing efforts.
Video, platform specific ads and deep linking will play prominent roles here.
Video ads for user acquisition
If we gave awards to trends, 2015 was the year of the video ad. Video ads made up a third of mobile ad spending. As mobile ad spend increases, video looks to take an outsized share.
In many cases, traditional ad budgets are fuelling mobile and digital video as the shift of budgets from print and TV move to mobile.
Popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all feature videos prominently in their feeds – which leads to native video advertising opportunities.
The traffic on these properties are overwhelmingly skewed to their mobile apps, and even internet video platforms like Youtube are mostly mobile.
Mobile app marketers who invest in videos to promote their mobile app can use these videos in Google Play, on Facebook and in mobile ad campaigns (Facebook, Vungle, Ad Colony and others).
Apple has several restrictions for app videos as part of an app listing, so videos used for promotion are probably not a good fit for an Apple app listing.
Calls to action in videos to install an app, offers of incentives or promoting specific in-app content can now be linked to directly from the videos via deep links.
App deep linking is an attempt to index, surface and connect in-app content not unlike how hyperlinks work for the web.
Navigating the internet is easy – everything is connected via links. Mobile has historically been different in that the app listings were “open”, but all in-app content was essentially siloed from indexing and discovery.
Deep linking addresses the “silo” problem by allowing developers to tag in-app content, add metadata or even link it to web content.
The implications for marketers is enormous as campaigns can now be fully personalized, with targeted ads leading to targeted “landing pages” inside an app as opposed to dropping a new user in the home screen after install.
Using deep links in non-app marketing efforts is a great way to ensure user acquisition and increased downloads.
A simple use case: adding deep links to specific calls to action in an email marketing campaign encourages subscribers to install your app, view specific content and carry out actions.
Mobile apps will be integrated into marketing campaigns as opposed to standing alone
Some of these mobile app marketing trends are overlapping, but worth considering separately.
Brands will continue to invest in omni channel marketing and attribution, using video ads and deep linking – and increasingly the mobile app is not a stand alone marketing tool but the hub for all digital and physical marketing efforts.
We know more people (globally) are increasingly relying on their mobile devices and apps.
We have all seen the aggregate stats that mobile surpassed the web in time spent, and more time is spent on mobile devices than watching TV.
It has happened so fast, it is hard to even process the implications.
What it means to marketing departments is your emails are read on mobile devices, your content is subscribed to and read from mobile devices, and your website is searched for and visited more from mobile devices.
Notifications and messaging apps are replacing SMS and email.
Online shopping and in-store shopping are now not mutually exclusive.
The app stores and digital assistants like the new Spotlight (iOS 9), Siri, and Google M are replacing web search.
A mobile app is your chance to be in the pocket of your customers and prospects, to send personalized notifications and special offers.
The significant trend across all of marketing is the mobile app as the hub to everything else you do both online and off.