8 Ways to Promote Your App

Read Time: 5 - 10 min

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated to ensure accuracy with mobile marketing today.

 

As of January 2017, there were over 2.2 million apps in the App Store and over 2.5 million in Google Play Store. Those numbers are pretty staggering, and only increasing by the day. So if you’re sitting around hoping app users will magically migrate to your app, think again. Competition is fierce. That’s why we highly recommend having an app user acquisition strategy in place prior to launch and to treat it as you would any traditional product launch. 

If you haven't done that, have no fear. We've been in the mobile app marketing game long enough to know what works in terms of app promotion. Below are the 8 most effective ways to promote your app:

1) Website

You need an online presence for your app. Why? Legitimacy. People want to know your app is the real-deal, and that you’re truly invested in it as a business. 

For enterprise brands, your app needs to be prominently featured across your site. It shouldn’t be an afterthought or a small logo on the footer. Instead, it should have a presence throughout, wherever it makes sense to. A good example of a brand doing this well? SweetGreen:

 

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2) Social Media

Social media is pretty much a must for app promotion. There are two ways to connect with your audience via social- paid and organic. Below is a quick breakdown of both:

  • ORGANIC - Organic promotion on social media comes in the simple form of having a presence; e.g. a Facebook page, and Twitter and Instagram profiles. Create accounts and start following people within your target audience and industry. Don't spam people by being overly promotional. Instead, try to connect with your audience in a meaningful way by posting about the things they care about and joining in on the conversation. For example, GrubHub's Instagram account is full of vibrant, mouth-watering culinary photos their foodie audience devours:

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  • PAID - According to a 2016 report by Kenshoo, mobile app ad click-through rates (CTRs) went up 32% YoY, while the inverse happened to CPC (cost per click), which decreased by 33%. Putting a bit of money behind your app promotion will boost your discoverability and get more people flocking to your app. Because of their broad audiences and ability to segment, Facebook and Instagram are very effective advertisement platforms for mobile apps. And since Facebook owns Instagram, they make it incredibly easy to places app install ads on both.

 

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How do you build powerful Instagram & Facebook ads? Lucky for you, we have 2 great blogs that break it down for you. Instagram? Here. Facebook? Here. 

3) Public Relations

They say there’s no such thing as bad press unless of course your press is non-existent. Media and influencer mentions go a long way in terms of creating buzz and credibility. There are many ways to go about doing this, but below are just a few to consider:

  • Press release
  • Host a launch party and invite the local media and tech industry
  • Interviews with local newspapers and tech bloggers
  • Guest blogging

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4) App Store Optimization (ASO)

App Store optimization, or ASO, is the SEO of the mobile app world. It’s imperative for discoverability in an oversaturated market. So how do you accomplish solid ASO? Pay attention to the following:

  • App name - Is it unique?
  • Keywords -Include relevant keywords but be careful not to ‘keyword stuff’
  • Description - Does your description clearly articulate your app’s value and is it frequently updated with app update descriptions and release notes?
  • Screenshots/Video - Do you have 2-3 feature screenshots or a video tutorial outlining core app highlights?
  • Ratings - Do you have positive app ratings?

 

5) Search Ads 

This one is pretty straight forward. With the launch of iOS 10, Apple also introduced Search Ads, which is basically paid advertisement within the App Store. Basically, you’re able to bid for relevant keywords so that when a user is searching for apps using a particular term, your app appears first.

While search ads are fairly new, early findings from AdWeek prove their incredibly effective, with 50% of consumers click on the ads they see.

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Want to learn more about ASO + Search Ads? Check this out

 

6) Influencer/Celebrity endorsements

 If the Kardashians have taught us anything (hard to believe, right?) , it’s the power of a celebrity endorsement. And while odds are you don’t have a few hundred grand kicking around to pay an A list celebrity to promote your app, there are plenty of opportunities here on a smaller scale.

Do you have any connections in the tech world or within your respected industry that you can reach out to? Are there any location or industry-specific influencers you can connect with? Having them promote your app via their social channels and blog is a surefire way to attract users to your app.

A bit of advice - make sure the influencer aligns with your app’s target audience, or risk paying for a bunch of new app users who will undoubtedly churn.

Where do you start your influencer search? Apptamin breaks down how to find them here.

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7) Traditional Advertising/In-Store

Treat your app like a traditional product launch. How do would you promote it? It’s not uncommon to see app ads on TV or while streaming content online.

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If you are a retail brand with a physical location, it’s really important to to advertise your app throughout your store. Consider running a promotion to get users to download it. Recently, Shake Shack offered customers a free burger for downloading their app and it was wildly successful, garnering national attention:

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8) Word of mouth/buzzworthy

Last but certainly not least? Make sure your app doesn’t suck. Seriously. Word of mouth is still worth its weight in gold. So if you build an app, it better be good. Competition is fierce, and app users have become spoiled by these world-class apps. That's why before you invest in obtaining app users, you should invest in a mobile marketing platform that gives you the insights necessary to engage and retain your users or you'll risk a high rate of user churn. 

“If you build it, they will come” doesn’t work anymore for the app world. Users expect a highly personalized experience which comes to apps, and if you want to keep users around and realize their true lifetime value, your mobile app marketing better be on point. 

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the sky is the limit in terms of app promotion. Treat it like any traditional product launch and spend time putting together a solid app user acquisition strategy. Remember that the quality of app users you attract to your app is more important than the quantity. Make sure that you understand your target audience, and craft your advertisements accordingly.  

Looking for a deep dive into app promotion? Check out "How To Build A Stellar App User Acquisition Campaign":

Stellar App Acquisition Campaign CTA 

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