How to Market Your Fitness App

Localytics Account Manager Doug Carlson dives into some key mobile marketing tips & tricks for Health & Fitness Apps.



Hello and welcome to another Localytics Whiteboard Wednesday. I’m Doug Carlson, an account manager here. Today I would like to talk about mobile marketing tools specifically optimized for my favorite category, health & fitness. I have three areas to highlight today. The first category is uniqueness. Second is actual marketing tools available to marketers today. Third is how we bring these all together to create the best possible experience for our users.


Health & Fitness App Characteristics

Let’s start off with what makes this category specifically unique. First, the hardware component. What’s really great about these apps, for instance, a running app: you can actually attach hardware that’s external to the app itself. For example, a heart monitor, a smart watch, and a number of other things. Keep in mind, that’s something that your users can take advantage of.

Second, we have access to the GPS and accelerometer, so we know where their favorite running trails are. We know how fast they’re going, how fast they’re decelerating, etc. We also know things like the fact that they are avid social media users. The opportunity to engage with them on that level is large and you can continue to encourage them to share stats with their friends and post things like best running times.

The third component to this is how we actually are measuring lifetime value for these particular apps. This is where it gets really interesting and allows you to really optimize for this category. More about that in a few minutes.


The Marketing Components

There are three big tools that are available to mobile marketers today. The first is something most marketers are probably familiar with, paid acquisition. There are a number of ad networks out there where you can reach and pay for users. This is a fantastic resource to gain users that might not otherwise find the app organically.

Second, we have our in-app message. Where this is unique is how you leverage where the user is in the app experience. Having the app open means you can deliver a message while they’re locked into the app experience.

Third, is push notifications. Delivering messages to users while they’re not actually in the app. Each one of these has its specific use case.


Optimizing For Health & Fitness Apps

Now, I want to talk about the most important part about our day, how we can optimize for health and fitness based on our category uniqueness and the tools we have available. Let’s first talk about paid acquisition. This is where lifetime value is going to be extremely important, and where health and fitness is very unique is that you don’t just measure lifetime values in dollars and cents. You look at things like how many miles a user has run if they’re an active user. For a weight loss app: how many pounds has a user lost? Successful users in both of these cases aren’t necessarily reviewed by dollars but rather their actual use in the app itself.

When we’re looking at these campaigns, we want to go back to our analytics and find our really successful users that have those high LTV's based on our specific app category. Now that we have that information, let’s look at their other characteristics, what makes them unique. Then, you can leverage an advertising network for more of these users. Connecting the whole circle together, once you’ve brought in those users, note if they’re actually a successful user and if that’s the case, go back to that funnel.

The next we want to look at here is how we can use our in-app messaging. This is where it get particularly interesting because we can take advantage of the social-ness of these users and the ability of these users to extend beyond just the app itself.


Leveraging The Hardware

Going back to our example of running: now we have this really engaged group of runners. What we can do now is measure exactly when they stop moving. They’re running through the woods, they’ve come back to their car, they’ve stopped. They’re now looking at the app to actually engage with it. We know that from our accelerometers. That’s the moment where you want to send that in-app message.

Now you want to make sure that you're sending the message to the right group of people. For instance, if we want to up-sell our hardware, we want to use folks that don’t already have the hardware. We have that group of users, we have them at the right moment and now we can deliver that message.

The next opportunity here is where we can look at our rating system. This is where it’s becoming more and more important among all app stores to be a highly rated app. You don't need to look at the whole breadth of your user base. There’s certainly going to be a few unhappy users there, who you don't want leaving a rating and leaving a bad narrative about your app. You want those narratives and those ratings to come from your absolute best users.


Measuring LTV

Let’s go back to LTV. Who are our really avid users? Look at weight loss- the user that lost a lot of weight is going to be a huge advocate for you. We also want to couple that with a user that is an avid social media advocate. This is a person that’s going to be most likely to actually give you a good rating and actually write that positive narrative that others will review.


Plugging The Push Message

Finally, our third piece is push notifications. There’s two really good use cases. Let’s go back to our weight loss app. A user that is actively engaged in the weight loss app needs to be engaging in it a lot to have a successful experience. If they’re missing a few days here and there, that experience might now start to dwindle or if we miss a whole week, that experience could really be poor. Now's the time to say, “Hey, we missed you.” We want to be able to send them a message to pull them back in the app.

The other scenario is if they are a really excited user who is having a lot of success in-app. You want to keep that momentum going by sending encouragement. Every time, if they do plug in their credentials or they meet their goal, send an encouraging message.



These are the three main marketing tools that we can use, lined up specifically to be the most successful in the health and fitness category. Thank you so much for tuning in to today’s Whiteboard Wednesday. I’m Doug Carlson. We’ll see you next time.