Back 2 Basics: What Is Mobile App Marketing?

Editor’s note: We’ve been covering mobile app marketing on our blog for over 3 years. (Whoa.) Our new blog series, Back 2 Basics, looks at the foundations of mobile marketing for our newer readers (and readers who want a refresh). This post was originally published on September 30th, 2014, and has been updated with the latest in mobile best practices and data.

App developers and marketers: you have the data you need to give your users a better experience, and increase the ROI of your app. So, what do you do with it? 





You know you'll be making strategic changes to your app infrastructure or design, but it can take weeks. (Or months.) 


That's where mobile app marketing comes in.


Mobile marketing can be a pretty broad term, referring to mobile ads, apps, mobile websites--just about any kind of marketing that happens on a mobile device. But mobile app marketing? That’s focused on app promotion, and even more importantly, the engagement and retention of users who have already downloaded your app.


Increase Downloads | App User Acquisition

App user acquisition marketing is how app developers find their audience. With over 2 million apps in the Apple App Store and almost 3 million in Google Play, it can be tough for potential users to discover your app. That means the right kind of app marketing campaign can make a huge difference when it comes to helping your app build an audience.


App Store Optimization (ASO)

App Store Optimization helps make your app more visible in Apple’s App Store. By optimizing indexed copy like title and keywords and carefully choosing your app’s category, you can help the right users find your app in a crowded market.


Wondering how your app listing stacks up? Grade it with our App Grader!

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Ads

The great thing about advertising on popular social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Facebook? Not only can you reach more potential users, you can target your ads to the right kind of audience for your mobile app. If you have limited ad spend, highly targeted social media ads are more likely to offer the kind of value you need, like more downloads.

Not sure how to find new users on Instagram?
How to create an Instagram ad strategy that makes an impact.


Engage Users + Increase Retention | Mobile Engagement Marketing

Push Notifications

Push notifications are alerts or banners that appear on a user’s mobile device home screen or lock screen. They’re similar to a text message, but a user has to have downloaded your app to receive them. Rich push notifications include images or video in addition to text. 

Push notifications should be short and sweet, like a polite tap on your shoulder from a friend you haven’t seen in a while. While push is a proven way to re-engage users and even delight users, it’s a fine line between not enough and too many push notifications.

But the solution is simple: put yourself in the user’s shoes. What would be valuable enough for you to click on? 



Why use push notifications?

  • They can increase user engagement with your app--up to 88%.
  • 65% of users with push notification enabled return to your app within 60 days. Only 19% of users who don’t do.
  • 50% of users opt in to push notifications, and say they find them useful.

Want to know more? See how users really feel about push notifications, and how mobile marketers can make them better.

In-App Messages


In-app messages appear when your users are currently active in your mobile app. You can use them to:

  • Show off product updates.
  • Confirm a purchase.
  • Give a personalized recommendation or suggestion.
  • Request a review or rating in an app store.
  • Direct a user to a feature or functionality they might not be aware of.

Unlike push notifications, you can also customize the styling to match your branding or make more ornate calls-to-action.

The great thing about in-app messages? The user is already engaged with your app. Because you can trigger in-app messages after an event, it allows you to interact with your current users at a more granular level. While you see it as a targeted marketing strategy, your user sees it as an idea, offer or suggestion relevant to their app interests. 


Why use in-app messages?


How do you know your mobile app marketing works?

The best kind of marketing is built on the insights you've pulled from your very own user data. You’ll want to look at:

  • Retention rate.
  • Daily/monthly active users.
  • Session length.
  • Time in app.
  • Acquisitions.
  • Screen flow.
  • Lifetime value (LTV).


Take a closer look at the metrics marketers care about. The 8 Mobile Metrics That Matter [Checklist]


Sound like a lot? It is, and we've only touched the tip of the iceberg. For the full rundown on mobile app marketing, head over to our new “What is Mobile App Marketing?” resource page!


What is Mobile App Marketing?