A successful app requires the brand having two things happening concurrently: great product and great marketing. The popularity of “growth hacking” in the app space is reflective of the need for customer acquisition, brand awareness, and optimization of the product all at the same time. For most app startups, feedback should be important than new users and customer retention should be more important than new installs. In a marketplace where many brands believe they need to scale as much as possible, the reality is they need to refine as fast as possible. The faster you can resolve customer objections, and improve the product to match market demand, the more likely you are to win over the long run.
Most app startups have it all wrong when they devise a marketing strategy. Here are some tips to get you thinking before you get to spending.
The most prominent strategy to achieve organic lift is what’s called a burst campaign. Remember this: you need to make a splash early to get noticed. This short-term, focused advertising spend will drive a high volume of downloads which is important early on to find out what works and doesn’t work. Most importantly, the sudden boom in popularity will help your ranks to climb quickly in the App Store and Google Play. This ranking will encourage high organic downloads. Once there are an impactful number of organic users, your ad spending can be scaled back.
Your goal is to achieve your app’s optimal rank, which is reached by finding the best balance between ad spend, app store ranking and organic downloads while keeping your ROI in check. It is easy to throw a lot of fuel at the fire and get a big blaze, but your burn rate will be much too high to sustain and you won’t be receiving a positive ROI on your ad spending. During these early days you will be trying to attract the attention of investors, the press, and independent influencers to get that momentum,
Companies have found their best spending on promoting their apps is through mobile advertising networks and real-time bidding exchanges. Real-time bidding allows marketers to achieve efficient, low-cost targeting to their desired audience segments. You can employ ad bidding on traditional platforms such as Google AdWords or Facebook, or you can explore specialized mobile ad networks. More search queries are made on mobile than desktop. On the other hand, less time is spent on browsing and searching. To put it simply, your app lives in a mobile space so the ad spend must be mobile-focused and customers on mobile behave different than desktop consumers.
Here’s a consideration most agencies haven’t even begun employing yet: voice search. People search for things differently when speaking as opposed to typing, and 65% of all mobile users are employing voice assistants. This isn’t even including the rise of smart-home assistants. It’s already changing the way we think about SEO, and it’s important for brands to be aware of how voice search will be influencing ad spending in 2018 and beyond.
The average mobile app loses 77% of its installs within the first 3 days. Within 30 days, it jumps to 90%. Within 90 days, it’s over 95%. This is referred to as “churn.” Many users, despite spending the time to download an app, won’t use it more than one or two times. The biggest obstacle for every app isn’t consistent installs, its encouraging user retention and repeated use. You want loyal users. You want a community to work with.
If you aren’t acquiring loyal users, there may be a major problem with the design and functionality of your app. Without remedying the issues with your app, you won’t be able to take full advantage of your organic lifting and campaigns to boost downloads. In order to discover your most urgent targets you need to track uninstalls. The churn rate can be calculated with the following equation:
Customer Churn Rate = (Customers beginning of month – Customers end of month) / Customers beginning of month
What are some tactics to address the problem of churn? Rich push notifications are considered the must have in every strategy. You’ve probably seen them on your own mobile device, every time an app sends you a message directly on your home screen. These should be used sparingly. If you attack your customers with useless information you will accelerate the abandonment process. Another tactic is to keep “onboarding flow” in mind, which refers to the way a user is brought into an app after they have downloaded it. Do you walk them briefly through how it works and establish ongoing value? They’re in a rush to solve a solution, but they were in such a rush it’s doubtful they understood all the software’s applications. Once again, keep it brief and to the point.
Don’t think of this list as guide to make money. Think of it as a guide for survival. This is just the overarching concepts to get you thinking properly.
Successful apps work these considerations into their app as early as possible, launch successfully, and adapt the fastest.
If you’d like to speak more about how to launch your app successfully, you can reach us here.