Mobile applications continue to gain popularity as more individuals access content and tools on the go. In a recent study of app use, smartphone users access at least 9 apps each day and more than 30 apps each month. This heavy usage of mobile devices provides a huge opportunity for your organization to grow your business and revenue – whether your product is promoted by the app or the product is the app itself.
There are two main objectives when it comes to mobile app marketing: increasing the number of app users and increasing the number of active app users. Depending on whether you are targeting new app installs or in-app events, your marketing strategy will look quite different. The following are the key distinctions you need to know to create effective content and ad campaigns to promote your mobile app.
Audience, Focus and Challenges
For app installs, your main intention is in the name: you want to persuade new potential customers or app users to download your application to their device. The goal is to drive new traffic to your app in the App Store or on Google Play, either from those who were previously unaware of the app or who have heard of it but have yet to install it. Your app install campaigns will need to introduce them to your organization as well as the benefits of the app.
The biggest challenge in running a successful app installation campaign is the high level of competition your app faces. Not only are there nearly 4 million Android apps and 2 million Apple apps as of 2018, but your potential customers have to weigh the download against the limited storage space on their devices.
Marketing campaigns for in-app events have a very different emphasis, as you are attempting to build more engagement from those who have already downloaded your app to their devices. Essentially, you want to use retention marketing to convince these app users to open your application more often and/or use it for a longer period of time. Your audience for in-app event promotions will already know your brand and has experience with your app. Their use of the app may have decreased over time or ended entirely.
With in-app event marketing, the biggest challenge is identifying strategies to maintain and build engagement with your app users – or re-engage those who have stopped using the app entirely. With this audience group, you need to convince them that your mobile app is the best – or at least the most entertaining – use of their mobile time, which is up to about 5 hours a day.
Strategies and Important Analytics
In order to drive higher rates of installation, there are several key strategies you should adopt. The first is ensuring that your audience is as targeted as possible. Your Google Analytics data for current app users can help you identify the characteristics that make viewers most likely to download your app. On some platforms, you can even create "Lookalike Audiences" based on existing app users. Split-testing ads and optimizing your download page are also essential to a successful app install campaign.
The most obvious metric for campaigns geared toward app installation will naturally be the number of downloads from mobile marketing ads. In addition to new downloads, you'll want to keep track of the channels and ads these customers come from (attribution) and how much your ads are costing you per each install.
With campaigns that target in-app events, you need a strategy that will bring past users back to your app – or convince them to spend more time using it. In essence, you want to turn casual users (and past users) into power users. Some of the best strategies include focusing on your app's latest updates and newly added features, especially when these are elements that your customers have been requesting. Loyalty systems or app-only discounts and features are also key points to emphasize with your efforts to market for in-app events.
Analytics to focus on as you review in-app event campaigns would be specific in-app events, such as leveling up for gaming apps, purchases for e-commerce apps, and reservations for hospitality-based apps. You'll also want to keep track of app opens, searches, shares and invites from within the application. An increase in any of these metrics indicates an increased engagement with your app, which is the goal of your in-app event campaigns.
Although they may seem similar with a focus on mobile use rather than desktop, app installs and in-app events are very different when it comes to marketing. Effective campaigns for each will have a distinct focus and strategy in order to get the best return on your investment – both the investment in the app itself and in your advertising budget.
While app installation campaigns show potential users the benefits of your app, in-app event campaigns need to remind past and current users of the value and update them on new features. The right approach will help you continue to analyze and optimize both types of campaigns to get the best value from your app over time.