Got a new mobile app that needs marketing? I wish I could say there’s an app for that, but for in-house search engine marketing managers, marketing a new mobile app involves a lot of the same elbow grease and detailed, tactical campaign work as a search engine marketing campaign.
The App’s (Finally) Approved
After a lengthy wait, your company’s iPhone, iPad or Android app is approved for download. Hurrah! Hopefully the development team built in great keywords to the app name and description to give the best advantage possible for being found in app store searches, so it’s time to move onto promoting the app outside the app stores.
Coordination is key to app promoting success. The more downloads generated in a short period of time, the better the app store ranking for Apple or Android. Launching PR, main website and email promotion, and paid campaigns in as coordinated an effort as possible will help drive a burst of interest and hopefully downloads.
Any in-house search engine marketer can easily create an AdWords or AdCenter campaign promoting the app. For the best ROI and quality score, targeting keywords specific to the app (versus apps generally) makes the most sense.
For example, buying keywords for “iPhone apps” will generate lots of impressions, but a likely low CTR, quality score and download return (particularly if the app isn’t free).
But more targeted keywords, for example, “iPhone currency converter app” make perfect sense to purchase. Needless to say, it makes sense to run this campaign targeted to mobile devices, but you may also want to target desktops and laptops in a separate campaign as people may browse for apps via their computers.
Another good tactic is to create a Facebook ad campaign and target profiles interested in the app’s subject area (e.g., fantasy baseball) as well as profiles interested in mobile apps and technologies (e.g., iPhone apps, Android phones).
Tactics To Drive Efficient Paid Downloads
Once all the traditional marketing channels in-house search engine marketers are experienced running are covered, it’s time to look at mobile specific channels.
The most common tactic is to run paid marketing campaigns on a relatively low cost CPC basis with specialized mobile advertising networks like AdMob (Google owned) and iAd (Apple owned). These networks serve mobile banner and in-app advertising targeted to geographic and device specific audiences.
Both platforms support reporting on downloads to help refine campaigns and budgets, and account managers can refine matching placements once sufficient data is collected. Additionally, Google AdWords offers in-app advertising as well, with the ability to target placements in particular apps that are a good target audience fit.
Budget Not A Factor? Splurge On Pricier Placements
If the sky’s the limit in terms of app marketing spend, there’s plenty of pricier options for promotion. Mobile YouTube takeovers are available from Google, a great way to capture a broad mobile audience. Video ads (at a pricier CPC) are also available from AdMob.
Engaging in print advertising, or leveraging an ongoing print campaign to include a barcode or QR code to scan with a mobile phone to link to download the app is a great offline channel tactic. Contacting Apple for in-store app demo events is another offline strategy to generate buzz and interest.
The primary goal of any campaign is to drive downloads, especially in an effort to enhance app store rankings. For paid apps, additional metrics around revenue, cost per download and ROI are immediately relevant.
For free apps, cost per download is a good metric to measure, but can be hard to pinpoint an appropriate value. Many free apps have downstream revenue associated with them for transactions or advertising revenue, that can also be measured.
During development of the app is the time to assess which metrics will be most important for measuring success and focusing both the app’s abilities and the marketing campaigns to support those goals.
Developing a great mobile app takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears for any organization. Do the work proud and don’t let it go to waste by building a fantastic, coordinated launch campaign to maximize download potential.
Whether there’s a substantial marketing budget or a modest one, there’s tactics to drive paid downloads that will work!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.