The Tricky Business of Promoting Your App

It seems these days there’s an app for everything. We hear about so many people who are reaping the spoils of the high demand, so why shouldn’t you get a piece of the action?

According to a recent report published by Techcrunch, people are spending more than 4 hours a day on their smartphone apps, a whopping 30% increase over two years ago. In some markets, this figure can go well beyond 5 hours. Cue angry old man shaking fist and yelling, “Darn kids with their twitbook and their tic tac toks.”

It’s not just time we’re spending, but money as well. It’s estimated that consumers have spent over $32 Billion on apps in the first quarter of 2021.

But it’s not all sweet, glorious cash grabs. When you really dig down into the numbers, you will find out that it is extremely challenging to get your app off the ground. Firstly, this time we’re spending on our mobile devices is being monopolized by giants like Tik Tok, YouTube, and the other major social platforms. When you aren’t competing with them, you have to contend with an endless sea of games, which consistently post the strongest quarterly growth figures and share of mobile spending. It is a sad reality that for most app developers:

80% do not use the apps they have downloaded after three months (App Annie)

So how do you get people to download your app, get them to use it, and then keep using it three months from now?

Let’s say you’ve already identified a need or an opportunity in the market, have your target customers lined up, and got your app developed and approved by the respective app stores. Now let’s get the basics out of the way — These steps are crucial before you even start talking about your app:

  • User experience testing — You’ve tested to make sure your app works, but you need to test the entire experience, from start to finish, to make sure there are no missing features or functionality that may drive away users.
  • Privacy and security — You may have requests for user information that could be perceived as intrusive and turn away a good deal of users, so double check these before rolling out your app. Make sure your app can be trusted with the right security measures.
  • Updated and agile — You should already have updates and releases in the works before you launch to get your app ready for new user volumes and requests. It’s a constant work in progress to keep fine-tuning and perfecting the user experience.
  • Test again — You probably will face bugs and issues even after your app is on the store. Just when you think you’ve tested enough, do another roundfor good measure.
  • Customer support at the ready — Do not be caught off guard, because you will have to deal with customers on the app who have complaints or require technical support, so get your team and process in place before you even launch.

Now that you have gotten these points done and you’re ready to start marketing your app, preferably based on a sound strategy and media spending plan, you should consider the following:

  1. Slow and Steady at First — You could, through great creative and well-placed ads on the app stores, social media, and search engines, achieve massive download numbers relatively quickly, but should you? Your app may not be perfect, and you run the risk of digging yourself into a hole of negative reviews you can’t get out of for a long time. Start slow and start with your friends; get your circle to try the app and give you feedback, then fix and start expanding in increments. If the first 1,000 love the app, then great, move on to the next 5,000 and so on until you’ve reached a mass of happy users. Then you can begin your download blitz in earnest.
  2. Finding the right users — You are building a community, not just getting people to download the app. You need to compare your ad results with user analytics and make sure they line up with your business goals. If you determine, for example, that iPhone users are the only ones making purchases on your app, then shift your ads toward that device, otherwise, you will end up wasting money on conversions for people who will never use your app. Hone in on your audience and grow them first before you go for mass blanket appeal.

Make sure you have the pixels and necessary integration in place with all the social networks so you can better target ads, remarket, and engage your users on their preferred social network.

  1. Engagement — Getting downloads is the easy part, keeping your users engaged and coming back to the app is where the challenge lies. In your strategy, you need to outline a content plan for all your channels (social, website, email, push notifications) that will prompt your users to take action. This is also important if you want to start cultivating brand advocates.
  2. Inactive Users — Not all inactive users are lost causes. Figure them into your marketing equation and content mix. They may be busy playing irate fowl or whatever the kids are into these days. There are ways you can reach out with the right incentives without being intrusive or annoying. You can get them to give your app a chance before they delete it.
  1. Loyalty — Begin rewarding users who log in frequently and make purchases with further incentives to keep them coming back. If it’s right for your business, even consider gamifying certain features of the app. If your app doesn’t provide consistent value, service, and support, you will see a drop-off after a couple of months. This also feeds into the engagement part of the equation.
  2. Repeat the cycle — Your app will have peak moments and lulls, so you will need to constantly bring in new users and go through the cycle of engaging, reaching out to the inactive accounts, and building loyalty all over again. This cyclical investment is key to app longevity and success.

Key takeaway: Launching and getting people to download your app is the easy part, you need to factor in how to continuously engage and reach out to your users to keep them coming back.

Talk to one of our experts today to start building your app marketing strategy. You can also request a portfolio of our work here.

Media, marketing and much more. Co-Founder of J. Brothers PR.