The path that an app takes to find its customer is much simpler and far more productive when a proper marketing strategy is road mapped right from the development stage. Stepping through the process logically can result in a powerful marketing mix that will return many times your investment and reveal new opportunities that were previously hidden.

Research prior to development

The biggest mistake you can make is to follow another company and develop an app similar to theirs based on their success in the marketplace. It is a blind strategy; you don’t know the research that went into it. If your competitor falls off the cliff, so will you.

Your research should include data analysis of the app market by category including social trends, download statistics, new technology, OS improvements, desired consumer experience, positive and negative reviews of other apps in the category. Data analysis produces profitable insight that is proprietary. It differentiates your brand and makes it hard to compete with. Imagine finding a need that falls into a new category no one occupies?

At any rate, your app development must have a very specific target prospect in mind so you can make effective decisions on how to find them as directly as possible. Focused marketing has the highest ROI.

SEO, cookies, and your landing page

Today’s search engines deliver thousands of query responses in fractions of a second. Search engine intelligence understands subjects, categories, previous searches, what you really meant, and how often it delivered replies that were acted upon.  Search engine optimization creates a bridge from this massive database to your landing page. When prospects arrive, they should immediately feel like they’ve come to the right place.

Tracking cookies and data sharing is currently going through major privacy restrictions that limit the marketer’s ability to gather detailed data on their prospects’ online behavior. This has shifted more emphasis onto SEO tools.  SEO brings interested prospects to your app promotions and cookies gather behavior data so an ad can be dropped in front of a consumer at the right time. Newer systems are being developed that will eliminate tracking cookies and provide a safer and more productive experience for both the advertiser and the consumer. For example, Chromium’s Privacy Sandbox.

Paid Advertising

You’ve done your homework; you’ve built an app that you know people want and you know who they are and how to speak to them. Building an app campaign with paid advertising can give you enormous range, and get your app into the hands of many paying users. For example, running a Google App Campaign can give you exposure across Google’s largest properties, including Search, Google Play, YouTube, Discover on Google Search, and the Google Display Network. All you need to do is add a few lines of text, a bid, some assets and the rest is optimized. Bing campaigns are similarly structured.

An added value to running a campaign on a major platform is the wealth of analytics they provide. Often, a slight tweak in a campaign based on data analytics can have an enormous effect on your ROI.

Direct partners

You know the kinds of prospects who are likely to be interested in your app. Direct partners already have those audiences. You contract with a partner to access their audience.

Indirect partners

These are affiliate networks that often get paid per sale (PPS). An affiliate network is a group of companies that offer compatible or complementary products and will often pass leads to each other. They may offer cross-promotional deals, encouraging clients who have utilized their services to look into the services offered by an affiliate. While most affiliates and networks are legitimate, if you are using one, you need to monitor several things:

  • They are presenting your brand image in the way you specified
  • They don’t make promises to the prospect or set up false expectations
  • They don’t misdirect someone reaching for your app
  • There is no fraud or misuse of consumer information 

There are a several companies that can monitor your affiliate network you are engaged with and they are worth the cost, just in your reputation protection alone.

Download sites

When you advertise contextually on a download site, you reach a wider audience. They are actively looking to acquire an app similar to yours.