The mobile app market is reported to be valued in excess of €17.5 billion, according to the latest report by the European Commission, ‘Sizing EU App Economy’. The report also highlights the sector as one of the fields with the highest potential for growth and development.
This market, which didn’t exist until six years ago, has not only grown rapidly, but it has evolved in a particular way.
In its first stage, the popularity and the volume of downloads was the main goal of the developer. Today, with mass adoption and huge download numbers (more than 1 million apps available on iOS and Android) engagement and return on investment (ROI) have become more important. In fact Apple now aims to have app rankings reflect more qualitative parameters, looking beyond download numbers, and factoring in user retention and engagement.
The smartest investment
With commercial returns increasingly lucrative, and more and more competition, it is key to understand how to promote mobile apps effectively. Attracting new users is no longer down to being well positioned in stores rankings alone (iTunes App Stores, Google Play, Windows Play, etc.). Of course, it is important to cover all the optimisation basics inside the store, but it is as important to invest in mobile marketing to promote the app outside of the store.
Campaign success is often linked to setting up clear objectives from the get-go, and working with providers that can best align with those. In order to achieve that, advertisers have traditionally worked on a Cost Per Install (CPI) basis – which would be effective if the number of downloads is the only goal. It is important to be aware, however, that these CPI models often rely on incentivised downloads, attracting users who download the app to get some other incentive, and are not likely to interact and remain active.
If you care about users interacting with your app, you need to go one step further. Today it is possible to use tools that measure engagement with the app, therefore avoiding those ‘low quality users’. With that, it makes sense for the Cost Per Engagement to be the main KPI to determine campaign success, instead of the Cost per Install, where the advertiser defines what ‘engagement’ means. For example, an airline might define engagement through flight searches, reservations or actual ticket purchases, while a gaming app may choose the purchase of virtual goods within a game as the key measure. This is ultimately more valuable as it allows for new strategies and campaigns to be completely aligned with the advertisers goal.
App Marketing in 3 Steps
1. Metrics and Analytics
Before starting to promote any app, you need to establish clear KPIs to measure campaign success. To measure these indicators effectively, you need to insert tracking tools into the app, whether they are from a specific channel or from a specialised tracking provider who can measure in different channels. These tools not only allow the advertiser to measure, but they should also inform the advertising channel in real time, so that they can optimise their ad serving/media buying processes toward the same goals.
2. New User Acquisition
To capture new users it is best to work with providers who can maximise the objectives of the campaign, and not just provide volume in terms of installs. There are programmatic buying platforms that can measure retention levels, engagement and interaction, and then use this information in real time, to make media buying decisions based on predictive targeting, improving the results of the campaigns as they go.
3. Loyalty and Retargeting
Advertising campaigns don’t need to be limited to new user acquisition. The same channels can be used to generate loyalty among existing users. Not every provider can support this kind of campaign, but those able will allow advertisers to create personalised messages to different profiles of users, and to measure the return on investment of each impact.
Executing mobile advertising effectively, combined with the proper optimisation within the app stores, is the key to getting the visibility that any app needs. Of course, all of this only makes sense when the app brings value to its users and it is of good quality, but this doesn´t rely on advertising, does it?