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No matter what app industry vertical you function in, it is critical for all app developers and mobile marketers – like you – to understand your target users’ journeys. This blog discusses the critical aspects involving App Awareness and User Acquisition and is the first in a series of five that focuses on each of the broad stages across the App User Lifecycle Journey with regards to the travel sector.
The App User Lifecycle Journey
The online travel sector has emerged as a leading driver of growth in the overall travel industry; touted to be worth USD 1,091 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 11.1%. With a plethora of mobile apps at the disposal of more well-informed users; mobile travel service bookings as a share of total global online bookings have skyrocketed by over 230% between 2015 and 2016 alone.
As of 2016, revenues worth USD 65 billion were generated through mobile app bookings – globally – in comparison to the USD 115 million earned through traditional online bookings. This number is only likely to increase in the future as the share of mobile app bookings in the overall revenue pie continues to rise.
With over 5% of all apps available across both Android and iOS platforms being travel-centric apps; it creates a highly competitive marketplace. Rising above the clutter to attract and engage users is one of the biggest challenges you will face today. This is precisely why app awareness and subsequent user acquisition is of paramount significance.
Let me shed light on the 4 key strategies that you can adopt to power up app awareness and user acquisition for your travel app…like never before!
Industry Benchmark for Travel Apps
Strategy 1: App Store Optimization
Creating enough buzz around your app to drive app downloads is a major stepping stone to success. And, one of the best ways of doing so is through App Store Optimization (ASO).
It’s the process of optimizing your app store presence. Higher your search ranking, greater the chances of getting your app featured – higher your app visibility; thus, increasing the chances of app downloads. ASO assumes even greater significance for travel apps, given how dependent on user search action this segment remains.
Here are a few practical ways to improve your ASO:
UK-based travel app Skyscanner is an excellent example of smart ASO.
Strategy 2: Invest in App Indexing
Only 40% of users search for apps in the app store.
This means 60% make travel-specific searches on desktop or mobile web browsers. That’s why app indexing is so critical to app awareness and user acquisition.
According to Google, “App Indexing lets Google index apps just like websites. Deep links to your Android or iOS app appear in Google Search results; letting users get to your native mobile experience quickly; landing exactly on the right content within your app.”
Simply put, Android and iOS algorithms recognize HTTP URLs and establish connections between your app’s website, app store page and/or the app itself.
Adding deep links to your app means a simple travel-specific search will display your app as a search result, directing interested users to your app store page. Not only does this increase app discoverability, it also helps you re-engage existing users by directing them to the app on their device.
Hop on this bandwagon, if you haven’t already as 40% of searches now return app indexing results in the top five results!
Strategy 3: Send Web Visitors to Your App
After spending extensively on conceptualising, developing, testing and launching a comprehensive travel app; the only way you can achieve a respectable return on investment is by diverting your existing user base from your website to your app. With conversions on mobile travel platforms rising to 88%, your app becomes even more important to your business.
Directing web visitors to your app can be as simple as adding a “Download the App” button or page to your website.
Encourage existing customers to download the app with incentives. Offer loyalty points or a discount on their first in-app purchase.
Travel giant Expedia does an excellent job of this. They ask web users to enter their mobile numbers, and then send a direct link to download the app. Now Expedia has a personal touchpoint to send their latest offers, as well as a way to drive users to their app.
Strategy 4: Leverage Your E-Mail List
If you already have a list of contacts who are interested in your product, use it!
Send a drip campaign encouraging existing users to try your travel app, along with an incentive to download. This will help engage users with your app, and communicate your latest offers. A successful campaign of this nature backed by a growing band of satisfied users is likely to result in positive word-of-mouth; that will further add to app visibility and discoverability.
Push Notifications for High Performing Travel Apps
When users are potentially involved with your travel app; they engage in different activities and throw up various events at multiple stages of the app user lifecycle journey.
Keeping these various events in mind; you can try the following tactics to drive app awareness and user acquisition for different types of user segments –
Aware but not Acquired User
Now you have several key strategies for improving user awareness and acquisition. But how will you know if they’re working?
Track the following key metrics to gauge your success and keep improving your game; one newly acquired and engaged user at a time –
Higher your ranking following a search on a search engine or app store; greater the chances of app discoverability, download and adoption
Influenced by number of downloads, app store rankings and reviews
The long term objective must be to feature in the top 20 travel apps across Android and iOS platforms
The number of clicks on an ad that eventually result in the download and installation of your app on the user’s smart device
(Total Number of App Installs/Total Number of Clicks on the Ad) x 100
Average Install Rate = 26.4%
Cost Per Install (CPI)
The amount you pay per installation of your app on the user’s smart device through a paid ad campaign across a channel of your choice
Total Expenditure on Ads/Total Number of App Installs
Average CPI = USD 6
App Store Page Conversion (APSC) Rate
The percentage of apps downloaded and installed on a user’s smart device after landing on the app page
(Total Number of App Installs/Total Number of App Pageviews) x 100
Average APSC Rate = 26.25% (across Android and iOS platforms)
Improving app awareness and discoverability will immediately distinguish your app from the competition — and set you up for guaranteed long-term success.
As with everything; there is always more to user engagement than meets the eye. Stay tuned for my next post on optimizing the User Onboarding process as we “travel” along the app user lifecycle journey.
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