20 App Marketing Strategies Proven For User Acquisition

June 11, 2019
20 App Marketing Strategies Proven For User Acquisition
General

So you’ve developed the next world-changing app? Right on.

Now all that’s left is to get it into the hands of the people. But with over 5 million different apps between the App Store and Google Play, that’s no small task.

So what can you do to stand out from the crowd and start driving downloads? We’ve put together a list of 20 app marketing tactics to try, so continue reading or jump to our infographic below.

Why App Marketing is Important

Deciding how to market an app can be a daunting process. There are so many apps with different marketing strategies, all experiencing varying levels of success.

Competition is fierce, as you probably already know, and over 68% of mobile app companies have a long-term, fully documented app marketing strategy.01

Building your app isn’t the only challenging part of getting it to the top of the store charts. With the right promotional strategy, however, you could be there sooner than you think.

01. Build an App Landing Page

A strong landing page for your app is important, since your website is often the first impression of your business for many users. It can act as a “showroom” for your app, so make sure it’s clean, attractive, user-friendly, and works well across all browsers.  

Robinhood is a good example of what a landing page for a mobile app should look like: uncluttered, a strong headline, body copy that clearly states what the application does, and an obvious call-to-action. The page’s images, graphics, and text encourage users to explore the app’s features, then download and ultimately use the app.

Landing pages are powerful promotional tools that often act as the starting point for a user’s journey.  

app marketing strategies to build an app landing page with robinhood example

02. Get Your App Reviewed and Rated

Before most people make a new purchase, they’ll research to see what others think before making a decision. Apps are no different: reviews and ratings can help potential persuade new users to hit the download button.

Encourage current users to review your app by building in features that make it easy for them to write a review for you, such as a rating prompt. You can also reach out to an informed, professional reviewer from an app-reviewing website for an even more credible (and visible) opinion.

Negative reviews aren’t all bad either, as long as you don’t take the criticism personally. Reading and responding to reviews can be a good source of new ideas, highlight areas for improvement, and show potential new users that you’re engaged and listening.

03. Utilize the Viral Loop

Viral loops are great tools to increase the number of users for your mobile app. Create something worth sharing — such as high scores or shared experiences — and make it easy for users to spread the word about how great your app is.

Viral loops help spread the word about your app because they invert the traditional marketing funnel, enabling your users to market your app for you. Viral loops can be created through good app design: include incentives, invitation-only features, shared experiences, and other referrals to set your loop into motion.

Companies like Dropbox, which gave away 16GB of storage space when users invited friends, and CandyCrush, which allowed users to share their scores, have used viral loops to grow their brands exponentially.

use referral campaigns to utilize the viral loop example from Dropbox

04. Optimize for App Stores

Just like you have to optimize your website to rank in a search engine results page, your app’s listing has to be optimized to appear at the top of a search result in the app store. The higher you rank, the more exposure you’ll have to potential new users.

App store optimization is essential to getting your app to stand out among the more than two million apps on the Apple App Store.  

05. Captivate Your Audience With Video

Video is already the most popular form of content and is estimated to account for at least 80% of all consumer internet traffic by 2020. Create videos that you (and your users) can share on platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, and Facebook.

Venmo has a great video strategy: their content is short, descriptive, and makes sense even when muted.

Videos can range from app tutorials to content that helps users get to know your brand — what you stand for and what problems you solve. Keep the videos concise, no longer than 60 seconds, and make sure the call to action can be understood without audio.

mobile app marketing strategies with example video from venmo on instagram without audio

06. Create a Press Kit

Put together a strong press kit for your app so you’re prepared whenever a journalist or a blogger wants to showcase your work.

Control the imagery of your app that is being published by taking your own branded screenshots, logos, app icons, social links, company profile, and press releases.

Turo, a peer-to-peer car rental app, has a page on their website where journalists and bloggers can download a detailed factsheet, company logos, and branded images for publishing.

07. Run App Store Ads

App store ads are another way to boost your presence and visibility no matter your level of app store optimization by paying to rank instead of ranking organically. Think of paid app store advertising like a pay-per-click campaign, similar to what you’d run with Google Ads.

Paid app store ads put your app right where a huge audience of potential users may be looking for it — conveniently at the top of search results.

Trello runs an app store ad when you search for “to do list” in the App Store. Just pick a keyword and pay per click.

app marketing example from app store ad search to do list and trello ad

08. Publish Press Releases

Now that you have a solid press kit, regularly publish press releases to let the public know what they can expect from your business and that you’re working hard on new features.

Create a press release that describes your app, who it’s for, and the problems it solves. A comprehensive press release gives potential users a look at your company and a view of what to expect.

09. Have a Social Media Presence

If you want to be seen, you need to be on social media.

In addition to boosting your app’s visibility, social media provides valuable insights about your followers. Learn about their interests, hobbies, demographics, when they’re most active, and more so that you can finetune your advertising strategy.

Engaging with your users is a must when implementing your social media campaign, but even better is resharing their content. Airbnb is constantly sharing user-generated photos and engaging with followers in the comments. Show your audience how others are using your app and start real conversations.

How to market an app using user generated content for social media example from Airbnb

10. Get Help From Influencers

There’s no denying it — influencers have a massive amount of, well, influence. But unless you have a massive budget to pay for an endorsement from an A-list influencer (think $400,000 per post for a Kardashian) you’re going to have to look at a “micro-influencer” who aligns with your target audience.02

The key here is to utilize any connections you may already have, but most importantly to find someone who is relevant to your brand and mission. Otherwise, any users you gain will quickly churn.

Dating app Bumble tapped into their own employees to track down hyper-micro-influencers (less than 1,000 followers) for the “Anne Smith” campaign that kickstarted the growth that led to over 40 million users and encouraged women to #MakeTheFirstMove.03

11. Blog Regularly

Flex your industry expertise, improve your visibility on search engine results pages, and drive traffic to landing pages by blogging regularly. Blog content can also be distributed in email newsletters, repurposed on social media, or featured as an ebook or downloadable resource on a landing page.

Teach your audience about your development process to build interest around your app. Carefully research which keywords to target, start writing quality blog posts about those topics, and get links to improve your search visibility.

Mobile delivery service DoorDash operates a very effective blog that highlights their latest updates and news, showing new and existing users how the app makes their lives easier.   

how to market an app strategy example from doordash

12. Create an Affiliate Program

Affiliate programs are similar to the invitation system within the viral loop. The difference is that affiliate programs usually provide cash incentives for their members. You provide links and content for your affiliates to share with their audiences.

Shopify’s affiliate program is highly rated for a few reasons: they offer high commission, create great content for affiliates to share, and offer support. This leads to affiliates happily promoting their app to their audiences.04

13. Drive Downloads with App Install Ads

Ads are everywhere. So why not use them to your advantage? Run install ads on search engines and social media to drive traffic to your app and increase downloads.

Bid for relevant keywords and target segmented audiences to get your app in front of the right people. This is a paid strategy but proven successful.

Postmates and BetterMe use app install ads on platforms like Pinterest and Snapchat to attract new users.

app install ads example from Postmates on snapchat for mobile app marketing strategies

14. Write Guest Blog Posts

Show everyone that you know what you’re talking about and share your industry expertise by guest posting on influential blogs.

Other blogs will appreciate informative, well-written content that helps bolster their website, plus you’ll get to share your app with a new audience and give yourself backlinks to strengthen your SEO. It’s a win-win.

15. Become a Thought Leader

Start publishing ebooks, launch a podcast, or attend event panels to give your two cents on the state of your industry and more.

Basecamp co-founder, David HeinemeIier Hansson became a thought leader by publishing multiple books and appearing frequently as a guest on podcasts, which establishes him as an expert in his field and helps promote his business.  

become a thought leader example from Daniel Heinemelier Hansson DHH author, twitter, and personal blog example for app marketing

16. Offer Free Trials, Contests, and Giveaways

Help your users save some money and chances are they’ll show their appreciation by engaging with your app even more. Give out promo codes or offer free trials to drive downloads.

Spotify, YouTube, and Netflix all offer first-time users free trials to let them get hooked on their services before subscribing.

17. Find a Partner to Cross-Promote

Cross-promotion is an ad exchange where you allow another app to advertise within your app — and they return the favor by doing the same for you.

Cross-promotion is a great way to generate new installs and to leverage your partner’s audience. This is especially effective if the products are complementary.

McDonalds and UberEats, for example, partnered to run a campaign for their food delivery services. They independently run campaigns to cross-promote each other’s product and service, respectively.

cross promotion app marketing strategy example from Uber Eats and Mcdonalds on Twitter

18. Measure Your Key Performance Indicators

Don’t set it and forget it. Make sure you know how well your app is growing by routinely checking and analyzing growth performance indicators.

Regularly check KPIs like the number of downloads your app has, your daily active users, stickiness, retention rate, and churn to get a realistic idea of how well your app is performing. Data doesn’t lie, and it can provide you with insights on what strategies are working and who to target next.

19. Try Traditional Advertising

Don’t be afraid of doing things the old fashioned way! A traditional approach to marketing can be characterized as any marketing strategy, commercial channel, or promotional advertisement that has a successful record of increasing business.

Formats like print advertising, telemarketing, broadcasting, billboards, direct mail, and even in-person sales can still be highly effective, and even refreshing in this digital age.

Ridesharing giant Lyft ran a billboard campaign in which they purposefully created billboards that were too long to read if you were driving, encouraging people in their cars to be riders instead of drivers.

try traditional advertising strategy to market an app Lyft billboard example

20. Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is traditionally considered to be the process of driving growth, but it can include the use of social media, video, blog, and other formats.

Examples of content for your app are success stories, infographics, use cases, and more, as long as it’s all relevant to your app. Content marketing helps show what your app does, how other people have used it to benefit their lives, and what your brand stands for.

Note-taking app Evernote’s content campaigns appeal to both current and potential users, with articles and videos on topics like productivity, goal setting, app usage tips, and even interviews with high-profile users.

More Ways to Market an App

Even if you’ve developed the next ground-breaking idea, mobile app marketing is paramount to your success. Without app marketing to help spread the word, no one may ever experience it!

It goes without saying, but not every strategy we’ve listed here will apply to your app. However, a well thought out strategy that incorporates a couple of them could prove to be very effective in encouraging users to download and start using your app.

Once they’ve got your app in their hands, be sure to keep users coming back day after day. For a foolproof user retention strategy, download our whitepaper Preventing Mobile App Churn.

Strategies to market a mobile app infographic

See how today’s top brands use CleverTap to drive long-term growth and retention

Schedule a Demo Now!