How to Market an App: The Dos and Don’ts

Mobile users have more choice than ever when it comes to the apps they download and use. For instance, iPhone users will find more than two million apps in the App Store. Android users will encounter even more apps on Google Play. From a marketing perspective, this underscores the importance of distinguishing your app from the pack. You’ll only earn installs if users known your app exists—and understand the unique value it can provide them.

But driving installs is only the beginning. An install is the gateway to engagement, but it doesn’t guarantee mobile users will go on to convert. The fact of the matter is most people will stop using your app for some reason or another. Some people will inevitably get distracted and taper off using your app over time. Others will delete it to free up storage space or declutter their home screen. So, any app marketing strategy worth its weight in salt must aim to boost post-install engagement, too.

Wondering how to market an app in today’s changing mobile landscape in today’s changing mobile landscape? Here are a few dos and don’ts to remember.

Don’t: Focus on Installs at the Expense of Engagement

Of course, user acquisition is an important part of any app marketing campaign. For example, measuring the click-to-install rate for your paid campaigns will help you gauge their effectiveness, so you can make sure you’re getting the best return on your ad spend. But it’s important to remember that installs are never the be-all and end-all of user acquisition.

Mobile app marketing used to focus primarily on driving installs. The thought here was that more people downloading your app meant a higher likelihood they’d use it. However, recent data reveals that 21 percent of users launch a new app only once, and only 38 percent go on to launch an app more than 11 times. Clearly, installation does not equal engagement. Paying for indiscriminate installs only means you’ll run up your marketing spend on people who may or may not actually convert.

Do: Aim to Boost Post-Install Engagement Through Targeting

Instead of aiming to attract any mobile user willing to install your app, kick off your marketing campaigns with a solid understanding of what a quality user looks like. You’ll need to know:

  • Demographic information for your best users, like gender, age, device type, etc.
  • Mobile usage habits for your best users.
  • Which post-install events you want users to take, like subscribing, creating an account, making a purchase, sending a message, etc.

The most efficient mobile app marketing campaigns of today are targeted and personalized. That is, marketers know exactly who they’re aiming to attract from the outset and how to serve highly relevant ads that speak to these valuable users. When in doubt use mobile ab testing to see what resonates with different audiences.

Don’t: Try to Cast a Wide Net with Generic Ads

The problem with casting a wide net by serving generic ads meant to appeal to large subsets of mobile users is that the ads become less relevant. For this reason, a one-size-fits-all approach is inadvisable.

Do: Serve Dynamic Ads Created with Users in Mind

A better strategy is targeting more specific target audiences with personalized ads. You want mobile users to think “hey, that’s me!” when they see your ads because it helps them understand the value your app offers for people like them. Luckily, you can now assemble ads programmatically on the spot to reflect mobile users—algorithms plug personalized creative elements into templates to make ads more relevant.

When you’re strategizing on how to market your app, remember these major dos and don’ts so you can drive meaningful interactions—and ultimately revenue.