App marketing is exactly the kind of field where mistakes are bound to happen. This is because making people perform an action is always a process riddled with challenges.
Marketing is one such process.
The kind of errors individuals and companies usually make in app marketing range from being technical to purely strategic.
In any case, it is a good idea for all parties involved to not make mistakes.
First, let’s get a few basics out of the way.
What is app marketing?
App marketing is exactly what it sounds like.
There are many millions of apps on both Google Play Store and Apple App Store. App marketing is the process of promoting a mobile app and increasing the number of downloads.
Since it chiefly targets smartphone users, app marketing is a tenet of mobile marketing. Given the rising profile of mobile apps, it could soon become the most important form of digital marketing.
The chief focus of most professionals practising app marketing is getting more downloads from prominent app stores. Currently, app marketing lacks the nuance and flexibility of typical digital marketing. This is because to make people download an app is much more difficult than visiting a website or watching a video.
Thus, app marketing is much more challenging and creates room for marketers to commit a greater number of mistakes. From those hiring a development agency to the ones using a mobile app builder for WooCommerce and WordPress, everyone is prone to running into app marketing problems.
What does app marketing comprise of?
App marketing comprises of three main parts –
- Enhancing the visibility of the app on major app stores
- Using the increase in visibility to increase the number of downloads and app users
- Engaging existing users to enhance the retention rate and in turn improve app store rankings
These three steps summarize app marketing. There are many different techniques marketers deploy to optimize each of these parts.
Practices like app store optimization, paid advertising, and social media marketing are popular for getting more app downloads. However, there are many other indirect channels that drive app downloads beneath the surface.
What makes app marketing more challenging?
What happens when a user downloads an app?
When users download an app, they make it a part of their personal space. They decide they are ready to see the app icon on their menu every time they use their smartphone.
Downloading an app is not very different from making a commitment. When you buy furniture, you know the amount of thinking that goes on before the purchase is complete. You think about how the new couch will fit in your living room or the bookshelf will look in your study.
An app doesn’t require quite the same level of thinking, but the analogy still stands. Convincing people to download an app requires a lot of convincing.
Seasoned professionals of app marketing are known to use sales funnels to build a stream of regular app downloads. It is the most strategic way to get downloads. However, this again underlines the complexity of app marketing. Comparing app visits to website traffic is not a fair comparison partly because enhancing the former requires making people download the app first.
The complexity of the field often makes mistakes more common. Companies make a lot of strategic and technical errors in app marketing, adding more difficulty to an already tedious process.
This is why the following sections help. We will cover some very common mistakes people make in app marketing. This will offer marketers an insight into their own style of work and what they can do to improve.
Seven app marketing mistakes you can avoid starting now
Mistakes are not taboo. Any time someone tries to do something, there will be mistakes and errors. App marketing mistakes are a consequence of trying to market an app. The best professionals can do is learn from their mistakes and those of fellow colleagues.
The following sections will make readers cognizant of seven common app marketing mistakes.
#1- Thinking app marketing ends at the install button
It takes a lot of effort to bring people to the app landing page on an app store. There are many channels marketers try to leverage to make the right people aware about an app.
For the amount of effort it takes, making people install an app naturally brings relief. The problem is that a lot of marketers think their job ends after users install an app.
Making people download an app is not enough. App marketers need to have a strategy on how to keep making people come back to the app. This requires a serious study of user retention and engagement.
The point here is that marketers need to think beyond getting downloads. Retaining the existing batch of users is also very important. Studies show that it is at least five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.
Structurally, app marketers need to approach their work from two sides.
From one side, the focus should be on getting more downloads and expanding the base of users. On the other side, it is vital to create ways to optimize the user retention rate.
Optimizing user retention is an entire field unto itself. App marketers have to work with both developers and designers to optimize the user retention. Techniques like gamification and personalization all come into picture.
#2- Mismanaging User Expectations
There are two kinds of problems marketers face when it comes to their understanding of the app they are promoting.
- They either know the product too well and believe the users will automatically see its benefits
- They know too little about the app and mask their lack of knowledge by praising it too much
The first case is discussed in great detail in a forthcoming section. This section covers the second case.
Many app marketers do not really understand their app well. This doesn’t mean they don’t know what the app does. Understanding the functionality of the app and knowing it well are two very different things.
What does ‘knowing the app’ mean?
App marketers must know the strengths and weaknesses of their app. They should know the specific areas where their app is offering something unique and the places where it lags.
How does this help? Knowing these details help app marketers sell the right features of their app. Instead of mindlessly praising an app, marketers can find the right audience that will appreciate the app and download it.
Overselling an app has very bad consequences. First, people find it hard to believe high praise that appears shallow and prepared. Second, the people who do believe the empty high praise feel short-changed upon using the app. Both these scenarios are undesirable for any given mobile app. Knowing an app well helps marketers manage user expectations seamlessly.
#3- Unimaginative outbound marketing
There are many obvious ways to promote an app with paid marketing. Google and a host of other social media platforms allow advertisers to run app install campaigns. These campaigns are fairly common in the app marketing space. Their importance comes from the need to maintain a sizable presence on mainstream social media platforms.
Is it wise to spend all the outbound marketing budget on paid app install campaigns?
There is a serious lack of imagination when it comes to effectively pursuing outbound marketing. Social media and search engines are not the only two places where marketers can find the right people. The internet is a big place and sometimes marketers are guilty of reducing it to a handful of platforms.
There are many ways to significantly increase app downloads with outbound marketing that don’t involve running social media campaigns.
Publishing guest posts on relevant blogs, connecting with small influencers on small forums, and using paid media to earn traction in the right circles are all more imaginative methods of outbound marketing.
A guest post on the right blog can sometimes attract a better and more engaging audience. The key lies in exploring beyond the usual paid advertising channels.
#4- Lack of ASO focus
Believe it or not, some marketers continue to not focus on ASO. It is the premier technique to get more app downloads from app stores.
App store optimization involves using the right keywords in an app listing’s meta fields to help improve its visibility on app stores. The best part of ASO is that it allows apps to grow their presence organically. App marketers don’t need to advertise their listing when using ASO. Optimizing the app listing with the right keywords is enough in itself.
Since ASO is a simple way to grow app downloads organically, it makes no sense to not focus on it. Whether it is a dev agency or someone trying to convert WordPress to mobile app, the eventual destination of every app is an app store. The importance of an app listing is best understood from this fact alone.
However, many app marketers ignore ASO at times. This generally happens because they tend to focus on other avenues of marketing.
ASO is useful partly because it doesn’t really involve a lot of work. A competent marketer can optimize an app listing within a day. Thus, a lack of focus on ASO is a major app marketing mistake every marketer must avoid like the plague.
#5- Over confidence in product
In a previous section, we discussed the problem of app marketers not knowing their respective apps well. This particular app marketing mistake follows a similar tangential, even though its consequences are different.
There are many situations where app marketers have to promote an incredible mobile app. The app has no great weaknesses, stands apart in the market, and comes with all the cutting edge features.
App marketers should ideally have no problems promoting such an app. However, an ideal situation such as this one can quickly turn bad.
Why? Overconfidence in the app.
Marketers end up believing the app is good enough to sell itself. Thus, they don’t go out of their way to promote each of its wonderful features. A lethargy sets in.
Take Apple as an example. No one now needs an introduction on the significance of a new iPhone or iPad. Yet, Apple is always first to promote its products. This is despite the fact that the brand and product are both good enough to sell themselves without any marketing.
Why does Apple do it? It is vital for the brand to roll out the product in its own voice. App marketers must remember this lesson and not commit such an error in judgement.
#6- Not creating PWAs
The previous sections outline why it’s especially difficult to make people download an app.
One way to solve this problem is creating progressive web apps. PWAs resemble the experience a native app provides while working on a typical browser.
How do PWAs help?
They simply help users get the experience of using a native app without actually downloading it. In terms of capabilities, PWAs closely resemble native apps without actually taking up the same kind of storage on the device.
Developing a PWA is also helpful because web browsers have far greater reach. Users can get the feel of a native app through a browser even while using a less than optimal mobile device.
PWAs can help app marketers convince their audience to download the native app. The previous sections cover why downloading an app is like a commitment for many people. Showing them how the eventual app will behave with the help of a PWA can help in this regard. This can help ease some of the complexities of app marketing.
#7- No app marketing plan
It is difficult for an app marketing team to work within a plan. It requires constant analysis of every task and feedback after every action.
Working without a plan is easy. Everyone can follow their own path without any accountability.
It is always tempting to choose the easy path. This could be a reason why one of the common app marketing mistakes is working without an overall strategy or plan.
We are not here to discuss why teams don’t have a plan. Instead, our focus here is to underline the importance of having one.
The process of marketing an app involves many stages. Each stage requires marketers to adopt a different tact depending on the situation they’re in. Furthermore, app marketing also involves finding ways to retain existing users.
Doing all this is impossible without a clear plan of action.
How should you create a plan for app marketing? Despite how grand words like ‘plan’ and ‘strategy’ sound, they’re not terrifying difficult. It is best for marketers to start with a goal in mind and estimate the resources needed to accomplish this goal. The resources can be a range of things, from the number of hours or weeks needed to the marketing tools needed.
Marketers learn to become better at planning once they start working within the framework of a plan.
App marketing mistakes are common. This doesn’t mean marketers need to walk on eggshells when doing their jobs.
A study of common mistakes helps professionals avoid certain obvious errors and do the best they can. This is the fundamental reason many good app marketing teams do performance reviews. Analysis and feedback are the bedrocks of good marketing practices.
This piece brings the spotlight on seven common mobile app marketing professionals should avoid. The first few sections briefly cover the basics of app marketing and the unique challenges of the field.