Promoting Apps: Best Practices
Encouraging customer referrals, re-engaging lapsed users and conducting mobile email marketing campaigns are some of the current best practices in apps promotion. Notably, media outlets and industry experts currently recommend a wide variety of tactics for promoting apps, however these three approaches appeared to be the most consistently cited and/or best substantiated methods for generating user awareness and engagement.
Encouraging Customer Referrals
- Encouraging customer referrals was selected as one of the top best practices for apps promotion given that the marketing tactic was consistently recommended as one of the "best ways to promote an app" by a diverse array of media outlets and industry experts, including top-tier media (e.g., Forbes), advertising trades (e.g., Branch), mobile analytics experts (e.g., CleverTap), technology outlets (e.g., Lvivity) and app developers (e.g., SAG IPL).
- As highlighted by Forbes, encouraging customer referrals can take a variety of formats, ranging from low cost options such as creating an in-app "tell a friend feature" to ease the app sharing process, to the creation of formal rewards programs that provide existing customers with incentives such as credits or discounts for each new subscriber.
- For example, Uber first promotes its app in new markets by offering customers free trips on the condition they share the company's app installation link with their friends.
- Similarly, Dropbox's referral program, which is cited as one of the "most effective" app promotion approaches overall by analytics expert CleverTap, rewards users with free storage space with every friend they invited to use the app.
- CleverTap and Branch add that, while customer referral programs may be "overused," the reason they are so common is that they generally work if executed well.
- This is because consumers are four times more likely to purchase a product if it is recommended by a friend or family member.
- In the case of Dropbox, that translated into a user base increase from 100,000 to 4 million in just one year, and 3900% subscriber jump in less than a decade.
Re-engaging Lapsed Users
- Re-engaging lapsed users was similarly identified as a best practice in promoting apps based on the recommendation of industry experts (e.g., Forbes, CleverTap, Branch, Shopify, SAG IPL) as well as the magnitude of opportunity represented by this strategy.
- According to 2019 research by CleverTap, apps generally lose over three-fourths of active users within the first 3 days of installation.
- These figures worsen over time, with active user volume decreasing in the first month and first 3 months by 90% and 95%, respectively.
- An analysis by Localytics parallels these findings, by reporting that 21% of app users will abandon an app after just one use.
- However, Branch and CleverTap report that apps can counter these statistics with re-engagement strategies, such as simple user messaging or paid advertising, particularly when these communications techniques are personalized.
- Notably, Localytics found that just sending an in-app message when a user first visits an app results in a 10% improvement in abandonment rates.
- When more aggressive re-targeting efforts are made, Criteo found that users are 30% more likely to return and make purchases through an app.
- Overall, retaining existing users is 5 to 25 times more cost effective than acquiring a new customer, according to Taplytics.
- As such, re-engagement strategies are employed by a variety of apps, including Pokemon Go, Postmates and Skillshare.
Mobile Email Campaigns
- Lastly, email marketing, particularly in the form of mobile email campaigns, were chosen as another best practice for app promotion given that a preponderance of media outlets and industry experts currently highlight the effectiveness of such marketing tactics, including Forbes, Branch, Born2Invest, CleverTap, Lvivity, Shane Barker and SAG IPL.
- According to CleverTap and Lvivity, email marketing "should be a staple" in all app promotion strategies, and have relevance throughout the app product lifecycle (from product launch through maintenance).
- Similar to the other highlighted best practices for promoting apps, Forbes and Lvivity note that email advertising campaigns can take a variety of forms, ranging from simple email newsletters that highlight product updates to more clearly articulated marketing messages that offer product discounts.
- Overall, Shane Barker reports that email marketing is an "insanely effective mobile app promotion" approach, given that over 50% of Americans check their emails over 10 times per day, while almost all (99%) check their inboxes daily.
- Moreover, Branch notes the added advantage of optimizing email messages for mobile, given that Apple iPhone email accounted for the largest percentage of email opens in 2018 (29%), followed by Gmail (27%).
- In particular, Yes Lifecycle Market reports that the revenue generated from mobile is increasing 33% year-over-year, whereas desktop and tablet orders are declining by 14%-18%.
- As such, email marketing that is tailored to mobile is one of the most cost effective and widely visible forms of app promotion currently available.