Marketing Your App as an App Developer

As an app developer, you have built your app, you have tested it and you have even launched it on the app store. Now you sit and wait for users to rave about your new app. A week later you realize you had only a few downloads and you suspect the majority came from your friends, professional network and family members. Now what?

It is no surprise that when competing with over 2 million iOS and 2+ million Android apps, your app has not been found. So how can you as an app developer, bring in users? Here are a few ways:

  1. App Store Optimization (ASO) – Did you include the correct keywords? Did you have a title and subtitle which makes it clear for users to understand your app but also find it? To optimize for keywords you can use keyword planner from AdWords (Assuming you have signed up for AdWords), or ASO tools such as AppAnnie. You want to find keywords that are both popular (have high search volume) and those that have least amount of competition (low price per click or low number of apps that are ranking for that keyword). You can also run search ads (Advanced) on Apple Search to identify highly convertible keywords for your app, however this costs money.
  2. Running Marketing Ads – Perhaps the simplest of choices with immediate results is to run ads. This requires a budget, and depending on your industry you may have cheap cost per acquisition (think under $0.10 per download) to extremely high where cost per click could be in the $100+ range. There are a few places where you can run ads, that would depend on your budget, app location (Android vs. iOS) and targeting. Here are a few:
    • Facebook Ads – Great for targeting. For example, you can target frequent travellers for a travel app or those who recently moved for an interior design app. Options include geographies, age, gender, and psychographic/demographic information.
    • AdMob – This is ideal for Android and depending on the features you can run display ads in specific categories. You can use AdMob on iOS as well and ideally you would run Display ads or even Video Ads.
    • Apple Search Ads – Basic version is great for quick downloads or use Advanced version to compete against competitor’s keywords or learn what keywords convert well for your ASO.
    • App Exchanges – there are many app exchanges which can work great for specific region or specific category.
    • Social Media Ads – while Instagram and Facebook all use Facebook’s Ads, you can run ads on SnapChat, Twitter, Reddit and Pinterest.
  3. Social Media/ PR – Depending on your app you can try doing Social Media and doing some PR to get organic growth for your app without having to do extensive research for ASO or spend money on ads. However, building social presence can take time and going viral has almost the same odds as winning a lottery.

As an app developer with a few apps on the app store, I have found that ASO is the best option to growing your app’s users organically without a big budget. Ads work but they stop getting users as soon as you pause your campaigns, and social media/PR takes time which is a scarce resource!

If you need consulting on app marketing, I can help. One of my top apps Visited, has over 1 million + downloads which were driven with under $10K in marketing spent.

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