There are 2.87 million mobile applications in the Google Play store, 1.9 million in the Apple App Store, and approximately 669,000 apps in the Windows Store. Generally speaking, mobile applications are highly essential in the current landscape of availability, particularly for web-based businesses. A testament to this is the number of budding startups devoting numerous resources to mobile-first strategies and solutions.

How To Market an App: A Concise Guide 1Current app store statistics regarding the number of apps. Image Credit:

Despite the evident benefits of an app, without smart app marketing, it will probably sit on the shelf, gaining dust. In this article, we will dissect and dive into the fundamentals of marketing an app. The idea is to give app creators, marketers, and enthusiasts an optimal mix of feasible marketing strategies and approaches to consider when aiming to market an app. There are unlimited prospects out there, and anything is possible regarding how you can market your application. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the list below!

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Why Market an App 

All things considered, no app creator wouldn’t want to see their app discovered, downloaded, and utilized continuously. With new apps showing up consistently, from gaming to streaming apps, it tends to be hard to make the ideal app and guarantee it stays visible and relevant.

In the end, profitability and visibility is the end goal. The key to successfully marketing an app is to know and study your market, recognize patterns, and spot and exploit emerging app categories. In practice, the idea is to promote it across as many relevant channels as possible to ultimately ensure that it ranks highly, both on the App Stores and web search engines. Doing this reliably over an extensive period will give your app the most obvious opportunity for progress. However, it’s vital to have objectives, a budget, and a pricing and marketing strategy when starting this journey.

Setting Your Objectives and Budget

It is imperative to have objectives and a budget when setting out to market your app. Here are three steps to consider when starting:

  1. Set high-level objectives with the overall thought of the spending you will incur (budget)
  2. Choose and prioritize the marketing strategies and tools you intend to utilize. Furthermore, decide whether you will employ external assistance (outsource) or do things yourself.
  3. Carefully figure out the underlying budget to achieve the steps mentioned above.

To guide and inform your objectives, it’s essential to carry out extensive competitive analysis. Ideally, I’d suggest making a list of 5 potential competitors, their present value, monetization model, app store positioning (ranking), user experience (UX) feedback, and user reviews. You could even venture to the extra lengths of creating a competitive matrix to compare your app against competitors to ensure it circumvents the poor features or UX elements that users have negatively reviewed amongst your competition. In essence, carefully consider what might make your application stand out from your competition. These are significant steps that could impact your whole app marketing approach.

How To Market an App: A Concise Guide 3A sample feature comparison matrix that can be used in a comparison matrix. Image credit:

Setting a Pricing Strategy

Once your objectives and budget are aligned, the next step will be choosing a pricing strategy. In this phase, you can either choose to charge for your app or give it away for free in exchange for a boost in downloads. However, it’s worth noting that even with paid apps, it tends to be challenging to bring in enough cash to recover the time and effort spent on development– not to mention generating cash to live on.

Despite the variations in in-app pricing strategies, app developers should at least aim for 50,000 application downloads to make building an application beneficial. That being said, apps are mostly volume business as very command premium prices in a flooded marketplace.

Factors To Consider When Setting an App Pricing Strategy

1. Keep it freemium (if you can): A quick survey can reveal that most paid apps are less than $1(or less than a fiver at the most), and that most apps are free at the start with charges for ‘in-app’ purchases instituted. This supports the notion that free-to-download apps pull in more clients and downloads.

On the plus side, Apple or Google don’t charge for each free download. In the event that many users download your app, it will not cost you anything with regards to the app store it is hosted on. Furthermore, free applications are simpler to drive up the application store chat as well.

How To Market an App: A Concise Guide 4Spotify is a popular app that utilises a freemium approach. Image Credit:

2. Offer value and keep being generous: Freemium doesn’t necessarily mean free. It means keeping key functionality and features free but charging clients for reasonable and pertinent extra functions and capabilities. For instance, additional enhanced filters for a photography app, or the ability to unlock advanced exercises on workout apps. Continuously improving your app with eye-catching features can quickly boost the conversion of users to paying customers.

How To Market an App: A Concise Guide 5Afterlight is a popular app that continually offers unlockable features and in-app purchases. Photo Credit:

3. ROI: Evaluating return on investment is imperative to determine the point at which your app will become profitable.  Critically calculate the number of in-application buys (or sales of the actual app itself in the event that you decide to charge for it) needed to recuperate your improvement costs and generate a profit. Keep in mind, 30% of your revenue will probably go to the application store.

4. Investigate the market: Specifically, extensively evaluate and survey apps that offer comparable functionality. This should help you ascertain the best pricing strategies the highest-charting apps adopt. Overall, this can inform your pricing strategy and allow you to tweak it to generate desired revenue.

5. Free or Paid-for Advertising: If your app is admitted into the app store, the next question will be whether to leverage free(organic) or paid advertising approaches to promote it across as many channels as possible.

Free marketing, frequently described as organic marketing, includes any technique that results in downloads that the owner did not directly pay for. An example is the famous Candy Crush. On the other hand, paid marketing entails principally paying for every individual download (in a manner) or investing in advertising that directly results in downloads. So, unless you possess an unlimited budget, it’s ideal to focus on free promotional strategies, at least at the start.

How To Market an App: A Concise Guide 6How free apps make money. Image Credit:

6 Ways To Market Your App

Regardless of how extensively you market your mobile application, if it’s not something individuals need, they won’t be profitable. Essentially, your app should not only be an extension of an existing site or another variant of an online store that limits you to a specific clientele. But rather, a solution that can be repeatedly utilized for entertainment or in essential life situations. If your app has a story, motive, and a purpose, then any of the following marketing techniques should prove effective.

Leveraging Content Marketing and Network Conversations

A good online presence can compel users to download your application. A website is an effective way to build an online presence while also building trust. It can essentially serve as a focal point where individuals can discover more about you and your product.

A feasible way to spread your story and message through content marketing and engagement is through a blog (can double as your website), online discussion forums, conferences, and chat boards. The idea is to leverage online engagement mechanisms to boost traffic to your app. That being said, social proofing is everything with regards to any digital product. Encourage people to review your app on platforms like Reddit and Beta List. Reviews foster trust and engagement. Furthermore, register your app with the hundreds of different free app directories on the internet to boost your presence.  

App Store Optimization (ASO)

Simply put, App Store Optimization is leveraging proven strategies to boost ranking in an app store to allow users to easily find your app. App-store optimization (ASO), a relatively new term, is generally the app store’ version of search engine optimization (SEO). To accomplish high outcomes with app marketing employing ASO, you need to deal with textual and visual optimization.

For example, to make the textual component of your app more refined, the significant aspects to consider here are:

  • Principally, your title should comprise three to five of your most significant keywords. Incorporate the rest in the keyword field for app descriptions. Try not to copy and paste these.
  • Optimize your description for quick comprehension and searchability.
  • Utilize keywords from the user reviews
  • Leverage proposed keywords from the App Store’s Analytics keywords feature.
  • Ensure to use simple individual words rather than sophisticated phases.

How To Market an App: A Concise Guide 7TypeShift, for instance, exploits the space to input its SEO. Image Credit:

There are over 1M applications in each store (iTunes or Google play), which means you must put some resources or effort into ASO if you want to get your app discovered. Otherwise, there is a decent possibility that your application will end up covered under huge loads of similar applications, never to be found.

Though ASO alludes to what you can do to improve your application’s app store ranking, it’s noteworthy that the iTunes ranking algorithm differs from Google Play’s since Apple’s primary ranking parameter is the total number of downloads. In stack contrast, Google’s algorithm weighs a broader range of parameters like external links, web traffic, reviews, actual app usage, etc.

Social Media Marketing

Social networking websites are still some of the best ways to market any product. Established online communities like Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, offer access to millions of prospective users, depending on your niche. For instance, LinkedIn is better for business-oriented apps, while Facebook is unrivaled when it comes to retail app marketing.

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Apple Search Ads

Generally, Apple Search Ads is an advertising platform that enables app developers to place advertisements in the App Store’s search results. Essentially, payments instituted via CPT (cost per tap) and campaigns are configured according to standard SEO keyword principles. By and large, the tool has a relatively good conversion rate since purchasers, for the most part, utilize branded terms, knowing ahead of time what they are looking for. Additionally, app owners can easily set remarketing campaigns to target users who deleted the mobile app or did not complete the expected interactions.

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Promotion With PPC

Generally, Google Ads provides the ability to boost apps with “search” and “display” ads. This means that your ads will appear for specific targeted user search terms during search queries. When employing PPC advertising for an app, ensure to put your ads on mobile devices. Google also offers mobile ads to targeted users while they are searching on their mobile devices.

How To Market an App: A Concise Guide 10Keys to success – adwords and PPC campaigns. Image Credit:

Affiliate Marketing 

Another proficient method to market an app is to exploit referral mechanisms within affiliate marketing networks. Affiliate networks typically constitute marketers, vloggers, and bloggers who publish or talk about your promotions or product on platforms like YouTube or Facebook. Fundamentally, when choosing an affiliate partner, please pay careful attention to their audience, cost, engagement style, targeting abilities, and attribution structure.

How To Market an App: A Concise Guide 11Awin is a successful affiliate network. Image Credit:

Final Remarks

Given the above points, the best way to know whether your app marketing is working is to define objectives and track the increase in your ranking throughout a given timeframe. There are numerous analytical elements that you’ll need to keep track of throughout the user journey’s acquisition, engagement, conversion, and retention stages. For example, session length, churn rate, daily active users, time in-app, session intervals, and cost per acquisition. As such, tracking of metrics should be on an ongoing basis.

In conclusion, when marketing an app, it is crucial to broaden and diversify your marketing strategy continually. Some people will connect with video, while others with images or text. Make dynamic content and ensure that app reviewers always have easy access to it. 

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