What Is Mobile App Marketing?

By David Oragui / 7 February 2018

Mobile app marketing is the process of creating marketing campaigns to reach your users at every stage of the marketing funnel. Learn key mobile app marketing tactics for every stage of user engagement with your app.

Mobile app marketing is the process of engaging your app users throughout their entire experience with your app:

  • Discovering your app
  • Downloading it
  • Completing the onboarding process
  • Staying engaged

It includes the incentives offered to prompt engagement and the overall visibility of your app in the app store.

This article explores the difference between mobile app marketing and mobile marketing. It introduces key mobile app marketing tactics to consider as you build a mobile app marketing strategy.

Mobile App Marketing vs Mobile Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Mobile app marketing is about creating marketing campaigns that communicate with your users at every stage of their life cycle: from when they first download your app, to when they become a regular user and brand advocate who makes many in-app purchases.

For mobile app marketing, the magic lies in performing effective marketing activities designed to attract new users, improve retention, and lower churn rates.

Mobile marketing is any marketing activity that occurs on a mobile device – from responsive web design and A/B testing on mobile checkout pages to mobile-only display ads and email marketing.

The Mobile App Marketing Funnel

The difference between the mobile app marketing funnel and the traditional sales/marketing funnel is the marketing activities and strategies used at each stage. 

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion
  • Customer Relationship
  • Retention

Let’s focus on 3 stages in the mobile app marketing funnel: awareness, conversion, and retention.

Awareness

In the awareness stage, your goal is to attract targeted users to your app.

There are multiple ways to attract new app users and raise awareness about your app:

  • Social media
  • Paid advertising
  • App store
  • App review websites
  • QR codes

However, remember to focus your marketing on channels where your users congregate.

To determine which marketing channel to use to raise awareness about your app, start off by using the bullseye framework.

The bullseye framework is a 5-step process that helps you identify the best marketing channels for your app:

  • Brainstorm
  • Rank
  • Prioritize
  • Test
  • Focus

As the framework suggests, you’ll want to brainstorm and rank all marketing channels by their potential for your industry, so you can focus on the channels that’ll drive the most revenue and growth.

Conversion

A conversion is any action a user takes that adds monetary value to your business.

A conversion for your mobile app occurs when a user:

  • Downloads your app
  • Sets up an account
  • Makes an in-app purchase
  • Increases app usage

Regardless of how you monitor and track conversions, you must have processes in place that increase these numbers and lower your customer acquisition costs.

Start by improving onboarding processes to make it easier for your users to achieve their goals.

Other ways to boost conversions include:

  • Providing a clear, distraction-free registration process
  • Ensuring your app has an excellent user interface
  • Using mobile push notifications to entice users to upgrade

By breaking core conversion actions into bite-sized steps, you can effectively move the customer further down the mobile app marketing funnel.

Retention

Your customers are the lifeblood of your mobile app and your business. If you fail to keep them happy, they'll leave for greener pastures.

Some approaches to improving mobile app retention include:

  • In-app messaging
  • Push notifications
  • Loyalty programs
  • Customer surveys

Regularly surveying your customers and offering rewards for completing the survey will help you understand your customer's true mood.

Many mobile app developers forget that their customer base is real people who possess a treasure-trove of information you can't find anywhere else.

Understanding what your customer likes and dislikes about your app is invaluable.

Consider how expensive it is (5-25x more) to replace a customer than it does to keep one.

By listening to your customers and over communicating with them (regular product updates, bug fixes, roadmap), they'll be more receptive to your offers in the months and years ahead.

How Good Is Your Mobile App Marketing?

It's very easy to fall into the vanity metric trap. If "monthly app downloads" is your core metric, you're losing sight of what's really important.

The success of your mobile app marketing is determined long before you launch any marketing campaign. It's determined by the questions you and your team ask each other.

What metrics will determine the success or failure of the app?

After all, you can have 1 million app downloads and get featured on Google Play and Apple's App Store. But what's the point if it drives little to no revenue, or worse yet, there's no process in place to keep people coming back?

3 Mobile App Marketing Metrics You Should Focus On

1. Average Number of Active Daily and Monthly Users

"Active users" is emphasized deliberately. You want to track the number of users who take actions that generate value for your business.

Only focusing on all daily/monthly users will skew your data and perception of how well your mobile app marketing is performing. 

2. App Session Length

Your app’s session length is the average length (in seconds) a user actively uses your app, from login to close.

Whether you need to improve in this area depends on what kind of app you have.

For example, if your app is a complex mobile game, then 120 seconds per user is disastrous. But, if your app simply tracks daily calorie consumption, then 120 seconds is more feasible as users quickly check their total calories throughout the day.

3. Acquisitions Segmented by Referral Source

Acquisitions pinpoint the sources that drive the most conversions so you can decide where to invest your marketing dollars.

For example, imagine if Quora ads generate 200 app downloads a month at $7.60 per conversion, and Google Search ads generate the same at twice the cost.

It would be wise to double-down on Quora ads as your customer acquisition costs are much lower.

Interested in low-investment app marketing strategies? Here are 3 you can try to get started: Product Hunt, journalist outreach, and referral marketing.

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