Mobile app discovery strategy: the basics

Mobile app discovery strategy: the basics
Apps bring about entertainment, convenience, excitement, information, and a host of other uses. These days there are literally millions (over three million combined apps from the major app stores) of mobile apps to choose from, a vague number at best but one that is continuously growing every day. As users become more and more comfortable using mobile apps, and as the number of users grow, the mobile app development companies create and produce apps to meet the demand. App owners, or most of them at least, believe that their app is the best in some form or another. This may very well be the case, but it is easy to get lost in a sea of competition.

App owners who regularly check their mobile app figures know that it is hard enough for a user to find and download the mobile app, but it is a totally different thing for them to stay and continuously use the app. Gaining and maintaining visibility has become one of the developers’ greatest challenges, and for the longest time mobile app marketers just pumped money and resources into increasing their reach as far as possible. This strategy worked to a certain extent. Users did discover the mobile apps, but ultimately failed due to the lack of engagement. For a while this left the industry stumped, but over the last couple of years there has been a rise in what has come to be known as Mobile App Discovery Marketing.

On its own, mobile app discovery is simply the process by which an app is found within the stores (discovery) and within the mobile device itself (engagement). The problem is that with so many mobile apps available in the various marketplaces things get very noisy, very fast. It is so difficult to standout when the user is being bombarded by more than 50,000 new apps every month. The fight for a user’s attention is a titanic one to be sure. The sad part is that most of the fight is not even centered around the download or usage of the mobile app, but getting the app in front of the user’s eyes.

The mobile app graveyard

The name itself bodes doom and gloom, and yet most apps in any app store currently reside in mobile app graveyards. These apps may have at one point or another been downloaded by the user, maybe even used a couple of times, but since then have been left unused and all but forgotten. This is when the mobile app marketers work sees the light. The truth is that only about 26% of downloaded apps are used daily. Also consider the fact that only about half of smartphone users download more than one or two apps, means that the number of mobile apps being engaged daily all around the world is very small indeed. The apps that have been relegated to disuse are thought of as zombies, they’re all but dead to the user’s eyes.

Apple alone reports that 1.5 million abandoned apps reside in its App Store, and these include some big names, highly intuitive apps. And, that is the real lesson to be learned here for app marketers and app owners with a mobile app marketing strategy. No matter, how good looking, how well developed, how creative or how forward thinking your app is, it won’t matter unless people see it, download it, interact with it and spread it to their networks. Mobile app discovery marketing is becoming more and more essential for developers and app creators to see a return on their hard work and spent money.

Even developers of emerging technologies like Virtual and Augmented realities must implement mobile app discovery strategies to establish growth and adoption. It is estimated that over half of users find out about apps from their personal and social media networks. About 40% find apps by casually browsing the store. Search engines account for approximately 1 out of 4 apps, while company websites and traditional media (television, radio) generate the same amount at about 22-24% a piece. It is therefore essential that marketers pay attention to the metrics that move the ticker and generate a greater interest for their app. This would include page views, unique page views, time on site and bounce rate. The mobile app marketer should endeavor to keep the values of the first 3 metrics as high as possible, while doing the opposite for the latter.

It would be interesting to note that 25% of downloaded apps are never opened or activated. This may seem silly. Why, after all, would anyone in their right frame of mind download something and leave it unused? The answer lies in the user’s attention span and how predictably small it is. Users’ tend to lose interest quickly, or by the time that they get around to using the mobile app they no longer feel like they need it (this is especially true for tool or productivity apps). They may also move on to the newer or better alternative, this is particularly true if the current apps are lacking in major ways.

Mobile app discovery marketing tactics do exist and should be part of an app’s launch process. Providing incentives to download, use and share the app is always a good way to turn heads and get users to commit. Discounts and coupons decrease the barrier of entry. Providing bonus content gives users a good feeling, and it let’s them know that the app owner is always updating and giving them more value. Giving the user an easy, intuitive and non-disruptive way to share the mobile app or the experience of using the app to their networks allows them to transcend from mere users to advocates. Finally, app marketers should provide their users with notifications. Besides the functional nature of the notifications, it may also cause some users who have forgotten or abandoned the app to open it up once again, to discover the app again.

Finding a company that provides a mobile app discovery marketing service can be a little tricky. That’s because there’s really nothing stopping them from solely promoting their apps or the apps of those that compensate them in some form. So, when choosing an app discovery service provider, it is best to look at companies who are looking to not only gain through the increase in usage of a small handful of apps, but rather all mobile apps on the marketplace. Check for example:

SI Global is a company with offices in the US and UAE. The company does strategic partnerships with different clients for all their projects. Their services on mobile app discovery are recognized by different certificates.

Appturbo is a mobile app discovery app that offers one app for free each day. So all app owners can submit their apps to be published there. The mobile app has 25 million users in more than 15 countries. AppTurbo offers great average revenue per user in its campaigns.

Appnext has more than 650 millions users over the world. It is a mobile app discovery company that offers users new apps as per their interests and habits. Appnext follows a targeting technology specialized for marketers and is user-friendly.

Mobupps helps discover mobile apps with its ad network affiliates program and its direct contact with publishers and DSP platforms. Mobupps is looking for long term partnerships based on specialized mobile app promotions and user acquisition.

Appszoom is the place to go when you want to find the latest and most successful mobile apps. Appszoom offers a platform to publicly display your app that experts will try and test and will also leave a review. It has 4 million users monthly and 25,000 mobile app developers that have submitted their apps. .

The app stores are, of course, the best place to start. Apple has come out lately with an upgrade to its iTunes Connect App Analytics service, which gives its users access to a host of information that will help them maximize the return on their investment. Google, on the other hand, has recently overhauled the “My apps & games” section of the Play Store. While mobile app marketers cannot affect the apps the Android user chooses to interact with, the new interface does make it known to the user which apps they have not used recently. This should decrease the amount of abandoned or forgotten apps on a user’s device. There’s also Mevvy which allows users to see what their social media contacts have installed. They then make it very easy for the user to install the same kind of apps as the members of their network. And speaking of social networks, the last two companies to be mentioned are Slack and of course, Facebook. Both platforms allow users to quickly communicate to each other, and more importantly share what they are currently using, playing, viewing, etc. Basically, they are taking the concept of “word of mouth”, and have digitized the experience sharing process.

Mobile app discovery marketing campaigns should technically be part of the overall mobile app marketing plan. App owners should have a firm grasp on where users (particularly target demographic) are downloading mobile apps. Websites, social media landing pages and other places online where a user can find your app should be overhauled and optimized to get the user to download the app. Focus on providing the user with the best user experience, this is as true for the process to download the app, as it is for the app itself.

The mobile app should be a force to be reckon with. To start with, it should work as close to flawless as possible. The user should have a good experience engaging and interacting with the app. They should also be given a convenient way to share the mobile app and their experience with the app in a manner that does not disrupt their interaction with the app. Simplicity is key here as every moment spent not engaging with the mobile app gives them the opportunity to lose interest in it. And finally, to create the best mobile app discovery strategy, create an app that grows so that users have a reason to pick it up and open it, again and again and again.

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