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30-second summary:

  • Application marketing is extremely competitive. There are limited channels to market your app, but millions of apps to compete with. It is important to maximize every opportunity.
  • Much like SEO, app store optimization involves keyword research and optimization. App developers have limited space for their keywords and a lot of competition to face. Therefore, precision is highly necessary.
  • App ads on Facebook are different from other types of ads. You need the Facebook SDK, in addition to the Ads Manager, to properly track app downloads and engagement.
  • Rewards should turn your app users into customers. When done right, incentives can generate social proof and viral loops.
  • There is ASO but there is also application referencing. Content formats like blogs, podcasts, and newsletters can help your website / app landing page achieve higher rankings on search engines.

Your app competes for visibility with 1.82 million other apps if it’s in the Apple App Store, or 2.7 million apps if it’s in the Google Play Store. It’s huge competition.

Marketing your app almost seems like a lost cause. But if making your app to stand out is indeed a daunting endeavor, it is possible, as long as you apply the right strategies.

Effective app marketing is all about identifying the main types of discovery and engagement channels (app stores, social media, search engines, and within the app itself) and targeting your audience.

1. App Store Optimization / Landing Page Optimization

Newcomers only make up 8% of apps listed in the top App and Play Store rankings, by the way. Adjust the App Trends 2020 report. Since the App Store is by far your app’s primary chance for organic discovery, it doesn’t have to be said that your App Store Optimization (ASO) needs to be on point.

ASO is to applications what SEO is to websites. And the two have their similarities, especially in the on-page / off-page strategy dichotomy. And like SEO, ASO starts with improving visibility.

The first trick to achieving this is to use an attractive name and logo. These two are the first things people see when they find your app. But before that, you have to make sure that people can find it, right? And not just anyone – the right people, your target audience.

When optimizing your App Store listing, what factors should you take into account, keeping in mind that app indexing differs from store to store?

  • App Name / Title: Use relevant keywords to allow the App Store algorithm to correctly identify and rank your app. You have 50 characters for it on Play store while Apples App Store also includes a subtitle, for keywords that do not match the main title.

App Store Optimization Tips - Work on the Title

  • Apple, unlike Google, allows developers to enter specific keywords in a private field on its App Store. For Google, you have a short description field (80 characters) and a long description page (4000 characters) which are both public.
  • Include keywords that are relevant to your app and accurately describe its features, functionality, and benefits.

This is as much as you can influence the ranking of your app. Other factors, beyond your direct influence, include reviews and ratings, download and uninstall rates, app updates, etc.

2. Facebook advertising strategy

ASO has its place and you can’t completely rely on app stores for app discovery. Not if you’re not a big brand. Instead, your marketing strategy should lean towards pay, as shown below. Like Christian Eckhardt from Customlytics said,

« The likelihood of a user going to a store to browse or discover new apps has decreased significantly compared to the early days of stores. »

By creating a page on Facebook for your app, you can serve ads with personalized calls to action to market your app and increase downloads. Facebook Ad Manager lets you set a goal for your app – whether you’re targeting app installs or app engagement (traffic). Facebook ads offer a competitive ROI with an average cost rate per installation $ 1.8, compared to $ 2.53 on Twitter and $ 2.23 on Instagram.

CPI using Facebook ads

To serve ads for your Facebook app,

  • Start by configuring Facebook SDK. This is necessary to optimize your app for mobile ads, although you can still serve ads for unregistered apps using the App Store URL.
  • Continue with the setup in the Ads Manager, where you select your target audience, budget, bid, creative format, and other options.

Measure advertising performance that adds to your App Store downloads

3. Use a rewards system

This is a strategy that helps you convert your app users into marketers. Of course, this assumes that you have an app that provides value to its users. The next step would be to encourage app engagement.

In-app rewards that can facilitate engagement include unlockable personalization options, discounts, push notifications, in-app currency (points, coins, etc.), vouchers, and other freebies. Many applications (especially games) already offer them. But here motivation is important. What kind of behavior should / should the reward system encourage?

  1. Retention
  2. Publicity

Beyond app retention, your built-in incentives should encourage actions that promote your app. For example, you can offer a discount or other benefit to people who share the app or refer users (using referral codes). We know it’s been working for a long time search by google has shown that people find new apps through friends and family rather than any other means. Likewise, get app users to rate and write reviews about your app on the store. Besides promoting an app’s goodwill, positive reviews increase the app store optimization ranking, thereby increasing your app’s visibility.

But app retention is also important. Only 32% of users would return to an app at least eleven times, a six point reduction from last year’s rate. And app stores see high uninstall rates as a sign of a shoddy app. Such an app would get lower rankings and might even get removed from the futures store. Incentives allow users to continue using the app and create viral loops.

4. Content marketing strategy

Search engines are a great place to market your app. Think about it. Someone hears how awesome your app is and immediately searches for the name, only to find few or no relevant results at all. You need a creative and cohesive content marketing strategy to convert search engine users.

You can use a blog to highlight the benefits of your app, notify users of updates, and teach them how to maximize the functionality of the app. If the companies on this blog win 126% more prospects than those who don’t, why not apps? The popular investment app Robinhood’s marketing strategy includes a blog where they teach people the basics of investing and finance.

Use content marketing to make your app more visible and valuable to the public

But blogging isn’t just about posting articles. You need to research keywords to find the ones that will help you convert the most. This is what allows search engines to rank your blog posts effectively.

Plus, content marketing isn’t just limited to blogging. You can also enjoy newsletters, podcasts, and YouTube videos, like Robinhood does. Called ‘Robinhood Snacks’, it provides a daily newsletter with financial information to subscribers (whether or not they use the app) and also breaks down business stories via podcasts.

Content marketing is broader, however. You also need backlinks to rank you. And that means your app is on «  Best App  » lists, external reviews, guest post mentions, all of which should contain links to your landing page. Of course, there’s no need to mention anymore that you need a very engaging landing page with a clear call to action that directs visitors to the app store page.

A simple content marketing checklist for app optimization will look like this:

  • Look for ideas related to your app and relevant to your audience.
  • Create topics from these ideas and develop compelling content around them.
  • Use the mediums that your audience uses the most. For example, podcasts are a great idea if you are targeting millennials.
  • Don’t hesitate to reuse the content. Your blog post can be reused in a YouTube video. You can transcribe a podcast interview and convert it to an article, etc.
  • Always include a call to action


If you implement the strategies described above, you can be assured of steady application growth. However, the most important factor is that the app is really valuable. The best apps are the ones that advertise. But going viral doesn’t happen overnight. It is the result of the consistent application of the right strategies.

Guy Sheetrit is the CEO of Over The Top SEO, an award-winning marketing agency that provides custom SEO marketing solutions for e-commerce, local and Fortune 500 businesses. It can be found on Twitter @guysheetrit.


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