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App Marketing
12 min

21 App Marketing Strategies That will Drive Growth in 2021

Smartphones are the most ubiquitous device in this day and age. These devices enable people worldwide to do more than communicate efficiently and help them shop online, pay bills, shop, and even control other devices remotely.

What’s more, with nearly 50% of the global population owning a smartphone, it is evident that mobile marketing’s future lies with apps.

Source: Statista

The usage of apps in endorsing a brand’s product first became mainstream when mobile technology exploded in the last decade. A big part of the reason behind this was the ease of use that apps provided where people didn’t need a web address or go through a dreary navigation menu.

dead applications - Apps with less or no reviews

Source: BGR

This incentive of promoting ease-of-use, though, is also the reason behind the increased competition among app developers. So much so that there are nearly 6 million apps available on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, 80% of which are only ever used once and then deleted. And as more and more apps become available on the market, convincing users to not take the same action can prove to be a Herculean task.

21 App Marketing Strategies That Will Drive Growth in 2021

Irrespective of how good your app is, if you don’t actively market it, scaling its growth can be a tough task. In order to help you, we have assembled 21 of the most powerful app marketing strategies in this article. You can emulate these learnings and actionable strategies in your app marketing campaigns to propel your brand’s growth in 2021.

1. Enable Push Notifications

Employ push notifications as a marketing tactic since they have the highest open rate of any medium. In fact, a study by E-goi revealed that a whopping 90% of push notifications are opened, compared to only 68.9% of emails being opened by users.

Source: E-goi

With its help, your app can inform users of new product updates, events, posts, and more, even if the user is not active on the app. So, ensure to leverage this strategy to engage dormant users when your app or its new updates are live.

Mobile_Growth_Stack

Source – Phiture

2. Create Browser and Cross-Platform Versions of the App

Today, it is not enough to have a native platform (usually Android or iOS). Your app needs to be available across several platforms to widen your reach.

This endeavor is not only more cost-effective but also helps you accelerate your app’s development, especially if you utilize top-rated IDE software. Most IDE software even allow app developers to build browser versions of apps, giving users multiple ways to use it across devices.

Source: App Store

Take the Nike e-commerce app, for example. It is not only available on Android and iOS, but it is also perfectly accessible from a browser.

3. Focus on ASO

Just like SEO, app store optimization (ASO) is essential for your app if you want your app’s listing to appear at the top of app store search results.

mobile path to purchase - app marketing

Source: Think With Google

With search queries being the most common method of mobile research, it’s crucial that you pay attention to make your app rank highly on app store search results for its primary keywords. This can increase your chances of being known since 40% of apps are found via app store search.

Therefore, ASO is central to your brand’s app marketing efforts and helps it stand apart from the sea of apps out there. While ASO tools that can completely revamp your app are widely and easily available, if you’re looking for help to handle a specific aspect of the ASO journey, the ASO Resource List from Apptamin is a wonderful collection of all the tools you could ever need to satisfy your ASO requirements. Remember, the better your ASO ranking is, the higher the amount of exposure you’ll stand to gain.

4. Utilize Viral Loops

A viral loop is a great strategy to attract a higher number of users to your mobile app. It helps generate awareness around your app by inverting the conventional marketing funnel.

By simply creating something that is worth sharing, such as incentives, shared experiences, invitation-only features, referrals, etc., you can to your viral loop into motion. This will enable users to spread the good word about your app.

Dropbox example - Utilize Viral Loops

Source: Dropbox

Brands like Dropbox, which awarded 16GB of storage space to users when they invited their friends, and Scrabble, who allowed users to earn free wifi minutes based on their Scrabble score, are great examples of using viral loops to grow app usage exponentially.

5. Run App Store Ads

Yet another way to enhance your visibility and presence on app stores is by running app store ads. Paid app store ads are the app advertising equivalent of Google Ads, which works like a pay-per-click campaign.

Source: App Store

Paid ads highlight your app where a huge number of potential users might be looking for a product similar to yours. Take, for example, Marvel Unlimited who runs an app store ad when a user searches for “comics” in the App Store. Just choose a keyword and pay for every click that it derives.

6. Launch a Dedicated Site or Page

You can also launch a webpage or create an entirely new website dedicated to your mobile app. The former is what most brands go for.

Source: PandaDoc

This app promotion strategy not only helps build credibility but also supplements your social media efforts. A great example of this is PandaDoc, which created a website for its app before it went live.

You can direct potential users to this website or webpage of yours, let them go through your offerings, view your demo video, and ask them to sign up for an email alert once the app goes out to market.

7. Run App Install Ads

Since ads are everywhere, it would be foolhardy not to use them to your advantage. One way you can use ads in a novel manner to promote your app is by running app install ads on social media and search engines. This can help you direct traffic to your app and generate increased downloads.

Source: Postmates

You can bid for target keywords and segmented user bases to reach out to the right people. Postmates is a smart example of using app install ads on various platforms to attract new users.

8. Push App Graphics on Pinterest

A social media platform built to share visual content, Pinterest is a great platform to promote your app through arresting graphics that capture the user’s attention.

Having your app stand out among the legions of apps out there is the biggest hurdle that marketers face. While your app’s graphics may have it tough finding exposure on other social media sites, it has a massive probability of becoming viral on Pinterest.

Millennial Pinterest Usage

Source: SproutSocial

So much so that a report from Sprout Social found that 63% of Pinners discovered new brands and products through it. When you share app graphics on Pinterest, you can reach out to these potential users and even network with industry peers.

9. Apply For Awards

Applying for app awards is a serious strategy to market your app. Not only will it garner increased exposure for you, but you will also automatically enjoy multiple benefits like exposure, feedback, and credibility.

Source: Pinterest

A study by Data Charts showed that 33% of recommended apps were downloaded by people. Entering a contest can help you capitalize on this and improve your chances of gaining increased visibility.

10. Release Your App on Product Hunt

An app review platform is where app enthusiasts collude to test soon-to-be-released apps. Some popular platforms you can make use of include Product Hunt, AlternativeTo, and Slant. However, there are many alternatives available if none of these suit your requirements. Releasing your app on such a platform prior to its actual launch will enable you to garner huge amounts of exposure and also derive leads, especially if your app ranks among the top three products of the day.

Release-Your-App-on-Product-Hunt
Source: Product Hunt

Take the example of RobinHood, a commission-free, and cost-free brokerage app. By promoting its app on Product Hunt before its launch, RobinHood was able to display its potential and gain $176 million in total funding.

11. Pitch to Editors of App Stores

You can also try pitching your app to editors of app stores to request them to feature it under the “Today” section. Ensure to construct the pitch carefully by outlining what your app does uniquely.

Apple’s App Store editors afford a great level of attention to sleek designs, superior app performance, and storytelling while reviewing apps. Craft your pitch on these bases and increase your chances of getting selected to derive a large number of clickthroughs and installs.

Say you want to promote a graphic design app that lets users create photo layouts for their event banners. While creating a sample pitch to endorse your app to app store reviewers, ensure that it contains the following:

  • Your app’s name
  • What it does and what its distinguishing features are
  • Price of your app
  • Two links each with one redirecting to your website’s product page and the other to the app store product page
  • A few screenshots (not more than five)
  • A video that lasts no longer than 30 seconds
  • A concise description of the app’s description that mentions your audience and how your app helps them
  • Contact information

Here’s a sample pitch

Subject: (Attractively positioned USP of your app)

Planning to organize a get-together or a conference in the board room but are sick of the monotone visuals for your event banners? (App name) provides a simple, fast, and fun way to jazz them up by snipping and editing images for instant event souvenirs. You can capture photos with a single touch and utilize gesture control to pinch, zoom, rotate, and lay them out exactly how you want them. With (app name), all it takes is a few seconds to create a striking banner for your event.

(App name) lets you:

  • Feature 1
  • Feature 2
  • Feature 3
  • Feature 4
  • Feature 5

(App name) is available for download now on the Google Play Store (link to Google Play Store) and the App Store (link to App Store) and you can read more about it on our website (link to website).

Here is a video of (app name) in action:

(link to video)

… and a few screenshots to follow:

(screenshot images that are hyperlinked to the website)

Please feel free to reach out to me should you have any queries about the app or if you would like a promo code for review. Thank you in advance for considering our app for review.

Contact info

Email: [email protected]
Skype ID: myskype
Twitter: @mytwitterhandle

12. Use a Referral System

Referral systems are one of the most commonly used promotion tactics to market a mobile app. By creating a referral system, you can encourage existing users to refer your app to their friends and award them for every user gained from each referral.

referall rock app promotion

Source: Referral Rock

The previously mentioned brokerage app Robin Hood is also a great example of using referrals to drive app popularity. The app provides each new user who joins the app a single free share of stock worth between $2 and $200.

13. Offer Promotional Prices

When it comes to marketing in general, several studies have time and again proven the guarantee of customers making purchases when awarded promotional offers. With its help, you can attract potential users and build a loyal user base before upselling or cross-selling them.

image45

Source: Business Know-How

There is no doubting the influence that promotional offers have. When users get services at a discounted price, they feel obligated to spread the word about your brand by telling friends about their offers.

14. Find a Partner For Cross-Promotion

Cross-promotion is a great tactic to attract new users by capitalizing on your partner’s audience. An ad exchange strategy lets your partner brand’s app advertise their services from within your app — and they do the same for you.

Source: Forbes

Starbucks and Spotify, for example, partnered with each other to run a campaign that advertised their brands. Through this initiative, Starbucks employees got a premium Spotify subscription which allowed them to curate playlists that the coffee shop customers were able to access through the Starbucks app. The campaign allowed each brand to reach out to the other’s audience and drive increased app recognition.

15. Employ Augmented Reality

Augmented reality really came to the fore last year as marketers looked to employ relatively novel technology for their marketing efforts. Despite the multitude of ways in which it can be used, augmented reality’s true power lies in engagement.

AR harbors the potential to improve the engagement rate of your app considerably. In fact, data reveals that AR experiences are nearly 200% more engaging than their non-AR counterparts.

Source: Mindshare

AR also makes it easier for prospective buyers to make more informed product decisions. Gucci, the luxury brand, added an AR feature to its app to let users see how Gucci sneakers look on their feet. Pointing the camera downwards brought a digital overlay of the company’s sneakers on their feet, showing them exactly how the product will look in real life.

Source: Twitter

Interactive and immersive content can help you add value in numerous ways. So, don your creative hat and get cracking on how to use AR for app marketing and advertising.

16. Focus On Helpfulness

As a consequence of the contemporary global health catastrophe, there’s a natural expectation among users for businesses to do good. As such, app businesses that can show it will stand to gain improved brand awareness.

Nextdoor Groups

Source: PR News

Ensure that your brand’s values are in accordance with your audience’s expectations and convey them correctly. Brands can take a cue from Nextdoor, a community app for staying connected and sharing information, which experienced an 80% increase in its daily engagement.

17. Employ Social Media Influencers

Social media influencers hold huge sway over their followers in today’s world. In fact, as many as 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations when it comes to app suggestions.

Image for post

Source: Mediakix

A great example of this is the dating app Bumble. By tapping into their employee base to track micro-influencers for their new “Anne Smith” campaign, Bumble was able to kickstart the user acquisition growth that saw them gain over 40 million new users.

18. Push Harder On Video Communication

Video marketing is here to stay, and there seems to be no end to it. Not only are an increasing number of marketing channels employing and integrating it, but new ways of utilizing the medium are also being developed, such as AR filters and live stories.

The impending 5G network deployment will also facilitate the provision of engaging experiences that were impossible to achieve because of bandwidth constrictions. Marketers will do well to employ video as a marketing tactic to promote their app’s marketing efforts.

Take the example of Nike, who released ‘Never Too Far Down’ last year and saw it become the most-watched ad of the year on YouTube. Videos have the power to inspire intense emotions in the viewer, and Nike used it beautifully by showing some of the most loved sports personalities rising through the ashes.

Another popular video campaign, Dove’s ‘Real Beauty Sketches’ may be a few years old now, but the impression it has had on the viewers is still visible, as can be witnessed by people’s lasting image of Dove as an inclusive and compassionate brand.

19. Maintain Blog Presence

Show off your expertise in your industry by blogging regularly. Data reveals that businesses that maintain a consistent blog presence have been known to receive 126% more leads than those that don’t.

Source: DoorDash

Blogging regularly will help you build interest and direct increased traffic to your app by improving your overall visibility on SERP(s). The delivery app DoorDash maintains a regularly updated blog that shows users how using the app can make their lives easier.

20. Create an Affiliate Program

Affiliate programs are analogous to the viral loop strategy. The distinction is that affiliate programs generally offer financial incentives to their affiliates. You offer content and links to your affiliate partners so that they can share with their subscribers.

Shopify’s affiliate program is the perfect example of this. It offers a high commission cut, develops quality content for affiliates to share, and provides support. This prompts affiliates to promote the app to their followers.

21. Publish Press Releases

Build a robust press kit and periodically issue press releases to inform potential users of what they can expect from your brand’s app when you are working on developing new features.

Compose a press release that explains your app’s feature, who it is intended for, and the issues it resolves. A holistically created press release affords potential users an inside look into your company and what to expect.

Conclusion

Developing an exceptional mobile phone app doesn’t ensure success – you still need to invest time and energy to promote it. Fortunately, you don’t have to strain your marketing budget in order to do so.

Ensure to optimize your mobile app for app stores and show off your expertise on niche forums to gain positive reviews. Lastly, follow the tips mentioned above to craft a well-thought-out marketing strategy to encourage users to download and start using your app.

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