With over 150,000 applications on the iTunes App Store and 30,000 apps in the Android Market, it is more important than ever for iPhone and other mobile app developers to approach the marketing of their apps professionally.

iPhone App Marketing: Thousands of iPhone apps compete on the iTunes App Store

Do You Have a Mobile App Marketing Strategy?

Many developers don’t have an app marketing strategy, instead relying solely on the limited marketing provided by app store operators. The iPhone App store, the Android Market and the Windows Mobile Marketplace all promote apps through ‘featured’ and ‘top’ lists.

An app can, for example, be featured on the front page of the iTunes App Store, or in a ‘Top 20’ list in its category. These spots are viewed by millions of iTunes users, which makes them highly lucrative. Getting on one of these spots could spell phenomenal success. Stories of such quick success reverberate throughout the iPhone development community – from Ethan Nicholas’ iShoot, to Joel Comm’s iFart.

However, the competitive reality is that, while getting featured is almost guaranteed to make your app successful, there is no guarantee your app will ever get featured. Of the 150,000 apps in the iTunes App Store, Apple chooses to feature only about 100 on the front page of the store at any one time. At the same time the ‘Top 20’ lists are reserved exclusively to the most-downloaded apps, which in turn earns them more downloads and thus turns this method of promotion into a self-serving cycle that’s almost impossible to break into. Getting featured sells apps, but don’t depend on it.

Mobile App Marketing – Getting Bang for your Buck

This is why it is important to devise a marketing strategy. Step one in your marketing strategy is understanding who your potential customers are, and step two is figuring out how to get your app shown where these eyeballs hang out, while optimising for minimum cost. It sounds simple: advertise your gardening app in gardening-related channels, and your game on gaming-related channels, but what about optimising this process as best as you can? This is where you really need to get professional.

To get the most bang for your buck in advertising, it pays to optimise by cleverly targeting your ads not only to the appropriate demographic, but also at precisely the time they are most likely to purchase your app. Pitching your gardening app in a poster inside the pub, for example, probably won’t work – even if the pub is frequented by gardeners – because even if a patron was interested in your app, they would likely forget about it by the time they get a chance to browse the App Store.

Targeting Mobile App Users

Here are some tips for targeting your mobile app advertising campaigns:

Try in-app advertising

Adverts are shown while users are actively interacting with other iPhone apps – and thus aren’t distracted by socialising or drinking beer! This generally makes for the most cost-effective advertising.

Try targeted online advertising

Online advertising networks such as Google Adwords can target users by keywords and/or by website placement. – You can, for example, place your gardening app ad on a relevant gardening-related website.

Try offline – if you’ve got the budget

While some apps are lucky enough to get free coverage by offline media to great effect, most app developers would have to use commission payable advertising to ever appear in a publication. Paid offline advertising generally does not result in good returns on investment for mobile apps.

That’s because using offline advertising such as Billboards, TV, newspapers is expensive and reaches consumers too far from the App Store. It is akin to advertising beer to wine lovers: Sure if your campaign is exceptionally good you might convert a few – and have them rushing to search for your beer, but why not advertise your beer to beer lovers in the first place? That is, why not target your customers when they are looking at their computer or mobile screen?

Contact FIRST

If you are an iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile or any kind of mobile app developer, we can help with effective online marketing. Contact FIRST for a no-obligation chat.