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A mobile-first world: How to make your app stand out in 2023

Mobile first world - app on mobile

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Grete Ling, head of growth at App Radar, an app marketing and analytics platform, discusses her top tips to boost your app marketing strategy in the new year.

Grete is a proud Estonian (a tiny country with the highest amount of Unicorns per capita) and always integrates the idea of “born global” into her marketing strategies. Since 2011, she’s been working in Europe and the US with SMEs taking their businesses global. She believes in collaborative teamwork and looking at user acquisition strategically as one big picture.

GRETE LING, HEAD OF GROWTH AT APP RADAR

At App Radar, she’s keen on supporting app developers and marketers in achieving global success, no matter their budget. Currently loving the journey of growing one of the leading app marketing companies in Europe. Happy to chat about growing apps, SaaS marketing and all things startups.

DID YOU KNOW THAT 88% OF MOBILE TIME IS SPENT WITHIN APPS?

Whether it is shopping, gaming, reading or working, the world is increasingly becoming a mobile-first world. That’s why for many businesses, the performance of their app can be the difference between commercial success and failure.

It isn’t enough though to have just great features and the best user experience. You need to be able to get your app from the app store into the phones of your customers. And with the app market being so competitive, this is no easy task. 

Thankfully, app store marketing and optimisation has really matured as a market over the past few years and there are now more tools and data available to help you get a competitive edge.

So if you’re looking to get your app ahead of the curve, here are my top tips to make your app stand out in 2023. 

THE DAYS OF PURE ORGANIC GROWTH ARE OVER

This is one of the main new trends we are noticing at App Radar. While a few years ago app store optimisation (ASO) may have been the most important part of your app marketing strategy, to stay competitive in the busy app marketing landscape, you need to power up your User Acquisition (UA) strategy. This does not mean that ASO is no longer important – it sure is – but it has to be combined with your paid user acquisition strategy for an app’s sustainable growth as both have the main goal to drive quality conversions while maintaining a low cost per conversion.

With a good ASO foundation, paid user acquisition can lead to more organic app installs. Ads will bring new attention to your app store listing. The more installs your app generates, the higher your app will be ranked in the app stores. As a result, it increases visibility across search results and browse sections. Due to increased visibility, more and more users will land in your organic store listing and download your app.

A successful strategy is about understanding the correlation between ASO and paid user acquisition efforts, which leads us to the next point. 

TEST, TEST, TEST! 

After putting a lot of effort into optimising your UA, don’t just sit back and hope to see perfect results. Throughout the campaign you should be analysing your marketing performance and asking the right questions. You’d probably like to know what impact your latest app store update had. Did the new texts and creatives bring you more users and conversions? Or was it your paid UA traffic that led to an increase or decrease?

Different factors can play a significant role in affecting your app marketing efforts. Let’s take a look at one example – 

Experiencing a drop in app installs may look frightening at first. The good news though is that there usually is an explanation, and a solution! 

One crucial impact factor you need to consider is paid user acquisition efforts. When you notice a decrease in downloads, you should first check whether you had ads running during that specific time. Ads can bring a significant amount of traffic to your app, and once you stop or reduce them, this might have a substantial effect on your results. Check the correlation between organic and paid conversions, and then analyse how your paid conversions impact your total growth and understand whether an increase in installs might be due to reduced Google App Campaigns or Apple Search Ads.

What should you do now? First, try to get a better picture of the situation by looking at the last 30 or 90 days timeframe and understanding how significant the impact was. If pausing your Google App Campaigns or Apple Search Ads greatly decreased your installs, you should consider re-activating the ads.

YOUR APP SHOULDN’T BE AN ISLAND – CONNECT IT TO YOUR WIDER BRAND IMAGE

When building out your app campaigns it is well worth viewing them from the overall brand and marketing mix point of view. This of course depends on the type of app, but in most cases your app is part of your company’s wider brand image. For example, how do your app store and in-app campaigns fit together with your company’s website presence? And what about PR and social media? These are all separate elements but still should be evaluated and built into a harmonised marketing mix. 

Additionally, when it comes to app stores, users usually search either for a functional term (e.g. calorie counter) or the name of the brand. That’s why it’s important to combine both – increasing your visibility based on the key features and value of your product but also to continue building your brand. In a way, app stores can be seen as your product distribution channels and just having an app listed there won’t take you too far if you are not working on your wider market presence with all the channels available.

To conclude, the app market is more competitive than ever and it can be daunting keeping your finger on the pulse of new and emerging trends in the industry. However, as long as you make sure to look after your ASO foundations, your UA efforts, and actually build a good product, you will be reaping the rewards of 2023 sooner than you thought.

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