Mobile app marketing nyu school of continuing education
Mobile App MarketingUsing Paid, Owned and Earned media to drivedownloads and build engagementMarch 14, 2013
About me• Co-author of “Mobile Marketing: An Hour a Day• www.mobileanhouraday.com• www.rachelpasqua.com• @rachelpasqua• email@example.com• www.facebook.com/rachelpasqua• www.linkedin.com/in/rachelpasqua• 15 years digital experience• 12 years mobile experience
Today’s discussion• The new digital ecosystem"• The mobile app lifecycle" • Ideation" • Validation" • Design and development" • Beta testing" • Finalization and QA"• Launch Plan" • Paid" • Owned" • Earned"• Results"• FAQ"
The digital ecosystem in 2013 Laptop Desktop Digital Out Of Home, Theaters, Connected TV Tablet Smartphones Phablets Apps Wearable Connected Ambient SurfacesDigital Kiosks Social Machines Technology Connected Cars Consoles
It was a lot easier… • Why mobile, why now? …when our biggest worry was“Does it work in Internet Explorer ona Mac?”
But change is good……and everything evolves. Even media.
And really, there no such thing as “mobile media”…or social media, for that matter. The way we use digital to connect withbrands and one another is inherentlysocial.The platforms through which we do it,increasingly diverse.
So, how do brands navigate… …across divergent channels, platforms and devices?
It starts with understanding that it’s not about smartphones… …it’s about people…
…about engaging the right users in the rightplace, at the right time with the right contentthrough through a multitude of digitally enableddevices, objects, and locations. Multiple touchpoints One responsive brand.
Apps occupy a special place in this ecosystemWhile mobile users (smartphone and tablet) prefer a mobilewebsite in earlier phases of the customer journey, theygravitate towards apps once they’ve established arelationship with a brand. More convenient 55% Faster 48%85% of people surveyed by Compuware Corporation Easier to browse 40% in March 2013 said they prefer mobile apps over Better UX 28%mobile sites, according to a consumer survey of Easier to check 27% 3,500. account 26% Easier to shop 3% 11% 1%
Web vs. Apps: the consumer perspectiveMobile users across all verticals typically prefer mobile web sites for initialencounters with a brand. As their loyalty to that brand deepens and engagementincreases, their preference switches to mobile apps. • “If my relationship with a brand is brief or intermittent I probably will not download an app.” • “If my relationship with a brand is intense or long-term —, I would prefer an app.” • “I prefer apps because the user experience is more tailored to my needs—e.g. streamlined info, higher level of usability, ability to save info, no need for a constant data connection, etc.” Consumer feedback on web versus app preference Sourced in aggregate from focus groups and surveys conducted for major US Travel and Hospitality, CPG, Retail, Automotive and Entertainment brands
Web vs. apps: side by side comparison Mobile Web" Mobile Apps"• Key for initial phases but relevant • Most relevant for the Loyalty and Advocacy throughout the customer journey phases• Biggest reach • Limited Reach• Single platform = easiest, fastest • Multiple platforms = complex development development cycle cycles• Streamlined maintenance • Updates contingent on app store approvals• Rich, touch-centric UIs possible • Most complex UIs possible• Limited information caching • Ofﬂine information caching• Data connection required • Data connection optional• Limited connectivity to hardware • Connectivity to hardware such as the camera
Web vs. app: beneﬁtsWell-designed mobile site content can be a springboard tomobile app development later, creating efﬁciencies of cost,design, and time to market. Design and Deploy native applications Develop/modify develop mobile that utilize select elements existing web page templates of existing mobile web services for mobile and content content and services Key Considerations"• Apps provide a preferred experience for loyalty but service a smaller subset of users.• Apps present a more expensive development landscape and are more costly to maintain. • The reach and relevance of the browser makes it the best starting point.• Properly developed mobile web services and content create a springboard for mobile apps.• Well-designed mobile web sites can mirror an app-like look and feel.
The mobile application lifecycle A successful mobile app starts with a good idea – but making that idea a reality is a complex process. To succeed in this competitive space, brands must understand the full extent of the mobile app lifecycle, from content strategy to post-launch marketing. Usability Content Testing Strategy Results applied to dev. processResearch Bought Media Development Launch Plan Beta Testing Validation Dev & QA Ideation Earned Media Design & Owned Media Pre-launch Content Strategy Post-launch Media Strategy Active Listening & Analysis
Success = Downloads + EngagementIn iTunes and Google Play, visibility is based almost entirely onhow many downloads an app generates on a daily basis. Userengagement is rumored to matter to some small extent but anapp’s visibility is mostly about volume. Rank = + + + Today’s Yesterday’s Downloads from Recent Downloads Downloads 2 days ago Usage/EngagementHowever, engagement is the end goal for all content owners—downloads are meaningless without engagement.A successful app marketing strategy must drive high volume downloadsand encourage repeat usage.
Visibility and buzz drives downloadsA high percentage of searches for apps happen outside of traditional searchchannels such as Google. A successful app marketing strategy focuses onoptimization of both traditional and non-traditional search in reaching the rightpotential users. 80% How do you discover the apps you download – choose all that apply (% of respondents) 70% iOS 60% Android 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Browsing through Searching for a Word of mouth Seeing ads while News articles or A brand I know Other top app store specific type of app using other apps blogs introduces an app to rankings me
Great content and outreach drive engagementEngagement is always the end goal—an always-on connection with a user and apermanent spot on their mobile desktop.Most brands fail in this regard—the average app is used a handful of times before beingdeleted. Less than 10% of apps see repeat usage 6 weeks after download. Retained mobile app users per month – Android and iOS Stats courtesy of Flurry, February 2010 50% 45% 40% iOS 35% Android 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0% Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6
Content strategy = engagement26% of app users are loyal customers—the ones that will use your app consistentlybecome and stay connected with your brand. Content Strategy focuses on identifying, understanding, and communicating withthese customers and using their insight to inform app development and marketing. Active Listening Monitoring conversations in key social spaces about a brand/app.
Media strategy = downloadsA carefully curated combination of Paid, Earned, and Owned media create thedownloads required for natural visibility and creates a consistent level ofawareness that captures new users. Earned Media Paid Media Blogs, Directories and Targeted mobile advertising other earned channels campaigns generate the high- promote awareness and volume downloads required to brand advocacy. achieve rank. .com Owned Media Brand Web site, branded content and social spaces support natural search visibility and awareness.
Ideation: coming up with an app concept." idea for Zynked was born when two Apple geeks couldntTheﬁnd an RSS Reader that suited their needs. In the fall of 2009,there were 50+ RSS apps in iTunes...… but most had limited functionality and relatively poor design. Richard, a designer, and David, a developer, thought they could do much better.
Validation: making sure the concept has legsBut Dave and Rich knew that just because you have a great ideadoesn’t mean it will make a great app—market and competitive researchwere kept in convincing them that the app had true potential. In the process they: • Looked at 5-10 competitive apps and reviewed their features, pricing, and marketing efforts • Assessed the marketing and promotional efforts for these apps • Looked at the behaviors of their target audience to see if their proposed app truly fulﬁlled a need or desire • Compiled a list of business objective they wanted their app to fullﬁll
Design & Develop: documenting process Dave and Rich compiled their research into documentation that would deﬁne and steer the project—an App Deﬁnition Statement App Deﬁnition Statement This document clearly deﬁnes: • Who the intended audience is • What the app does • User experience • Content sourcing & approach • Tools, functions and features • Criteria for success (KPIs)Proper documentation enables you to remain focused on your original goals as you move throughdesign and development.
Design & Develop: production Dave and Rich compiled their research into documentation that woulddeﬁne and steer the project—a Business Requirements document and aFunctional Requirements document. Functional Speciﬁcations Delivered in the form of annotated wireframes, functional specs give designers and developers a clear framework to build upon. Design Development Development of creative Development of all code, Concurrent assets—e.g. logo, color Processes either through native SDK or palettes, page layouts, use of an app development navigational schemes and all tool kit such as PhoneGap. other supporting imagery.
Test: vet your app with the intended audience When a beta was ready, they asked a few friends who matchedZynked’s target audience to test it, asking them questions like: • Is it easy to navigate? • Are the tools user-friendly? • What feeds and categories we should add? • What social sharing tools should be included? • Do feeds load quickly? • Are there tools or content that are missing? The resulting feedback was applied to the ﬁnal build of the application.
Pre-launch take-awaysIdeate• Understand your audience• Focus on the user ﬁrst and the brand second • Understand the tools and content that will appeal to your targetValidation• Make sure there is a market for your idea• Understand the competitive environment• Use your research to create compelling content and featuresDesign and Develop• Document your process• Choose the appropriate dev pathUser testing• Vet a beta with your target audience and apply their feedback to iterative development and improvements
Zynked launched in November of 2009The developers knew they had built the very best RSS readerapp for iPhone.Clearly, their high-quality app would outsell the competition.
But it didn’t. Not even close." • Zynked went on sale for $2.99. • Sold 1,723 copies in the ﬁrst three weeks. • By week 4, downloads had plummeted to almost zero. Stats showed that Zynked owners were heavy daily users and App Store reviews were positive—quality was not the issue. The issue was visibility. The initial friends & family download rush had subsided and Zynked had sunk so deep in iTunes that no one was seeing it.
So how could Zynked stand out?Because you can’t buy what you can’t ﬁnd. Appearing in the New & What’s Hot sections or Top lists is a sureﬁre way to get downloads. Unfortunately, it’s also a matter of sheer luck or having a close connection with Apple.
It’s a crowded and complex ecosystemIf you aren’t featured, your best bet is to appear on page 1 and no deeperthan page 2 of your two categories. You also want to appear within the toptwo pages of results when someone searches for your keywords."Achieving this depends heavily—if not entirely—on the numberdownloads you have. At 10+ pages deep, Zynked was practically invisible.
So content owners face a catch-22" To get downloads, you need high visibility. And to get high visibility, you need downloads. To achieve this, you have two options: 1million sold!Strike a deal directly with Apple to be Make great apps, sell a lot offeatured in iTunes and/or advertising them and keep users comingcampaigns—cost prohibitive for many back—easier said than done.and unachievable for most.
Success = leveraging Paid, Earned, & Owned media The key to driving downloads and engagement is tocreate the right combination of Paid, Earned and Ownedmedia for each unique application.
PaidTargeted rich media, display, and search advertisingdesigned to drive high-volume downloads from users that have ahigh potential for long-term engagement.OwnedOptimization of app store landing pages, desktopwebsites, email, PR, and development of custom contentand campaigns to raise awareness. EarnedCultivation of positive sentiment and word of mouth throughsocial channels and inﬂuencer outreach to raise awarenessand increase engagement.
A symbiotic balancePaid is traditionally used to drive the initial downloads required for visibility. Earnedand Owned media create an organic framework that drives awareness andengagement over the long term. As Earned and Owned ramp up, Paid efforts canbe scaled down to a maintenance level. LAUNCH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 ….. Paid Paid Paid Paid Earned & Earned & Owned Earned & Owned Earned & Owned Owned Ongoing conversational analysis and reporting
Pre-launch: Paid Media PlanningPaid media (mobile SEM, display etc.) create a multiplier effect,generating the high volume of downloads that result in high rank andnatural search visibility within app stores. Insight into a client’s brand, competitors, and audience inform thePaid Media Plan, a mixture of mobile display, mobile SEM, and uniqueniche advertising opportunities that drive the initial download pushand reach an audience uniquely suited to the app. Lots of Downloads Pre-launch activities include: • Development of targeting criteria • Assessment of advertising opportunities • Negotiation with networks & publishers • Plan and budget compilation Easy High Discovery App Store For Users Rank
Paid Media: Premium OptionsA signiﬁcant Bought media spend—say, a $50K+ per month for the ﬁrst6-8 weeks post launch can generate enough downloads to propel an appinto the top 25 apps in its main category or higher. Many of the topnetworks now offer specialized cost-per-download or cost per installcampaigns for app promotion.
Paid Media: Affordable OptionsSince Zynked had a very small media budget, we explored moreaffordable options, including paid video demos, incentivized reviews, andbanner ads on app directories. High App Store Rank
Post-Launch: Campaign ManagementPaid media campaigns are queued up to launch in exact conjunction with app storeapproval and are calibrated to drive as many downloads as possible in the ﬁrst few weeksafter launch to boost app store visibility both categorically and for speciﬁc keywords.A wide variety of paid media ecosystems may be included: • Google Search ads for apps • Premium, Blind, and Premium • YouTube ads and paid reviews Blind mobile ad networks • Incentivized download networks • Video ad networks • Mobile app directories • Mobile gaming networks • Mobile review sites
Pre-launch: Owned Media Planning43% of users discover mobile apps via their mobile device1 making high categorical andkeyword visibility within app stores essential for success. Focus pre-launch efforts oncreating highly SEO optimized app store content, the foremost “owned” space for contentproviders.Careful attention is also paid to creating optimized promotional content in other ownedspaces such as the brand web site, corporate blogs and forums, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Pre-launch activities include: • Keyword analysis • Final keyword list • App store metadata content • App store landing page copy • Development of optimized copy for • Brand web site • Twitter • Facebook • Email launch announcement Retained mobile strategy team members to provide:" • Optimization of press release copy • Quarterly roadmap updates" • Training workshops" • Assessment of additional promotional • Industry trends and analysis" opportunities using owned content and spaces • Internal playbooks and best practices" 1 – The State of Mobile Apps, The Nielsen Company. Sep 13, 2010
Owned Media: App Store Real EstateThe most important owned space is your app store landing page – this iswhere the majority of users convert! The key is to ensure that it containsall the right keywords and content to attract people searching for yourparticular type of app.An estimated 80% of app search happenswithin the App store.
Owned Media: Keyword ResearchFor Zynked, we identiﬁed the top RSS apps, assessed their content andcompared the keywords used to those used for Zynked. This enabled us toadd what was missing as well as to assess opportunities to add a fewstrong keywords that no one else had. App Store SERPs show 5 results per search above the fold on smartphones and 12 on tablets. The process of digging deeper than the ﬁrst page is very cumbersome, increasing users’ reliance on ﬁrst-page results.
Most app stores use an exact search model The words placed in the search box by the consumer must all be found inone of your searchable ﬁelds. Understanding how consumers search foryou here is extremely important. Example: a search for “NY Times” vs. a search for “NY Times paper”
Owned Media: App Metadata Keep in mind that you can only change certain metadata when you submit a new build—but you can’t submit a new build just to change the metadata. Up to 4000 characters for App Description but no more than 700 recommended (not searchable but visible to users via iTunes)99 characters only forkeywords including spacesand commas (hidden) Up to 250 Company name (hidden) characters for App Name
Owned Media: Categorical PositioningZynked kept News as the primary category but switched the secondarycategory from Utilities to Productivity where there is more demand formedia-management tools.
Owned Media: Brand Web Site, Microsites An app should have a dedicated, search- optimized page on the brand Web site that illustrates beneﬁts and links directly to the download page in iTunes—these awareness elements create rich SEO content.
Post-Launch: Owned Media ManagementPost-launch owned media activities focus on ongoing SEO, content development andother optimization of owned media and spaces such as the .com web site, Twitter andFacebook accounts and other digital and ofﬂine assets.Post-launch owned media management can include: • Video production, seeding, and promotion • Facebook community management • Email outreach • Twitter tweets and contests • Contests and sweepstakes
Pre-Launch: Earned Media PlanningEarned media focuses on driving awareness of the app across the web, primarily through blogsand directories creating an organic framework for awareness AND engagement.Key inﬂuencers introduce the app to new audiences, keeping it top of mind outside of the app storeand the content owner’s social graph, creating opportunities for growth. Pre-launch activities include: • Assessment of target blogs and directories • Development of review request email
Earned Media: Directory Submission" Zynked paid for expedited placement in the directories we deemedmost valuable. This effort was key in driving trafﬁc back to our ownedspace (landing page) in the App Store.
Earned Media: Inﬂuencer Outreach We contacted high proﬁle mobile app and gadget blogs with a promo code and a polite request for a review on their Web site and in iTunes. We also invested in several press releases. Premium app developers should always include a promo code that enables the reviewer to obtain a free copy. Apple provides you with 50 promo codes for this purposewith submission of a new app or an update.
Earned: Relationship & Link Building " We followed up on our requests for listings and/or reviews to ensure that we had back links in place to our App Store landing page and Web site.Any content that mentions an app favorably isan opportunity to drive downloads – buildinglinks to these sites is an important part of appmarketing strategy (mentions should alwaysinclude the iTunes direct download link).
Earned Media: Twitter40% of tweets come from a mobile device – these users are 1 click awayfrom a download. For Zynked, we created a unique Twitter identity buttweeting from your brand account can be just as effective. Tweeting regularly about an app, or, if appropriate, creating a unique Twitter identity for an app, generates general awareness and spreads the word.
Earned Media: Facebook "Here we posted about the new version, its features and the many beneﬁts ofusing Zynked, plus our ideas for the next release. For brands with an existingFacebook Page a custom tab is also a great idea. Dedicated Facebook pages and/or tabs enable app developers to generate awareness and keep fans up to date on new features and content.
Earned Media: Social Sharing ToolsThis turned every user into a brand ambassador and every tweet andshare into an endorsement for Zynked within their social graph.
Post-launch: Earned Media ExecutionInﬂuencer outreach commences directly upon app store approval. Bloggers andjournalists ranging from from nationally-known app review sites to niche, industry-speciﬁc blogs are targeted with review requests within one week of launch via emailwith follow-up communications extending for several weeks thereafter. Post-launch activities include: • Monitoring of media channels for positive mentions of the application • Securing backlinks from positive reviews • Establishing a positive, ongoing rapport with writers who have responded favorably to secure future reviews
Post-Launch: ReportingPost-launch, categorical and keyword-based rank is tracked across iTunes on a dailybasis and compared to a number of key competitors to assess the success ofcampaign efforts. Launch Monthly Analysis Summaries Final Recommenda7ons • Rank tracking and analysis • Review of media menDons and directory start • RecommendaDons for when the app goes lives lisDngs ongoing paid, earned and • Review of daily app store rank across owned eﬀorts based on app categories and keywords versus 2-‐3 top performance compeDtors Application First Report Second Report Summary Launch Report
Zynked ran Paid Media for 1 month.The effect on rank and sales was obvious - from an average of 0-5downloads per day to between 50-70. But once the spend was over,sales went right back to almost zero. Daily downloads from January 15th 2010 to February 18 2010 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
Campaign ResultsIn one month of paid media placements and incentivized reviews,Zynked went from less than 20 downloads per month to 700.But the content owners were still barely breaking even. Price of Zynked: $2.99 - CPA: $1.99 Proﬁt: $1.00 rev share: $.89 - 30% Apple Final Proﬁt: $.11 Note: Apple’s rev share is 30% of sales – not 30% of proﬁt
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 15-‐Jan 16-‐Jan 17-‐Jan 18-‐Jan 19-‐Jan 20-‐Jan 21-‐Jan 22-‐Jan 23-‐Jan 24-‐Jan 25-‐Jan 26-‐Jan Downloads Rank 27-‐Jan 28-‐Jan 29-‐Jan 30-‐Jan but we never cracked the top 50. 31-‐Jan Daily downloads + rank from January 15th 2010 to February 18 2010 1-‐Feb 2-‐Feb 3-‐Feb 4-‐Feb 5-‐Feb 6-‐Feb 7-‐Feb 8-‐Feb 9-‐Feb 10-‐Feb 11-‐Feb 12-‐Feb As our downloads increased our rank moved into double-digits 13-‐Feb 14-‐Feb Increased sales did equal increased visibility 15-‐Feb
Meanwhile, Earned and Owned ramped upDespite a noticeable dip when the Paid campaign ended, we began to seeanother uptick as the Earned and Owned tactics fell into place. Zynked never rosehigher than 6 pages deep again, and the numbers were lower by half but we stillsaw consistent downloads over time through Earned and Owned efforts alone. Daily downloads from February 19th 2010 to March 22, 2010 30 25 20 15 10 5 0
In the end, Zynked became a free application. In the Spring of 2010, we withdrew the premium version of Zynked and re-launched as a free app with iAD. This version generated more proﬁts than the premium version ever did. The efforts of a sustained Paid, Earned and Owned media strategy were too much for a small mom & pop content owner. But there’s no question that they worked.
Key take-aways for launching a new app • Do your keyword research assess competitors and similar apps – don’t rely solely on brand keywords • Use that research to build keyword rich app store metadata • Create a list of target blogs and app directoriesPre-launch • Create a dedicated Web page or separate site for your app • Plan and budget your Bought media • Plan your Twitter strategy • Plan your Facebook strategy • Test a beta with your target audience – and be ready to make some adjustments based on their feedback • Integrate sharing tools into the interface of your app • Submit to app directories • Reach out to inﬂuential bloggers and request reviewsPost-launch • Use Google alerts to keep track of every mention of your app • Request back links from every place your app is favorably mentioned • Tweet, blog and post to Facebook • Engage your users and respond to their feedback • Apply what you learn to future iterations of your app
3 key tips for improving an existing app Assess your visibility inside the App Store/s • Are your keywords on target? • Have you created engaging and keyword-rich App Store content? Assess your visibility outside the App Store/s • Is your app listed in the popular directories? • Has it been reviewed by top app sites and blogs?" Have you created branded web content to promote it? • Do you know where your app is being mentioned? • Are you using your social spaces to maximize awareness? Connect with your customers • Conduct usability testing to validate your content • Engage your customers in social spaces • Listen to what they have to say • Enable them to evangelize your product throughout their social graph • …and connect with inﬂuencers who can spread the word
Mobile app marketing program snapshotContent marketing strategy in the pre-launch phase and tactical execution ofmarketing initiatives post launch. Pre and post launch initiatives work in harmonyto drive download and engagements. 1 3 4 5 6 MONTH 2 … Usability Market Ongoing content strategy testing Research Content Strategy Promotional campaign and Promotional campaign execution and content planning & development content seeding Bought media planning Ongoing campaign execution, Bought Ad asset concepting & creative management and reporting LAUNCH App store Post-launch SEO Keywords and metadata and (link building & optimization) SEO Planning Owned copy Owned Media Recommendations Engagement in Social Spaces (Web site, social spaces) Outreach planning Earned Inﬂuencer & Directory Outreach Optimization of PR, Email etc.Active Listening Dashboards
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