Acquiring interested users for your mobile app is no easy task. Clutter from millions of companies bombards potential users from nearly every angle. For a new app, it’s tough to cut through and stand out.
Plus, it can be costly to reach your target users.
Apps need a compelling value proposition as well as an effective marketing strategy to succeed.
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about marketing a mobile app. You’ll discover advanced tactics that you can infuse into your marketing plan today.
Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to discuss why a cohesive strategic plan is necessary for marketing a mobile app.
Why Do You Need a Marketing Plan For Your Mobile App?
Building a mobile app from scratch is only half the battle.
You need to find users who are interested in it too.
There are many challenges marketers need to overcome when marketing an app.
First, there’s plenty of competition in the app market. Over 3.5 million apps are available in the Google Play Store, and over 1.6 million are available in the App Store.
That’s a lot of options for users to choose from. You need to entice users to download your app instead of other similar apps in the same category.
After you post and optimize your app in the app store, you still need to find your users.
This requires having the right targeting, copy, and creative in place. Getting one of those wrong can have detrimental effects on your app download campaign.
With the wrong targeting, you can focus your efforts in the wrong place.
With the wrong copy or creative, you could be reaching your prospective users but not having enough of a hook to fully entice them to download.
Remember, downloading an app is a commitment for users. They only have so much space on their phone and it takes a few steps to convert.
However, acquiring users is only half the battle of your marketing strategy. Retaining them is just as important.
After all, you don’t want to focus on acquiring users that delete the app after a few days.
It is essential to have ongoing evergreen tactics to make sure that users stay connected to the app and continue to use it on a daily or weekly basis.
With an effective marketing campaign, you can reach your target audience and drive downloads and engagement at a low cost.
How Does a Mobile App Marketing Strategy Work?
There is a continuous cycle that marketers experience when trying to attract and retain app users.
It’s never ideal if you acquire a bunch of dormant users. You need the right balance of active users that grow with you as you scale.
However, there are critical steps that must happen in order to nudge a user toward conversion.
The process begins in the awareness phase when users begin to discover your app. Once they see your value proposition and believe it your app has value, they’ll download it. This is the acquisition phase.
Now that you have them, it’s important to retain those to continue to use the app. For those who drop off, you may need to launch re-engagement campaigns to win them back.
Each phase requires different strategies and tactics. Let’s dive into each one in more depth.
Marketing a Mobile App: Fundamental Tactics
No matter what industry you’re in, there are battle-tested tactics that you can use in each phase of the mobile app marketing process.
However, it’s important to know which tactic is useful for the current stage you’re in.
Let’s take a closer look at the awareness, acquisition, retention, and re-engagement stages, as well as the common types of tactics associated with each.
The first step is to make sure your target audience knows about your app. That’s where an awareness marketing campaign comes into play.
There are many types of awareness tactics you can deploy:
- SEO: Producing optimized articles with relevant SEO keywords that are indexed in search engines
- Social Media Marketing: Building an online community of passionate fans who engage with interesting, original content
- Paid Advertising: Promoting brand content through paid social ads, search engine marketing, native ads, and display ads
- Influencer Marketing: Partnering with micro and macro influencers to share your app with their followers
- Content Marketing: Highlighting your app’s value and features in short-form blogs and long-form guides
Next, you want to nudge your prospective user closer to converting. These types of campaigns are called acquisition campaigns.
Some of the best acquisition tactics include:
- App Store Optimization (ASO): Making sure your app is using the right keywords and tags that users are searching for
- Giveaways: Promising your future users a chance for a prize in place of downloading
- Landing Page: Adding user proof and ensuring there’s an optimized place to collect potential users’ email addresses and info
- Paid Advertising: Launching effective conversion-based ads on social media sites and search engines
Finally, once you acquire your users, you need to retain them.
It is your job to keep them engaged. After all, it’ll be more costly to go find other users to replace them.
A few of the top retention tactics include:
- Push Notifications: Sending out native app messages to your users who opted in to highlight new features or get them to open the app
- Engagement: Providing offers, loyalty programs, referrals, or constant communication to your audience
- Personalization: Customizing your content based on user preference
- Regular Updates: Announcing new app updates to your user base in hopes they will try them out
- Chat Support: Providing users with a channel to give feedback or adding a helpful chatbot to your app or site
All of these tactics are important for acquiring and nurturing users.
Let’s dive into a few advanced tactics that you should incorporate into your mobile app marketing strategy today.
13 Advanced Tactics For Marketing A Mobile App
There are so many ways to market a mobile app.
Here are some effective tactics that have generated success for various published apps in the market today.
1. Promote Your App on TikTok
As one of the most popular social media sites, TikTok is a ripe channel with many engaged users who could be interested in your app.
The best way to create content on TikTok is to identify trends and test out different styles of content on your page to see what works.
There are also a variety of paid ad campaigns you can run, including brand takeovers, top view ads, in-feed ads, branded hashtags, and branded effects.
Tips for Marketing Your App on TikTok
- Your video doesn’t have to be the most professionally-shot piece of content ever. Instead, make a compelling, genuine pitch and showcase your app.
- Partner with a TikTok creator to amplify your post. You can do this by paying them, giving them an exclusive link to share with their followers, or providing them with unique access.
- Don’t forget that content that works on other social networks doesn’t always work on TikTok. Create original, native content specifically for the platform.
2. Implement an App Localization Strategy
Localization is the process of making your app work in a variety of local environments.
This could involve changing the language or even the technical settings based on the specs of different devices.
Consider the importance of coding your app in multiple languages. As more versions of your app become available around the world, more people can access it.
This dramatically opens up your total addressable market.
The market will grow larger if your app is compatible with every device. If you are heavily reliant on an Apple app, you should consider investing in an Android app as well.
By focusing on creating different versions of your app — both for various languages and devices — you can make sure you are expanding your market and reaching new people.
After all, everyone should get the chance to enjoy your creation.
3. Post on Product Hunt
Product Hunt is the go-to site for new product launches.
Thousands of products are featured on the site when they launch. Founders can sign up for free and create a listing for their product.
As people review it, they can vote for it. This sends a signal to the Product Hunt algorithm, and the product rises in the ranks.
It is considered prestigious in tech circles to be ranked #1 on Product Hunt when you launch.
Featuring your app on this site could result in tens of thousands of new users — but only if the launch is executed correctly.
Tips for a Successful Product Hunt Launch
- Launch your listing early in the morning, right after midnight on the West Coast. This gives you an entire day to focus on driving “upvotes,” and you can generate a solid amount before the West Coast even wakes up.
- Plan a coordinated campaign across all your channels for how you’ll want to promote your Product Hunt listing.
4. Build Excitement on Twitter
Twitter’s tech-savvy audience is another important channel to use for your app awareness and acquisition campaigns.
You should consider leveraging Twitter’s organic and paid features to drive downloads.
In your organic feed, you can foster a community that is unified around your mission or the type of problems that the app solves.
In addition, you can run Twitter ads that are set up in a way to drive downloads for your app.
Take a look at this view in Twitter’s Tweet Composer:
By selecting the app destination for your ad, Twitter can detect which type of mobile user is engaging with the ad, and it will serve them the appropriate download link.
Tips for Driving Downloads on Twitter
- Create engaging content, including screenshots and videos from your app, to share on Twitter.
- Use Twitter’s Advanced Search function to target specific users with high influence who may be interested.
- Test out a Twitter Ad campaign. There is a specific App Install destination that you can select, which creates a customizable Twitter card.
5. Make Podcast Appearances
Many podcasts have engaged audiences who will be influenced by the host and the guest.
It’s challenging to start a podcast, so you should work with ones that are fully off the ground and have an engaged following.
As those engaged audiences listen to an ad or get an endorsement from a host, they will be inclined to download the app.
Pitch popular and niche podcasts that are aligned with your industry.
If you get the chance to appear on the show, take advantage and share what you are building with the loyal listeners.
Tips for Marketing Your Mobile App on a Podcast
- Focus on the value that your app will provide to its users and state it clearly for them. Be concise and compelling when sharing your value proposition.
- Have the host give a review of the app on the air or an endorsement. Their credibility with their listeners is essential for driving more downloads.
6. Start Discussions on Reddit
Reddit’s niche communities that are often focused on a specific topic make it a perfect channel for marketing a mobile app.
Since each community is focused on a singular topic, it’s easy to find relevant users who may be interested in your app.
Use Reddit’s search function to explore keywords related to your app. Participate in the conversation by engaging with other posters and by providing valuable insight.
After a while in the forum, you can share what you’re building and link to your site to see if any viewers are interested.
Be careful that you aren’t being too promotional, though. The Reddit community isn’t your marketing channel; you don’t want to hog the microphone.
Natively weave in mentions of what you’re building in an authentic way.
Tips for Marketing Your App on Reddit
- Post on relevant subreddits that have 100+ active community members. Even if the group is small, it can still drive valuable downloads.
- Get user feedback from those in the community. Ask them what they think of your app. They will feel a closer attachment to it when they feel like they are contributing to its success.
- Promote the app in r/Apple. The channel allows developers to promote their work on Sundays.
- Create your own subreddit once the app has launched and gained traction. You can begin to build a community of passionate users with a shared interest in your app.
7. Post on Hacker News
Hacker News is a media site owned by Y Combinator, one of the most-renowned startup cohorts in the world.
For many people around the world, Hacker News is a site they check nearly every day. Posting your app launch on there is a great way to get many eyeballs on your product.
Don’t simply exploit Hacker News and use it as the sole promotional vehicle for your app.
Engage in conversations and make meaningful connections with users on the site.
Tips for Posting on Hacker News
- You don’t always need to have a new post devoted to you or your app. Instead, look at the existing ones and engage in the comment sections.
- Coordinate with other posters to engage with your post if you do create a standalone post.
8. Join Discord Communities
Discord communities are often informal communities centered around a specific topic.
As Discord’s growth continues to soar, so will its value as a viable marketing channel.
By integrating yourself into the community, you may make the right relationships to accelerate your app’s growth.
- Don’t just join and spam the community. Take time to invest and contribute. Make relationships. Get feedback. Share your app when it’s the right time.
- Ask community members to share the app with their networks.
9. Partner with YouTubers
YouTube is another channel to showcase your app. What better way for someone to learn about it than from a YouTuber they adore or an engaging demo video?
There are two different ways to promote your app on YouTube: organically or through paid tactics.
Organic tactics involve targeting relevant keywords your audience will be searching or partnering with a creator.
Paid tactics include running sponsored ads or paying an influencer to talk about your app in a video.
Tips for Marketing Your App on YouTube
- Publish a demo video of your app and a video of you explaining why you created it.
- Reach out to growing YouTubers in your niche to see if they’d test your app or promote it in their videos. If you have the resources, contact larger YouTubers for paid partnerships and sponsored ads.
10. Write on Indie Hackers
Indie Hackers is a go-to media site for tech adopters and builders. Getting your app featured on this site can drive downloads in a meaningful way.
Similar to Product Hunt and Hacker News, you should coordinate with other posters to engage with your post once it goes live.
Tips for Promoting Your App on Indie Hackers
- Partner with an Indie Hackers influencer who has connections within the community. The more respected and the longer they’ve been involved—the better it will be to get their endorsement.
- Share your story in a genuine way in the forum. Why did you create the app? What are you trying to solve? What is your vision for the app’s future?
11. Get Real-World Feedback
Gather feedback and invite others in your life to try the app.
Wherever you are, try to get strangers, colleagues, and friends to download the app and share their experiences.
Share on your personal social media channels and encourage those around you to do the same. Make it your mission to get a few people to download your app everywhere you go.
- Collect opinions and user experience feedback from people in social environments, universities, cafes, and other spaces.
- Offer small rewards — virtual currency in the app, free trials or promo items — to those who are willing to download on the spot.
- Partner with colleges for user testing to get a lot of students to download at once.
12. Establish a Beta User Group
Get feedback from those who are using your app for the first time. What do they like and dislike? How do they experience what you create?
A beta group can act like a core focus group that provides valuable insights.
As the leader, though, you should make sure you structure the meetings with the intent to make sure you get the insights you need.
This is great for testing, feedback, and word-of-mouth promotion.
Tips for Your Beta Group
- Use friends, peers, and social media platforms to establish a beta user base. It’s also valuable to invite those who do not know you or what you’re building. A fresh set of eyes is always important for unfiltered feedback.
- Create a virtual beta user group community using a platform like Discord or Slack. Keep in touch with your group and gather feedback in real time.
13. Create Burst Campaigns
Burst campaigns are accelerated paid advertising campaigns that involve getting your app in front of as many people as possible in a short window (1-2 days).
Facebook app ads are great ways to target relevant users. You can pay per download and promote your app download links with a custom Facebook card.
- Test and optimize your ads daily. Scale up once you are continuously hitting a cost per download that you are comfortable with.
- Set up custom events in Facebook Ad Manager so you know if your ads are effective.
Marketing a mobile app requires consistent coordination across many channels.
For many, you’re in it for the long haul. A cohesive app marketing campaign isn’t a sprint but rather a marathon.
Savvy marketers have a variety of tactics ready to go once the app launches. And using Kinsta’s application hosting, you can deploy your app in minutes.
As you find out what works, you can optimize and begin to grow your user base.
Discover how you can deploy your app with Kinsta faster and more efficiently.