App Store promotion

Today we would like to talk about modern mobile marketing and challenges one has to face in our times and the reasons behind this. After all, the problem is too big to ignore and it takes a lot of effort to stick out of the crowd and make sure that the application or game starts making money for its developer. It's a long road to reach the audience, and understanding the reasons behind this is important for everyone out there.

In this article we will discuss the reasons behind the challenging situation on the market and also look for solutions to promote iOS apps and games at low cost and possibly without help of a marketing agency. Why? Because with this situation the majority of developers are running on a tight budget. There are bigger costs of various services, and sometimes spending a few days on some task can help an average developer to reach their audience.

Why it's tough to be a mobile developer today

There are several reasons why it's not that easy to stay in mobile business in the last couple of years. Knowing them and keeping them in mind is the first step to stay in business as a mobile developer.

First of all, there are too many apps out there. As of June 2016, there are over two million applications and games released for iOS alone. If we put together all mobile platforms available today, we will have more than 6 million apps and games, which is a crazy number, considering how long the mobile industry have been out there.

Second, the costs of making an app are lower than creating a console or desktop game, which allows even an amateur enthusiast to publish their game out there. We're not saying that's a bad thing – sometimes there are great and innovative applications and games out there which were designed on zero budget and bring something new to the table, but in majority of cases it's hard to deny that the average production values of mobile applications and games are rather low, which makes it harder to reach the higher quality and win the audience for the rest of the developers.

Third, consider that the majority of apps are clones of other popular apps. While this may save the day for some developers, this is going to be a rather big problem for anyone who wants to deliver something unique. Combined with the problems above, it's a big challenge that one needs to overcome through proper marketing and good quality.

And last, but not least – marketing is rather expensive and there are few documented ways on how you can promote your app or game and not all of them are well-documented. This means that the majority of developers either look for ways to fund their marketing campaign and then risk to end up with more problems on their hands than they are willing to take.

Therefore, we would like to suggest a few ways to promote iOS games and applications to you. Some of these moments are applicable to other platforms too so don't hesitate to use them with some changes tied to your platform.

Which marketing methods won't work

Marketing is different for every platform and type of game. There is no “one size fits all” solution for every game and application or any kind of product out there. For example, you can't afford to make long trailers for the mobile application or game because the attention span of the mobile user is too short and the long length doesn't fit the “on the go” nature of the platform.

Keep in mind that the following ways won't work so nicely for mobile platforms:

  • Long trailers – due to the “on the go” nature of the platform and attention span of 4 seconds;
  • Banners on websites – unless you've got a popular brand on your hands, it won't attract much attention;
  • Creating a special website for your app – while it's recommended to keep a website for yourself with the general information about you and links to your apps and games, setting up a new website for each app or game may be unnecessary – especially with additional cost and time spent to set it up.

What is going to work, then?

Here is a list of iPhone app promotion methods we're going to talk about:

  • Quality control;
  • App search optimization;
  • Social media promotion;
  • YouTube celebrities;
  • Localization.

Most of them can be done on your own, but in some cases you will need the help of a marketing agency. Of course, it's up to you to decide which ones you're going to use – after all, nobody else can decide on how you're going to promote your application or game.

Quality control

Pay attention to the quality of your application or game. Before you even start with the marketing of iOS apps you need to have something to promote in the first place. Pay extra attention to the bugs and features – after all, hampering the user experience is not recommended if you want to stay popular and in business. Make sure to:

  • Test the app properly and on as many devices as possible;
  • Let people test your app and see if they notice any problems and see something that you could have missed;
  • Fix every known bug, especially the critical ones, because if these are going to leave some in the application or game, your performance on the market will not be as good as you want it to be – that's a simple fact;
  • Double-check the reviews regularly to see if there are any bug reports. Do the same on official pages and sometimes search for your application or game to see if there are any discussions on external websites;
  • Update your app regularly and notify the users about it. Talking to the community can help a lot, especially when users tend to be ignored by bigger developers.

App search optimization

App Store Optimization (also known as ASO and app search optimization) is a recommended method for those who are struggling with a tight budget but need to promote their app and make it easier to find and also make it more appealing to the target audience. For example, keyword optimization (KWO) is used by researching the relevant keywords and using them in the app description and tags field. Sometimes it's recommended to pick a keyword to use in the app title to maximize the results. Updating them once in a while is a good idea if you want to keep the flow of traffic steady.

Asset optimization, on the other hand, is more about designing more appealing assets (the app icon, screenshots and preview video) to increase the conversion rates. If you're unsure about how you can improve them, consider hiring a designer or a freelancer to take care of these tasks.

Social media promotion

Promotion on social media is a very useful tool for every developer. Start by creating an account on every major social network, such as:

Use them as news hubs for your application or game and communicate with your audience to reach as many people as possible.

YouTube celebrities

Some YouTube celebrities can make a review of your app or game, but remember – some of the more popular ones won't do it for free. Most of them will ask for a “donation” – and if the potential return on investment is worth it compared to the amount of money asked for, it's recommended to give it a try. Make sure to make a list of popular reviewers as soon as possible to make sure that you have some goals.

Localization

Consider providing localization to the following languages: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and other languages (check your analytics for potential candidates after the launch). This way you can significantly expand your potential audience and bring new people to your application or game. Use freelance translation services to pull it off.

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