How to Promote a Mobile App (Startup)

Technical Articles
Oleg Mishyn
10 October 2015

Creating an outstanding mobile application is usually half the battle, as you need to spread the word about your creation and present it to the audience. In other words, you need to promote your app. To get the desired number of users and a decent revenue without promotion will be pretty difficult. So, once your app is ready to hit the market, start looking for the most efficient methods to promote it. A properly chosen marketing strategy gives you 80 per cent of the success.

So, what should you start with? The following are a few practical recommendations on how to promote your mobile application.

Defining Audience

You can’t create an app for all the users, as it is impossible to impress everyone in this world. Indeed, tastes differ and different people prefer different apps, so your first and foremost task is to define your target audience. In fact, this is the first thing you should have thought about before you’ve even started working on your product. Each app is created for a specific group of users and your task is to define this group.

To identify users which might be interested in your app, you need to consider their:

  • gender
  • age
  • location
  • marital status
  • home values
  • income
  • occupation
  • presence of kids in the family

Basing on these criteria you can draw a general character of your user and therefore know your target audience better.

Defining Best Channels to Promote

The best thing about mobile apps advertising is that you can do this absolutely for free. Here are 7 most creative ways to promote your mobile application.

Defining Audience with Facebook Ads

What Facebook is great at is having a lot of info about its users. Yes, Google is bigger but Google does not know as much about us as Facebook does. Facebook know what pages you like, what events you attend, what movies you watched, what food you enjoy and what countries you have visited. That’s a lot of useful information that makes it possible to target your ads at the right audience. So, one may try posting 10-30 ads that are targeted at various audiences. Then, it’s pretty easy to analyze results. Say, teenagers clicked a lot, but 30 year olds purchased more. Active Facebook users liked your ad while those who rarely update their profiles remained indifferent to your application. This info has to be thoroughly analyzed and then used in decision making and further investments/marketing budgets.

CRT and Quality Score are two major metrics. Click through rate does not need any explanation. Quality rate is a Facebook materic that shows if or not you guessed the right audience to target.

Create a Teaser Website

Doing this is recommended several month before the app is launched. This step will help you get email addresses of people interested in your app and waiting for its release.

Create a Microsite

To spread a word about your product create a one-page website, describing the advantages and main features of your app.

Start a Blog

Your blog should be attached to the microsite and provide an interesting content that will attract the attention of users to your blog and therefore to your new product.

Share Your Content Via Social Networks

The easiest way to share your content is through social networks like Google+, Facebook or Twitter.

Create a Group on Facebook

Create a Facebook group that will unite people, having similar interests related to your product’s target niche.

Cooperate With Bloggers

Get in touch with bloggers, who post videos or write on topics related to your application's niche or for your target audience, and ask for cooperation. Make sure a blogger has a decent number of followers.

Email Marketing

Never stop collecting email addresses of your current or potential users. You can do this through your website or social networking sites. Use this email list to inform users about a new video on Youtube, new posts on your blog, about the app’s updates and so on.

App Store / Google Play Optimization

People should be able to find your awesome app. With thousands of apps in Google Play or App Store it’s rather difficult to stand out. Competition is very intense. Thus, your landing pages have to be SEO optimized but at the same time it is important that they do not violate App Store or Google Play rules. The content of landing pages should not only be SEO optimized but also informative. Potential users should understand the value and core features of the app, i.e. something that makes it different from other applications. App description, promo video, good reviews will definitely help users find your app and love it.

Testing Different Channels

It is quite clear that some marketing channels work better, while others seem to be useless, To understand which channels give a greater number of users, you need to constantly test them, as well as look for the new ones.

Naturally, you will have certain goals for every channel. If you invest in Facebook ads you should be targeting particular goals, for instance, increase time a user spends in the app or increasing the volume of in-app purchases. You never know how ad channels affect all those metrics unless you try it out. If certain ad campaign result in more registrations, that’s good - you should identify them and invest more. However, analysis of a variety of metrics leads to success. Facebook ads bring more registrations, Google ads increase in app purchases somehow while guest posts may make people spend more time with your app. Experiment with traffic, especially for testing purposes. This will let you understand what channels are the most effective and how they contribute to achieving your strategic goals.

Here are a few simple tips on how to do that:

  • Never stop experimenting with new marketing methods. To discover new strategies you can spy on your rivals.
  • Constantly monitor the efficiency of the marketing channels you use. The best way to do that is with the help of statistics, graphics and other metric tools.
  • Test each channel at least once a week
  • Stop using channels that are not efficient

Tracking Result

Tracking the results of your marketing company is an absolute must. To make sure your marketing campaign is successful, you have to check analytics (for example Google Analytics) and also familiarize yourself with a few marketing metrics, that will help you better understand how much money have been invested in each marketing channel, whether or not you get return on the investments, how many users have visited your website or downloaded your product, etc.

To evaluate marketing performance, many companies use special metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators). These are some of the most efficient metrics to use:

Customer Value

This is one of the easiest metrics to calculate. It is used to estimate an overall return on your investments.

Total Visits

Here you can measure visits not only to your main website but also to all the sites related to your product, like for example visits to a landing page.

Bonus Rate

This metrics shows what percentage of new website visitors leave the website, before even exploring it.

Total Conversions

This is one of the most important metrics, as it allows tracking the profitability of the whole marketing campaign.

Pay Per Click on Adwords

Fo sure, Google is King when it comes to online ads. Google AdWords can be both expensive and effective. Without any doubts, AdWords must be part of a mobile startup promotion campaign. Pay per click is a simple but yet very efficient metric that let you track results and evaluate efficiency of various ad channels and marketing efficiency in general. Pay per click is like a WYSIWYG editor, i.e. you get what you see - you pay for each click. Once a user has arrived to your site, it’s your goal to convert this user into a customer. Combined with other ad channels, Google AdWords can yield pretty impressive results. Of course, this metric should be constantly tracked and if any changes in AdWords campaigns are required, they should be introduced almost immediately.

Pay Per Click on Facebook

Facebook brings huge traffic. Of course, like every advertising channel it requires some investment. Pay per click is probably the most well researched and clear metric out there. Facebook isn’t an exception. You basically learn how much you’d pay for every click, i.e. every time a new visitor arrives at the website. Social media marketing is incredibly important for mobile startups since most mobile users are very active in social networks. Optimizing PPC, finding the right keywords and niches is a key to success. A daily budget is an alternative to PPC.


Choosing the right marketing methods is highly important for getting a good revenue on your mobile app. This task is definitely not an easy one, as you never know what outcomes you will get. So, always monitor the efficiency of every marketing channel you use and give up those that do not come up to your expectations.

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