By Ioana Cozma | 23 min read
Advanced App Marketing Strategies to Propel Your Sales in 2023
Coherent mobile app marketing campaigns follow a timeline. This proper marketing timeline from pre- to post-launch is essential to maximize your budget and achieve the desired results.
First, you must conduct market research to understand your audience, competitors, and current standing.
That helps you set goals, metrics, and KPIs. Then, you create strategies with unique tactics and marketing tools. You then implement this plan, analyzing and optimizing it for the best results.
Following a timeline when implementing your app marketing strategies is equally important.
And you’re on the right page for that.
Our robust mobile app marketing agency will share the best 15 mobile strategies to increase sales, following the customer funnel from awareness to acquisition and retention.
That means you can choose the best one according to where you are now.
Insider tip: We’ve trickled plenty of insider tips from inBeat’s experience & practical examples of trends in mobile app advertising, so keep reading below.
Part 1: Awareness stage
- Understand your audience, competitors, and standing through market research.
- Set goals, metrics, and KPIs to guide your strategy.
- Create unique tactics and use marketing tools for maximum impact.
- Implement and optimize your plan for optimal results.
- Explore 15 mobile strategies aligned with the customer funnel.
Part 2: Acquisition stage
- Increase your user base and app purchases with paid user acquisition campaigns.
- Target specific audiences on search engines, app stores, and social media.
- Engage potential users with retargeting ads based on their interactions.
- Encourage recommendations and referrals with referral marketing.
Part 3: Retention stage
- Enhance user loyalty by providing top-notch customer service.
- Incorporate gamification to maintain user engagement and interest.
- Personalize communication and offer to strengthen the relationship.
- Upsell and cross-sell to offer more value and features.
- Use in-app notifications to prompt action and engagement.
- Implement ASO, micro- and nano-influencers, social media, podcast advertising, PR, paid campaigns, retargeting, referral marketing, event marketing, and social proof.
- Engage micro-influencers, utilize TikTok for effective ads, segment retargeting, leverage user-generated content, and personalize communication.
- Select strategies that fit your app and resonate with your target audience.
The first stage in your customer acquisition funnel is awareness. Your prospects may just intuit their need, or maybe they can’t put it into words yet.
Insider tip from inBeat: Know Your objectives.
The main objectives associated with this stage in the game are increasing organic traffic and organic searches.
The best app marketing strategies for reaching those goals:
- Regard audience education: Your target market should become more aware of their need and the right solutions.
- Improve your website visibility and ranking: After all, you want potential users to find you.
Let’s get into the thick of it with the best app marketing techniques:
1. ASO vs. SEO?
- ASO stands for app store optimization. The concept implies making your app better for the app store. Therefore, potential customers can find it easier in app store search results.
- SEO stands for search engine optimization, i.e., making your app more visible on search engines.
Both strategies ultimately make your app rank higher and, thus, easier to find. The result is increasing your organic traffic and searches – precisely what you want at this stage.
Example time: Recruiting app ZipRecruiter has optimized its app for the Google Play Store with:
- A clear title that tells people what they can expect
- Screenshots that feature ratings, benefits, and in-app features
- A 4-step process of using this app in the “About this app” section
- Relevant keywords
Here’s a neat observation about ZipRecruiter’s SEO marketing efforts:
Searching for the keyword “hiring app” on Google doesn’t showcase ZipRecruiter’s website on the first search results page.
However, the app appears in the second search result because it’s mentioned in a high-profile blog post in Calendly:
Which strategy should you prioritize in ASO vs. SEO?
Both ASO and SEO are essential to increase visibility and awareness in this stage of the customer funnel. However:
Insider tip: SEO is slightly more important here because your prospects will search for solutions to their problems on search engines.
But you should definitely tackle both issues as soon as possible.
2. Micro- and Nano-Influencers
Influencer marketing for mobile apps helps you fast-forward the awareness stage because they vouch for you to their audience. So partnering with content creators means hitting several birds with one stone:
- Social proof
Insider tip: Micro- and nano-influencers are usually more effective for mobile app advertising.
When judging micro-influencers vs. macro-influencers, consider that content creators with smaller followings are more engaged with their audiences because:
- They have more time to answer everyone’s messages and comments.
- They’ve specialized in a niche, so they’re more credible. That credibility leads to more quality interactions.
And if you do the math:
- Five influencers with 100,000 followers give you access to 500,000 people. But their engagement rates are higher.
- Your marketing budget is lower when working with several small influencers.
That’s why apps the size of eToro partner with nano-influencers like Mattia Michielotto, with only 1,411 followers at the time of this writing:
Pro tip: An engagement rate calculator can help you see if you’re collaborating with an engaged micro – influencer.
Let’s peek at Mattia’s stats:
It seems like eToro can do better with its influencer marketing.
3. Social Media Marketing
Keep your social media platforms up to speed with relevant content. For your target market, that relevant content may entail:
- Extra information
- Relatable memes
- How-to tips
- And more
We’ve used social media marketing for several apps, including the Linktree engagement campaign. Their content marketing strategy included helpful content on other topics, such as Instagram hacks:
Linktree also created engaging content to interact with target users and stay on top of their minds:
Insider tip: Our favorite social platform for mobile marketing is TikTok.
TikTok users utilize this platform as a search engine for information gathering and product discovery. Plus, TikTok is the home of social proof and trends, so it can skyrocket your app’s visibility.
eToro is capitalizing on TikTok social media marketing too. The video below uses the “you have until the end of this elevator ride” TikTok trend to discuss energy stocks:
4. Podcast Advertising
Podcast advertising is one of the best mobile app marketing strategies for building credibility and reach. This strategy works well if your app:
- Is high-tech or highly specialized.
- Requires this credibility to compete with similar apps in the niche.
- Proposes an innovative solution that needs third-party endorsements.
You can do podcast advertising by:
- Participating in other podcasts in your niche: This solution gains you more visibility faster, particularly if you choose popular podcasts.
- Creating your own podcast: This solution may take longer until your podcast becomes popular. But once you kick it off the ground, it will bring increased awareness & conversions to all your products.
Insider tip: Focus on your customers’ problems, and your podcast listens will skyrocket.
InVisionApp created the Design Better Podcast to promote its app, but also to educate its audience. This customer-centric approach brought the podcast to 1 million listens.
5. PR and Media Outreach
PR and media outreach are most typically advanced app marketing strategies for the awareness stage if:
- Your app is a complete game-changer.
- Your company already has a massive reputation, and its market behavior is newsworthy.
Insider tip: These strategies are worth trying, even if you are a smaller company or mobile game start-up.
Writing a press release or creating an event may seem useless, but imagine the coverage. Press releases are so powerful that companies are turning to a crypto PR agency or event management firms to ensure maximum visibility and exposure for their announcements. If one media outlet or social media influencer links to them, you get:
- A boost of awareness in the short term
- More links pointing to your website, which is the start of a solid link profile to boost your SEO in the long-term
One of our clients, the Bumble dating app, gives out constant press releases:
The acquisition stage means potential customers have already become aware of their needs. They’re now assessing their options – including your app.
Insider tip: Your main objectives are increasing your user base and app purchases.
Mobile app marketing KPIs that help you keep track of these goals are:
- Number of app downloads
- App subscriptions
- In-app purchases
- Conversion rate
- CPA (cost per acquisition)
- CPI (cost per install)
Remember: The more downloads, subscriptions, and purchases with a low CPA, the better your app performs.
Let’s see how you can do that.
1. Paid UA Campaigns
A paid user acquisition campaign helps you kickstart the snowball of conversions. This strategy:
- Allows you to target a very specific audience
- Is faster and easier to quantify than other app marketing strategies in this group, like social proof
You can create and run ads on:
- Search engines
- App stores
- Social media
Insider tip: At inBeat, we found that TikTok ads can slash CPAs by 75% and increase conversion rate by 400%.
Of course, those results depend on your specific case.
Still, this social platform is an excellent channel to reduce ad fatigue, increase conversions, and optimize your ad spend.
The TikTok ad format keeps users entertained and interested. TikTok content is also made to create desire and social proof.
And those are key ingredients when trying to get more app downloads.
We tried and tested this for numerous mobile apps. In Nielsen IQ’s case, we did manage to decrease CPAs by 75% and increase downloads to 100,000+/month using TikTok ads:
Pro tip: Use the right mobile attribution tools to keep track of your paid advertising efforts.
2. Retargeting Ads
Retargeting ads means showing targeted ads to people who interact with your website or blog. However, since many users are using free private search engines due to their ad blocking features, make sure your ads are not intrusive or annoying. These ads are successful because they:
- Address people who have already shown interest in your app
- Can hammer a point home instead of starting the customer funnel from the awareness stage
Insider tip: Segment your audience.
The best app marketing agencies create different retargeting ads for these audience segments to increase conversion rates.
Remember: People who visit your website without converting have different reasons for doing so. Some may need more information, while others may think your app is too expensive.
You can’t bring them back to your app with the same message.
Here’s an example from the Joggo app.
I’ve interacted with the app several times on social media for this article, with no intention of downloading it. Now, Joggo is trying to retarget me with this Instagram ad that tells me how I can get this app for free:
Pro tip: Use an ad mockup generator to create a better ad than this one.
3. Referral Marketing
Referral marketing rests on the power of word-of-mouth marketing. An app referral system entails giving rewards to active app users who recommend your app to their loved ones.
Or even to the boss they hate.
Either way, a conversion is a conversion.
Insider tips: Leverage the principles of gamification.
- Think of a reward system for people who share your app’s page or links within their social circle.
- Consider extra rewards for downloads (e.g., discounts, an additional free subscription period).
- Keep people interested in referring your app by using leaderboards, progress bars, and larger prizes for different referral milestones (e.g., ten recommendations, 20 recommendations, two friends using the app, etc.)
Here’s the Aaptiv fitness app doing it right (notice the different payout tiers):
4. Event Marketing
Event marketing entails live and/or virtual promotional events. The tactics are multi-fold:
- Social networking
- Polls and chat boxes
- VIP experiences
- And more
Basically, event marketing allows direct interactions between your app and its users. This experiential app marketing strategy increases conversions because events:
- Create social proof.
- Allow people to ask questions and mingle with like-minded app users.
- May feature experts that explain your app’s features and functionality in depth.
Here’s an example from Asana’s portfolio of events and webinars:
Insider tip: Give special rewards to event participants.
Promo codes, discounts, and free trials are all great ideas to accelerate app downloads.
5. Social Proof (UGC, Reviews, Ratings)
Include user-generated content such as positive reviews and customer photos on your website, app product pages, and app store.
UGC statistics show that 99.9% of shoppers search for their peers’ experiences before purchasing anything.
And it’s no different with apps.
You can get social proof if you:
- Create in-built review prompts in your app
- Reach out to active users directly via marketing email
- Contact review websites and pitch your app for review
Mobile game Warpath does it write by including buttons for various online communities on its website:
Note: The Discord and Reddit redirects are particularly great, considering that mobile game users are likelier to engage on these channels.
Insider tip: Don’t delete negative reviews.
Negative reviews give you essential feedback, and responding politely shows your work ethic. Besides, people may not trust apps with only 4- and 5-star app reviews.
Besides, loyal users are more likely to:
- Talk about your app on social media
- Recommend it to their social circle
- Stick by you in the unfortunate event of a PR crisis
Insider tip: Track the right KPIs for the retention stage.
These retention metrics include:
- The number of active users
- The retention rate: The percentage of people who stay app users from the total of app downloads
- The churn rate: The percentage of unsubscribers from the total of app downloads
1. Top-Notch Customer Service
Quality customer service is one of the most effective strategies to:
- Increase retention rates.
- Decreases the app unsubscribe rate.
- Set up accessible and intuitive customer service.
- Set up a chatbot to streamline requests from your current users.
- Respond promptly and politely.
- Leverage user feedback to improve your mobile app survey and communication.
Slack customer support is a good example of using filters, chatbots, and an intuitive design:
Gamification gives app users – especially mobile app game players – that rush of dopamine that keeps them hooked.
The in-app equivalent of chocolate, gamification entails:
- Objectives and goals: Keep people interested with different milestones. These milestones should entail progressively more work but shouldn’t be too hard to achieve.
- Progress tracking: Think of leaderboards or other timers that inform people of their progress.
- Rewards: Each milestone should have an increasingly bigger prize.
- Viral loops: Allow app users to share rewards and milestones with their social circle.
Duolingo has an awesome reward system based on XP points:
Personalize your communication with loyal app users:
- Consider specific discounts and offers or free trials to celebrate your relationship.
- Keep in touch on special holidays, such as birthdays and anniversaries.
- Send customized messages when you launch a new app feature.
- Create insider jokes and trends.
- Create a customized user experience.
One of our clients is the Bumble dating app. Bumble is doing personalization right by leveraging their familiar notifications sound:
4. Upselling and Cross-Selling
- Upselling entails persuading your mobile app users to adopt a more expensive subscription.
- Cross-selling entails convincing people to purchase additional features.
For example, the Grammarly app is free but has in-app purchases.
To convince more free users to become Premium members, Grammarly uses several tactics. The editing app partners with content creators:
The app also creates content showcasing and creating desire for Premium features:
But Grammarly also uses cross-selling techniques to promote its multiple free features:
5. In-App Notifications
90% of app viewers see in-app notifications, and 40% take the required action within the hour.
So a simple push notification can increase recall and immediately lead to action.
You can use in-app notifications to:
- Remind inactive users of your app.
- Deliver a promotional message.
- Inform of a new feature or service update.
- And more.
The process is easy, too. Once you register with the iOS push notification service, they’ll send you an API and Software Development Kit to get the ball rolling.
Insider tip: Be upfront with your users about the notifications they’ll receive.
Sending too many push notifications is spammy and will increase users’ churn rates. Tell your app users from the get-go what they can expect regarding notifications to reduce the churn rate.
Use as inspiration what the Zara app is doing:
Which App Marketing Strategy Will You Choose?
The 15 app marketing strategies above will increase your exposure, conversions, and retention rates. However, it’s important to pick the right one according to your stage in the marketing funnel and your brand.
For example, gamification may not be excellent if you have a medical monitoring app. But it can be awesome for a mobile game or language-learning app.
inBeat can help with a comprehensive toolkit for different strategies: influencer platforms, ad mockup generators, CPA calculators, and more.
And if you need more help organizing your marketing plan, let’s schedule a free meeting to analyze potential strategies.