What made AAP successful

Tips for successful app marketing

After a long planning and development period, the time has come: The app, which is supposed to expand the existing range of shops or services, is finally ready. But how do you proceed so that the app is also downloaded and - at best - used regularly?
Inspired by Matthäus Michalik's lecture (founder and managing director of Claneo) at the Training Day of this year's Mobile Advertising Summit, we have put together the most important basics for you and also give you an insight into the Universal App Campaigns from Google.

Owned, earned and paid media

If you want to advertise an app for the first time, you can use your previous online marketing knowledge for strategic planning and transfer it, because owned, earned and paid media are also available here:

Owned Media → Own website, newsletter, social media channels

Earned Media → App Store Optimization (ASO)

Paid media → Paid advertising measures, e.g. B. App installation ads

Own website, newsletter, social media channels

The first option to promote your app is of course your own website. You can assume that you are interested in users who are already familiar with our online offering (after all, an app should offer better mobile usability or even additional features).
It is important that the app advertising is placed where it is easy to see (for example as a smart banner that links directly to the app store, that also runs as a sticky ad, or that it appears as a "nuisance" when visiting the website for a long time) can push) and / or in places where corresponding assets are expected, such as B. in the footer of a website.

 

The same applies of course to your own newsletter; the app can and should also be advertised here. If you want to present your app as prominently as possible and without distraction, you can of course also design a separate email campaign.

You can also use your own website to increase app installations by creating landing pages that are explicitly optimized for mobile search queries and on which the link to the app store is then placed very prominently. In this way, a mobile search query is immediately forwarded to the most suitable offer - namely to the app.

The possibilities via owned media are not exhausted at this point, because you can of course also use your own channels to reactivate users who have already downloaded the app. Surely each of us has seen a promotion for app-exclusive discounts or vouchers.

In addition, Android apps have been indexed by Google since 2014 (iOs apps since 2015), which enables them to be linked directly to the app. The user can access app content via deep link from the SERPs if he has already installed the corresponding app. You can find detailed instructions on app indexing from our valued colleagues at Ryte.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

You could write your own blog article about app store optimization and all the associated refinements, which would go a bit beyond the scope here. Therefore we only summarize the most important points here, but because successful app marketing without ASO works just as little as successful online marketing without SEO, it should by no means go unmentioned.
As a "sub-area" of SEO, app store optimization has very similar goals and measures: You want to make the app easy to find within the store, rank well there and achieve as many organic downloads or installations as possible. These results are also influenced here by on-page and off-page factors:

The keywords and the app name are of course particularly important for findability and ranking. Therefore, the first step should be to look at your own target group and their (potential) search behavior in order to identify the optimal keywords and develop a keyword strategy. The main keyword should be included in the app name, which is not always easy given the 25-30 character limit.

Pay particular attention to the "human component" in the description. It should therefore be up-to-date and easy to understand for users. A good description also makes you want to install the app. In addition to the formatting of the text (which can also contain special characters and emojis), images (e.g. screenshots from the app) or videos can of course also contribute. It goes without saying that these are always available in the best possible quality and should best be compared and optimized in A / B tests.

The (not only technical) differences between the various app stores should also not be neglected; z. For example, iTunes, unlike Google Play, allows keywords to be added to the app entry in order to make it easier to find. In addition to iTunes and Google Play, there are other stores, such as the Samsung App Store or the Amazon App Store, that should not be forgotten. Because being present in these stores and optimizing for them can definitely be worthwhile; after all, the competition there is even less, which means there is a great chance of greater ranges and new installations.

Paid measures

Paid media measures for promoting an app are a dime a dozen - at least almost. Ultimately, apps (with the optimized landing pages already mentioned above) can be advertised using almost any format. Mobile ads are of course predestined, and many tools also have explicit app marketing formats. As an example, we would like to introduce you to the Universal App Campaigns and the app extensions from Google.

Universal App Campaigns

As the name suggests, Google has developed a universally applicable app marketing format that dynamically generates ads that can appear in Google Search, Google Play, YouTube and other apps, as well as on Display Network mobile websites . You can align and optimize the campaigns on app installations as well as on in-app actions.

 

Set up

The setup of a universal app is pretty simple:

  • Select "Universal app campaign" when creating a campaign
  • mark the platform of the app (Google Play or Apple App Store)
  • Search for and select the app to be advertised in the list based on its name, package name / ID or publisher name
  • Enter "text ideas" for the advertisements:
    • four independent lines of text, which must be noted that they can appear in the display in any order and should be able to be combined accordingly
    • Although the maximum number of characters per text idea is 25, Google recommends a limit of 20 characters in order to fit into smaller areas
  • up to 20 additional assets can be added:
    • Videos (must be hosted on YouTube; the orientation can be landscape, portrait or square)
    • Images (JPG, GIF or PNG, max. 150 KB; ideally landscape format for native ads, better portrait format for interstitials, other formats are 320 × 50, 320 × 480 and 300 × 250)
    • HTML5 (ZIP formats with a maximum of 40 files, max. 1 MB; currently supported formats are 300 × 250 (fixed size), 320 × 50 (fixed size), 480 × 320 (interstitial in landscape format, variable size) and 320 × 480 ( Interstitial in portrait format, variable size)
  • Adjust location and language settings
  • Under "Campaign optimization", select whether the campaign should be optimized for app installations or in-app actions
  • Set target bid (CPI = Cost per Installation or CPA = Cost per Action)
  • Check tracking: Installations for Android apps in the Google Play Store are automatically recorded as conversions in AdWords, all other installations (especially events for in-app campaigns) must be set up with conversion tracking for mobile apps

Since universal app campaigns are largely optimized by Google Ads, management is also less time-consuming than with other campaigns. Not only the ideal ad is determined from the combination of assets by AdWords, but also the most successful bid and the optimal targeting.

Alignment

The alignment of the app ads takes place in the Google search using relevant keywords that Google, among other things. Generated from the searches users used to search for the app on Google Play. In the Play Store, ads can also be placed - apart from matching search terms - when someone has opened the details page of a similar app and thus shown interest in similar content. He could then display the z. B. in the "Recommendations for you" section. In YouTube and in the display network, the placements are also selected according to the topic and displayed according to the highest probability for ad clicks and app downloads calculated by the algorithm.

optimization

Because the universal app campaigns are mostly run automatically, the campaign manager only has limited options for self-optimizing interventions. Only the budget, the bids and the option to add further assets are available as adjusting screws.

The more (and the more diverse) assets are available, the more options and chances the system has of finding the best variant; so “a lot helps a lot” applies here. The performance statistics of the individual assets in the Ads interface can then be used to read what works well and what does not. However, the assets rated “low” should not be removed immediately; it is better to add more assets until the maximum number is reached. A “low” performer can still be effective for certain placements or, in combination with a new asset, improve its overall performance.

In terms of budgets and bids, Google would probably prefer that you only let the algorithm do its work, nevertheless you sometimes want or have to influence the development of a campaign.
However, there are a few points to keep in mind, first of all: Machine learning needs time and, above all, data in order to achieve stable results. That's why Google recommends that you wait 100 conversions before making any bid changes. Subsequently, changes to the target CPI should be made in small steps, if possible, in order to avoid excessive fluctuations in the daily CPI (which could negatively affect machine learning). According to Google, increasing the CPI bid by a maximum of 20% per day contributes to more stable results.

Otherwise, the same applies to bids and budgets in Universal App Campaigns as to all campaigns: If you want to increase your chance of a higher number of conversions, you increase your budget and your target bid; those who want to improve the ROI (return on investment) reduce their target bid.
It should also be a matter of course that you cannot switch the optimization goal from app installations to in-app actions or from one in-app action to the other in an ongoing campaign. For every change to the campaign goal, a new campaign must be created, in which the algorithm can then learn and optimize explicitly for this goal and the associated target group.

App extensions

If you don't want to spend a budget solely on promoting the app, you can add the app as an ad extension to the search ads and still advertise it.

Unlike sitelinks, you can only add one app extension per text ad, which then appears as a link below the ad. If the user clicks on the link, he gets to the app description in the respective app store, if he clicks on the headline he ends up on the website. Here, too, bills are based on CPC and a click on the app extension costs just as much as an ad click.
It is practical that Ads can recognize and assign which device and which operating system the user is using. If you have stored extensions for all app stores, the link to the app store that corresponds to the user's device is displayed. The device type is also recognized, so that apps that only work on tablets are not displayed on smartphones and vice versa.

You can add app extensions at account, campaign, ad group or ad level, with app extensions on several levels (as usual) always being the most specific.

The Universal App Campaigns and ad extensions are just two examples of the many app marketing formats that now exist: Bing has been testing the "App Install Campaigns" beta for years, which is being gradually rolled out and offers those who have not yet been activated the possibility to use app extensions already now.
App Campaigns or App Install Campaigns can be created on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, and Twitter has Mobile App Cards on offer. There are also app stores, some of which can be used to book app advertising directly, or mobile advertising platforms that specialize in app installations and in-app marketing.

The list of possibilities is therefore not exactly short and anyone who has taken the trouble to program an app should find the right format or the right channel to present it. And if it is "only" your own website, the newsletter or your own social media channels to start with!

We're sure there are tons of great apps out there that just need a little jump start! If you have such an app and need help or have already had experience in app marketing that you would like to add, please leave us a comment.

Lena is Senior Consultant Display Advertising and takes care of display and native advertising at morefire. She writes about display measures as part of the online marketing strategy, programmatic and native advertising campaigns and everything that has to do with creatives.