The Internet is a wonderfully powerful, empowering and varied place. As the shift moves more and more away from the desktop computer experience and toward mobile devices — indeed, mobile devices account for more than half of all website traffic worldwide as of 2017 — the user experience is simultaneously shifting far more toward the mobile app environment too. More and more users are performing more and more of their online tasks within apps than they are using a mobile browser.
This is hardly a new trend, nor should it come as any sort of surprise to anyone with online content of practically any kind. What is surprisingly, though, is how little attention is being paid to optimizing app marketing strategies relative to efforts being put forth for non-app initiatives, like traditional search engine optimization. It’s one thing to develop and publish a great mobile app that delivers a terrific user experience while simultaneously achieving your business goals. It’s another thing altogether to make sure that mobile app gets noticed, downloaded, and actually used on a regular basis.
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What can you do to boost those download and monthly active user (MAU) counts? Here are some tips to get you started.
Be Prompt With Review Replies
In the current age of social media and online interaction, it’s more important than ever for brands to really connect with their users. It’s not enough to simply put your product out there. You need to interact with your fans and followers in an organic and natural way. Users are much more inclined to demonstrate brand loyalty toward companies that show they really care. This includes responding to comments on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms, but it’s even more important within the ecosystems of the app stores themselves.
With both the App Store for Apple devices and the Google Play Store for Android devices, user reviews really drive the visibility of your app, as well as the initial impressions that prospective users may have of your app. Put yourself in the shoes of a typical user. Let’s say you see a couple of seemingly similar apps. One has only a handful of reviews and most of them are in the 3 star range. The other has hundreds or thousands of reviews, most of which are 4 stars and above. Which app are you more inclined to install? The answer is obvious.
One area that many companies overlook, however, is responding to the reviews they receive within these app stores. As users are able to change their ratings and update their reviews after the fact, addressing any concerns or criticisms can sway the tide in your favor. By utilizing a tool like Appfollow, the support team of a company can promptly respond to any and all reviews that they receive. This is a terrific opportunity to guide users in how to use the app effectively before they consider going to your competitors.
Responding to reviews within the app stores is especially important in the early days of launch, because new users will only see negative reviews and problems when they tap to see your app’s page. You want to encourage and entice those glowing reviews early and often, and using a tool like Appfollow to monitor them through Slack, Discord or email makes the whole process much more efficient.
Prioritize Your Engagement
What if you don’t have the time or resources to respond to every review your app receives in a timely manner? This is where a more advanced technique called semantic analysis can come into play. In effect, you’re able to quickly detect issues that lead to user dissatisfaction, poor ratings, and uninstalls.
These are the engagements that you really need to prioritize, because they are the ones that — left unattended — can really drag down your business.
Semantic analysis looks at positive versus negative sentiments based on emotional tone, for example. It can also fetch out topics and bugs, so you can more easily identify the most pressing issues. A wordcloud functions in a similar kind of way, and a feelings chart can help to visualize topics and questions that your customers are talking about. Are they making feature requests? Or are more users discussing issues with recent app updates?
Target Your Specific Category
Focus on your strengths. It’s a common mantra that you’ll hear across the business world and into the realm of personal development too. This is also true when it comes to marketing and optimizing your mobile app. The paradox is that the more specific you can get with what your app is and who it is for, the better chance you’ll have for attracting a larger number of engaged users who actually love your product. You can’t be all things to all people; rather, the riches are in the niches.
In this way, when deciding on any marketing efforts or strategies for your app, zero in your ideal demographic and really focus on becoming the number one app in your specific category, rather than trying to hit the list of top apps overall. Understandably, you may want some help and guidance along the way. Leveraging the app marketing services of a company like PreApps is a good way to go here. They’ll work to “get your app promoted to millions of targeted users.”
One especially effective tactic they use is the creation of a “high-quality and memorable demo video to share your app’s uniqueness.” Screenshots are great, but having a punchy video can make all the difference in the world.
Optimize Your App Listing
When it comes to traditional search engine optimization (SEO), we pay attention to a number of factors like inbound links and latent semantic indexing. App store optimization (ASO) functions in much the same way, as you’ll want to optimize the keywords not only in your app’s description, but even in the app name itself. RankMyApp can help with this method of growing organic traffic toward your app.
For instance, while you may have already done some research on the keywords you want to include in your app’s name, these can shift over time. The RankMyApp algorithm can monitor these keywords and suggest new ones, ensuring that your app’s title is always optimized for the best possible ranking. Similarly, you can track the keywords being used by competing apps, and look into any features that you may need to improve in your own app.
Be Seen and Get Downloaded
Just as there are many moving pieces to having any sort of online property, the same is very much true with mobile apps too. That being said, it doesn’t matter how great your app might be or how effective your monetization model might be if no one is actually downloading and using your app in the first place.
App marketing is both an art and a science, so you’ll need to have the right tools for the job. Above all else, recognize that users are real people, and as such, your marketing strategy needs to focus on that person-to-person interaction. Listen and respond to feedback in as timely and as accurate a manner as possible. Because the users will always be the lifeblood of your app.