Mobile apps and mobile user experience are critical success factors for SaaS platforms and applications. It’s definitely a smart move to put the power of a SaaS platform behind your mobile application, not least for the powerful insights to be gained from analyzing user preferences, interactions, and feature utilization.
But if you think the SaaS applications marketplace is crowded, just look at what it takes to compete among mobile app publishers. Even if your app is really well-made and much needed on the market, it’s quite hard to be noticed with over 1.5 million apps in both the App Store and Google Play Store. Discoverability of mobile apps is a huge problem nowadays. In this post, we survey some of the best tools to help you with mobile user acquisition.
To get your app into the Top 25 Apps on the US App Store, you’d need more than 40,000 new users everyday.
We already covered the basics you need to undertake in order to craft your unique mobile user acquisition strategy. Now, we are here to provide a collection of tools that you can use to increase your UA channels, measure your results, and make changes on the fly.
User Acquisition Strategies and Tools
VentureBeat collected a lot of useful data about the most effective user acquisition strategies that mobile marketers use. One of the most important things to recognize about a user acquisition strategy is that there is no formula that will work for everyone. Trying different things, getting creative, and continually refining your user strategy is crucial when it comes to enhancing user acquisition.
Web to App
Mobile websites nowadays are one of the biggest sources of app installs. Obviously if your website is popular and the traffic is pouring from searches and social media channels, your mobile application will be successful as well. Marketing teams can efficiently increase their user base by using tools such as Journeys from Branch.io which creatively and seamlessly takes users from your mobile website to your mobile app.
Social media is the #1 strategy which the largest number of app marketers use to increase their UA levels. The ease with which content posted on social can reach a large network and potentially even go viral leads marketers to continue to lean on social as an important marketing tool
Mobile video consumption is increasing 100% every year, and 30-second mobile video advertisements have an 88.3% completion rate. Video content is becoming more and more popular, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see video ads approach social media as the top UA strategy over the next few years.
Incentivized installs and referrals come from some kind of offer, (such as in-game credits and discounted products), or from word-of-mouth. Both Dropbox and Airbnb saw extreme success with this strategy by creating dual-incentives for sharing their products and while those two business have mobile and web based products, mobile-only apps like Uber and Postmates have also built their businesses through referral programs.
Branch.io offers rewarded referral tracking that makes it easy to run user install and engagement campaigns.
The League, an online dating up, used Branch’s referral tracking to boost installs by 30%.
ASO – App Store Search Optimization
App Store Optimization can be broken down into two key strategies:
- search optimization - all of the factors that affect the App Store or Google Play Store’s ranking algorithm.
- appeal optimization - all the things that a user sees when they find your app in the app store. (icon, screenshots, description, etc.)
Install numbers are not the only metric used by the App Store or Google Play Store in their ranking algorithms. While some argue that there is an order of importance around the factors that alter an app’s ranking, almost everyone will agree that the App Store and Google Play Store ranking algorithm is very difficult to decode. However, the public agrees that an app's ranking is affected by:
- Keyword Optimization (Keyword Tools, Mobile Action, Keyword Localization)
- Install rate
- Uninstall rate
- Frequency of app usage
In terms of reviews, it’s important that you make sure to prompt users to review your app at the optimal time. This means that you’ll want to ask them to leave a review after you know that they’ve had a positive experience with the app, like advancing a level in a game or completing a purchase. 98% of the Top 100 apps have at least a 4-star review average, so if you want your app to climb the charts, make sure it’s getting great reviews.
Appeal Optimization is every bit as important as search optimization. Even if you’re able to optimize your keywords and position your app well in the App Stores search results, install rates will remain low if users don’t immediately see the value that the app can have for them. For this reason, you should do everything you can to find the combination of icon, screenshots, and description that will drive the best results.
There are several tools that allow developers to A/B test an app’s icon, description, and screenshots without having to push new updates to the App Store or Google Play Store.
- Store Maven (A/B Testing)
- Split Metrics (A/B Testing)
- Dribbble (one of the most popular websites for designers with their portfolios)
- App Icon Template (used to make a proper icon as well)
Email may not be the most exciting new technology that a marketer can use to drive mobile user acquisition, but it remains a key component of a marketer’s arsenal. Deep linked emails are essential for a positive user experience on mobile, and can drive users directly to a piece of content inside of a mobile app. Sending out emails without deep linking leads to $3,000 in revenue being lost for every 1 million emails sent.
Press coverage from a high-profile outlet can work wonders to drive awareness and installs for your app, especially for consumer-facing apps. But before you reach out to a reporter at TechCrunch, or any major tech news site for that matter, make sure there’s no difference between what your app does and what they write about. It’s always helpful to research the market and find a unique angle for your app before pitching. Websites like Product Hunt are also a great channel to drive organic user installs.
App Review Websites
- The Mobileys
Paid advertising is especially important for apps because it can place your app high enough in the app store rankings to start to bring in huge amounts of organic traffic.
The most important thing to keep in mind when planning your paid advertising is to diversify your paid efforts. Mike Burton, head of mobile engineering at Groupon, encouraged developers looking to grow their apps to explore different options: “You can get to 100,000 users with Facebook advertising. You can maybe get to 1,000,000 users with Facebook advertising. If you want to start getting beyond that, you have to diversify your networks and diversify your exchanges. It’s only through having a lot of different tools that you’re using can you get to the 10 million number.”
The best way to make the most of your paid advertising is to do extensive research beforehand. There are many different ad platforms out there, so figure out who your target customers are, and where they are most likely to see your ads. Calculating your users’ lifetime value (LTV) will also be important to understanding how much you can afford to spend on advertising campaigns. Tools:
User Experience and Onboarding
The average user is fickle when it comes to the experience they first have with an app, and if you don’t make the onboarding process as simple and enjoyable as possible, users will begin to drop like flies.
A/B testing tools can make sure that your app is perfectly optimized for conversion. Tools:
Content marketing should be at the core of any app’s growth strategy. Without content for people to consume, users are left with a binary decision as to whether they will use your app or not. With valuable content, you can lead those users down your funnel and into the app. There are numerous forms of content that you can market to potential app users:
– Blog about your app’s niche. People looking for information on it will come to your content and become more familiar with your brand.
– Post on forums, look to answer questions about the problem your app solves on Quora or StackOverflow
– Provide valuable video content
Organic App Search
Don’t just promote your app, promote the content within it. It’s more relevant and timely and it significantly reduces costs. Google and Apple are still in the nascent stages of developing their App Indexing and Spotlight Search, but knowing the amount of resources they have, it is likely that these will be powerful channels of user acquisition when they are fully functional. Some of the first companies to build apps were heavily featured early on the App Store, and still reap the rewards of that today. If you’re the first to integrate into Cloud Spotlight search when it’s ready, who says Apple won’t feature you?
TV is definitely a non-traditional route when it comes to marketing your mobile app, but games like Clash of Clans and Game of War seem to have concluded that it is worthwhile for drawing new users. If you can accurately determine the LTV of newly acquired users, it may be worthwhile to investigate non-digital methods of advertising like TV, radio, or print.
Remember that your strategy should be dynamic; iterations and continual optimization will be the key to finding the perfect balance of different approaches. Do your research, find out which tools will be most effective for you, and always strive to improve inefficiencies wherever possible.
How CloudGeometry can help
A comprehensive approach to delivering SaaS applications needs to go beyond “adding mobile”. For the most successful SaaS offerings, customers who start with mobile are fast becoming the primary source of growth. At CloudGeometry, we've got years of experience crafting and launching award-winning mobile apps, whether your targeted audience is consumers or business users. Our experts can help you with everything from user experience to choosing between native vs. cross platform, back end infrastructure, data analytics, and everything in between.