How BIG is the mobile app market?

Global revenue from app stores is expected to rise by 62% this year to $25 billion, according to Gartner, and it’s going to be over $63 billion market, by 2017.

Over 500-1000 new apps being launched daily.

It requires over 75000 downloads ie., chart boosting in a single day to make it to top 10 US App store free rankings and a paid app needs at least over 4000 downloads, and at least about 20000 downloads in each of the other important regions.

Currently, the App Store has over 1 million apps, and it adds about 20,000 apps per month. In total, there have been over 50 billion app downloads. The Google Play Store has over 1 million apps, and there have been over 50 billion downloads.

Games has been the most popular category with over 17% apps of Apple app store.

In Google Play, personalization apps have been the most favored category.


Facebook has been most used app as per Consumer Intelligence Research Partners’ US-based survey data.


Nail the basics

Mobile app marketing differs from online and traditional marketing in many ways.

And, as each app is different, so is its marketing strategy.

For success of any new mobile app discoverability is the key.

Ideally marketing should start as soon as you have an idea for an app or product, well before launch.

  • You must have a really great idea for a mobile app, and you have to be very confident about filling a gap in the market, with a promising business potential.
  • Be clear about your expectations that define success of a mobile app. Is it
    • for revenue, or
    • for branding existing business or products, or
    • for cross selling or up selling ?
  • Once you are clear about your expectations, define a business model, that helps you define marketing strategy.
  • Choose right category the app idea can be rightly fit in.
  • It’s prudent to have validation of idea and to estimate market size looking at competitors within the defined category using tools like
  • Differentiating from Competition. It can be very daunting to break into business dominated by strong incumbents.
    • re-invent apps by adding unique features. Marketing then becomes all about making it easier and fun for people to talk about and share your creation.


In any organization, it’s a must to keep the communication flowing among all the stakeholders, across different divisions, to keep all on the same page, that will help in making the app successful.

  • Have strategy in place & long term vision helps all along.
  • First impression makes a lot of difference. Design becomes top priority: stunning design of its user interface (UX), amazing icon, website, great screenshots and the respective landing page.
  • Claim social media accounts, Create a desire to download, and set up an early registration page.
  • Build a minimum viable product (MVP), and make it free, preferably. More than 80% of Apple app store traffic is directed to free apps.
  • To have great demo videos on YouTube, blog, website, app page and on landing pages.


Launch is as important as development, for mobile app success.
  • Submitting app into iOS and Android App stores : one must plan in advance. With iOS, it can take a considerable amount of time to get the app approved.
  • For the app to be considered, their marketing and brand guidelines must be followed, to avoid the risk of disqualification.
  • Other app stores not to be ignored:
    • Though much smaller pool, Windows appstore too generates good downloads. Others like Amazon appstore, and Opera too can be considered.
  • Launch an invite only beta :
    • Market fast with a prototype. This has been proven strategy followed during launch of some of the most successful apps.
    • If there’s enough value in the app, there will be increasing demand for beta version. These beta testers can become die-hard fans, and evangelists of the app, and help tremendously in improving & further spreading word of mouth (WoM) about features of the app.
    • Engage them at a deeper level.
  • create an invite system within app


Marketing Goals

Like any marketing programs, mobile app marketing should be measured against specific, measurable goals. Most important are as below:

  • Appstore ranking – targeting (reach & maintain) app store rank overall or/and category-wise. This is important to get the best out of your marketing spend.
  • Number of downloads – per day/ week etc
  • Cost per acquisition – to minimize cost
  • Revenue – generated from downloaded apps


Creating initial buzz

  • Spread the word, and have a media plan as early as possible.
    • build marketing strategy that uses several channels, and keep an eye on ROI, at reducing user acquisition expenses.
  • Build relationships first : need to build a community around your app, with bloggers, journos, friends, fans, employees etc
  • Boost popularity by timing the launch of app to coincide with a live event or trending topic.
  • Identify and target influencers (e.g. people with 1,000s of Twitter followers) and involving them in promotions.
  • A well written blog attracts audience, and can help in conversions (downloads)
    • Guest blogging :You can post on blogs related to the niche your target audience would be most interested in reading.
    • You also can post on technology blogs about mobile devices.
    • Try to crack category-specific blogs.
    • The key is to aim for blogs whose audiences would be most likely to download your app.
  • inbound Marketing : being social, tell a great story, help & enable your customers share their delight


Paid Promotions:

The cost of acquiring users through advertising is continuing to grow in double digits, as per Wall Street Journal.

According to Mobile Marketing Association, the optimal budget out of marketing budget to spend on mobile is 7%.

Due to technology limitations, mobile ad targeting is not as sophisticated as traditional online marketing.

  • Display & Search ad networks on mobile, such as Google’s AdMob, Apple’s iAd, and RTB exchanges: Refer to various mobile advertising networks
  • Social Advertising : Facebook app promotions are highly effective in acquiring new customers: to target people specifically by demographics and interests.
  • Real Time Bidding exchanges (RTB): a rapidly growing advertising media, where high speed automation technology runs auctions on impression by impression basis. RTB exchanges help app marketers to
    • Access highly target-table traffic
    • Achieve cost efficiencies
  • It might be a good idea to align app promotion with launch of a brand new device into the market.
  • Another interesting idea is to tag with network-wise promotions.
  • Related app promotions
  • Interstitials
  • QR Codes on flyers or ad boards, zapping the same will lead to download landing page of app.
  • Burst Marketing as required : “burst” strategy, putting out extra blitz of ads, to to improve rank, ( aka organic lift) and boost high volume of downloads in a short period.


Crucial steps in campaigns

Appstore Dynamics

  • Appstore Optimization (ASO) is your secret weapon : to increase visibility of app: it takes time to show impact
  • enter apt metadata while submitting app into the store
  • Identify keywords in your app category that consumers are expected to search for. define a highly marketable title, that includes a keyword.
    • Apps with keywords in the title ranked on average 10.3% higher than those without a keyword in the title.
  • An optimal ranking (balancing between ad spend and the downloads advantage) translates to acquiring great number of organic users.
  • High quality screenshots, labelled with strong keywords
  • Translate title and keywords to biggest 5/6 markets (English, Spanish, French, German, Simplified/Traditional Chinese etc).
  • 63% of apps are discovered through app store searches.
    • many apps increase their downloads by a factor of 2x-10x, and
    • an increase of revenue by a similar, or bigger, rate due to the increase in engagement of users earned by ASO.
  • Search Engine Optimization of app page : main keyword to be part of title. use 5 times repeat of keyword in app description.
  • Search Engine Optimization of landing page.

Tips to get noticed and downloaded

  • Pricing: Discounted apps get attention, while “freemium” apps getting maximum downloads.
  • Using app discovery publisher programs like YouAppi, AppTap, and Appia.
  • Using a third party app download boosters like Appgratis, Appsfire, FreeAppADay, FreeMyApps.
  • Number of downloads depends mostly on
    • catchiness of app name
    • the kind of reviews the app is getting
    • how keyword-enriched captivating description is
    • how eye catching the app icon is
    • how awesome screenshots are
  • According to Fiksu, many apps get more downloads in December, than any quarter rest of the year.



  • Apple provides 50 promo codes that enable a reviewer to download the app in advance (and for free, if a paid app).
    • With Android, you need to send the game build/APK file to the reviewer.
  • less than 0.1% of downloads result in a rating or review in the app store. Most consumers need a nudge – a reminder that they can share their thoughts and opinions.
  • structuring app review process : one of the most effective is creating a first filter for good and bad reviews. eg.,
    • 1) Are you having a good time, on the app?
    • 2) New screen opens based on your answer to previous question.
    • Yes>> opens screen to leave a review.
    • No>> opens screen to send feedback to app team via e-mail.
  • Get it reviewed on targeted app review sites, social media, on their blogs. These links can help make your app rank higher.


Capturing feedback

  • To use an in-app feedback SDK like Apptentive, Appsfire’s Appbooster or Appboy
  • people to keep coming back to it after downloading: leaning user retention & how they are using it : app analytics tools roundup
  • Feedback & customer engagement : crucial post launch (let them contact through within app, through app store, website or social media page etc)
  • Track your app store performance with sites such as App Annie and App Figures etc


Improve Engagement

Only a fraction of downloads convert to engaged and productive users.

  • Marketers must make use of tracking and optimization technologies, to identify sources that lead to more engaged downloads.
  • Organic users are considered to be quality users, compared to ad-driven users.
  • Improve engagements with push notifications.
  • 70% customers return back if their compliant is resolved in time.
  • Build marketing into the app : reaching out to your biggest fans inside your app, connecting with them more deeply is a powerful strategy to increase loyalty & build evangelists. That can lead to massive improvement in download trajectory.

How to find a right mobile app marketing agency?

It’s better to prefer a company that offers full services needed for a mobile app marketing campaign- including

  • advertising inventory
  • real time bidding
  • tracking
  • social media advertising, in a single place.

When they are broad in offering services, they can give unbiased consultation. Some of the top mobile app marketing services companies .
Studying some of the mobile app marketing case studies also helps.


Creative promotions

  • Making use of news letter
  • Include a link to your mobile app in all your emails, and in email signatures
  • Discuss in all apt forums
  • Link to mobile app in all social media profiles
  • Joint ventures and leveraging relationships eg., colleges, email list owners, and other stakeholders etc
  • Gamification strategies help by making use of BIG data and motivational science. Social media networks can be turned (or viewed) as incentive networks.
  • PR and Getting media coverage
    : creating awareness among audience, and attracting intrigue among bloggers
  • Sponsorship marketing: as much as there can be a connect between the kind of events being sponsored, it can work beautifully, and also helps in lot of PR.
  • Run contests related to your app. Give away prizes that make sense for your category.
  • Whether it’s in terms of user experience, design or your code, Apple or any major handset or mobile OS vendor appreciates it, when you use the latest.
    • eg., Being the firsts to optimize for iPhone 5 or use Passbook gave several apps additional exposure. So keep an eye out for their announcements.
  • Cross promote : if you already have other apps in market

Test & Optimize

It does not matter how greatly you are doing.

You have to test with new ideas, track promotional activities, and track everything, to optimize continuously, to reach twin goals of reducing customer acquisition cost and reaching your ideal loyal customer.

Use optimization technology to drive marketing performance.

At the end of the day, retention numbers are more important than downloads driven by virality.

Now the brands are recognizing the impact mobile apps are having on business, and they are aggressively marketing their apps, by putting strategic approach, and enough marketing resources behind them, to get into hands of customers before their competitors do.


Please share this, and let me know if anything important is to be included, in comments.

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