10 Commandments Of App Marketing: How To Get Rapid Traction For Your App

Diego Meller

Diego Meller is the CEO and Co-Founder of Jampp – a mobile advertising and app marketing services provider. Diego spoke at App Promotion Summit in Berlin on the subject of ’10 App Marketing Commandments – How to Get Rapid Traction for Your App’.  This was one of the most well received talks of the day with lots of practical advice and a great overview of the process and options involved in developing a sophisticated app marketing strategy and campaign.  Diego’s talk covered a number of areas including:

  •  Driving Downloads Efficiently
  •  How To Leverage A Range Of App Marketing Channels
  •  What The Biggest Pitfalls Are To Watch Out For

We’re now able to share this presentation with you in a number of formats including video, audio/ podcast and the full transcript.

10 Commandments of App Marketing Video

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‘How to get rapid traction for your app’ – Diego Meller at App Promotion Summit Berlin from App Promotion Summit Conference

10 Commandments of App Marketing Transcript

Diego Meller, CEO, JAMPP

So we’re the App Promotion Summit, nobody has talked a lot about app promotion so far. We talked about App Store optimization and about alternative App Stores and about other things. My objective with this is to give you an overview of App Promotion, not really a process, but to give you guidelines or commandments that will hopefully guide you better and help you not make mistakes when you buy marketing for your apps.

I’m the second Argentinian to speak today, I’m from Argentina, so about 15 percent of the speakers of this conference are Argentinian, which is great. I don’t think any other nationality except Germans or other Europeans are that over-represented here. Is somebody else in the crowd Argentinian? Yeah, that guy, I know.

I’d love to see, if you can raise your hands, I’d like to know who has apps, who are advertisers, who’s looking to learn how to advertise apps. Can you raise your hands? Great, that’s pretty good. And who is a competitor of me? Okay, all the other ones. Okay. It’s not that many, or you’re hiding.

So, originally, this was going to be ten commandments, I could only come up with eight, so it’s Eight Commandments of App Promotion. Great, this works. So I ran a little search on Google Trends to see what, how, when did this app marketing thing start and it’s a very new thing. You see, before, I mean, this is the Google feature that shows you how many searches are being done for a particular term and also news headlines. And as you can see, people searching for app marketing is only since 2009.

Mobile marketing is a bit older. I don’t really know in 2004 what people were searching. Maybe in 2004 Mobile Marketing was some guy with a billboard walking down Oxford Street. But as you can see, App Marketing is something people are getting more and more interested in. If we go more specific into things that people are looking for, if we compare Mobile App Marketing with Facebook Mobile Apps and Google Mobile Apps, again, you can see an explosion of interest in the last couple of years and they’re all pretty much, you know, people are looking for all these things, I would say, equally.

So at Jampp, my company, we came up with this amazing algorithm to decide when you need to spend money on app promotion. Can you read from there? Just to summarize it, basically, if your answer is ‘Yes’ to any of these questions just don’t waste my time and just go do something else. If your answer is ‘No’, and most people fall into that group, then the next thing you should do it test your app, preferably with people that are not your parents or your siblings. If they love it then, definitely, you need to spend some money on app promotion because that means that that’s going to be money well spent.

The problem we have with App Promotion is that it’s pretty chaotic and there’s a lot going on. There’s a lot companies doing it, saying they do it, offering different things, and nobody knows what to do, how to do it, and, in general, I noticed, even from the questions today that I saw the panel, there’s a pretty low level of understanding of the tracking of the metrics, of what you should be buying, how, and so on. And, in general, I don’t even know if that number is correct, but it doesn’t matter, there’s a million of apps to compete with, very difficult to stand out which is why you need promotion.

It’s chaotic because as opposed to web, it seems to be a lot more fragmentation in the companies you can go and buy marketing from. Tracking, as was discussed earlier today, is very complicated. On web, it’s all on the browser, that makes it easy. Use cookies and that’s it. On smartphones it’s a little bit complicated because you go to the App Store and you go from an App to the App Store, from a mobile web site to the App Store, and so on. And there’s also a lot of people not knowing what they’re buying on App or Mobile Marketing, which also makes it complicated.

So let’s jump into the commandments or the guidelines. I’ve added this fire for dramatic effect. I’ll do it again, in case you didn’t see it. There we go. That’s how they were rebuilt.

Let’s start with the first one, and there was a bit of discussion about this in the morning. Don’t spend a dollar in marketing if your app is horrible. And this seems pretty obvious. These are little, stupid apps but we come across very often. Very big, well-funded apps particularly from companies that were before doing web or something else and are jumping into mobile. We see horrible apps. And there are companies spending a lot of money in marketing with apps that are horrible, which is a really bad, stupid thing to do.

So, basically, everything that comes after this is completely useless if your app is horrible. A way of making your app not horrible, it should solve a problem, it should improve on another app, it should be, maybe, a feature of whatever you’re already doing on the web. But, most importantly, the apps that are very, very good do one thing very, very well because the smartphone gives you a very small amount of space to do things and if you do one thing well then that’s probably a good app.

In terms of user experience, a lot of the apps that fail miserably try to invent some new original way of doing things and there’s a pretty good convention now about what works and what doesn’t in terms of buttons, menus, and how you do things inside an app. So don’t be a hero from that point of view and, you know, copy what’s out there which is pretty good.

Another very important thing which we also see that people constantly miss, to not include any viral, or social mechanism inside the app. Which again, if you spend money on that, the more virality the app has built in, the better spend that money will be. This is pretty obvious, it seems obvious, but we see a lot of people not doing it, you have to test it properly before spending money. Testing it, sometimes it’s spending a little bit of money in some small market, and I’ll talk about that a little bit later.

Second commandment, Gaston gave very good tips there, much better than what I can do. The important thing here is maybe to tie it a bit to the marketing part, which is if you’re spending a little bit of money in marketing and you have a messaging in that marketing so the banner talks about something, or the creative talks about something, it’s important that when people arrive to the app store the description, or what you’re saying there, matches that messaging. It’s already very hard work to make people, first, see you banner then click on it, if they clicked on the banner go all the way to the App Store and what you’re showing them is horrible, then again, that’s a lot of money badly spent.

I’m not going to repeat all of this, because, again, Gaston did a very good job of explaining this. One thing I’m going to say about the screenshots, and by the way, the ones on the right are from Guide Central, because those are very good screenshots. There’s a very good blog post from 37 Signals that talk about how to do great screenshots for your app, I’m going to let you take a photo of that. I recommend that you go there and take those tips.

The third, and very important commandment, which we see a lot of confusion around is the tracking and the measurement. So the first thing you need to understand is that in-app tracking or in-app event tracking has nothing to do with marketing attribution. And if you have very good tools for in-app tracking, that doesn’t mean you can do app marketing and measure it properly. These are two different types of companies.

I’m not going to be as shy as Stefan before, and I’m just going to say which of the companies you should use any of these companies; Mobile App Tracking from HasOffers or Adeven who are here at the event, or ADX, or AppsFlyer, and there’s a bunch more. But these work pretty well for marketing attribution.

The most important thing is, don’t use the other companies which I am not going to mention for attribution. Yes, use them for in-app tracking and in-app events, they work very well. Just don’t use them for mobile marketing. It’s going to create a problem for you, and for whoever is the supplier doing marketing for you.

Another very important thing that I don’t understand why people don’t do, but we get a lot of advertisers that are not tracking what happens after they install. So again, this is essential with any of the tools above, you can do that, and you can even connect to the other tools that you use for in-app, but, of course, it is very important that you look at what happens in the install final, not only from the moment you get it installed but what happens afterwards. In particular, to measure the quality of whoever that’s giving you traffic. If you’re not doing that, then it’s a very poor way of spending your money

Another very important thing, we get a lot of advertisers that come to us and they just want to spend money and they don’t have an objective for their marketing.

So, here, I’ll just give a couple examples of what are good objectives. You know, you should have marketing objectives in terms of the market share of whatever you category is or be a category leader. You can put objectives on the amount of users you want or the amount of revenue you want to generate in a particular amount of time. You can put objectives in terms of the viral traction you want to achieve, so what K-factor, which means how many organic installs per paid installs you’re getting.

But what you can definitely not do is set objectives in terms of the rankings. And we get a lot of that. We get people that come, “Look, the only thing we want is to be number five in the ranking.” That is not an objective. That is, maybe, a tool to achieve your objective or it’s maybe a symptom of achieving your objective but that shouldn’t be the objective.

Another thing, there’s a lot of ways you can pay for app marketing. You can pay for clicks, you can pay for impressions. These rules, by the way, these are general rules. Obviously, the more sophisticated you are buying mobile marketing, the less these apply to you, but as a general rule, we think it’s pretty clever to just pay per install or per download.

In some cases, if you can get someone to sell you on a CPI basis, which means, when someone makes a purchase or spends money inside your app or does whatever you want your person to do in your app, that’s great. It’s just that you’re not going to find that many suppliers that are going to do that with you.

So, what spending CPI allows you is to focus on just doing your app and do a great app and not waste time trying to figure out how to optimize, how to buy clicks, how to buy impressions, how to basically figure out that conversion funnel which is mobile marketing. There’s plenty of companies focusing on that like my company and others here. So, again, no need for you to have a team dedicated to that.

Also, if you’re measuring what happens after the person installs the apps, that’s pretty much all you need. If you are just paying per installs and you’re happy with that number, whatever that number is, and you’re measuring if the quality is good or bad, that’s all you need. There’s no need to be spending on clicks, there’s no need to be spending on impressions, and, actually, there’s no need to be looking at many other factors because you should only be interested in the quality, the lifetime value, the conversion inside the app or whatever you’re measuring for your app in particular.

Basically, what you want to do is eliminate the acquisition funnel risk. If you do everything yourself, you’re basically buying impressions, you have to convert those impressions to clicks, the click has to convert to installs and then install has to convert to some event inside your app, in which you consider success. You don’t want to do that. You want the impressions and clicks to be our problem, the problem for the app marketing companies and not the problem of your team.

Another very important thing, at least, a problem we come across very often, we get a budget for a campaign, they want to spend, let’s say $10,000 a month and we get one banner. The problem with that, is that creatives are a very big part of our work of optimizing your campaign. We need a lot of creatives, different variations, to be able to understand what creative works are better for what kind of traffic, or what kind of network, and so on. It’s also the first thing the user sees of your app. If they never heard of it they’re going to see a banner or an interstitial or whatever your creative is, or a video and it’s important that you make a lot of those.

What we found is that when we have more than ten variations of each type of creative, conversion in the funnel goes up by around 25 percent. So again, it’s very, very important to have a lot of variations for your banners. If you go to our blog there’s actually a blog post from a couple of weeks ago with some tips on good banners, and, actually, we have templates there as well that you can just steal from us and use it for your own apps.

Another thing we come across a lot is people having no idea how to conduct themselves when they are buying mobile marketing. We get queries not very different to that one so what I’m going to try to do here is explain to you what determines a cost per install and how do you ask for a quote when you are trying to get a quote to run a campaign for your app. Basically, there’s a few things that will determine the price. Obviously, the OS or the platform, pricing for iOS is different from Android, that’s basically because the user base is different depending on the country.

Incentivized or non-incentivized and this is a pretty important part, and another thing we run into very often, does anybody not know what the difference is? Can you raise your hand if you don’t know the difference between incentivized and non-incentivized traffic? Okay, that’s pretty good, not most people know. Basically, incentivized traffic means that people are getting something in exchange to install your app.

Normally, that something in exchange is virtual currency inside the game or some sort of reward. It’s not bad, it’s just that you have to understand that there’s a difference and the difference is, ultimately, in the engagement or the quality of that user. Traditionally, incentivized traffic is going to be a bit lower but what we come across a lot is people comparing non-incentivized pricing to incentivized pricing and that’s pears and apples and it’s very hard to compete with that when you don’t understand that difference.

The size of the app is a very important factor. Size, meaning in megabytes, so how heavy that app is, because if you’re on a smartphone and you’re on a 3G connection and the app is 200-megabytes, when you click on the banner and you go to the store you’re probably not going to install it because you’re on the street. If it’s a 10-megabyte app you probably will. The point is, the bigger the app the more difficult it is to get people to install it, the more expensive app marketing will be.

The other important factor is how much volume you’re after. If you want a lot of volume very quickly, so if you want 10,000 installs a day then the price is going to go up because you need to be showing your app a lot more often. The ad inventory needs to be flooded with your ads, which is, again, something that is going to take the price up

And then finally, any country, or any other targeting variables is going to affect the price. It’s not the same to acquire users in Brazil from acquiring users in the UK or India or Mexico. There are market dynamics that make that more expensive or cheaper.

So this kind of general rule, I’m not going to go through each type of network or kind of supplier, a lot of them are here, you can talk to them. But just as a general rule, basically, green means that it’s better for you, red means that it’s worse for you and this is a general rule, it doesn’t apply to everybody, depends a little bit on how much you understand about the marketing process. What I’m trying to say here is that the more you go to the aggregators and the people that are buying from the people below the better it’s going to be for the unexperienced buyer.

For example, Facebook is a very good tool if you want low-volume, you don’t require a lot of expertise, you can load your campaign there very quickly, spend a hundred bucks and you can have a little bit of traffic. The moment you start getting serious about that then Facebook has some fall backs, mostly, in terms of, basically, the combination between CPI’s and volume start getting complicated.

Last commandment, to start small, and, again, we see people trying to become the top ten app, which is wrong, in ten countries at the same time without having a proper test of their app. We recommend starting with a small test budget, maybe in a smaller country, have an isolated, controlled experiment of how that goes, understand your metrics, and then look at the results, improve on the creatives, and then continue.

That’s it for the commandments. Just to recap, those are all the commandments. That’s it, basically. Jampp, we are a technology company that specializes in acquiring mobile users, we aggregate the big number of ad networks and any one that can give us traffic, and through technology we optimize campaigns and get users for apps. And that’s it.

Thanks to Diego for doing such an interesting talk.  You can find out more about App Promotion Summit here