Last month’s App Promotion Summit in London covered a wide range of techniques and tips to help developers and marketers get the most ROI from their app promotion strategy. But between the practical advice, experts also discussed a number of broader themes and issues facing app developers who are trying to grow their business in an increasingly crowded and rapidly evolving market. In this article we’ll take a look at five of the key themes that ran through talks at APS. For more APS coverage take a look at our round-up right here.
App Promotion Summit Top Five Themes
Downloads vs Engaged Users
If there was one clear narrative coming out APS, into which all others seemed to flow, it’s this: Acquiring downloads is a false economy and developers must shift their mindset toward identifying and acquiring engaged users.
Of course, focusing on downloads over all else is much easier for developers who don’t have the time or inclination to get to grips with the more complex world of identifying valuable sources of traffic. Engendering a shift away from downloads, as the most important metric, is even harder when such an outlook is reflected in the structure of the app stores themselves, which heavily rely on download-driven chart rankings (plus we’re frequently reminded how download numbers and total app numbers are a marker of an app store’s success). As many of the speakers at APS pointed out, rapid chart success does not necessarily equate to engaged users and therefore is not necessarily inclusive of healthy growth.
Key takeaway from the app summit. Developers still obsessed by downloads vs users/ by top ranks vs healthy ongoing growth. Needs to change
— Ouriel Ohayon (@OurielOhayon) July 11, 2013
The natural follow-on from the above point is that developers need to be better educated about the difference between downloads and engaged users. Understanding this difference can also help developers broaden their horizons and leverage all the different channels that are fast becoming available, whether it’s cross promotional platforms, incentivised networks, or – as Jampp’s Diego Muller pointed out – tapping emerging markets.
The app promotion market is still new and somewhat confusing to many developers and numerous speakers told us there’s a lot to be desired when it comes to the quantity and quality of educational material available. Platforms also have to shoulder some of the blame, as AppsFire’s Ouriel Ohanyon mentioned many app promotion platforms have been guilty of “shoddy behaviour” and have hardly been helping developers get to grips with this fast developing space.
Loyalty has an impact on Google Play Rankings, a feature that I am now christening "The Lassie Effect" for my own amusement #APS2013
— George Osborn (@GeorgeOsborn) July 11, 2013
Test and Analyse
In order to get engaged users, speakers at APS were pretty unified in their message: test various traffic sources, get data and analyse that data. Developers need to understand how different solutions operate, what traffic sources generate the most return and – in the words of Fiksu’s Benjamin Hansz – spend money in order to get valuable data.
From Real Time Bidding platforms, to incentivised downloads, developers should cast a wide net and experiment as much as possible. Different traffic sources will bring their own limitations and strengths, and will work better depending on the type of app being promoted. Developers need to identify and understand their Key Performance Indicators – whether it’s retention rates, monetisation or types of engagement – focus on them and optimise. This is a continual process if you want healthy growth.
— Stefan Bielau (@StefanBielau) July 11, 2013
Keeping Users Engaged
While acquiring engaged users was the key theme throughout APS, the problem of keeping users engaged also dominated many of the talks. Both InfoBip and Ads4Screen gave talks emphasising the power of messaging and the stats presented by both platforms were pretty compelling – with Ad4Screen’s Patrick Mareuil saying Android push notification recipients were 1.7 times more active than non-recipients and iOS users were 2.2 times more active.
However, during round tables a few attendee developers voiced skepticism to us over the effectiveness of messaging, arguing that the potential for irritating their users is too high. One thing everyone did agree on, and highlighted by MobileGroove’s Peggy Anne Saltz, was the importance of using data to get visibility on different types of disengagement, finding out exactly why users are disengaging and whether it’s worth trying to re-engage them.
— Meaghan Fitzgerald (@MegFitz) July 11, 2013
Much of APS was focused on paid marketing platforms, but a few talks concerned alternative approaches. Judging from our conversations with attendees, the most popular presentation came from Stefan Bielau on App Store Optimisation (ASO). As Stefan said, ASO is still somewhat frontier-like. There’s not a great deal of valuable insight freely available and Apple and Google do not share much information on how their algorithms work, so it’s no wonder attendees listened attentively to what he had to say.
Apart from ASO the other non-paid promotion avenue that struck a chord was using blogs and online media to generate publicity. Edelman’s Renate Nyborg gave some great tips for developers on how to approach technology journalists, urging attendees to put effort into researching which journalists are more likely to cover your app, being well-prepared with preview code, and getting the timing right, so your coverage is used to full effect.
— Tina de Souza (@tinagdesouza) July 11, 2013
Want more coverage of the App Promotion summit? Take a look at our round-up of all the interviews and articles right here.