Renate Nyborg on Driving App Discovery Outside Mobile – How To Use Other Channels To Drive Downloads

Renate Nyborg 1

Renate Nyborg  is a founder of Pleo a new mobile design and consulting firm.  She was formerly Global Director of Mobile at Edelman, the world’s largest communications agency with 67 offices worldwide.  Before that she was Head of Mobile Business Development for A&N Media, owner of the Daily Mail and Metro, which launched 70+ apps in her time there. She also set up mobile games and apps publishing brand ‘Metro Apps’, originating publishing deals with leading developers.  Renate was one of the speakers at App Promotion Summit in London and now we are able to share audio recording of her talk as well as a transcription.  Renate covered the topic of how to use channels outside of mobile / apps to drive downloads – so covering things like PR or using your existing customer relationships.  This was one of the most highly rated talks of the conference which provides a lot of good tips for anyone looking to find different ways of generating downloads and users, beyond the usual ad networks or app store based approaches.  The presentation covered the following areas:

  •  How to Make The Most Of Your Existing Customer Relationships
  •  How To Get Coverage On Blogs And Online Media Using PR
  •  Using Traditional Media – Print, TV And Events

Here’s a podcast of “DRIVING APP DISCOVERY OUTSIDE OF MOBILE” recorded in high quality below:

You can also find the presentation on “DRIVING APP DISCOVERY OUTSIDE OF MOBILE” on slideshare:

‘Driving app discovery outside mobile’ – How to use other channels to drive downloads – Renate Nyborg – #APS2013 from App Promotion Summit Conference

Finally we also have a transcription of the entire talk below:

Renate Nyborg:  Cool, so hello. I’m Renate Nyborg, and I work for a company call Edelman, which you may or may not know, but they are a huge PR agency, and over the last sort of six or seven years, they kind of transformed themselves a little bit. So we’re also now the world’s largest social media agency, so we have lots of community managers doing stuff for [inaudible 00:42] and X-Box and all of that stuff. And so what I was asked to talk about, even though my focus is actually digital and advertising and that kind of stuff as well is basically how I work with some of my colleagues to [inaudible 00:55] discovery in the real world, in traditional channels so in print magazines and that kind of stuff. My name is Renate on Twitter as well if you want to tweet me later.

So I kind of wanted to talk about four things: crafting your story, creating experiences, inspiring press coverage, and also leaving bread crumbs to you existing marketing channels. So I guess I should clarify that I what I’m going to talk about is most relevant for people who work at brands or people that run kind of mobile startups rather than necessarily a mobile gaming company. So the first thing that I always ask people that I start working with is what is your story? That sounds really obvious but actually it’s really important to think at the very start why is someone going to care? Great, you’ve built an app that is fun. Is it more fun than the billion of other applications that are out there, and what essential part of the real world that are out there. And what is essential part of the real world experience that you can change, and why is it fun or beautiful or particularly useful to you in everyday life.

So in terms of driving discovery, the first place to start is obviously by driving media coverage. Journalists are really good at distilling why you’re app is interestingly useful to consumers. So before I came in today, I spoke to a few people I know at the Guardian Tech Crunch, and I said to them, okay, what is it you really want? What frustrates you about all of the emails you get and people sort of tapping you on the shoulder? So this is all straight from the horse’s mouth. And so the first thing they all said is that, we are really desperate for people to talk to us as journalists rather than my publication. [inaudible 02:20] is we often get people emailing everyone individually or three people which makes them feel kind of like you know, maybe he’s going to write about it. I don’t really care anymore. Journalists are very obvious in what they like and what they don’t like. They talk about it on Twitter. They’ve written about it. So just look at who’s that one journalist at Tech Crunch who’s going to champion your story.

Now when you’ve found your perfect journalist to write about you, the best thing to do is to try to find someone within your network that can introduce you. If it’s someone that the journalist trusts makes that personal introduction, you’re far more likely to get covered coverage. Twitter can also be a really good place to just kind of engage with the journalist and give the sense that you actually care about the same things as them and not just blasting a message at them which they don’t care about. You’re actually participating in a conversation. If you follow relevant journalists on Twitter, you’ll see that they often ask people their opinions on stories that they are writing about or things that they’re interested in. So if you’re able to kind of jump into one of those things, and then oh, by the way, I’m actually building an app that solves that problem, you’re probably going to get featured.

If the journalist doesn’t reply, it’s probably not worth sending them three emails that week. They’re not replying because they’re rude. They’re not replying because they might be at a conference, and they’re covering very important things. They just don’t have time to cover it that week. What is a good idea however is to include the sort of tips email address for publication. So if for instance, if you know Natasha at Tech Crunch also bbc tips at because if Natasha is away someone else might be able to pick up the story.

And the second question I often get asked is okay, so what should I send the journalist and what’s going to be interesting? Should I just sent them a link to my app store? So this is an overview of the things that you really, really need. First of all, obviously a short description of the key features and what is unique. Make it easy for them to sort of get a sense of how it is different from what other applications are doing. But also, don’t oversell it. You’ll be amazed how many people start off by calling their app revolutionary, ground breaking, amazing, the most [inaudible 04:40] thing since slice bread which probably isn’t by the time that you’re just launching it. You’ve changed the world in a couple of year’s times. So be a little bit humble.

Journalists love YouTube videos. It takes quite a long time to download an application and figure out how it works. If they are getting sent 100 apps per day, they want to be able to just quickly go to YouTube, spend 20 seconds looking at it, and that helps them make a decision about whether to then take the time to download it as well. And that’s particularly important if you’re promoting a kid’s app or a game where the graphics are such an important part of whether the application appeals or not.

And then finally screen shots. I think we saw in some of the examples today having screen shots with marketing texts laid onto it can be great in terms of marketing directly to consumers. Journalists wants to tell their own story. They don’t want a screen shot that has amazing 47 new levels on anything like that written on to it. So be sure to also include the rules screen shots for your application. And then finally, and this is obvious, but if it’s a paid application include a [inaudible 05:44] so they can download it for free.

If you’re a startup, publications like Tech Crunch would really love some additional information as well. It’s not just about the application. It’s really about the story of the app and where it’s likely to be going over the next few years, that’s also going to help you develop a long-term relationship with them. So first of all, who are the founders and what is there background. I think if it’s your first app, people often feel sort of humble about it. They don’t really want to brag about what they’ve done before. But just tell them what was the inspiration for it? Did you have a problem in your day-to-day job that you were trying to solve?

Secondly, what’s your funding, a very interesting question. How much traction do you already have, and with that journalists want real numbers. They don’t care about how many installs you have. They want to know how many daily activities and how many monthly activities you’ve had. What are they doing within that is what really matters. [inaudible 06:42] key to differentiate between you and other players, it can help them do their homework. They probably know all of the apps that’s in that space, but you’d be amazed about how often that happens. I was talking to [inaudible 06:56] recently who is known and loved by all [inaudible 06:59] users, it’s an amazing keyboard application. They were really frustration because Tech Crunch had written sort of an overview of the five best keyboard apps and they weren’t featured. But they hadn’t taken the time to actually engage with that particular journalist who had been writing on the subject quite a lot.

And then finally, describe the project in your own words. They don’t necessarily want, like I said, a bit of copy that says, this is the most revolutionary application since 2008. They want to hear as though you’re in a bar or in a pub, and you talking about the application, what you think it does and why you think is cool. So the second thing that we tend to work with people on is to create an experience. The thing that you can do most wrong with apps is to think about it as just a piece of technology or just a piece of software, and I think that’s where consumers often jump to. So what we try to work really hard to do is create an experience around the application that shows how it can play a part in your everyday life, and a very good way to do that is with a launch event. What we did with CNN a couple of years ago was they were launching a news application. There were lots of news applications out there, but it had some unique features. So marketing was kind of already built into the app itself. And what was different about this was that people could submit their own stories, their own pictures, and all of that kind of stuff through the application. So instead of just putting it live in the app store, and obviously we’ve done all of the SO and all of that kind of stuff, we organized a panel a frontline news club, which is sort of a famous club for journalists near the Bayswater [inaudible 08:42], and we have been [inaudible 08:45] panel around citizen journalism and the future of news. Now that conversation sparked lots and lots of conversation on Twitter throughout the day and as a result of that, it went to number one straight away the next day, and without any spend on mobile advertising or anything like that.

Another question I often get asked is, is all of this stuff around app promotion just for consumer apps? Is this just about getting an app in the Top Ten app store? Am I competing with ad group ads? The answer is obviously no. So we work with sort of b-to-b clients in terms of helping them discover audience are very [inaudible 09:29] and events and conferences are a great way to do them. So these are two of our clients, that’s the World Gold Council over there on the left hand side. So they are a huge organization that represents the interests of any industry that works with gold. So they work with healthcare companies, they work with technology companies, they work with banks directly and financial analysts, and they wanted to engage a very, very exclusive audience of CEOs and people who have a MGO in India, APAC, and North America. And we wanted to get these [inaudible 10:07] into their hands, but we didn’t necessarily know who the right people are. So the problem that we developed with them was really around initially identifying the right people through the real world and through a few targeted applications, and then driving donuts down to them, and pushing that kind of discovery going forward. So for instance, we did a paid media deal with Forbes, who traditionally write a lot about the importance of gold as an investment asset. We did a deal with the economist digital edition, so if you use that on you iPad, you’re going to app for that in a couple of weeks time. Follow that up with face-to-face meetings at events, and only that is going to then inform the [inaudible 10:47] of the discovery piece in the app store and online. Now this is sometimes a little pricey, so it needs to be within your budget, but experiential stuff is hugely powerful as well. You’ve probably seen this video about angry birds that are kind of a real world version of the game, which is now at 18 million on YouTube, which I think is a great example of doing something really powerful in the real world and then got disseminated through all of their other channels on YouTube, social media, etc.

Now the final thing to do is, again potentially obvious, but lots of people and companies forget to do this, which is simply going, okay, where do I really connect with my customers or with relevant people that might be interested in app? So you might have had a gourmet burger kitchen or a huge burger chain in the UK, and last year they launched a [inaudible 11:42] application that was available for IOS, android, Blackberry, and Windows 7. We did really well. We got it to number two, sadly just behind Domino. It had about 25,000 downloads in the first month, and it got press coverage in the Guardian and publications like that. So the obvious ones that we did for them, was we included copy and wording on their website and we sent out a blast to their email list. We developed a social media [inaudible 12:08] with them that we pushed out through Facebook and Twitter, but the most powerful thing by far and away was the [inaudible 12:17] marketing that we did for them. Like I’d probably say that [inaudible 12:18] because we had [inaudible 12:19] media spend this stuff as well. It probably accounted for 90% of all downloads, and I’m not a fan of [inaudible 12:26] at all, but in this case, I was really proven wrong. So the insight here was that within GBK there is about 15 minutes between someone placing their order and actually getting that food to the table, so we had a really captive audience that we could promote the app to. And so what we did was we printed off posters, flyers, and what we call table talk [inaudible 12:46] on people’s tables. What we found was that 60% of the 25,000 downloads were driven by a [inaudible 12:54] scan which completely shocked me. And what was fascinating about that was it really helped up develop the marketing campaign going forward. So the reason that GBK launched the application in the first place was they had no idea who was actually coming into their store, when, what they were buying, etc. And we sort of had a few goals that we wanted to explore. One of them was what percentage of your audience are students, and what’s really going to trigger their engagement. So we created a specific QR code for students and then a generic one that people can pick up in the store. And this is the data that we had after doing the first release, so almost 50% of the QR code scans were from Apple devices, 30% from Androids, but the students were disproportionally driving all of those downloads in the first few weeks. So GBK has now sort of redeveloped its marketing campaign for the next few months to cater to those audiences.

So to summarize, I think there are really three big things to think about in terms of driving discovery in the real world are working with journalists, thinking about your own launch events, conferences, doing something experiential, and leaving bread crumbs through your own channels, be that stores or digital channels. Help journalists help you, so be selective, focus on the ones that would care, provide them with the right assets and help them make you sound interesting. Tell a story and [inaudible 14:20] wider narrative, either around your business where your business is going or how you are trying to change the future of gaming, and create an experience with the app which could be experiential or meeting someone at an event. And finally leave bread crumbs to sign post the app in existing marketing materials and remember offline marketing is super, super powerful. That’s it.

Thanks to Renate for a great presentation – you can find more coverage of App Promotion Summit here