Unlocking Mobile App Promotion in 2024. A Deep Dive into Key Techniques and Tools

12 min read
May 16, 2024
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Herein lies an exhaustive guide on mobile app promotion, focusing on the major platforms — the App Store and Google Play. We will dissect significant mobile marketing tools, elaborate on the effective use of keywords, and discuss their influence on an app’s search ranking.
The uniqueness of mobile app promotion compared to web promotion lies in the distribution channels — the App Store and Google Play. This necessitates understanding the intricacies of these platforms and adhering to their standards. Therefore, the challenge for mobile marketers is twofold — outperform competitors and get the top ranks in the search results.
App ranking operates as a search engine filter that prioritizes the most relevant and authoritative apps. The more aligned an app is with a user’s search, the higher its rank and the greater its likelihood of being installed.
The proprietors of the major app stores, Apple and Google, do not reveal their app ranking principles. This is done to prevent marketers from manipulating data and to ensure that top positions are largely determined by user actions.

Key Strategies for Mobile App Promotion in 2024

Let’s delve into the specifics of each.

Why Does Search Matter?

Store searches stand as the primary avenue for free organic app downloads. Sensor Tower suggests, that nearly 60% of all iOS app downloads come from a search, with Google Play reporting similar figures.

These downloads are free as listing in search results incurs no cost.

They’re organic, considering a user actively searching for specific app features is more likely to retain and make purchases within your app.

Similar to web searches, users tend to focus on the top few search results. Approximately 70% of downloads are claimed by the top three apps in search rankings. Hence, dropping below the top three can cause a significant loss of organic users.

Why Does Your Position in Search Results Matter?

General Principles of App Ranking in App Stores

So, How Can You Secure Top Results on Google Play and the App Store?

Industry experts have inferred several factors that influence an app’s rank, including:
  • Total number of installations (install base);
  • User ratings and reviews;
  • Frequency of malfunctions;
  • Regular updates;
  • Total number of user uninstalls;
  • Number of app launches and revisits on different days;
  • For Google Play, external app links (reviews and references online) may also be significant.

For search index, the relevance of your app’s title, description, and keywords, the number of downloads within a particular keyword, and the conversion rate from app page views to installations also play a crucial role.
Diving into the heart of the matter: the methods of promotion. Remember that deploying a combination of promotional tools is typically the most effective approach. For instance, consistent work on ASO, managing your product’s reputation, attracting incentivized traffic, or investing in influencer marketing can steadily secure your app’s position at the top. The configuration of these strategies can be tailored based on your app, resources, and your company’s marketing policy.

The 7 fundamental avenues of mobile marketing are:

  1. ASO App Promotion

ASO, or App Store Optimization, is an extensive process that fine-tunes a mobile app’s page to enhance its search rank in the app store and boost the conversion from views to installations.

ASO is a key element of the app’s marketing strategy, starting from the development of essential elements (title, description, app screenshots) and culminating in reputation management.

ASO is akin to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) in many ways — a process that’s been around for a couple of decades. Optimization involves choosing the right metadata and assets (icon, screenshots) to ascend in keyword search results, making the app easier to discover, download, and install.

What Are “Keywords”?

Keywords are the search queries users input into the App Store or Google Play to find their desired apps. For instance, ‘snapchat’, ‘taxi’, ‘mario’, ‘free games’, ‘photo editor’, etc.

What is a Semantic Core?

A semantic core is a set of keywords or their combinations that describe the app, its functions, value proposition, the tasks it performs, in-app purchases, etc. Defining a semantic core is a crucial task in any app’s promotion.
For an airline ticket-selling app, the semantic core might include ‘airline tickets’, ‘buy tickets’, ‘cheap tickets’, ‘travel’, ‘vacation’, ‘flight’, ‘check-in’, and ‘tickets to Amsterdam’.

What Constitutes a Keyword?

Primarily, users search for a specific app or brand name (e.g., TikTok), followed by specific functions (e.g., edit photo). Searches for brands are considerably more common than feature-based searches.

In fact, all the top 10 most popular App Store searches are app or brand names, with brands accounting for about 60% of the top 500.

Can You Use Other People’s Brands as Keywords?

Generally, yes. However, it largely depends on the policies of the specific store and the individual reviewing your app (in the case of the App Store). If you plan to use trademarked brands, it’s imperative to tread carefully.

2. App Marketing With Incentivized Traffic

Incentivized traffic refers to rewarding users (providing an incentive) for their actions. This strategy is primarily employed in mobile marketing to boost App Store and Google Play search results, improve app ratings, and publish positive reviews.

The predominant factor influencing an app’s ranking in the App Store is the number of installations made within a search query. When a user types a search query, discovers an app, and downloads it (either directly from the search results or after visiting its page), the App Store regards it as a positive signal, thus elevating the app’s ranking.

The app’s increased visibility leads to more organic installations, as more people notice it in response to a specific search query. Given that a significant proportion of installations are captured by the top three apps in search results, ascending to these positions is crucial.

In Google Play, the mechanics are analogous, but the store also considers additional behavioral factors like page visits and time spent on the page.

3. Adjusting Mobile App Ratings and Managing Reputation

As mentioned earlier, an app’s ratings and reviews significantly impact its ranking. There are often circumstances when an app’s rating plummets due to unexpected reasons (a programming bug, content error, user misunderstanding). For instance, users might assign one or two-star ratings to music or video services simply because they dislike the content.

Another challenge arises during the initial stages of an app when it has a zero rating. This situation can be quickly remedied with our rating adjustment service.

Although the App Store and Google Play employ different rating algorithms, they have equally stringent publishing criteria: ratings given immediately after installing the app won’t be counted in most cases.

We have developed a strategy where 60–90% of the initial ratings survive, meaning they’re counted. This entails installing the app, using it for a while, revisiting it on the subsequent days, and then providing a rating or review. This strategy proves highly effective across both platforms.

4. Mobile App Advertising

Advertising stands as a primary engine for app promotion. It is advisable to leverage as many channels as possible. Advertising within the stores and in third-party apps (preferably ones frequented by your potential audience) is particularly effective.

Here are several types of advertising you can consider:

Store-Integrated Advertising

Apple Search Ads (ASA) is a potent tool for promoting iOS apps within the App Store. It’s a platform from Apple Inc., and ads are shown at the top of the App Store search page when users search for apps by keyword or phrase.
The core principles of Apple Search Ads include:

  • Keywords: Developers select keywords related to their app. When a user searches using these keywords, the advertisement appears at the top of the search page.
  • Auction: Upon a user’s search for the app’s keyword, the Apple Search Ads system initiates an auction. Here, advertisers vie for places in the search results based on click rates and keyword relevance.
  • Relevance: Apple Search Ads uses multiple algorithms to gauge keyword relevance. The more keywords associated with the app that meet Apple’s quality requirements, the higher the chances the ad will surface in the search results.
  • Ad Creation: Developers create their own advertisements which are displayed in the search results. The advertisement encompasses the title, description, app icon, and screenshots.

For Android app owners Google’s advertising tools are crucial, as they permit simultaneous display on three major platforms: Google search engine, YouTube, and the Google Play app store.

Each platform offers various advertising formats like banners, videos, and teasers. Media buyers, specialists in purchasing internet app advertising, choose the appropriate format.

In-App Advertising

In-app advertising allows advertisers to reach their audience within the apps they use. This method offers targeted advertising to specific user groups likely to be interested in their product or service. Several in-app networks provide tools for managing and optimizing in-app advertising, including AdMob, Unity Ads, Facebook Audience Network, IronSource, and AppLovin.

5. Promoting Apps on Social Media

  • Targeted Advertising

Social media has become a significant traffic source for apps. Large coverage and precise targeting parameters enable reaching any desired audience and acquiring users who will perform specific actions (registration, purchase, etc.). For global promotion, it’s advised to use Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, along with Google’s advertising platform.

  • Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Using social media marketing is essential for enhancing brand awareness and increasing organic downloads. It’s also an effective way to interact with the audience. On your social media page, you can directly engage with potential users, answer their questions, respond to their comments, and entertain their suggestions, fostering loyalty and strengthening user relationships.

6. Promoting the App’s Website

Search engines continue to be a vital source of traffic, and capturing your potential audience is often more straightforward through Google. Organic searches remain the largest channel for promotion.

Classic SEO comes into play here. The routes to the user can differ. In some niches, creating a landing page dedicated to your app might be enough. In other cases, you might need to collaborate with informational sites that list various top apps.

App Indexing technology, which links websites to mobile apps, is another feature to consider. Available for both Android and iOS, App Indexing works quite simply: if a person is searching for something on a smartphone, and the search result is linked to the website tied to your app, the operating system will immediately suggest installing and launching it. With this technology, you can incorporate the necessary content into the app itself.

7. PR Activity

Remember that the primary source of new visitors could be PR and word-of-mouth referrals. You could consider integrating bloggers, QR codes on banners and signs, participating in exhibitions, ratings, and top lists. It’s a considerable amount of work but can yield significant benefits.

Promotion of Games

The mobile games market is extremely competitive, and acquiring new users, most of whom don’t make any purchases, is a huge challenge for game developers.

Here are some tips for marketing mobile games:

  • Don’t advertise the game as “for everybody.” Identifying your target audience correctly is the key to successful promotion. You need to understand the demographics, lifestyle, playing conditions, and websites visited by your potential users. The more accurately you identify your audience, the easier it will be to target marketing campaigns, and the more users you’ll attract.
  • Research your competition. Understanding your audience becomes easier by studying competitors already targeting them. Competitive analysis can help define initial strategies, comprehend the challenges, develop new approaches, and improve processes.
  • Create a captivating landing page. A creative, intriguing, mobile-friendly landing page that presents your game in the best light possible can greatly contribute to your marketing efforts. Even though a landing page might not seem important now, it serves as your business card, attracting users.
  • Optimize your app store page. App Store Optimization (ASO) is crucial! The higher your game ranks in the search results and charts, the more users it will attract. ASO is a complex iterative process that differs between iOS and Android. Underestimating ASO could mean losing many potential users.
  • Paid Game Promotions. Once all marketing components are ready (landing page, store pages, social networks, videos, promotional materials), you can start purchasing users. This involves more than just banner ads on ad networks or social media; there are several avenues for promotion. These include reviews on popular app and game websites, content marketing, and cross-promotions, all of which can significantly impact your marketing efforts.

Evaluating Progress and Building a Further Plan

While user acquisition (UA) is often the primary goal of advertising campaigns, understanding how to evaluate progress and plan for the future requires a nuanced look at a range of metrics. Although it might be tempting to focus solely on the question “How many users did I get?”, this doesn’t provide a full picture of your app’s performance or the success of your promotional activities. Instead, consider the following:

  • Click-through rate (CTR): This measures the percentage of users who click on your ad from the total number who saw it. A high CTR usually indicates that your ad is effectively capturing users’ attention and persuading them to engage further.
  • Cost per install (CPI): This refers to the average amount you spend to acquire a user who installs your app after clicking on an ad. It’s a crucial metric for understanding how cost-effective your advertising campaign is.
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA): This is similar to CPI, but it considers any specified acquisition action, like making a purchase or completing a level in a game. This can provide a more granular look at how effectively your ads are driving desired user behaviors.
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU): This metric gives you an idea of how much revenue you’re generating per user, on average. It can help you understand how well you’re monetizing your user base.
  • Retention and Churn: These metrics look at how many users continue to use your app over time (retention) and how many stop using it (churn). High retention and low churn typically indicate that users find value in your app and are staying engaged with it.
  • Uninstall: This measures the rate at which users are uninstalling your app. If the uninstall rate is high, it may signal problems with your app’s performance or user experience.
  • Conversion: Conversion rates measure how many users complete a desired action, like making a purchase or signing up for a subscription. Higher conversion rates often mean that your app effectively encourages users to take these actions.

While these metrics are crucial, don’t forget about the Lifetime Value (LTV) of a customer. This is the total profit a customer brings you throughout their entire relationship with your app. This measure tracks the value of the client in their interaction with the app, giving you an idea of how your app has been working over time.

In conclusion, promoting your app requires a comprehensive strategy that includes various promotional methods such as press releases, media reviews, influencer marketing, social media marketing (SMM), and promotion inside the App Store and Google Play. Tracking your metrics and feedback is key to understanding how well these methods are working and adjusting your strategy accordingly. Above all, ensuring your mobile app is excellent will be your most vital tool in promoting it successfully.
ASO (App Store Optimization)
Utilizing incentivized traffic
Managing your app’s reputation in the store
Advertising your app
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This guide aims to provide you with strategies to reach the top ranks and boost organic traffic. It’s a valuable resource for marketers, product managers, and developers who promote their own apps.
Leveraging social media promotion
Promoting your app’s website
Engaging in blogging and other PR activities