The Key to App Advertising Is Quality Over Quantity
Today’s mobile consumer has more than 2 million apps to choose from, and won’t hesitate to delete an app if it’s not more fun, more useful, or easier to use than the myriad of other options available. This year, at least 98% of smartphone users will download at least one new app, but 56% will not use their new app more than three times. After 30 days, only 6% of users will still be using the new app they downloaded.
App advertising can be a race to the bottom with brands and developers battling each other for attention in this muddled marketplace, each striving to maximize downloads at the lowest cost. Successful app advertisers realize that paying for large quantities of downloads can be wasteful, when so few are retained. Instead of optimizing to downloads, advertisers are increasingly comfortable with higher Cost-Per-Installs when the trade-off is a greater lifetime value of newly acquired users. In this model, brands and developers optimize among the tactic, creative, partner and platform that drives post-download engagement metrics, such as:
- Time spent
- Revenue / Purchases
- Recurring usage (post 7 & 30 days)
Downloads en masse still do play a role for some of these advertisers, but the strategy behind their use is designed to increase visibility among other quality users, and are not relied upon to directly drive many quality downloads. For example, advertisers that release a new app may use incentivized formats to drive new downloads quickly if their goal is to get enough downloads to raise the profile of their app in the app store. Generating enough volume to have your app secure a coveted “featured” placement in the app stores could lead to an increase in earned exposure and organic qualified downloads.
However, advertisers should instead be focused on finding new qualified users and building loyalty and retention among existing users once an app has already been reviewed and is established in the app store. Media partners agree, developing new ad tech and capabilities that lend themselves best to acquiring high value users. Google recently announced the introduction of “Android Instant Apps” (in beta as of February, 2017), which allows users to test drive a new app before deciding to download it. This will reduce the number of users who download an app and use it 1-3 times before abandoning it, by allowing users to choose to download once they know it’s an app they want to use over time. Facebook has refined their ability to optimize to in-app conversion events, reducing their (and advertisers’) reliance on Click-Thru-Rate as a success metric. Advertisers cite the following platforms as valuable contributors to a quality app download program:
- Mobile Social ads (Facebook Newsfeed, Facebook audience Network, Twitter Audience Network)
- Mobile Video
- Paid Search
- Mobile Display
- App Store Search (still new, but plenty of interest and optimism)
Once an advertiser resolves to look beyond downloads and cost-per, and decides that their app is ready to attract new, loyal, and valuable users, the next step is to develop creative geared to generate these quality downloads. We recommend asking yourself three simple questions that will help you develop effective messaging:
- What does the app do?
- Take an honest inventory of what your app does, and what service it provides consumers.
- Who would want an app that does that?
- Evaluate who the consumer is that would want the service your app provides. Who are they? What are they interested in?
- How can I tell this audience that I have an app they will want, most clearly and succinctly?
- Develop ads across formats that demonstrate what your app does, and make it discover-able for your intended audience.
In today’s landscape, the question has shifted from “how can I get my app downloaded?” to “how can I get my app to help me acquire and retain loyal, high value customers?” The first step is getting comfortable looking beyond the download.
What is the story to tell the right consumers about your app that will make them keep using it? We can help target and tell it.