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Why You Need to Build a Growth Engine Before You Build a Mobile App Business

Small talk

May 16, 2016

Anyone with a pulse has probably noticed just how popular apps are. The number of mobile phones in use continues to rise and more people than ever are using apps to get the most out of life. This huge growth has prompted many people to investigate the idea of creating their own apps as a business. The number of apps being released totals in the tens of thousands per month. It’s harder than ever to stand out in an incredibly crowded field with so many talented, financially sound competitors. In fact, the top apps that get downloaded do so mainly because they’re made by companies with large contact lists and marketing clout. It’s very tough for an unknown app maker to break into this business without a keen strategy.

Almost all apps that are released have a hard time attracting downloads. It’s just the nature of the game being in a hyper-crowded marketplace. Unless you have a method in place to drive downloads, your app will languish unnoticed.

Social Sharing to the Rescue

Virality is the key to app growth since apps are installed and used by end users. Fortunately, these people are highly-connected and social. If they love an app, they’ll be happy to help promote it to friends and family. Although this is true, in theory, the reality is, you not only have to make it extremely easy for people to share, you must have a cohesive digital marketing strategy in place that drives growth. For most successful app makers, that means hiring a digital marketing agency who understands virality and download growth. The viral growth will come, but only when all the building blocks for app distribution have been put in place.

A Blueprint for Activation

Awareness – the “top end” of your funnel involved making people aware that your app exists. Traffic can be driven through traditional digital marketing methods including affiliate marketing and paid advertising. The key is to monitor and tweak your marketing to ensure you get the most out of your spend. You might even want to look up how to start an LLC to take your brand even further.
Sharing – all apps experience some amount of drop-off between the awareness stage and the actual download. That’s why you need to monitor the traffic sources that drive awareness. Some of them may not be as effective as the others. Double down on the methods that are working and eliminate the “non-perfomers”.
Download – this is where the rubber meets the road for an app. Are users actually downloading it? It takes careful monitoring of your traffic sources to find out which ones are resulting in the highest conversion rates.
Activation – the activation stage is incredibly important. You’ll need to have a well thought out on-boarding process that captures the user and gets them to actually become a user by activating the app.
You have to track every step of the process as closely as you can. The app stores don’t make it easy, but you can work around their limitations to find out what you need to know.

Use Attributes Extensively

Adding attributes means it will be easy to identify exactly which digital marketing method you’re using that drives conversions. This is incredibly valuable data that can make the difference between the success or failure of your app. Mobile attribution companies exist to solve this problem. Choose one that can help you accurately monitor all of your traffic using tags. With this capability, you’ll no longer have to guess at any part of the process of attracting downloads and activations. This lets you unleash the true power of digital marketing.

The only way to eliminate the guesswork from building a successful app company is to do consistent, trackable digital marketing. Your app won’t be new for long. Each day more and more people upload theirs. You’ll need to use a consistent strategy to keep people flowing in. Without a steady stream of people into the “attraction” phase of your cycle, the downloads and activations will taper off and then finally die. When you look at the hundreds of thousands of failed apps, you’ll quickly realize that marketing was not a big part of many of their plans. They thought the mere process of uploading a finished app would be enough to catapult them to success. If you want to avoid the forgotten app boneyard, you’ll be well served to use effective digital marketing and intense tracking and monitoring to ensure that you’re following the path that has been blazed by successful app companies.

Your app has a chance to be completely amazing. With the right marketing plan in place, consistent downloads and activations are a distinct possibility. Set your funnel up the correct way from the start and you’ll be impressed with the results you get. Despite the number of apps available, users are always ready to try another incredible app like yours.

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