3 Mobile App Marketing Ideas That Just Don’t Work

There are many possible approaches to mobile app marketing, not to mention even more emerging as the industry changes rapidly in response to technology and consumer behavior. Innovation can be good; marketers must find what works for their app rather than trying to pursue a one-size-fits-all strategy. But not every idea is necessarily a winner. How can marketers avoid common pitfalls as they attempt to meet benchmarks, streamline ad spend and help their app reach its full potential?

Here are three mobile app marketing ideas that just don’t work—plus a closer look at some alternative strategies emerging as savvier strategies.

Trying to Get Everyone to Download Your App

You may believe your app is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but trying to get everyone to download your app is a risky tactic. Your ad spend will go through the roof while your conversion rates rarely budge. Why? Because installs do not equal engagement. One report found that, “on average, over 30 percent of apps installed globally across both iOS and Android devices are uninstalled.”

And uninstallation isn’t the only dead-end marketers face when it comes to lack of engagement. Many mobile users download an app, open it once, then exit out and fail to re-engage. When you’re paying to drive these installs, this lack of conversions end up costing you big time.

It’s wiser to define your target audience using data, then serve ads to mobile users with characteristics in common with those active users. This helps marketers make acquisitions count and increases the chances of earning post-install conversions.

Using Installs to Measure Performance

As TechCrunch reports, almost one in four mobile users launch an app just one time. Furthermore, 62 percent of users will use an app fewer than 11 times. What lesson can marketers learn from statistics like these? Installs are simply not the finish line, so measuring campaign performance based on quantity of installs alone is not useful.

An emerging school of thought in mobile app marketing involves focusing on the quality of installs and subsequent retention rates instead. Target the user base most likely to find your app useful and engaging, then incentivize them to use your app over time.

Prioritizing Acquisition over Retention

User retention is important because it directly affects customer lifetime value (CLV), which is an important metric to gauge financial success for apps. The lower your CLV, the less luck you’re having engaging users in post-install events. Obviously, a higher CLV is desirable because it means mobile users are spending time within your app and converting over time.

What does retention look like for the modern mobile app? Well, it depends on the specific type of app you’re marketing. Examples include:

  • Gaming apps: Users make in-app purchases to unlock additional equipment, lives or levels of gameplay.
  • Dating apps: Users make a profile, pay for a premium subscription or pay for extra features like boosted visibility.
  • Entertainment apps: Users may pay for a premium subscription or to bypass a paywall.
  • Travel app: Users compare travel packages, book trips and manage their itineraries.
  • Ecommerce app: Users create an account, browse products, make purchases and sign up for loyalty perks.

A key component of retention in today’s busy world is re-engaging dormant users. Sometimes, people simply forget to engage with an app—but these users are far from lost causes! They may simply need a tactful prompt to re-engage. Mobile app retargeting specifically aims to drive conversions from previously active users by serving them dynamic ads, for example.

These three mobile app marketing ideas may not work, but there are always alternative strategies ready to optimize your campaigns.

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