10 Best Mobile App Marketing Strategies in 2020

The evolution of smartphone or mobile applications continues. As apps shift from their initial nature as standalone platforms to being integrated into all-inclusive mobile strategies, several firms are recounting the reasons that made them begin the journey of mobile development in the first place. Presently, it is unacceptable to have an app only for the sake of possessing it. The tremendous effect of mobile phones have been acknowledged, and people have started to look at it as a crucial part of their businesses. It is also high time we assessed the manner in which we market our applications.

Initially, organizations used to create their own apps by teaching themselves how to do so internally or hiring mobile developers who used only a DIY application maker. Once developed, the applications were promoted via the traditional channels of marketing. Unfortunately, today the mobile movement has expanded into an entirely different battleground for firms to tussle over. As such, the old traditional approach is no longer effective. The institutions that own the most successful applications are those that are ready and willing to invest resources in marketing their applications as aggressively as it takes to get the clients to learn about and acquire the apps.

Why Turn to Mobile Now?

Research indicates that the number of individuals using smartphones had beaten that of those using desktops by nearly 200,000 between 2014 and 2015. This increase is mobile usage got 2015 the nickname “Year of Mobile.”

However, there are many those who believe 2015 was not the ‘Year of Mobile’ since the medium has been transforming into the principal go-to avenue that clients turn to whenever they want to link up with their most preferred brands for several years now. Most of these people opine that referring to this era as the ‘Age of Mobile’ would be more fitting than giving all the credit to a single year. Whatever one wants to call it, the bottom line is that clients expect and demand a mobile application that would enable them to connect with their favorite brands. It is estimated that 90% of all the minutes that users spend on their gadgets are devoted to the use of applications alone. From all these, what is apparent is that shoppers prefer interacting with their most loved brands in a mobile setting to any other avenue. Therefore, if a brand’s mobile game is weak, its clients will seek online shopping experiences that are more intuitive from one of the rival firms.

Obstacles to Mobile Marketing

Even if you have a wealth of experience in marketing, it is essential to recognize that marketing apps are a totally different ball game, full of new rules and different players. A question that marketers face constantly is how to popularize their apps. Some of the common challenges that these marketers face in the mobile application arena are targeting problems, rankings on the app store, unfamiliar channels, and understanding the users versus the downloads. Considering the novelty and complexity of some of these issues, marketers are forced to adopt or at least incorporate some new marketing approaches in their traditional strategies.

To help brands traverse the arena of mobile marketing, below is a list of 10 strategies that have proven effective for mobile app marketing:

1. Keep Focus on KPIs that are Specific to the Application’s Market

Even though mobile marketing applications might be new to most marketers, goal setting is quite similar to that of the traditional marketing campaigns. The goals still need to be realistic, measurable, specific, and so forth. However, the mode and tactics together with the application specific nuances designed to reach the objectives differ. App marketing comes with many new concerns. Even though most marketers are familiar with velocity and revenue, they ought to channel their focus to particular KPIs unique to the area of app marketing. These are things like ranking in app stores, acquisition of loyal and organic users, optimization of the app store, and cost-per-download.

For several marketers, that is unfamiliar territory. Therefore, it is sensible for brands to assign a dedicated crew the task of focusing on the benefits and significance of the KPIs in their marketing plan. Once the goals are established, one can then decide to separate them into secondary and primary goals. That is probably already being done in other marketing areas; therefore, marketers need to continue doing it. Further, it is vital to have a comprehension of how these objectives serve the broader organizational goal. In essence, the application marketing goals of an organization should coincide closely with those of the other marketing approaches. Even so, marketers still have to maintain their focus on the KPIs unique to the world of app marketing.

2. Commit the Resources Deserved by the App

Many times, marketers underestimate the value of mobile advertising. As such, only a minimal proportion of the overall marketing budget – at times below 1% - to this approach. Unfortunately for them, in the present era, apps are powerful tools of marketing and demand much more resources than that. Studies indicate that approximately 80% of clients prefer to get location-based alerts straight onto their cellphones. It only makes sense to spend money on push notification and geo-fencing marketing strategies since it is what customers prefer. According to a study done by the Mobile Marketing Association on the effectiveness of using mobile apps to market, organizations should be spending between 7 and 9 percent of their overall marketing funds on mobile.

Once a brand has reorganized their marketing budget to allocate the mobile apps the resources they rightly deserve, it needs to lay a sound plan on how this allocation will be spent. The promotions and advertisement of the apps need to be creative, engaging to clients, and ongoing. Failure to properly plan the budget could result in depletion of resources way before getting to the crucial moments of the year. The idea should be to see to it that the app remains visible in every crucial marketplaces all year long. For instance, a slightly larger part of the budget could be spread around key holidays when consumers spend the most to boost that visibility and make sure that the consumers can see the app when they need to use it the most.

3. Resist Being Pulled in Several Directions

Each firm is angling for app supremacy and space, and individual departments within the same organization might be going through the same push and pull. For larger organizations, this problem is more severe because there are more departments and people trying to personalize the mobile app and the marketing strategy.

To avoid the in-fights, it might be wise to bring all these stakeholders together into a single team. This will not only appease each faction that feels they should have some power over the app marketing approaches but also increase the success chances of those strategies. However, it is essential to be wary of the fact that getting the goals of all separate departments aligned can be challenging. As such, routine meetings and ongoing communications between teams are necessary to better the chances of reducing power struggles and attaining all the different goals. Once the groups learn to work together, the brand will have more creative minds and hands to execute a unified app marketing initiative.

4. Partner the App Marketing Group with an Expert of Mobile Marketing

Some organizations handle their app marketing strategies in-house while others hire ad agencies. Despite the expertise and knowledge that these teams or agencies might possess when it comes to advertising, mobile marketing is quite different and requires a new set of technology and expertise. Even those in the field of digital marketing find the mobile app marketing challenges quite tricky at times. Some of the challenges are analyzing app usage, optimizing marketing efforts, and targeted media purchasing. If reaching out to a provider of mobile technology is within a firm’s budget, then, it might want to explore this alternative with its internal app marketers or whatever ad agency it uses to run its marketing campaigns. That approach might eat up a large chunk of the marketing resources but will offer the greatest chance at success and attaining optimal ranks in app stores.

5. Do not Popularize the App at the Expense of the Experience

Initially, when organizations only made apps for the purposes of having some application for their clients to utilize, marketing the app itself was more acceptable. That is no longer the case since brands are not trying to get just audiences anymore. Instead, they are trying to get the audiences to enjoy the experience of using the app, stick with it, and recommend it to others. In essence, brands nowadays intend to sell the uniqueness of the experience that customers get from using their mobile apps.

Even though a lot of things about mobile app marketing are new, this concept is not at all new. Modern-day consumers search for the brands that offer the simplest experiences. Research indicates that 86% of application users will most probably buy when they do not feel overwhelmed by the information availed on an app. Consequently, when noting down store descriptions, marketers should have that in mind. Essentially, they should market the manner in which the app will make the lives of the users easier, not each simple task the application can perform. The approach of popularizing the experience instead of the app has made the user experience a crucial matter for organizations across almost every industry. Concisely, it is simply not enough to market only the apps anymore. One has to emphasize the unique experiences that the app offers the customers.

6. Billboards Alone are not Enough to Market Apps

Regardless of how massive a brand is, using traditional strategies like email newsletters, in-store signage, and touchpoints like mass media avenues for advertising is not going to make it for the firm. The whole process is just too involved and clunky; that is, the customer has to catch sight of the advert then take out his/her phone to search for it. It is not that this process is impossible, it happens, only that it is much easier for the customer to tap the app open if it pops up in his/her phone through different mobile avenues. Even though a big number of customers will look up and find a brand's name in their preferred marketplaces like App Store or Google Play, that alone might not suffice- especially since the apps of competitors also exists and maybe even more visible in the same spaces.

The essence is to popularize mobile apps where a brand's mobile users are already present. Put differently; mobile is to be fought with mobile. Over time, firms have discovered that their best expenditure on marketing their applications is on live bidding exchanges and networks for mobile advertising. Real-time or live bidding enables marketers to attain efficient and low-cost marketing that targets their intended audience segments. Besides, organizations have noticed that the more the advertising networks that they spend resources on, the greater their success chances.

7. Organically Uplifting a Brand’s App

Once again, the paid media buys are likely to boost the rankings of an app. Nonetheless, a firm is often hoping for users to discover the app and install it on their own. In the application marketplace, organic users and ad-driven users have some symbiotic relationship of sorts. The more downloads a company manages via its media placements, the better its app store rankings become and the more increased its visibility towards possible organic users. A burst campaign is arguably the best way to attain organic lift. Nike is known for being one of the best in the trade of making the most out of the burst. This short-run, focused marketing will result in a high download volume. The abrupt popularity surge will assist with a rapid increase in app ranking in the Google Play and App Store. This will, in turn, make the organic downloads peak. Once the app has an impactful organic users' number, it can scale back its ad spending to the minimum required to keep the achieved numbers.

Eventually, the objective is to get the application's optimal ranking, which is gotten to by determining the best balance of organic downloads, and spending, and app store ranking. Put differently; a brand wants to convert as many organic users as feasible for the best utilization of its money. This will be similar to throwing plenty of fuel at a fire to produce a huge flame; an act that is relatively easy. However, keeping the flame burning at the same rate all through will be considerably harder to attain, and the brand will not be getting a positive return on investment on its ad spending.

8. Downloads are not Equivalent to Success

The more an application is downloaded, the better it's ranking on the app stores.

Nevertheless, there is much more to achieving a successful application marketing campaign. Away from the organic users, there is a more cherished crop of the user that is called the loyal user. As much as downloads are crucial, a company usually has to put in a lot of resources on the experience that the app gives the user before they can attain a good number of downloads. Therefore, any brand should want this interface to be experienced well. It is the loyal app users that are going to convert the download into revenue for a company and make actual use of the features that a lot of investment went into designing.

Even after taking their time to download an application, several users will not use it more than a couple of times. It is essential to monitor this churn rate because if an application is not attracting any loyal users, then something must be wrong with how it functions and the developer needs to check the design. If such issues are not rectified, then, even with adequate organic lifts and campaigns, a brand will struggle to boost its downloads. Ultimately, it is the loyal users that determine the future and success of the mobile app segment of a brand's business.

9. Do not Test for Perfection, do it for Tactfulness

Measuring the app marketing strategies' success is quite different from measuring the success of traditional ways of marketing for a number of reasons. The mobile platform is new and is changing quite rapidly. As such, what is useful today might not work tomorrow. Every passing day, technology and its ever-mutating facades create new challenges. The best way of relaying information now might be obsolete in a few weeks owing to the innovation of a better medium. Take a look at geo-fencing for instance.

A lot of organizations apply the tactics for measuring the success of traditional marketing campaigns on measuring mobile marketing success because the former is all they are aware of. Others believe that email campaigns maintain their competitiveness today, while some prefer classic ads. While the successes of these could be significant indicators of ad success in traditional marketing, they are not for mobile app marketing. For the latter, it is more useful to spend resources and time to research the latest techniques in the field and comparing them with the ones that a brand is using at that moment. From the benchmarking, a firm can choose the trending method that serves its needs best and adapt it. If it searches and finds its methods still among the top trending in the market, then, it can consider that a success in mobile app marketing.

10. Avoid Complacency! Keep Breathing and Living Mobile

Regardless of the degree of success that one registers at marketing his/her apps, the work is never done. As mentioned, the mobile app world is dynamic and keeps changing. Therefore, an app marketing team should continually meet and schedule future changes, updates, and ways to ensure that the consumers stay loyal and engaged. It is also significant to establish a loop of feedback with consumers to observe and comprehend the shifts in attitude concerning one's app and those of competitors.

A portion of this approach is the persistent dedication to strategy #9 and testing new sources of media. However, breathing and living mobile also require taking part in mobile seminars, industry conversations, and other events that are related to these. This becomes particularly crucial if one does not have enough resources to partner with a technology platform that markets apps (#4) since it enables him/her to take up some knowledge and expertise that would otherwise only be brought on board by such partnerships.


At this juncture, it is more than clear that mobile is a vital element of the success and marketing mix of organizations. Therefore, stakeholders need to move away from the mindset of developing apps for the purpose of having one and not for the impact that they can have on increasing revenue and brand awareness, and even bringing more traffic to stores. That said, the best of the best app marketers are going to be those who are willing to venture all in and commit the required effort, costs, and time towards developing and understanding this wildly unchartered territory to the fullest extent.