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The mobile user is searching for apps – are you there?

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Today’s smartphone user is consuming mobile apps at a staggering rate. In 2016, the no. of app downloads increased by 15%. Mobile consumers spend almost 89% of their Smartphone time on mobile apps and have millions of apps at their disposal. There are almost 2.8 million apps in Android app stores and 2.2 million in the iOS app store.

Looking at these statistics, a mobile marketer might want to safely assume that it should be fairly easy to reach out to potential audience and get desired downloads. But it is easier said than done. Of course, the mobile app market is flourishing, but the competition is rising too. The app market is cluttered and it is difficult to catch the eyeballs of users and further get them to download your app.

App developers are continuously innovating and developing newer apps to woo the user, with best in class design, simple UI, high engagement value and so on. But is that enough?

For making a successful app it’s important for marketers to understand the basic user behavior, starting with “how users search for apps and what leads them to download”

There are a myriad of ways customers find new apps, and here is how this knowledge can be leveraged.

There is more to app discovery than app store

While iOS and Android app stores remain the major sources for new app discovery, it is as much driven by word of mouth. According to a survey word of mouth leads to almost 52% of app downloads. While word of mouth comes from friends, family and colleagues, PR and social media can play an incremental role in getting downloads. How users search for #apps and what leads to a download? Some handy tips Click To Tweet

  • Reward your users for referrals – Not only rewards can persuade users to refer apps to their friends, it can also have an incremental effect on your word of mouth efforts. When users refer their friends an app, their friends will refer their friends and so on.
  • User generated content – Mobile users are not just consuming content but are also generating content. Giving them an opportunity for a new post through your app will definitely engage users and drive conversation about your brand.
  • Prompting them to share your app when they are still using it – Prompt your users to share your app while they are at it. This will help in creating word of mouth for your app on social networks. Also, implementing social sharing features can encourage users to share about your app with their social circles.
  • Don’t ignore traditional marketing channels – The truth is, a mobile user is also interacting with traditional media. Create a buzz around your app through TV, radio ads, mentions in reputed journals etc. to drive word of mouth.

User is scraping the web – even for apps

Web search leads to more downloads than we think. One in four app users discovers an app through search. This trend is seen prevalent mostly when the user is searching for local apps, tech and travel apps. It makes sense to gear up your website for downloads.

Having a mobile optimized site, with well-done SEO and a “download the app” CTA in relevant places, can help to drive traffic from the web to your app store page.

Search ads influence downloads

Search ads can lead to not just discovery of apps, but can be a major driver for a user downloading the app. In fact, 50% of those who downloaded the app basis an ad they viewed on their smartphone, were driven by the ad prompting them to download. With the flooded app market, marketers have the tough task of making sure that their app stands out of the clutter. To break the clutter, marketers should reach out to mobile users where they are looking for apps related to their interests. Online ads such as mobile app install campaigns across search, display, and video are a great way to reach out to users in their moments of intent. A well done search ad campaign can go a long way in tapping users at the right time and in the right place

App discovery on app stores

Almost 40% of people discover apps by browsing app stores. Over the course of a month, Google Play processes six million unique search phrases. That’s a lot. The statistics speaks for itself and drives home the value of ASO (App Store Optimization) quite well.

Some ASO tips that aid in increasing the search chances for your apps

  • Pick a clear and unique title – Title should be unique, short (30 characters for Google play store and 50 for apple app store) and should include a keyword.
  • Clear descriptions and icon – An impactful description can compel users to download. Describe what the app does in clear and concise language. Your app icon is a representation of your brand, make an icon which is simple and works from a 50-by-50 (up to 250-by-250) pixel basis for both app stores.
  • Keywords are important – Much like SEO, keywords are important for ASO as well. However, don’t overstuff descriptions and title with keywords.
  • More downloads will lead to higher rank – only relying on app store for downloads will not do the job, to increase downloads other channels like social media, content marketing, PPC, email marketing etc. must also be leveraged.
  • Reviews and ratings matter – Almost 70% of people read at least one review before downloading an app. Ratings and reviews do affect apps discoverability and downloads. With some easy-to-integrate improvements, in the form of rating prompts and in-app customer communication tools marketers can drive them to their advantage.

To know more about App store optimization, read our post on leveraging ASO to increase your app’s discoverability.

Users download apps to complete their purchase journey

One in two app users will use apps during their purchase journey either to find out more about the product or to make a purchase. However, most of these users will abandon or uninstall the app after the transaction is done. While downloads can be achieved by making sure that apps are discoverable for users with an intent to purchase, making sure that the user does not abandons your app after the transaction is critical. Adding value through discounts or bonus content can help. Also, Mobile engagement apps, and push notifications done right can be useful in making sure that apps do not get uninstalled.

In conclusion

App discoverability is a critical component of any app marketing strategy and marketers must look at it holistically, starting with understanding the user and then reaching out to them where they are. Tapping mediums like word of mouth, web, search ads, ASO and in-app marketing can go a long way in breaking the clutter and increasing the visibility of your app.

But, discoverability is just the first step. Out of the millions of apps available on app stores, a smartphone user has around 36 apps out of which they actively engage with just 6 apps. So, for marketers there lays a larger task at hand which takes your app through a successful journey of search to download to engagement. In this highly competitive market, mobile marketers will not just have to adapt but will have to continuously evolve and innovate to drive the success of their apps.

Surabhi Chatterjee
Surabhi Chatterjee is our soft spoken Marketing Communications Manager with an extensive experience in B2B marketing in the tech domain.
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