Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked (and what hasn’t) for 23snaps.

facebook

Facebook in-app mobile advertising is fast becoming the industry channel of choice. While of course it’s important to diversify your marketing channels, Facebook offers the powerful combination of highly targeted ads, scalable pay as you go pricing and massive reach.

But if you’re setting up your Facebook ads through the web interface, you’re missing a trick – particularly when it comes to targeting the right users. This week, get cozy with Facebook’s Power Editor, a Chrome browser plugin that sits firmly between the limited Facebook web ad creation platform, and their ads API which is available for approved developers.

There are tons of ways to use the Power Editor to enhance your existing Facebook ad campaigns, or get set up in the first place, which I’ll cover in future posts. But to start with, here is a walkthrough of how to get started with your first campaign in the Facebook Power Editor.

Getting Set Up

To use the Power Editor, you need to have the Chrome browser, and install the Power Editor extension. The Power Editor app will then appear on your Chrome home screen.

chrome

You’ll also need to have integrated Facebook with your native Android or iOS app. This involves installing a Facebook SDK and creating a profile for your app in the Facebook App Center. If you haven’t done this already, you can download the SKD and start the process of adding your app to Facebook here: https://developers.facebook.com/. As an added bonus this means that you app has a chance to appear in the Facebook App Center visible to all Facebook users.

Connecting Power Editor

The most common issue that new Power Editor users run into is forgetting to Download or Upload their campaigns. Before you do anything, you’ll need to click the “download” button in the top right hand corner of the Power Editor application – and it’s good practice to do this first every time you open the Power Editor. This will sync your existing Facebook ad campaigns and account with the Power Editor.

You may also want to check that you are modifying the right account – by default you will be editing ads in your own, personal account, but if your company or Page runs ads that you are authorized to edit and manage, you will need to select the correct account from the drop down on the left.

download-account

Creating Your First Campaign

Although the Power Editor looks confusing, it’s actually fairly straight forward. Here’s how to get going:

1)      Click the ‘Campaigns’ tab in the top center.

2)      Click the ‘Create Campaign’ button – a new campaign should appear and you should have the option to edit the campaign settings.

3)      If you are just getting started, you may prefer to leave the default settings of ‘Auction’ rather than ‘Fixed’ campaign. With auction settings your price per install or click may fluctuate more dramatically but you will be able to benefit from Facebook’s algorithm that automatically optimizes your bidding. Likewise, you may prefer to set a ‘Daily’ budget rather than a ‘Lifetime’ one for more consistency in how quickly your deplete your account funds.

There’s no save button – once you’re happy with your campaign settings, move on to:

Creating Your Ads

If you’ve created ads in Facebook before, some of this may look familiar, but there are some great additional targeting opportunities.

1)      Click the ‘Ads’ tab in the top center.

2)      Click the ‘Create Ad’ button. A new ad should appear and you should have the option to edit the settings.

3)       There are tons of different options for ad types, depending on what you want to promote, but assuming you want to advertise your mobile app in the Facebook mobile ad network and drive installs, you should select ‘Mobile Only Ad’ from the Type dropdown list and select the radio button for ‘Get new mobile app installs.’

4)      If you have installed the Facebook SDK and set up your app in the App Center correctly, you should see your app appear in the dropdown under ‘Destination,’ and your app platform (iOS or Android) options appear under ‘Native App’. You can only select one OS for your ad, but you can always create a second campaign if your app is multi-platform.

5)      Create and add your ad copy and graphics, including your App Icon and a 360x600px creative.

6)       Set your mobile device preferences, such as whether you want your ads to appear on iPad or not, or whether your want your ads limited to users connected to wifi.

Targeting Your Ads

Once you’ve created your basic ad layout and platform targeting, you can deep dive into your audience targeting.

1)      Click the ‘Audience’ tab on the lefthand side of the page.

2)      Set you location, gender and age targeting – these are all options available on the Facebook ads web interface.

3)      Now create your precise interest and broad category targeting. This allows you to create extremely focused audience groups. Precise interests will target anyone with any of the interests you include but won’t always work in combination (for example, if your precise interests were chocolate and ice cream, you would reach people interested in chocolate, ice cream but not necessarily people interested in chocolate ice cream). Broad categories help filter your precise interests. So, for example, if you entered the interest racing, and chose the broad category Interests > Autos, you’d be more likely to get people interested in car racing than running.

4)      Decide if you want to use any connection targeting, such as only showing ads to people connected to your existing fans. If you have a lot of targeting already, this may make your audience too small.

5)      Check your estimated reach. On the right hand side of the Power Editor is a real-time estimated reach, showing you how many people have the potential to see your ad based on your targeting (this doesn’t take into account your ad bids). If your audience is smaller than 10,000, you may consider removing some of your targeting options to increase your reach.

targeting

Setting Your Pricing

Like Google AdWords, Facebook decides which ads are shown to users based on a combination of relevance, bidding and historical data about your account. You may find that you want to start with a simple CPC bidding method and bid higher than the suggested range to ensure your ads appear for users, you can generate clicks and installs to boost your account’s success metrics, and learn how to optimize your campaign in the future.

Upload Your Campaign

You’ve created a campaign, and an ad to drive mobile installs. Now before you close the Power Editor, you must click the ‘Upload’ button in the top right otherwise your campaign will not start running. Don’t worry if you accidently close the Power Editor before uploading – the changes are saved on your local computer until you click the ‘Download’ button the next time you’re ready to start making new changes.

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: Create your first Facebook Power Editor campaign. While it might be a bit clunky to get used to, you’ll be impressed by the additional levels of targeting and control you have over your Facebook mobile campaigns. Not using Facebook at all yet? This is a great way to test out a Facebook ad campaign.


Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked (and what hasn’t) for 23snaps. This week features a guest post from mobile marketing expert George Osborn from MagicSolver.

adverts

Adverts: we know that they help cover the costs of our favourite “free” services but that doesn’t mean we necessarily get along with them. Whether you turn on AdBlock, make a cup of tea when Downton Abbey goes into a five minute break or sneak into a film as late as humanly possible, for some people no effort is too extreme to avoid advertising.

On mobile, things are no different: consumers don’t like adverts. Ok, so a recent blog from Flurry posits that the rise of freemium shows that users are willing to put up with them. But tolerance is a long way off from acceptance, let alone enjoyment and when it comes to ads.  Users will close them before they load, ditch apps that have too many or even pay to turn them off (especially if you keep putting them in REALLY annoying places).

So it’s no wonder that click through rates on advertising banners, to put it bluntly, suck. A June 2012 report from MoPub into the effectiveness of banner ads versus interstitials proved just how sucky they were.

Traditional style banners ported from desktop to mobile bombed with a CTR of 0.1-0.76% while the supposed saviour of the format, 320X480 interstitials, only tempted 2-6% of users to interact with what was on show. When taken with a 1.11% CTR for in stream video ads, it seems clear that if you’re going to get people paying attention to your app with ads it is going to take a lot of virtual footfall to make your way onto a decent number of devices.

So you must be wondering: is there a better way to get people’s attention? Well, in my book at least, there’s a fairly simple way to get over those CTR woes. Ditch the advertising train and climb aboard the trusted recommendations train.

Why should you do that? Because consumers are more likely to engage with something they. Think about it in terms of films. You might see the trailer for a film on TV, Youtube or at the cinema and it’ll pique your interest. But hearing your mates rave about it on Facebook, seeing strings of 5 star reviews from the critics or reading an endorsement from one of your favourite writers is much more likely to seal the deal than an advert alone.

It’s something that’s definitely worked for us at MagicSolver. By having a rigid set of content guidelines ensuring that all three of the apps we feature in Free App Magic are high quality and appeal to our audience, we build trust with our audience that we’ll only ever share the best apps.

The result for us is a pretty impressive conversion rate for apps that feature with us. We see, on average, between 14-18% of our users click through to the App Store after checking out our recommendations.  By shunning the advert approach for curated apps and editorial, we’ve found that we’re able to bridge audience mistrust of businesses pitching aggressively to them by keeping to our promise of only recommending quality. Not bad really.

So what lessons can you take and apply to your marketing efforts? My main advice is to harness the power of recommendation in your creative to make your advertising more accommodating. Things like great comments on social media, excellent review scores and press quotes have been used effectively by brands in other media to turn the advert into a more neutral recommendation and all our evidence suggests it works just as well in mobile.

So make sure you use the power of recommendations to transform “turn me off” adverts into eye catching copy. While no one really likes being sold to, everyone loves a positive recommendation to help them to make an informed and sensible decision.

George Osborn is Head of Editorial Content at MagicSolver.com. You can contact him via george@magicsolver.com or catch him on Twitter @GeorgeOsborn


Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked (and what hasn’t) for 23snaps.

long-keyword-loaded-title

A few weeks ago, I was monitoring our App Store rankings with SensorTower, a great tool to help you keep on top of your ASO when I noticed something odd. One of our competitors, who we regularly out-performed for a wide range of relevant keywords had jumped hundreds of places in the rankings for relevant keywords such as ‘mom’ and ‘photobook.’ I was surprised. ASO is not very well understood but two important factors are considered to be download numbers and reviews – and in both areas we were stronger. Additionally, we had those keywords in our app keyword list, an important way to drive ASO.

I had the competitor’s app on my phone and I didn’t notice anything usual about it – but when I looked at their listing in the App Store online, I was shocked to see their title was now four lines long, packed with keywords (see the image above). The app on the phone still displayed their old, one-word name, but the official title according to the App Store was packed with more keywords than were even allowed in the keywords section of the app meta data. No wonder they were out performing us!

We had an upcoming release scheduled for 23snaps and in order to compete with the competitor who was now, according to Apple, more relevant for the keywords they had been less relevant for only a week before, I proposed we pull the same trick. We could keep the name on the device the same, so users wouldn’t be stuck with a 50-word app title, but change our App Store listing name to something that could compete with the others in the space. I was even more keen to make this change when I saw another player in our small space add some additional keywords to their own title (clearly we were all keeping an eye on one another).

The new app was submitted with a title that would give our competitor a run for their money. I used every one of those characters with relevant keywords to describe and explain our app. I justified it with the knowledge our competitors were doing the same thing – and besides, 23snaps wasn’t very explanatory… I was actually providing a service to the users who were searching for our app by giving them more context.

However I don’t think I should have been surprised when, a few days after submitting our newest version to the app store, we received the following:

meta-rejection

We had been rejected for both inconsistent naming and for keyword stuffing our name. This rejection meant we were sent to the back of the review queue, waiting another week for approval for a release that included a number of important new updates.

So what’s the moral of the story? I hope that the moral is Apple is cracking down on keyword-heavy titles. Perhaps Apple will deprioritize app name keywords in their App Store rankings. Maybe the moral is just don’t have stupidly long app titles. Regardless, it was an experiment we had to undertake to keep up with the competition, but Apple seems to be one step ahead of us (though annoyingly one step behind our competitor). It will be interesting to see if that same competitor is penalised in their next release, and has to revert back to their original, one word name.

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: Continue to test new ways of boosting your ASO, but don’t do something you’re not comfortable with or you don’t think is within Apple’s terms and conditions just because your competitors are doing it. Also, if you are going to test something new for ASO purposes – make sure it doesn’t affect the timing of an important release.


Every Monday, I write about something new you can try this week to drive more downloads for your mobile app and increase engagement with your existing app users, based on what has worked (and what hasn’t) for 23snaps.

app store featured spots

If you’ve seen a spike in downloads that doesn’t necessarily related to any of your other marketing activity, you may have been featured in the App Store somewhere in the world. Additionally, if you want to be featured by Apple, it’s important to know what your options are.

I’ve written before about App Store Collections as a possible feature location but I thought it’d be useful to give a full run through of all of the locations where apps can get featured. Just to note – this review looks at the Apple App Store, but the Google Play Store is very similar in placement opportunities. I’ve added a brief note at the bottom on how these two differ from the Windows 8 Store.

The Main Page

The main page of the App Store offers a number of opportunities for featured placement.

  • The Header. This is the primary real estate on the App Store. Apple is showcasing fewer individual apps in this section, instead saving this space for Apple’s own collections or apps, but they do include one or two individual apps each week.
  • New & Noteworthy. While a new app or an updated app might get a nod in this section, in fact this seems to be another place for Apple to feature certain apps regardless of update time.
  • What’s Hot. Like New & Noteworthy, the apps in this section are not necessarily the most downloaded or popular that week, but are simply apps featured by the App Store team. In many cases, you will see apps here that were in New & Noteworthy the week before.
  • App of the Week. This promotional placement is often reserved for a paid app that is offered for free by the App Store for a week.

Subcategories

The subcategories, such as Games, Lifestyle, Education, etc offer more featured placements. While apps featured here may have fewer downloads overall, the audience is likely to be more targeted.

  • The Header (US App Store only). In the US App Store, subcategories get a large header image like that of the homepage. This is a highly prominent placement and in the subcategories, it usually features individual apps rather than collections or Apple’s own apps.
  • Small Banners. These button-like banners showcase a single app in more detail than the New & Noteworthy or What’s Hot sections. These same placements exist on the main page but are rarely, if ever, used to promote a single app rather than a collection.
  • New & Noteworthy.
  • What’s Hot.

Collections

As of July, 2013, Apple has the following App Collections to showcase apps that may not stand out in the subcategories but are useful for particular interest groups.

  • Hall of Fame
  • Apps for Kids
  • Camera and Photography
  • Music Discovery
  • Apps for Parents
  • Social Networking
  • Cooking
  • Travel
  • On the Town
  • Band in Your Hand
  • Get in Shape
  • Apps for Shopping
  • Get Stuff Done
  • Your News
  • TV Time
  • Money Management
  • Apps for Business
  • Apps for Heathcare Professionals

More are being added all the time and there are different app collections for iPhone and iPad apps.

Other App Stores

Beyond the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, there are opportunities to get featured in third party app stores like Amazon or Opera.

win8store

For other platforms, there may be slightly different featured requirements or options. For example, for the Windows 8 Store, featured options are very limited – which means being featured can lead to a lot more notice for the apps that gain that placement. With Windows 8, there are only three levels, the featured apps on the home page, the apps that have passed Windows’ design review process that sit one click down in the subcategories (such as Social, Entertainment or Games) and then the apps that have been submitted but haven’t been through the Windows design review process that sit one click down from the subcategory.

As a final note, being featured can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand you get a boost in downloads but on the other, you can potentially acquire a lot of users who don’t stick around, especially if you have a free app.

Anything I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!


The other day, a conversation in the office about how to generate more press coverage for our startup led to some questions – what do the major tech blogs consider newsworthy? What do they usually write about? Are there any publications that provide more coverage for startups, or article topics that drive more of the news?

A quick glance turned into a longer look, and the result was some analysis on a full week’s worth of content (between 1 and 7 August, 2013) on five major tech blogs – TechCrunch, The Next Web, WIRED news, TIME’s Techland, and CNN.com’s tech news section. There were over 540 articles to analyse and the results were fascinating (and I wonder if the publications themselves look at the breakdown of their content in this way).

To summarize the information gathered, I’ve created this handy infographic:

soyouwanttechpress

Here are a couple of interesting takeaways:

– Only 11% of a week’s worth of tech press was about startups launching. [Tweet this stat]
If you want to get coverage for a new venture, you’d better have a good hook because this type of story clearly doesn’t get as much coverage as, say, new feature releases from Google or a news from Apple. Startups in general drove about 25% of the press for the week analyzed.

– TechCrunch devotes about 43% of its coverage to startups; TIME Techland only 8%. [Tweet this stat]
It’s not surprising to see a large percentage of TechCrunch’s coverage is about startups, but it is interesting that other top tech blogs spend so few words on the space. WIRED was barely any better at 9% and The Next Web and CNN had slightly fewer than 1 on 4 articles about startups.

– Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google account for 20% of the coverage across major tech blogs. [Tweet this stat]
The four companies alone were the subject of 1 in every 5 articles posted by the five sources.

– 50% of the new ventures covered by WIRED’s tech news blog were launched from a university research center. [Tweet this stat]
Want coverage on WIRED? Better team up with an established university. Or go space. WIRED loves a good astronomical discovery.

While 40% of startup coverage was about company launches, new features and fundraising also made the news. [Tweet this stat]
If you’re past launch but still considered a start up, don’t write off tech press. 6 in 10 of the articles about startups across all five tech blogs were about something other than the company launch. Primarily this was related to startups launching new features (25% of startup coverage) and fundraising (11% of startup coverage), there were stories about acquisitions, hiring and general business news (such as trend pieces and small companies responding to business and political news like the NSA leak).

Of course this is a limited data set, and I’d love to do the same analysis for a larger sample of articles and more sources. That said, I believe this to be a good snapshot of tech press and how it relates to startups.

Got any thoughts on these data? Does this seem to match with your experience and knowledge of the tech press? Let me know in the comments below.