Home » Posts tagged "apps" (Page 2)

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.


Last week I gave a lecture at The Mobile Academy about app promotion and marketing. It was a crash course in getting your first downloads and while much of the content I’ve covered here; one new piece that I addressed during my talk was getting tech press for your app. There has been a ton written by people much more knowledgeable than I about bootstrapping PR, getting press and connecting with journalists so I’m just going to cover a couple of elements that I found particularly relevant for independent app developers when it comes to getting tech press.

1. Be a company, not an app

It’s very rare to see press about a new app launching. You see coverage of new companies trying to solve a problem. If their solution happens to involve an app, then that’s addressed but an independent app developer creating a new game isn’t news. Describe yourself as more than an app – figure out how to position yourself as a company.

2. Do something different

Kind of a no-brainer but if you are making an Angry Birds clone called Miffed Mice or something, you’re not going to attract much attention. What are you doing that’s a bit different or unique? Do you solve a problem that exists in other services? Figure out how you stand out from the crowd.

3. Share statistics

If you’re willing to share real, legitimate statistics from your company’s growth and usage then you give journalists more context.  Take a look at popular stories on TechCrunch or The Next Web – most will have some sort of statistics from the companies mentioned. Numbers not only validate stories but help other companies and readers understand the ecosystem and benchmark themselves which is one of the reasons stats make popular reading.

4. Target the right journalist

Usually rule number one of bootstrapped PR – make sure you’re talking to the right person. If your emailing a journalist who only covers hardware about your app, you’re just cluttering up their inbox and you certainly won’t get a response. Get familiar with the journalists who cover your beat and write them personalized pitches when you have something relevant to share.

5. Define your audience

Another ‘duh’ concept but it’s very easy for journalists (and readers) to be skeptical of apps and businesses that claim to solve a problem for everyone in the world, or a new network that “everyone” will want to join. Niche is the current buzzword and it’s because it’s a much more interesting and believable story when a company recognizes a problem that affects a specific group and then goes about solving it. Who are you solving a problem for ? Who are you creating content and entertainment for? If you answer is everyone, then you’d better have some pretty impressive stats to back up that claim.

6. Pick a fight

While you should avoid actually throwing punches, sometimes some healthy competition can help garner some publicity. Whether you place yourself at odds with a bigger company or app in your space (such as a Facebook, Instagram, Candy Crush or similar), play off of another company’s misfortune or mistake to highlight your own offering (such as the news highlighting Amazon’s poor staff conditions or Google not paying UK taxes), or do (or provide) something slightly controversial (such as Snapchat being associated with sexting), any conflict can help you grab headlines.

This week, make sure you’ve set up your company to address the six points above to generate tech press for your app.

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.


You might know how much you pay per install, but do you know how much you pay per user that registers, or completes an in-app purchase? Do you know exactly how much you pay for those users per campaign?

I’ve written before about how you can use Google AdWords to place adverts within other mobile applications, and even target ads to specific apps. And with the Google AdWords SDK, it was pretty easy to see which ads were driving app installs. However recent updates to Google Analytics for Mobile combined with Google AdWords now allows developers a killer combo – using events and goals tracked within Google Analytics for Mobile as their conversion goal in AdWords. In otherwords, you can track your conversions in AdWords through to a specific event in your app like a registration or an in-app purchase.

This is a huge deal, and something that allows Google to steal a march on Facebook’s mobile ad platform. While some preferred Facebook developers (of which there are only about a dozen) have built tools and their own SDKs to link campaign management on Facebook to app KPIs, this still needs to be managed by a third party (and one that often times will charge many thousands of dollars for a “test” campaign). With Google, you can now self-manage a small campaign to see EXACTLY how much you have to pay to acquire a user that achieves your app KPIs, plus with enough conversions, you can start to take advantage of Google’s automated algorithms that optimize for conversions, meaning that Google will automatically target your campaigns at an audience more likely to convert to a registration, in-app purchase, or other KPI.

This requires a couple of different steps, but once you have all of the different pieces set up, you will be able to see exactly how much you are paying in AdWords for an event-related conversion in your app – something that isn’t possible yet with Facebook’s mobile ads. Here’s how to get set up.

1. Set up Google Analytics for Mobile

You will need to download the SDK that gives Google Analytics access to your application. While you may be familiar with Google Analytics for websites, the mobile version is quite different, although the sentiment – in depth, free tracking for your property – remains the same.

2. Create some basic event tracking in Google Analytics so you can set up goals

If you are not the developer of the app, this will need to be implemented by your development team. The Google Analytics for Mobile documentation is quite good (and available here) and outlines how to track events. Make sure you are tracking events for KPIs relevant to your app (such as registration, in app purchase, plays a game, invites a friend, etc). It’s most effective to optimise for just one KPI but you can track as many as you’d like in Google Analytics.

3. Create a goal for your KPI

Once you have Google Analytics for mobile tracking your app and app events, go to your Analytics admin section and create a goal for the KPI you want to optimise for.



4. Link Google Analytics and Google Play

You will want to complete the loop between AdWords, Google Play (and the download) and Google Analytics. Follow the instructions here: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/2956981 to link Google Play and Google Analytics. As an added bonus, this will start to show you more of the referral sources that are driving traffic to your Google Play page.

*You can follow these same instructions (and skip this step) for iOS apps as well.

5. Import your goals to Google AdWords

Now log into Google AdWords and in the Tools section, under Conversions, you can choose the option to import goals from Google Analytics.


If you haven’t ever connected your Analytics and AdWords account before, you will be prompted to a this point. Then you will be presented with a list of your Google Analytics goals, and can select the ones you want to track as conversions in AdWords. As I mentioned in earlier, it’s best to optimize for one conversion at a time and stop tracking conversions for installs. AdWords does not differentiate for different types of conversions within a campaign which means if you are tracking an event and installs, you will be double counting conversions for some of your acquisitions. For the right KPI, installs shouldn’t matter anyway – you just want to know how much you are paying for the real thing.

6. Create (or watch) your AdWords campaigns

You’re done setting up tracking, now you just need to start monitoring the results. If you haven’t created a Google Analytics campaign to promote your app, you can create one now, otherwise your existing campaigns will start tracking and reacting to your new conversions within 24 hours.

Keep an eye on your Cost per Conversion metric – it will likely jump up quite a bit over your previous cost per install but it’s a much more realistic way to understand how much you are paying for your active users.


I haven’t come across any other self-managed ways to see automatically on a campaign level how much it costs to acquire users that achieve KPIs. Have you found any other way to track the cost of acquiring your most valuable users?

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.


One of the most important factors in ASO (App Store Optimization) is reviews. Get lots of great reviews, and there is evidence this helps you steal a march on your competitors and gain a boost in your rankings. Bad reviews, or no reviews at all, on the other hand, can be detrimental to your rankings.

So how can you ensure you’re getting positive reviews? One way is to prompt your users to add a review to the App Store, a topic I’ll cover in more detail in the future. But if your users aren’t already fans, how can you be sure their review will be positive? One of the best ways that we’ve found is by providing fantastic customer service.

Why Bother With Customer Service for an App

After the iOS 7 update, many applications experienced bugs or issues related to the new operating system. One such app was Zynga’s Chess with Friends – probably not one of their most popular apps, but still one with millions of users around the world. After iOS7, Chess with Friends was unusable, leaving many players frustrated as they received app notifications but couldn’t log in. The most persistent complaint on Zynga forums and in app reviews was Zynga’s lack of communication. “We just want to know if they are working on it!” typified user feedback. In the days following iOS 7’s release, Chess with Friend’s rating plummeted to below two stars.

Alternately, we have found that many of our top reviews reference great customer support – even if there was an problem or bug. Many of our five star reviews reference our great support services – we try to get back to all requests within one working day, but often times can respond within the hour.


Real support services, operated by real people who can answer the wide range of questions users have, is not the norm when it comes to apps – especially free apps. But the goodwill generated by setting aside just a bit of time to make your users happy and comfortable using your app can generate more than warm fuzzies. Users who have had a positive experience with your support team are not only more likely to be positive about your app when leaving a review, we have seen that they are more likely to stay engaged with your app over a longer period of time.

Not only that, but user feedback can be invaluable when trying to decide on what aspects of your app to improve or how to prioritize your product roadmap and you can test out potential solutions but asking customers with real problems whether a proposed update would really solve their issues.

Add to that the fact that measuring the total number of support requests about specific issues and tracking customer concerns and volume of queries over time can give you insight into how well you app is solving user needs, the points in favor of setting up a support infrastructure are starting to really add up.

How to Set Up Your Support System

So how can you get started? In the beginning it’s easy – answer your emails from users.

But as 23snaps has grown to hundreds of thousands of users, we needed something a bit more robust to handle and track support requests. We started using Zendesk, a fantastic support request management platform, and it’s allowed us to scale our support along with our userbase. We haven’t needed to hire any full time staff to manage support and can tag and track requests from users, as well as set up macros to respond to the most common customer issues. As an added bonus, it acts as a content management system for your FAQs, making it easy to manage and add new web pages with guides, tips and troubleshooting for your app.

Zendesk is even cost effective for an independent developer – with a starter package of just $20 per year (although prices can go up pretty quickly for advanced features and large teams).

I believe that providing fantastic customer support for 23snaps users has been a major factor in our growth. There’s nothing worse for a user than feeling frustrated with a service and then not getting any response from the company. We’ve tried to prevent any of those feelings with a scalable support system that can address the needs of all of our users.

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: Sign up for the free trial of Zendesk and use it to answer your support emails. See how your customers respond and what insight you can gain looking back over a week of support requests. You may just find it increases positive reviews, engagement and ideas for how to improve your product.

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 post expects knowledge of the Facebook Power Editor. If you haven’t used the Power Editor before, check out my post, Creating Your First Campaign with Facebook’s Power Editor.

Last week, I spoke on a panel at Social Media Week London about whether or not Facebook has cracked effective mobile advertising. You might have a guess at my answer given the last few weeks of Monday Mobile Marketing tips! I was speaking from the perspective of a smaller app developer, and tried to share some of the more interesting and actionable points from our experiences with Facebook ads.

One of those key lessons was that, when using the Power Editor to select specific interests to target, it can be incredibly effective to look beyond the obvious, basic interests that advertisers have been trained to select from other, more basic ad networks.

Because Facebook user “interests” can be much more broad than simple keywords, and include the names of Pages the user has like and groups they’re a member of, you might find that you can create some very large, yet targeted, groups with a few unusual, and unusually worded, interests.


For example, when trying to find parents to target for 23snaps, I discovered that some strange combinations of terms actually had significant reach (an example being “I love being mother,” shown above). A couple of other strange ones include “Mommys money saving obsession” and “I am proud mommy.” Despite the questionable grammar of these interests, it goes to show that keywords beyond the obvious can help you access large portions of your exact audience.

Why do these keywords work so well? It appears that Facebook considers any Page, ad, and in some cases the posts, that users have liked on the platform when considering a user’s interests. Many of these strange interests correspond to popular Facebook Groups or Pages. Regardless of how they are generated – this level of focused targeting is much more effective than targeting an interest like, say, ‘Parenting’ which not only is more generic, but is not always an interest that every parent will specify.

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: Explore some unusual interests you can try for your Facebook mobile ad targeting while using the Power Editor. Stuck for ideas? Try looking for the popular Facebook Pages or Groups in your app category for some inspiration.

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: 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