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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.


A fair amount has been written about search optimization for the App Store – that is, the practice of getting your app to rank higher for certain search terms when someone is browsing the app store. In a recent survey of our most active users, we found that about a third had discovered 23snaps through the App Store so it makes sense that marketers and developers want to be more discoverable there.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your downloads is to make sure you are using the right (and the maximum number) of keywords in your app listing. Keywords don’t display on your App Store page so can’t be seen by customers or competitors, but they are the biggest factor in where your app appears in search results in the Store. In fact, the words you have in your description (the public one) make no difference at all!

You can only edit your app’s keywords when you push a new version of your app to the App Store but you can start thinking about which keywords you should include when you next release an update. You can include up to 100 characters, including the commas between keywords, in the keywords field when submitting your release and you don’t need to include plurals (i.e. game and games) as different keywords.

The best tool I’ve found for tracking, researching and optimizing app keywords is https://appstorerankings.net/ which helps you see where your app currently ranks, suggests what keywords your competitors might be using, and indicates how competitive different keywords are.

When we changed our keywords for 23snaps, we saw an immediate improvement in organic downloads.

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: sign up for the free trial (or paid as it’s definitely worth the money!) of Appstorerankings.net and research the keywords you’ll use in your next app release. If you can, release a new version of your app with the new keywords and monitor any improvements in rankings along with any corresponding increase in downloads.

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.


Google AdWords is, you may be surprised to hear, the world’s biggest mobile ad network; far surpassing Apple’s own iAd and any of the dedicated mobile ad networks.  This is mostly because many of Google’s ads run on mobile devices and desktop devices automatically but hundreds of thousands of apps have actually enabled in-app advertising using Google’s AdSense code. This means that not only can you advertise in search results and normal web pages to mobile users, you can actually display ads insides other applications using the Google platform.

I’ve found this a really effective way to reach targeted users and because Google Adwords offers flexible cost-per-click bidding with no minimum spend (unlike other mobile ad networks which might charge upwards of $15,000 to run a campaign) it’s incredibly cost efficient to test.

Here is how to set up a Google Adwords campaign to run in other Apps.

  1. Create a Google AdWords account if you don’t have one already.
  2. Create a new campaign and choose the option “Display Network Only”. This means that your ads will not show in Google search results, just on third party sites that have enabled Google ads to display in their site or app.
  3. Set your campaign settings. You will have a number of criteria unique to your app, like location, language, device type which are easy enough to set but the most important piece is to select the option Mobile Apps next to Display Targeting, ensuring your ads appear in applications, not on other webpages.create-new-campaign
  4. Choose where to display your ad. There are three ways to place your ad in apps.First, and least targeted, is to chose an app category (like Games, Lifestyle, Photography) and let Google do all the hard work. Any app that is eligible to show Google Ads and is in that category might display your ad (depending on your bids).

    Second, you can search for specific apps by keyword (see the image below). This search functionality is limited and I’ve found I get the same results again and again however this does allow you more targeting than the broad category match and ensure you are advertising in apps that are actually going to show your ad.


    The final way is to manually enter in the IDs of apps you want to advertise in. You can find the app ID in the URL of their App Store listing. This is by far the best way to target the most relevant advertising locations but the problem with this method is that you may try to target an app that doesn’t support Google Ads (in fact, 9 times out of 10 this will be the case). That said, I still prefer to have the ability to choose exactly which apps my ad displays in so I will use this method, and delete the apps from my targeting if they don’t track any ad impressions at the end of the week and add in new targeting options instead.


  5. Add your ad creative and turn on your ad. Be sure you’re not linking the ad to your website but instead directly to the app store. Remember you are targeting app users on their phones from inside another app. If you direct them to the App Store, they can download your app immediately from their phone.

That’s it! You have created an AdWords campaign that shows an ad for your app inside other applications and you only pay if someone clicks your ad. You can even install the Google SDK that will allow you to track conversions to downloads within the AdWords dashboard.

I hope to write more about advanced ways to use AdWords to do effective mobile marketing, but for now;

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: create a Google Adwords campaign with a small budget to test advertising your application inside other apps. The more targeted your advertising, and relevant and appealing your ad, the more successful you will be.


When I first started working at 23snaps, I was a bit apprehensive about the shift from web marketing to mobile marketing. I had much less experience in acquiring mobile app users, and it seemed like a daunting task.

Online, there are literally billions of channels through which to acquire new users – as every other page on the web is a potential direct marketing channel to send people to your site. Mobile, however, has relatively few direct paths to get the app to a user’s phone. In nearly all cases, users need to go through one of the top app stores – either Apple or Google. Sure, you can drive them to the app page in either store, but it seemed to me when I started at 23snaps that was a much less effective way to gain new users.

So, as I tend to do when faced with a new challenge, I turned to the internet, blogs and books. Someone, I figured, must be writing clear, simple and actionable guidelines for mobile marketers to help them acquire new users cost effectively and keep them around. After all, there were nearly 1 billion apps in the App Store – that’s a lot of companies, developers and mobile marketers who have had plenty of time to figure out mobile user acquisition.

But the resources available were meager and vague – or expensive and vague. Mobile marketing, it seemed, was not a particularly well documented area. Whether it was because those who were successful didn’t want to give away the trade secrets, or there was a perception that acquiring mobile users required a huge budget or simply there wasn’t enough collective knowledge yet, even in this fast-growing industry, it seemed I was pretty much on my own.

For nearly a year now, I have been working at 23snaps and experimenting with a huge range of the obvious, and less obvious mobile app marketing channels and I think I’m starting to get some ideas about what’s working and what’s not. Most tellingly, since I started, 23snaps has steadily grown in user numbers, used and loved by hundreds of thousands of parents and their families. But in that last year, I haven’t really noticed any significant developments in the quality of online resources for mobile marketers.

So from Monday, I’m going to be starting a new series of posts called Monday Mobile Marketing Tips. I’ll describe one thing that worked particularly well (or didn’t) in helping 23snaps grow so significantly. The idea is that someone could try to incorporate these marketing tips quickly, easily and cheaply each week, as part of their ongoing business activities, to see if it works for their app.

I’m really excited to start, as this will also be a record of some of the things I’ve tried at 23snaps. I’m also looking forward to feedback from other mobile app developers and marketers to  find out what works for them – and hopefully build a more useful and actionable guide to launching and marketing a mobile app for others going forward.