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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.


I am wary of push notifications, the popups that appear on your phone alerting you or reminding you about a particular app you’ve downloaded. When used ineffectively or to often, they are possibly the most annoying thing on my phone and a surefire way to get me to delete an app.

However when used well, they can engage uses, increase retention rate and introduce new features much more effectively than email marketing. Even better, when used correctly, people actually like them. We recently spoke to a large group of our most active users to learn what they like about 23snaps, what they don’t like and what they would add. On a number of these calls, I was surprised to hear our users specifically (and without prompting) say that they really liked receiving a notification reminding them to add a photo or update of their child, if they hadn’t for three days. Apparently this has been one of the key ways they remember to keep using an app they already love.

Another application that has recently started using push notifications in a new way is Temple Run 2. This insanely popular game has topped app store charts for months, so why are they changing what works? Well to get users like me, who have the app on their phone, enjoy it, but rarely remember to play, it to take another look. Their new notifications alert users to daily challenges and, more significantly, remind users who have been completing daily challenges regularly to log back in and complete that day’s task (as rewards for completing challenges accumulate if completed consecutively).

Notifications should be more than a simple reminder of the app’s existence. They should reference the core reason why users love your application. With 23snaps, we ask what a user’s kids have been up to lately, reminding them of the value they originally saw in building a living timeline for their kids. For Temple Run 2, their notifications say “You still have two hours left to complete today’s challenge,” combining a sense of time pressure and invoking the desire to get a high score that drives the active gamers.

If you aren’t able to build notifications into your app immediately, there are a number of third party tools that help you send push notifications, without coding it into the app itself (although they do require you to add an SDK). One of the best is Mixpanel. They also collects additional user data which can be used to segment, target and customize the push notifications you send.

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: determine a key value of your app and the best time to remind someone about that value (is it after a few days of inactivity? When something changes in the app? When a new feature is available?) and set up ONE automatic push notifications to reengage your users.

Yesterday I spoke at the App Promotion Summit, the first event of its kind to bring together app developers, marketers, promotion agencies and networks to discuss how to effectively drive app downloads and engagement.

I was invited to give an overview of the app store landscape, covering the obvious (such as the App Store and Play Store) but also the less well-known (such as Opera Apps and Amazon App Store). I also provided some insight into how 23snaps got featured in the App, Play and Windows Stores, and how other apps could position themselves for featured placement opportunities.

Here are the slides from the talk, with video available shortly.

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.


While the vast majority of downloads for apps come via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, there are actually a number of other directories from which users can directly download apps. These alternative directories offer users incentives, like free or cheaper versions of apps that are usually paid, or a better browsing experience, making it easier to find apps that users will love.

We’ve had some moderate success submitting 23snaps to other app store. In almost all cases, submission is free although if you have a paid app, the store may take a cut of the sales. Here are some alternative app stores and directories where users can download your app directly:

Opera App Store – Opera (yes, the browser) is trying to get into the mobile space with their own app store that carries iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows 8 and HTML 5 apps. Opera claims to be generating over 2,000,000 downloads per day, mostly in emerging markets.

Amazon App Store – Amazon has a robust app store of apps that can be installed on their Android-run Kindles. A great way to get some additional distribution for your Android app.

GetJar –GetJar doesn’t have a web directory of apps but it is probably the largest third party app store. Their mobile app and page make it easy for users to find new Andorid apps. Unfortunately you can’t submit iOS apps to GetJar.

My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: submit your app to third party app stores – it takes just a few minutes, it’s free and it’s a great way to get some additional distribution.

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.


The Holy Grail for mobile app marketers always seems to be a featured place in the Apple App Store. 23snaps has been lucky enough to be featured a number of times, and while we’ve seen fantastic boosts in downloads, featured apps don’t always gain long term active users from their featured placement. This is because so many people browsing the App Store for new apps will give a featured app a go, especially if it’s free, just to see what it is even if they’re not particularly interested in it.

There are, however, parts of the App Store that offer great promotional opportunities as well as a targeted audience – and those are the hugely underrated App Collections.

Apple introduced App Collections a little over a year ago to help counter the argument that the App Store was frustratingly hard to navigate. They have a number of collections that are more specific than the high level categories including Apps for Music, Apps for Heathcare Professionals, Apps for Kids and many more.

When I first started at 23snaps, I wanted more than anything to get 23snaps into the Apps for Parents Collection. This would offer us ongoing promotion in the App Store but to a targeted audience, exposing us to a group of people who would actually use and love the app.

Apple staff get hundreds of emails begging for featured placement but I took a guess that they get fewer requests for inclusion in a particular collection (you can contact an App Store representative through the Help and Support section of the iTunes Developer dashboard).

Before I reached out to Apple directly, I spent some time researching the other apps in the collection – what purpose did they serve? How many reviews and ratings did they have? What did they look like? I wanted to be able to clearly articulate why 23snaps belonged in the collection, both because it was relevant for the group and because it would complement the existing apps in the collection.

Since our inclusion in the Apps for Parents collection, we haven’t necessarily seen the same boost we experienced while featured on the homepage of the App Store, but we have seen a steady stream of downloads of, most importantly, engaged users.


My Monday Mobile Marketing Tip for this week: explore the App Store Collections and see if any are a good fit for your app. Research the other apps in that collection and make a compelling case for why your app should be included. Contact an App Store representative through the iTunes Developer dashboard and you never know – you might see your app featured in an App Store Collection.

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.