Coming up, you’re gonna discover the most effective app marketing strategies to boost your downloads. As you’re planning your launch and still figuring out which ones you should focus on. Is it going to be PR, Apple feature, influencer marketing, App Store Optimization (ASO)? Which of these strategies will give you the biggest bang for your buck?!

In our infographic, we ranked each strategy into different tiers to calculate the effectiveness based on three factors: your control, cost, and potential downloads. Based on these variables, I’ve tiered up each campaign that we’ve gotten really good at and the ones the I think most app creators think about when they’re launching or promoting their app.

App Marketing Strategies

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Tier 1 Strategies

Apple Feature

Alright, let’s get into tier one. So tier one, we have Apple feature. Look, this can translate into hundreds of thousand of downloads for your app, especially if you’re a game.

We’ve helped 12 of our clients featured by Apple and three in main home-page features. So I’m telling you from experience, not just reading other people’s blog post that, from a control perspective, I would say you’re probably in good control, meaning you have to create a good app, and then there’s enough strategies out there to get in touch with Apple.

While you don’t have complete control over this strategy, but you have some control. Cost wise, it doesn’t really cost anything to try to get a feature.

Downloads wise, you can get to six figure downloads and about 20,000-60,000 downloads for non-games.

Paid to Free Campaign

This is one of my favorite campaigns, it’s where you make one of your in-app purchases for free if you have a free app or if you have a paid app, you can make it for free for a couple of days to drive tremendous amounts of downloads. Control-wise, you have complete control over this because the way to do it is to reach out to the press.

If you can build a good enough relationship, you can really get features. The two biggest sites that I found are AppAdvice and BGR. It barely costs anything and the downloads are pretty similar to that of the Apple Feature for non-games.

You don’t even need to worry about giving up potential revenue because based on my experience only about 11% take advantage of the free in-app purchase, but from a downloads perspective, it’s a really great way to drive downloads.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

You don’t have complete control over it because Apple and Google have their own algorithm, but you still have pretty high control over how you want to approach ASO.

It is be VERY cost-effective if you learn how to do it yourself, but if you do hire somebody, the cost might get pretty high. It won’t garner you millions of downloads, though. If you already have some user acquisitions campaigns in place then this strategy will just add additional boost to the organic growth.

Tier 2 Strategies

Facebook Ads

You do have complete control over Facebook Ads by being able to narrow down your target market, ad creative and everything else. I do love Facebook ads, but cost-wise it can be a little bit more expensive than the campaigns I have under Tier 1. However, you can scale the cost down and it has the potential to drive a lot of downloads — if you have the money for it.

Video Ads on Ad Networks

This seems to be the best converting ones from a cost-per-install (CPI) perspective and is the best performing from a CPM monetization standpoint as well.

So it’s a win-win for both parties and you can already see video ads exploding. You have a lot of control, but it can be really costly and you’ll be looking a CPIs of probably $2+.

Influencer Marketing

We’ve had really good success with this strategy, especially for games. Trend Pie is a sponsor of our podcast and a good friend of mine as well, and we use them for our clients and have seen some really good results.

For the game or even in the health and productivity categories, I would suggest you really think about influencer marketing. You have complete control to choose your influencer whether it be from whichever social media platform: music.ly, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.

However, running these campaigns can get fairly costly. I know a lot of big game companies are spending 6-figures on influencer marketing campaigns and driving tremendous amounts of downloads.

Apple Search Ads and Google AdWords

These are really effective as well in helping you drive cost-effective downloads. Control-wise, again, you control which keywords you want to target and how much you’re willing to pay for them. Cost-wise it can get up there, if you’re not targeting properly. And lastly, downloads-wise, I feel like you’re going to tap out after a while or you’re just going to have to pay more.

Tier 3 Strategies

Product Hunt

Product Hunt is a great site for press; it’s similar to Reddit or Digg, but specifically for products. It can bring a good amount of revenue, I got around $3,000 or $5,000 for my eBook, but this was back in the day.

It might cost close to practically nothing, but you have to get a Product Hunt moderator to submit your app otherwise it may never see the light of day. When it comes to downloads, our clients have been featured on the site and they’ve done fairly well. However, it is just that spike of hundreds to a couple of thousand downloads so it’s not as effective as it once was.

Press Coverage

We’ve done a lot of PR. Our clients have been featured on TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Mashable, The Next Web, and all the major tech blogs and the one thing I don’t like about press is that you have very little control.

It is completely editorial, so you’re basically pitching somebody to feature your app and if you do land press coverage you’re not going to get that many downloads.

The only time I would suggest you think about press is when you’re trying to raise funding and when you have a long-term strategy of building a brand for yourself.

And that’s about it; if I missed anything just let me know and I’d be happy to re-do our infographic. For now, these are the campaigns that we’ve have had experience with and that’s why I’m able to put them into different tiers.

Steve Young

Founder at AppMasters
I started building apps in 2011 and my first app hit #8 under educational games. I started making a few hundred dollars a month, but had no idea what I was doing. Then in 2013 I decided to start a podcast so I could pick the brains of app creators that I admired including the co-founder of Shazam, Tapbots, Crossy Road, etc and that changed everything.

Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 8 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.

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