Beginners Guide to App Marketing

How do you ensure that your app stands out over hundreds of other apps?

So you’ve built your killer app. Now what?

The Apple AppStore and Google Play are cut throat environments with more than a million apps, and the average user sees only a handful of these at a time.. How do you ensure that your app stands out over hundreds of other apps? How do you ensure that people notice, share and talk about your app and more importantly, how do you get them to start buying?

Do not count on quality and ingenuity alone get your app to be discovered and ‘viralized’

You need to get certain things right for your app to gain visibility and to make it “discoverable”. Research by Silicon Alley Insider shows that 63% of people find apps by using the search function in the app store!

Here are useful few tips to increase your app’s visibility:

App Store Optimization: Similar to Search Engine Optimization, App Store Optimization deals with increasing your app’s chances at achieving high visibility.

i. App Category:

    • Figure out the most appropriate category for your app.
    • Check the other apps in your exact app category for that market.Look at the app names, icons, profile pages and check the pricing of most popular apps in your category. This will help you determine your app’s positioning against these apps.

ii. Your App Name and Icon:

Your app’s discoverability primarily depends on the name of your app.

    • Your app name needs to be unique and memorable. It should also include the most important keywords relevant to your app.
    • People search for specific things that they’re looking for. As an example, if you want to download a weather app, you’d search for a ‘weather app.’

In search results, all the user sees is a list of matching apps’ icons and names. An eye-catching icon will draw the user’s attention to your app. The icon and app name needs to create a ‘connect’ with the searcher – make them feel they have found what they were looking for .  Just by making an icon change, the mobile app Trainz Driver sold 20 times more.

    • Make sure that your icon communicates your app’s purpose
    • Compare your icon with your competitor app’s icons in search results. Get feedback on what your icon conveys to the users as compared to the competitors.
    • Avoid using words (especially avoid using the app’s name) in the icon and keep the design simple with solid colors.

iii. Keywords:

The keywords you pick will determine which search results your app shows up in.

    • Don’t use any spaces for App Store keywords, just use commas like this: photos,print,filters,frame….
    • Do not use your app’s title
    • Use one-word keywords, the app stores will join the words when people search. For example, ‘holiday planner’ should be ‘holiday, planner.
    • Use current popular themes or terms in your keywords as people will be searching for them.

Keyword tools can be a useful guide in determining most frequently used keywords between your app and your competitors, and how frequently these keywords are searched within the app stores.
MobileDevHQ’s App Store Optimization tool and competitor are good tools.

iv. Profile Page and screenshots:

Your profile page will give the user an idea of what to expect from your app.

    • People can only see the first couple of lines of description on your app-store page – these two lines should effectively communicate the app’s purpose and value, and build enough interest for people to ‘read more’. A good profile page example is Khan Academy’s app.
    • Customize the screenshots to demonstrate to the user how simple and straight forward it is to use the app. Make sure your screenshots are easy to understand and exciting.

App Pricing:
Research your competitors’ pricing to get an idea of where you should pricing your app.

Few pricing strategies to consider are –

    • Offering a lower price than competitor’s to target more customers – but be wary of your app being perceived as having a lower quality offering
    • Keep your app price the same as, or even higher than your competition – this will work only if you have a strong, relevant and easy to convey differentiator between your app and others
    • Freemium apps are very popular these days, where you offer a limited set of app features for free, just enough to get the user to download and experience your app, while making the full experience available when purchased. The balance between free and premium features is a delicate one and easy to get wrong. Think of the choice from the user’s point of view. What do they need to see that will convince them that you offer the best product and experience? What aspects of the experience constitute the ‘value’ that you can charge for?
    • Using In-app Purchase feature, you can offer the app for free and charge the user for downloading additional content or unlocking certain features. E.g. – digital content apps for newspapers and magazine
    • In-app Ads can be used with free apps to generate revenue. Make sure that the ads are relevant to the users and integrated seamlessly within the app.

Ratings and Reviews:
61% of people find apps in app store through family or friends referrals.

    • Request your family and friends to download your app and rate your app.
    • Ask the regular users of the app to rate and give feedback – but do it unobtrusively, do it without nagging, and only ask frequent users to rate your app. Users are strongly influenced by the comments and ratings given.

Take Feedback Seriously:

    • First time users rely greatly on app ratings and comments
    • Get in touch with the users who have given a bad review, take their feedback seriously and work on resolving the issues. Release regular updates to the app by addressing these issues and informing your customers

Social Networking:

    • Provide users social media options – “Like” or “Share the app” on their facebook pages or ability to Tweet about it. People like to be in a position to help others, and spread the word about something good and useful. Make it easy for them to do so.
    • Before the launch of the app, build as much hype as possible by way of Coming soon posts and teasers on your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages, and get friends and family to do likewise

App review sites

App review sites can help the app generate a burst of downloads before the launch of the app and it’s important to reach out and get featured on at least a few of these.

    • Create an impressive video and website and submit with all relevant details like app name, description, features, company name, your contact information and also link to the app store page.
    • Give a hands on experience to the reviewers by sharing the promotion code for your app. This is possible for paid apps too.

Sign up for an app store analytics application
Sign up for an analytics like  App Annie and MobileDevHQ. These sites provide very useful information like Top Charts and Search Rankings for your app and its competitors.


Developing an app is difficult enough, marketing it successfully is even harder. You need to work out a Comprehensive multifaceted marketing plan that will tap all existing channels and help build and sustain your app’s success. It’s a lot of hard work and a bit of luck goes a long way, but success on the app store is within your reach.

We will be at your side with advice and assistance throughout – for us too, the measure that counts is app downloads, not app projects delivered.

Good luck!