If the statistics are to be believed, apps are one tough nut to crack. About 1 in 4 apps are abandoned after being used only one time, according to data. Yet, the app market is on a huge surge. New app installs are up 13.5 percent, and app revenues in Google Play and the Apple App Store soared 35 percent in 2017. So why do some apps fail, while others succeed wildly? There must be some secret to success. To find out, we checked out some of the most successful recent campaigns from top app publishers. Whether you're looking to ramp up downloads or rev up retention, these are the app marketing tactics you need to steal for yourself.
Gilt Reengages Shoppers With Promoted Tweets
Luxury online e-tailer Gilt captured all-but-lost customers with their mobile app promotion on Twitter. Using promoted tweets, Gilt successfully re-engaged customers by enticing them with stellar sales that combined promises of deep discounts and immediate urgency. Here's how their strategy worked: Gilt used Twitter's tailored audiences to target male and female app users to encourage them to shop the limited-time sales. Once they clicked through on the "Shop" button of the promoted tweet, they were taken directly to the sale. Or, they'd be taken to a download link for the app, so they could access the app-only sale.
The results? Revenue was more than double their goals for the re-engagement campaigns. The Gilt app hit a click rate 85 percent higher than the e-commerce benchmark, plus 2x increase in average click-to-purchase rate (quarter-over-quarter).
There's a lot to be taken away from Gilt's banging results. For one, don't underestimate the power of creating urgency... or a few helpful nudges here and there. No matter which network, using retargeting ads to reengage already interested customers can bring your campaigns to newfound levels of success.
Bejeweled Leverages Instagram Influencers
Here's a mind-blowing before and after: Before PopCap Games' Bejeweled app began their Instagram marketing campaign, they ranked 702nd among Apple's top-grossing U.S. iPhone games. After? They had jumped to 182nd place. How they did it was by setting a clear strategy of growing the game's user base, upping brand engagement and driving app downloads. They executed their strategy with the help of Instagram Influencers. They enlisted top Instagram Influencers to post photos of themselves playing the game with the hashtag #shinyplace, including David Lopez (17,253 likes) and Koya Webb (2,607 likes).
A post shared by David Lopez (@davidlopezfilms) on
Bejeweled's success shows the importance of getting the right influencers on board with the right strategy. By starting with clear goals for what they wanted to accomplish, they enlisted the right Instagrammers and employed effective campaign tactics, such as hashtags.
NBA and Headspace Buddy Up
The National Basketball Association (NBA) recently made headlines by partnering with app meditation company Headspace in a deal to jointly create content for its users. No money was exchanged in the deal. It's a strategic partnership between two companies that know and respect each other. How did this odd couple get together? The NBA became interested in working with Headspace after the LA Lakers started making meditation part of their player training. As part of the deal, Headspace will provide free content to more than 7,000 NBA employees annually. Since Headspace acquires around 75 percent and 80 percent of users by word-of-mouth referrals, they're banking on more of these users amounting to more new paid users.
There are a lot of ways to make a buddy system like this work for you. To replicate the NBA and Headspace's success, think of the allies you already have. There are always other companies who are connected to your customers but don't present competition. Sharing audiences is an effective way of growing your market share without breaking the bank.
Argos Gets Seriously Multichannel
Give your customers real-world ways to use your app that make it oh-so downloadable, as British retailer Argos.co.uk discovered. When Argos put a new feature into place that allowed customers to look for something online and reserve it for pick up in store – app downloads exploded. The retailer recorded more than 2.5 million downloads with the new strategy.
The key to Argos' strategy was remembering, what good is an app if people don't need it? Connecting to all your channels can be the key to success if your app is part of a brick-and-mortar business, like Argos. Even if it's not, there's always the opportunity to connect an app with brick-and-mortar businesses in a joint promotional venture (See the NBA and Headspace).
Yummly Skyrockets Retention by Connecting App to Instacart
Yummly is a recipe recommendation service that provides everything from helpful cooking videos to kitchen tool suggestions – but not the groceries. That's where their partnership with Instacart comes in. Yummly users can get all the recipe ingredients they need through a handy link to Instacart. All the recipe ingredients are added to their Instacart in one click. If the Yummly user doesn't have Instacart yet, they're taken to a download link. Voila! More downloads and better retention.
The real results? Yummly's one-week retention rates skyrocketed 35 percent since hooking up with Instacart. Yummly shopping users have 26 percent higher first-week retention. Shoppers added 28 percent more items to their shopping lists.
For Yummly, creating a seamless connection was the key to results. This is one case where the individual parts weren't greater than the whole. These two apps offer end-to-end value that's not possible by themselves. Want results like that? Think of where your customers come from before reaching you or the next step after. Then propose joint interactions with apps that will provide end-to-end value for users and drive results.
Now, Put These Tactics Into Action for Your App
One of the toughest parts about marketing apps is that downloads are no guarantee of success. It's only the beginning of the journey for aggressive app marketers. What these top app publishers prove is that with the right strategy, there's plenty of success out there just waiting to be had.