Growth Hacking for Mobile App Marketing

Succeeding in today’s competitive app landscape requires more than just creating a great product. It’s also necessary to differentiate your app from all the other similar ones available across marketplaces. To drive installs and engagement, you must find ways to convey to mobile users why they should download your app instead of a competitors’.

Growth hacking—also called growth marketing—has arisen as a strategy for scaling up an app’s user base and revenue. Here’s how one COO defines this concept for Marketing Technology Insights: “A data-driven application of quantitative and qualitative tactics to drive customer acquisition, conversion and retention with a product.”

In this case, the product would be the app itself. Driving customer acquisition would mean focusing on getting the right mobile users to install the app. Conversions would look like whatever meaningful post-install events drive revenue: creating an account, subscribing, making in-app purchases, conducting ecommerce transactions, etc.

Consider these areas when you’re using mobile app marketing for growth hacking.

Targeting and Personalizing Ads

The first thing that comes to mind when you think “growth” might be attracting as many mobile users as possible. But driving installs indiscriminately through paid advertising gets expensive, fast. Furthermore, there’s no guarantee these users will move beyond the initial install to engage meaningfully. While you may rack up a significant number of downloads, this model is not sustainable for “freemium” apps because it won’t necessarily help drive revenue.

A better strategy is aiming for targeted growth, meaning you serve ads to those users most likely to engage in valuable post-install events. Today’s top mobile marketing services focus on building target lookalike audiences based on the demographics and mobile behaviors of your most engaged users. The next step is serving these users dynamic ads—personalized ads assembled programmatically in real time to reflect the characteristics of viewers.

Marketing for Retention

Growth requires more than attracting a constant influx of new users; you must also retain current users. Otherwise, your app’s growth trajectory will crumble like a sandcastle lacking a sturdy foundation. One tried-and-true method for boosting retention is focusing on re-engaging lapsed and dormant users. We live in a world in which 23 percent of mobile users abandon an app after they install it. So, how can marketers pull mobile users back into their app’s funnel if they stop engaging after installation?

Just like you aim to acquire new users through targeted, personalized marketing, you can also serve dynamic ads to people who previously interacted with your app. The difference here is that your call to action will try to convince them to engage in a specific action related to where they dropped out of your funnel. For example, someone who once added a pair of shoes to their shopping cart on your ecommerce app would see the same pair of shoes in a retargeting ad.

Increasing App Visibility

Unless you’re diligent about app store optimization (ASO), your app might be “hiding in plain sight” within app stores. This makes it difficult for mobile users to find out it even exists among millions of apps available for download. Optimizing your app’s listing within a marketplace boosts rankings, so users are more likely to see your app when they search by keyword.

The most basic aspects of ASO are title and description. These components should contain relevant keywords based on careful research. But Google Play and iOS also index reviews from mobile users, so it’s important to encourage your current users to leave their two cents. This will help more users discover your app, driving growth.

Long story short: Growth hacking for mobile app marketing involves investing in both acquisition and retention efforts.

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