Mobile Marketing

6 Mobile Marketing Tips For Launching Your Next App

Mobile Marketing Tips

The current mobile app market has been rapidly growing during the last few years and today it’s more complex than ever. Launching an app isn’t just about releasing it to the market – it’s about marketing it in various ways much sooner than it actually sees the light. Here are 6 practical tips for a successful launch of a mobile app.

1. Make a video

There’s no more effective medium for showcasing the interface and capabilities of your app than a video. Make sure to create an interesting and dynamic one that paints an accurate picture of your app’s features and workflow.

You won’t need sophisticated tools to make a professionally-looking, high-quality video. Once you film the workings of your app, you can give it a fresh look by means of various tools – with a free one called SimFinger you’ll make great screenshots of your app, for instance.

2. Create marketing visuals

For marketing reasons take your time when creating your visual promotional materials. From artwork and logos to screenshots and videos, you’ll find those elements very practical when sending out press information or embellishing your social media profiles.

Be consistent and create a recognizable look for your brand. Make sure everyone willing to write a review of your app has access to a special media kit, where you include all your high-quality visuals.

3. Offer a sneak peak

Speaking about the media, why not offer an exclusive preview of your app to a selected group of influencers? If you can do it, it’s a great idea. Letting reviewers play around with your app before it’s out there and available to the public will help them write more insightful articles. Essentially, you’re making their job easier – and that’s something every media professional will appreciate.

4. Reach out to the press and bloggers

Since articles and reviews of your app should appear the day you launch it. That is why your outreach strategy should start way before the actual day when the app is released. Letting selected bloggers and journalists know in advance that you’re releasing such a product will help them to fit your app into their busy publishing schedules.

Make sure all of them know the precise date and time of the release. Try to make yourself as available to the press as possible – even if you’re putting finishing touches on the app, spreading the word about it is just as important as developing it.

Reach out again to all the names on your extensive list of reporters right on the day of the launch.

5. Use social media

Build a community around your app right from the start. Make sure to use your social media channels extensively on the day of its release. Tweet, post on Facebook and other platforms at least a few times throughout the day.

If it fits your style, you can try to initiate a retweet campaign with a giveaway – provide a specific hashtag and inspire users to retweet your news in order to win access to your app. This is a smart way to boost social engagement with your app and utilize all the excitement surrounding its launch. Monitor your channels and always reply and retweet users’ tweets when applicable.

6. Create an ASO plan

ASO stands for app store optimization. App store search is still one of the major methods of app discovery, so it’s important to have the right ASO strategies in place when launching your app. From eye-catching icon, to interesting title, keyword-rich descriptions and captivating screenshots, your app’s profile can do a lot to its popularity.

The process of launching an app is just as important as building it. If you follow steps outlined above, you’ll be on your way to capitalizing that rush of excitement characteristic to every app launch.

About the Author:

Tess Pajaron is a Community Manager at Open Colleges, an online learning provider based in Sydney, Australia. She has a background in Business Administration and Management.

Apptentive logo

10 Steps to a Successful App

Mobile Marketing Checklist

Can you check off each step in this mobile marketing checklist?

Building an app can mean big business. But, it also requires having a proper plan in place for reaching your target market and standing out against millions of apps already successfully positioned in the market.

There can be many similar apps available in the market that can resemble your app, so it is important for you to build a unique app for the users as there is a tough competition for your app already in the app market.

It is not easy to build and market an app. It is a stepwise and organized process that needs to be handled with care in order to market the app successfully in the app market.

Here is the checklist for you to build and market a profitable mobile app:

1. Come up with a Unique Selling Point

It is important to determine the selling point of the app. The selling point should be kept unique because the customers will always go for the brand name that is unique and attracting. The platform on which the app is to be launched should be pre-determined along with the revenue model of the app.

Determining the monetization strategy is an important part during the launch of the app as at the end, the only thing that will matter is the success of the app along with its profit.

2. Determine the Competitive Edge of the App

It is important to analyze all the areas in the app so that there should be quality content along with an easy navigation in the app. All the features of the app should be kept simple enough so that the user can understand and use them easily. The user will only use that app which is user friendly; otherwise the app will not get success.

3. Create a Marketing Website

It is good to set up a website to present the app to the whole world. 60% of the users look for new apps or new products online. So it is better to create a website for the users that provide complete information about the app along with the launch date as well.

The launch date is very important to add to your website. This will make the users wait excitedly for the launch day. This is one of the best strategies to follow in order to get the potential customers before the launch.

90% of the users spend half of their time on the internet and creating a website allows you to reach more of your potential customers.

4. Integrate with Social Networks

Social networking has seen a tremendous growth in the past few years. Social media can add wonders to the app. The developer should keep in mind that the users will love to login into the app with their existing social network accounts and it will become easy for them to share the information on the app to their social networks. This is one of the best strategies to follow in order to increase the number of users in the app.

5. Understand the App Store

The complete knowledge of the app store is very important. It is important to understand all the policies and the agreements in the app store before uploading the app. If you are creating an Android app, it is particularly important for you to check the device compatibility as well.

The developer should also include call-to-action buttons for user feedback and reviews. This will help you to understand your users.

Proper optimization is very important for the app to be successful on the app store and this will only be possible after understanding the app store completely.

6. Release Test Versions

In order to get user feedback about the app, releasing test versions is very important and helpful. This will also help the developer to integrate the required changes in the app accordingly. Beta release versions are a successful step towards the creation of a successful app.

When the users use the beta version of the app, they will definitely give reviews and feedback about the app and this feedback and reviews about the app can be very helpful to make the app more user-friendly and more comfortable.

7. Get Creative with Marketing

This is the most important step during the launch of the app in the market. More than half of the world’s population like to watch videos online, rather than reading plain text. So it is a good idea to create amazing videos for your app that can give a complete insight of the app to the user.

Creative trailers will do wonders for the app. The visuals of the app should be wonderful in order to make the user use the app comfortably in the future as well.

8. Have a Social Media Strategy

Social media activities play an important role while marketing the app. Featured content on the app can prove to be very fruitful for the success in the future.

Communicating with the potential customers is very important. This is a unique way to interact with the customers. Giving updates through videos or other amazing tools to the users is very helpful. Developing healthy relationships with the customers by updating them on a regular basis is a great way to get attention from the customers.

9. Write a Press Release

This is the most important time for the app. The press releases are created in order to make the user have a complete detail about the app. The company profile is also important to be included as most of the people look for the brand of the app and use it for the brand. So if there is a complete brand profile, users will feel more comfortable in using the app after its launch. A proper press kit will help build trust with your users and should include links to the website of the app.

An eye-catching press release can prove to be very fruitful for the success of the app.

10. Decide the Marketing Budget for the App

Marketing budgets should be properly planned and organized in order to avoid any financial issues in the future. There should be a proper fund for every marketing step in this checklist.

Mobile advertising is also very important. 80% of the people in the world use smartphones and these people are the biggest users of the app as they are the ones who will be the first to use your app after its launch in the app market.

Bloggers are also the biggest outreach for your app. People love to read and follow blogs, so it is a great platform for marketing your app. Offline marketing can also be done initially for the app for some time.

Developing and marketing an app is not a matter of luck, it depends on the execution of proper strategy to build and market the app.

The aforementioned areas are the basis for successfully marketing any app in the app market. But these can also alter depending on the operations and marketing opportunities of the organization. The marketing strategy also depends on the type of the app that is being developed and launched. There are different types of customers for different apps and it is important for you to find your target audience.

About the Author

Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing mobile game development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.

App Discovery

Reasons and Solutions for a Broken App Discovery

Reasons and Solutions for a Broken App Discovery

To our surprise, there are more than 85 percent of apps that rarely show at the top list of the app store. This reveals the challenge involved in app discovery and making one’s app stand out in a crowded app store marketplace.

The app stores are getting smarter with more and more app marketing strategies every day. And as such, deciding which apps to download at the start and which apps to leave will always be a challenge.

There is a lot of difference among the income of most of the app developers. If a handful of mobile app developers are raking in millions, then what is the reason that the other developers are not even able to make a living from their apps?

Let’s look at the challenges on which the developers need to struggle a lot in order to remain in the top list in the app store.

Challenges to the Current State of App Discovery

Too many competitors

This is the most challenging part for survival with millions of players in the app market. There is an ever-growing craze for apps. In fact, there are over 1.2 million apps available in both the Android and iOS app stores. This makes many apps go completely unnoticed. Many developers strive for a 5 star review, but then after getting a 5-star, their competitors comes with a lot of 1 star reviews. This makes the 5-star app stay behind the 1 star app with more ratings and reviews.

New apps buried in the app store categories

The app stores categorize all the apps, and whenever a user searches for a name of the app, the results are pretty good. But what about the newly launched apps? Are they coming in the search results or is there any way that can make the user search for the new apps on the app store?

There are millions of apps in the app stores. As a result, it can be very difficult to discover the new apps on a small screen of a smartphone. Some stores are trying to overcome this problem by making proper categories of apps that can surely help the user to find the best app for them.

Small advertising budgets

It is difficult for some of the developers to compete with the advertising budgets of big companies or big brands. This makes the small developers lag behind the visibility of the big apps with better visibility in the app store due to their mobile marketing efforts.

More apps, and less demand

Mobile app users are demanding less, but at the same time, there are more apps in the app store. The number of apps is increasing daily on the app store, but not all the apps match user demands. This is a huge hurdle when it comes to staying ahead in the app store.

Encouraging activation and use

Even if developers are able to get their apps downloaded and installed on the user’s mobile phones, it is not a given that the app that is downloaded is used by the user. This is the next big challenge which every developer is facing on the app store.

Solutions to the Current State of App Discovery

Now, the question arises of how we can overcome the above challenges, and establish a presence in the top list of apps in the app store. Here are a few ways we can overcome these factors:

App Store Optimization (ASO)

There are many apps on the app store that remain completely undiscovered for many days or weeks. The user searches for an app and is overwhelmed with dozens – if not hundreds – of results, but still not all the apps are visible to the user on the mobile screen.

In order to come up on the first page of Google search, the developers make use of keywords or SEO in order to make the websites discovered in the Google search. The same technique can also be used while developing the apps.

Personalized app recommendations

Facebook has a new section in its mobile version called “Find Apps.” This loads recommended apps based on the interests and hobbies of the user. This is one of the steps taken by Facebook in order to make the undiscovered apps visible on the user screen.

Many apps have already benefitted from this technique, and app stores can also follow the same techniques to make the app search visibility better in the future.

Encouraging reviews and recommendations

Mobile app ratings and reviews are a great way to encourage the user to download and install the app to their smartphone device. Users trust reviews from people who are using the apps from days or months or years. The apps have also been discovered from the word of mouth. The friends and family can recommend good apps among them. This is one of the best methods to discover the undiscovered apps on the app store.

Making search visual

There are ways available that can make the user to see the apps while someone types in the search bar. This is known as the visual search. This way the user can browse without even typing. This is one of the great methods to overcome the challenges of app discovery.

The developers can overcome the challenge of app discovery on the app store itself. The developers need to make sure that they have included recommendations and reviews on their apps to encourage the users to take the plunge and download the app.

App discovery problems can be solved if proper measures are taken by the developers. This is not a big challenge nowadays as, fortunately, developers are getting smarter about their mobile app marketing efforts. They are not only making their apps discoverable, but they are increasing the number of downloads and installs by the users as well.

Go on and make the search for your app visible on the app store. Users are looking for great apps for their mobile phones and there are a number of developers with great apps on the app store.

About the Author

Chirag Leuva is a CEO at Yudiz Solutions, a mobile game development company. He has been in this industry for six years and likes to share everything related to mobile applications. He enjoys pushing the limits of user interaction and finding ways to create awesome reusable components for the mobile environment.

Better ratings for your app

Top 3 Post-Launch Mobile App Marketing Pitfalls

The number of mobile apps in the market is ever increasing. In 2009, when App Store was just launched there were only 500 apps altogether. Five year later, in July 2014, iOS users have the option to choose from 1.2 million apps available. And, Apple recently announced that its “apps generated over $10 billion in revenue for developers.”

The competition is even fiercer for the Android market, as according to recent statistics, there are around 1.4 million apps in the Google Play Store as of February 2015. The challenges for app marketers, therefore, continue to grow as the number of apps, be it Android applications or iOS apps, skyrocket in the market.

Though every app marketer out there wants his or her mobile app to become successful overnight, such miraculous accomplishments are often far-fetched dreams. It is important to have a strategic mobile app marketing plan in place to avoid the common pitfalls.

Here are the top 3 such pitfalls that you need to avoid during your app’s post-launch phases.

1. You Failed to Focus on User Retention and Engagement

We have some interesting statistics here. According to a report by Localytics, app retention has improved over the past few years as only 20% of apps are now being used just once – indicative of a 6% improvement over the last four years.

App Retention Rate 2011-2014

However, the study also indicated that 65% of iOS apps are failing to entice users and over 50% of apps available on both iOS and Android platforms have failed to do so. It also found that Android apps are performing better than iOS applications in terms of retention.

App Retention Rate by Platform

Irrespective of you offering an iOS or Android app, here are a few factors you need to consider. And the most important of them is looking beyond paid user acquisition.

Paid user acquisition has gained a lot of attention lately and many marketers are delving into it. Together with your PR efforts, paid user acquisition is a great option for generating a significant number of apps downloads within a short period of time. However, it should never be your key mobile app marketing strategy even if you have thousands of dollars to spend on gaining paid users.

Though it is perfectly acceptable to spend some money to significantly increase the numbers of downloads initially, you need to focus more on user engagement and retention in the long run if you don’t want to see the same people drooping off as fast as they came.

Now, we are not against paid user acquisition but there is a rule to follow to use it the right way. To do so, you need to first determine the retention of paid vs. organic sources. Remember you are spending money on users coming from paid sources; their in-app behavior therefore should be similar, if not better, than that of your organically acquired users.

Marketers naturally expect users from paid sources to be quite active in the app and interact in a meaningful and measurable way. To understand whether or not they deliver on your expectation, you need to analyze the paid vs. organic users and determine:

  • Which source (paid or organic) provides the most loyal users?
  • Which of these users are spending most time in your app?
  • How are they acting as influencers?
  • Who’s a better influencer?

Analyzing all these will help you to understand which source provides better ROI and who your most valuable audiences are. This, in turn, provides a better benchmark to justify the cost and ROI of your existing mobile app marketing campaigns and how you can enhance your organic growth.

In addition, it is important to find the best performing paid app marketing channels for your particular app and incorporate them into your existing mobile app marketing strategies. Analyzing your performance and measuring the ROI will also help you to understand whether or not your users are happy with the app; if not, what are the things you can change for better user engagement and retention.

Measure your 1-, 7-, and 30-day retention rates to determine the user engagement. In addition, there are a few key performance indicators that you need to measure.

  • Your daily (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU)
  • Average revenue per user (ARPU), which is determined by calculating total revenue generated by your app / total active users of your app
  • LTV or Life Time Value, which is determined by ARPU x (1/ attrition rate or CHURN)

* CHURN is determined by the number of users who stopped using the app after a particular time.

2. You Failed to Use the Update Description Space of Your App

This is one of the most important factors for marketing your app successfully. Think in terms of website optimizing here. Why should you write a Meta description of your site? The answer is to display preview snippets for a given webpage on search engine result pages. The approach is more or less similar here.

According to Google’s Our Mobile Planet, a smartphone user downloads around 25 apps on average, though the number often reaches to 40 in some countries. This means users are usually so bogged down with update notifications from so many apps that they might choose not to update them at all, or at least not all of them. Your update description should read more than “bug fixes” to encourage them to do so.

The app update description space is a marketing channel for you to convey your message to the users in an interesting way. Use it to tell them about:

  • What new features your app has to offer?
  • What issues have been fixed?
  • How you app now provides an even better user experience?

If you can properly use this mobile app marketing channel, it can be a great strategy to gain back users who stopped using your app for a while. Consider this example from PC Gamer magazine:

Mobile App Marketing Update, PC Gamer

In this example, PC Gamer is using the update description space to inform users about the latest improvements as well as to highlight their free trial offer and to provide details on customer support.

3. You Failed To Personalize the App Review Pitch Email

Marketers are well-aware of the importance of sending emails to potential users as soon as their app is launched. While they do include all important information about their app, what they often fail to do is personalize each email. Here’s what a proper personalized app review pitch email should include:

  • The name, unique selling point, and price of your app
  • A link to the app
  • A link to your app’s press kit
  • A link to the trailer (some reviewers prefer a more visual pitch)

Finally, don’t forget to include the reviewer’s name and website in the email and always double check it.


Remember the mobile app industry is a competitive market, and while you have thousands or maybe millions of users, you need to treat them properly. Be firm and dedicated about your customer support as word-of-mouth plays a significant role here too. Pay attention to your users, their needs, and most importantly, their complaints and grievances and try to resolve issues privately and promptly.

Author the Author:

Jaykishan Panchal is a content marketer at MoveoApps, an iPhone app development company. He enjoys writing about technology, marketing, & industry trends. He is a tech enthusiast and loves to explore new stuff. You can follow him on Twitter @jaypanchal8.

App Marketing Conversations

Revisiting Our 2014 Mobile Predictions

One year ago, we sat down with Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ and Ryan Morel of GameHouse to share our predictions for where mobile apps were headed in 2014. We predicted that 2014 would be the year of customer retention and engagement. We concluded that metrics around customer experience would rise in importance and become high priorities for customer-centric brands.

How well did we hit the mark on our mobile predictions? Check out our newest installment of App Marketing Conversations in the video below to see just how well reality measured up.

Interested in seeing our last year’s predictions for yourself? Check out what we had to say one year ago. We’d also recommend tuning into the GameHouse blog for the scoop rising acquisition costs, and what they mean for mobile engagement and retention in 2015.


Robi Ganguly: Good morning, welcome to another edition of App Marketing Conversations. I’m Robi Ganguly from Apptentive. As always, I’m joined by Ryan Morel of GameHouse and Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ by TUNE. So, we’re going to talk a little bit about last year’s prediction and judge whether or not we’re correct. Ryan’s already discussed the UA side of things. I’m going to talk about the loyalty side of things and then Ian’s going to talk to us a little bit about ASO. So, last year I said I was just going back awhile using the same prediction as 2013 which is that retention’s going to matter in a pretty meaningful way. I felt like it was going to be really important and that finally the companies wake up to it and really invest in a meaningful way.

A large part of our conversation discussed what that looks like and why that might not be true and what actions they might be taking around retention. So, for example Ryan you made some real good points about the fact that of course retentions are truly important and every company should invest but it’s kind of easier to expect the customers around user acquisition. In 2014, do you think that you saw companies spending easily but starting to invest more on the retention side of things?

Ryan Morel: Yes and I don’t really have a lot of firsthand experience here but I talk about kind of what I hear and sort of see. It seemed like 2014 was the year of people really starting to get really serious about reengagement which I think is maybe not directly parallel to retention and loyalty but it’s kind of like realization that oh my gosh, we should probably like pay attention to retention and loyalty because it’s so much easier to keep a customer than it is to get anyone of these good customers. Yeah, I think we start to see some of that, a lot of shift.

Robi: Yeah and it seemed like fix you in particularly starting to push a big narrative around acquiring loyal list and then what are you going to do afterwards too. So, I think that was part of what was also in the market from a conversation perspective. Then when we were talking about reengagement we also talk about tactics and the tools that companies are using in order to do this. I think in 2014, we can be comfortable saying retention was a bigger emphasis because push became bigger as a place for trying the engagement campaigns. Ian, you led a conversation with us talking about how at Amazon and email and marketing division you were thinking a lot about delivery and the cost of delivery and whether or not push providers are actually doing that kind of analysis. If the company is using that analysis so do you think you saw strides in being more relevant in the push?

Ian Sefferman: You know, I’m not sure that I actually saw a lot of companies really place a huge emphasis…. I guess I should take that back. Urban actually did put a big emphasis on doing push the right way. They have some tagline. Yeah, exactly, so that’s great. Personally as a consumer, I saw more apps going the right way with a few apps going off the deep end like crazy. I find that certain games are just incredibly push heavy to the point that I turn it off.

Ryan: Right.

Ian: But a lot of Apps that were pushing crap are no longer pushing crap, they are pushing interesting relative things for me.

Ryan: I would add one thing here that I still see at least from my perspective people doing it wrong from a permission’s perspective. I just download some the other day where I immediately opened it and you push notifications. I don’t know yet. [laughing] I think consumers especially just from time zero-sum game, they don’t know if they like it or not yet. I think there’s still a long of ways to go as far as developers asking at the right point to optimize in giving a good consumer to say yes.

Robi: Yeah, yeah. I think the broader point about retention and doing that is something that would become much more important in 2014. From what we saw, that conversation was a lot more common. A lot more companies asking question about how are we going to keep people around. We know we are actually making money mobile. It felt like 2014 for us was at least full of companies that had said we got our legs under us we know what it looks like in an app that’s useful used on a regular basis. We know that they are going to consume enough media that the advertising is worth it or that they are going to purchase it in some way so now we’re really in. We’re in this business, we’re invested and we’re running it so we’re not just running from the acquisition side we’re really growing from the LTV side. I heard a lot of propositions about LTV media in particular which makes me feel like I think we were pretty right about this prediction. How have you heard the conversation around LTV?

Ryan: Yeah. LTV, there’s a lot more conversation now about user acquisition based on LTV and not CPI than there was a year ago. So, a year ago it was really just a volume game, and there’s still some volumes but it’s really like how’s the LTV coming out. We see it with our customers like we’re going to we shift the CPI up or down based on what the LTV is doing on the back end. I have a question for you, which is this is also the year that we really heard a lot about like ecommerce on mobile is ginormous right, like 60% of Amazon holiday sales came from mobile or maybe it was 60% of their mobile sales came from an app, I can’t remember. Either way the numbers are huge. Which has to be driving people are going to pay attention to this.

Robi: Yeah. Yeah. I think if I understand your question correctly is the ecommerce shift to it leaning more of the LTV accounts because ecommerce companies have done by LTV for a long time. I think that is absolutely true. That is definitely a place where you talk to m-commerce companies or ecommerce companies that now have a big mobile presence, their math; their understanding of what it looks like to hit and retain the customer is much more sophisticated. I think the thing that we’ve been pleasantly surprised by is that the analysis from those companies is much more forgiven. In the mobile world a lot of the math has been driven by games companies.

Games companies tend to think about 3 days, 7 day, 30-day retention and a commerce company will say well we’re just trying to see if they’re active over a 6-month period. Because customers aren’t here all the time but when they come back and they make a choice, we want to see them. I’ve seen more sophistication around that. You guys do a lot of attribution tracking and see a ton of data at TUNE, are you seeing similar things?

Ian: Yep, absolutely. Almost nothing to add. I think everything that you’ve said we’ve seen. The one piece that I think is still missing is around the brand side. Brand side who may not ever really care about an LTV calculation, not clear to me that they’ve been particularly well suited in that ecosystem yet, as the ecosystem pushes toward LTV, where are they going to go and where are they going to fit in.

Robi: And when you say brand side, are you thinking like Proctor and Gamble?

Ian: Yeah. Coca Cola.

Robi: Coca Cola. There’s still trying to maybe figure out what’s the purpose of their apps and how does that get included in there…

Ian: That’s right.

Robi: …there LTV for their…

Ian: Exactly.

Robi: …for fundamentally an offline consumer.

Ian: Yeah. Exactly and what are they thinking about in terms of how are they allocating their advertisement budgets towards mobile campaigns. Because they’re doing it, right? Those guys have apps; they have things they are trying out and experimenting and they’re buying on. What’s its real purpose? Feels a little bit like the 1990s, 96, 97. Where those guys knew they needed a website but they had no idea what they’re going to do with it yet.

Robi: Yeah. And we’re starting to see several brands you mentioned or people that we know pretty well. We’re starting to see those folks say maybe it’s not something I should be thinking about right now as a modernization channel or that I can attribute like dollars to you but I do know that if I’m somebody’s pocket I can do interesting things with consumers that I’ve never done before. That’s part of the conversation we’re starting to see which is oh so us being on our phones mean we can actually communicate with them, we can learn from them and if you combine that with other things that we do the $150,000 market research study we do, the $10,000,000 test ad be buy over here we start having a better picture of the consumer and maybe that’s how we evaluate mobile right now on the brand side. So, I think that’s an interesting aspect it’s not really retention related as that notion.

Ryan: Oh, because we have an engagement and retention is kind of the same thing, right? So, while you were talking this is totally tangent but I’m noticing you were still wearing your watch.

Robi: Yes, my watch.

Ryan: So, I was thinking about whether or not wearables become a potentially more interesting medium for brands to engage consumers especially as they kind of move through the real world.

Robi: Yeah.

Ryan: And whether or not you’ve seen any examples personally like beacons effecting notifications or your location affecting notifications and your engagement with brands.

Robi: Well since I am on Android ecosystem, beacons don’t really apply to me unfortunately.

Ryan: They still have beacons.

Robi: Do we? I don’t know if really.

Ryan: iBeacons.

Robi: So, eye beacons. So, yes I guess that’s funny, I think about beacons being at this point. I haven’t seen any of that stuff like physical triggers kind of stuff off but I am seeing like on deck apps doing a better job getting you to like pay attention to certain things they are doing. Slack has a pretty nice notification that shows up on here and it’s relatively very convenient. I have been real happy with that. Google continues to set me in their ecosystem. I’m now like a Google Fit user on accident because of this thing. So that worked to their advantage pretty meaningfully. But I didn’t expect that at all. Maybe the other part I missed was this is a point you made towards the end of our predictions was if you’re going talk about retention, you’re going to talk about the quality of that. That at a certain level yes you can send out push, you can do app messaging, you can do feedback, you can do lots of things to reengage with the customers but if your app is no good…

Ryan: Doesn’t matter.

Robi: …doesn’t matter, right? And that was basically your point and you said I think this year around retention aspect some people are going to hit religion about the quality of their app first. I feel like that’s true, I feel like across the board the conversation is about what apps are good or what apps are not and what people are doing in order to invest has led to a massive tidal wave of if we’re doing it native, we’re finally just going native. How do you feel about the quality of apps and the emphasis on that?

Ryan: I think we kind of talked about this at our predictions for next year’s segment or it’s like there is no such things as a MVP at this point, at least you have to have, your MVP has to be really good or no one is going to care. So, I think it’s becoming clear everyday like quality level of polish, volume design kind of lines or that on Google are incredibly important to even have a remote shot of getting some users. I think that is only going to get more competitive as we go.

Robi: Yep.

Ryan: Did that answer your question?

Robi: Yep. No, it does. I mean, I personally right because we live in this. I’m biased. Everyone I talk to says yeah, we want to hear from our investors, we’re going to talk to them, our app has to get better and this is the best way for us to get better faster, it’s the best way for us to prioritize but we’re biased so I’m curious about what you are saying, are you hearing more conversations of quality? You work with some of the largest apps in the world.

Ian: Yeah, I mean to a certain extent in working with some of the largest apps in the world excuse our judgment too because those guys they are there because they are the quality and they are the best. But with that being said, that just points the needle in the exact direction that we are talking about. In order to be the best and to be the largest in the world, you have to have high quality. So, yes high quality is unequivocally important.

Ryan: I would say from a games’ perspective it’s harder today to start with a lower quality game and iterate rate to a higher quality game. Simply because of the cost of user requisition is so high. So, you can’t you’ve got to spend the time up front to make sure you have something of quality that people want or at least give you a starting point.

Robi: So Flappy Bird happened in 2014. Is Flappy Bird the exceptional cruiser role? Like, how do we think about that?

Ryan: I don’t know.

Robi: That was a crappy game, right?

Ian: I’m not convinced it was a crappy game actually.

Robi: That’s a fair.

Ryan: I can say it was a haunted service. So if you think of Clash of Clans and Candy Crush, etc, services so Flackin Bird was not that. It was a good game that filled a need…

Robi: Yes.

Ryan: …in a short period of time. But I think it proved that the power of word of mouth is still going to be strong. And that there is meritocracy in the gaming business.

Robi: Yeah. So I’m going to say wrapping this up. Last year’s predication around retention we did about 80%. I think we were right that it’s going to be a more emphasis, there’s clearly a lot more focus on LTV. I think that conversation around LTV will continue to explode this year but I think maybe we’re a little bit optimistic about everybody talking about the notion of talking to their customers and hearing from them. I think that more people are doing that, it wasn’t so universal. So we definitely made some predictions about this stuff for next year, be sure to check those out and check out the other recaps from Ryan and Ian and like this and share it. Thanks.

Hungry for more? Check out our mobile predictions for 2015!

In-App Surveys

Best Practices in Mobile Research

The Apptentive Guide to Mobile Research Best Practices

The following is Part 3 of our three-part guide on mobile research and in-app surveys.

Before you set out to work on creating your own mobile research instruments, we wanted to provide a few best practices that we’ve discovered with the help of our customers. These are proven tips for creating effective mobile surveys optimized for response rates, customer experience, and the collection of actionable insights.

Best Practices: Survey Design

When designing your mobile research instrument, do:

  • Design with mobile in mind
  • Keep questions brief and concise
  • Allow customers to opt out at any time
  • Aim to address your research objective with as few questions as possible
  • Limit the number of options for multiple choices
  • Break the questions up so that only one or two appear at a time
  • Provide an ‘Other’ field with a textbox for fill-in answers to your multiple choice questions if you suspect that some respondents may have answers you had not previously considered
  • Add an option for ‘Don’t Know’ or ‘Not Applicable’ for questions that some respondents may not be able to answer
  • Pre-test your survey internally to identify any weaknesses and ambiguity

And don’t:

  • Create overlap in multiple choice responses. All responses should be mutually exclusive
  • Present rating scales with large matrices of options or questions ones that require scrolling on a mobile screen
  • Create vague responses that are open to the interpretation of the respondent (i.e.: If asking about use frequency, give tangible options like ‘twice a week’ and ‘once a month’ rather than ‘often’ or ‘rarely’
  • Frame questions in a way that leads the respondent or creates bias (i.e.: “Why do you like this app?”)
  • Request personal information at the start of the survey as this may lead to lower response rates. If you need this information, make the questions optional and move them to the end of the survey

Apptentive customer communication

Best Practices: Survey Integration

For best results integrating your research instrument within your app, we recommend you:

  • Use an in-app survey rather than directing mobile customers to a web survey so as to not detract from the customer experience. If you are using a web survey, be upfront about asking customers to leave the app for an external link.
  • Use event-based targeting that isn’t intrusive. Don’t immediately ask new users to take a survey, and only ask customers to take your survey once rather than asking each time they load an event.
  • Integrate the survey with your existing customer analytics to allow you to target the responses against your audience segmentation to uncover trends based on loyalty, device, etc., without having to ask customers to fill out additional questions.

We hope this guide helped, and we wish you all the best in your mobile research endeavors! Of course, this list contains just a few of our favorite tips. Please help us grow this list by letting us know in the comments below what tips worked best for you and what you’d add to the list.

Want more best practices and help thinking about your in-app surveys? Sign up for an enterprise plan for unlimited access to our dedicated customer success and support teams. We’ll work with you to create a plan specifically for your mobile app and research needs.

Revisit the highlights of this three-part guide on Slideshare:

Mobile research best practices from Apptentive

Apptentive logo

Demystifying Mobile App Lead Generation: Tracking Leads and Calls through Your App

A shroud of mystery surrounds mobile app lead generation – everyone says it’s incredibly effective, but few can tell you how to actually do it with efficacy.

In today’s era of online marketing and ecommerce, the allure of mobile is undeniable. While mobile adoption for ecommerce is more apparent in North America and Europe, emerging giants like China are also playing an important role, allowing a steady rate of increase in mobile purchase rates. In the middle of 2014, 26% of all internet users worldwide bought something via mobile.

That’s a staggering 550 million people. That doesn’t even include tablets, with 12% purchase rates – another 230 million. If that wasn’t impressive enough, take note that these are the millions who actually purchased; many others would research via smartphones and tablets and become leads, then finalize their conversion in person or via desktop.

So where does this leave the bewildered marketer or business person? How in the world do you track leads and calls through your app?

The Simplest of Ways

HubSpot – always a great source of research for information on ecommerce and online marketing – can give you a ton of great tips that show you how to generally perform app lead generation. They cover this topic in one of their posts: six ways to get more leads via mobile. Not very technical, sure, but let’s start with one of their most practical and simplest propositions: make your phone numbers clickable.

This is the foremost step that allows performance tracking. It’s a call to action and an interactive touch point in one. You can track who’s clicking, where they are, how many times the number is clicked in a day, how many calls push through, and so on and so forth.

A clickable phone number exemplifies usability for your consumers too: when researching on-the-go, they can click on the number to call and get in touch with you right away.

Okay, that’s all good; but how?

Lead and Call Tracking Tools

If you only want to get a feel for mobile app lead generation, you can use your Google Analytics to track the performance of your mobile app. GA is already a powerful tool and many of its uses for website traffic modeling, lead tracking, and user acquisition can also be applied to mobile apps with a little tweaking. Better yet, you can use it free of charge, until you start needing its more advanced features.

While extremely useful, GA can’t do everything for you. External tools for lead tracking via mobile apps and calls are dedicated to the task, compared to GA’s all-in-one peg. These external services that specialize in tracking leads can get you very detailed information on their calls – call times, call lengths, call origins, lead tracking via numbers used, campaign performance based on calls, you name it.

One such tool is CallRail, which allows you to assign a number to each of your campaigns. For instance, you have three specific campaigns rooted in your mobile app and you want to track the performance of each. By using CallRail, you assign one number to each campaign to track important metrics like:

  • Which numbers received the most callers
  • Which numbers received calls from leads who actually converted
  • Customer engagement and lead nurturing data gleaned from call metrics like length of call, call location, repeat calls, and more

Once you combine your GA stats with details from services like CallRail, you get the bigger picture of mobile app lead generation.

An Example Scenario

Let’s use a simple example scenario so you can visualize how lead tracking works on mobile apps using the just the two tools above: Google Analytics and CallRail.

We’re going to use a typical business model here that relies on a mobile app to drive user engagement and generate leads. Let’s assume conversion is completed elsewhere, though the following scenario can also include the possibility of conversion via the app (e.g. in-app purchases like micro-transactions) – only we won’t delve into it.

So you have a sales funnel that includes a mobile app to tap into mobile ecommerce, and you want to track your leads from your app. With Google Analytics, you can leverage aspects like Traffic Sources, Event Tracking and Flow Visualization to see user engagement:

  • Track installs and measure how many users go through the first step of your funnel, how many drop off, and how many keep going
  • See which devices your app is popular on and where your users come from for better demographic data for targeting
  • Check repeat uses to quantify how much engagement users need before becoming a lead, i.e. clicking one of your numbers being tracked by CallRail

This is simple enough and you do this for your website. Now, let’s see how dedicated services like CallRail improves your tracking:

  • Check which numbers are getting the most calls to gauge initial generation performance
  • See where the calls are coming from, for better demographic data for targeting
  • Find out how long the average call duration is per campaign
  • Track which leads actually close

Now it gets much better, as you merge your two tools: GA with CallRail.

Set your GA goals to track events that lead to users clicking the interactive phone numbers CallRail is tracking. From here, you can track user acquisition and consumer behaviour from app install to call and even to conversion. You can also see patterns, such as:

  • Which numbers got the most and least calls, and then you can cross reference repeat app use to call tracking, figuring out correlation between app engagement and lead generation
  • Which numbers got calls from leads who actually converted, then you can cross reference campaign performance with conversion to figure out which aspects of the campaign led to better quality leads
  • Which numbers received calls that took the longest to finish (call duration), which is indicative of either customer engagement or lack of information from the campaign – you can then reference the campaign’s specific consumer path to check which is which, along with the data from the call from your call recording

These are just some of ways you can get valuable insight from tracking your mobile app leads via GA and CallRail. There are of course more straightforward ones like knowing the location of your leads when they access your app and when they call. Combined, these basic and advanced information about your leads can help you refine your campaigns and even your business development strategy, at least in relation to your mobile app.

Mobile apps are truly versatile tools for a variety of uses, including lead generation. What you need are the right tools to track how your campaigns are doing, how you’re generating leads, how good your leads are, and what the results of your efforts ultimately lead to.

Mobile apps can be as useful and effective as everyone says they are, and now you know quite a bit to make them work for you.

About the Author:

Gino Paolo R. Diño, Demystifying Mobile App Lead Generation

Gino Paolo R. Diño is a content strategist, inbound marketer, freelance writer and editor. He has also authored two books – “The Hacker’s Guide to Getting to the Top of Google Search” and “Google+: Is Google’s Facebook Killer Doomed to Fail?”.


The Importance of Mobile Feedback

Through conversations with thousands of mobile developers, we’ve found that evaluation of the customer experience publishers hope to build into their apps often comes down to simple guesswork without any tested and true ways to gauge satisfaction. You have a steady stream of new installs and fantastic ratings in the app stores. And yet, your mobile customers come and go, with only a small portion continuing to use your app after the first month or even past those crucial first 30 seconds.

Fortunately, it no longer has to be guesswork. Many publishers are taking the first steps when it comes to better evaluating their in-app customer experience. Every day, we work with new CX-centric developers to integrate in-app surveys and customer communication tools into their apps. These tools, seen commonly all over the internet but rarely inside mobile apps, empower businesses to survey their customers. They unlock a wealth of insights in a much greater volume, and of a far more representative nature, than what the limited information in app store ratings seems to convey.

Urbanspoon Mobile Feedback PromptOne such customer – Urbanspoon – used the mobile feedback prompt seen to the right to proactively ask customers for feedback with an in-app prompt. After implementing this feedback forum, Urbanspoon received over 7,000 pieces of feedback. These insights uncovered critical components that helped Urbanspoon in its strive to constantly create a better app for its customers with each new update.

Using in-app surveys to open up a channel for customer communication and gather mobile feedback has allowed Urbanspoon and countless others to save money, prioritize features, learn more about their customer base, receive structured feedback, and engage customers.

Save Money

Mobile apps aren’t cheap. Every new update requires time and money, and lots of it. Mobile app developers have an inherent vision of what they want their app to be, but don’t always consider how the needs of their customers may differ from this vision. As a result, publishers are wasting valuable resources on new features and rollouts that don’t necessarily provide customer value.

However, if you can directly ask your customers what they’d like in an app using in-app surveys, you can be sure that your development time and money is being put to good use and that each new feature will enhance the customer experience. Or better yet, create a minimal viable product and test it in a mobile focus group environment to see if you’re on the right path.

Prioritize Features

As a developer, you have dozens of features on your roadmap that you’re excited to one day get to. But don’t fall into the trap of trying to do too much, too quickly. Collecting mobile feedback and giving your customers with a voice allows you to determine which of your proposed features are most important to them in the context of your app.

Once you’re armed with this knowledge, you can begin to prioritize your roadmap based on what will add the most customer delight. You’ll also be able to determine which of your current features needs a little touch-up to meet or exceed customer expectations.

Customer Love

Better Understand Your Customers

If we’re adamant about one thing, it’s our philosophy of Customer Love — seeing mobile customers as people, not users. Each of your customers has their own likes and dislikes, their own use cases for the app, and that one thing that will really make them love your app.

Using in-app surveys, you can begin to collect valuable demographic and psychographic information to segment your customer base. This research allows your in-app communications to speak directly to a segment’s unique interests. You can also use it segmentation to target your out-of-app marketing to potential customer groups that match one of your current customer personas and likely have common needs and interests that will draw them to your app.

Make Product-Specific Inquiries

You’ve rolled out a new update, only to find that retention is falling. Or you see customers abandoning their purchases half-way through checkout. Do you know what’s causing this behavior?

Once again, collecting mobile feedback can provide you an answer. By proactively surveying customers at key moments throughout their experience with your app (e.g., after they’ve used a new feature for the first time, or after they close out of the shopping cart platform), you can evaluate their experience with, and attitude toward, your product on-the-spot. This allows you to identify and fix any customer pain points early on and intercept negative app store reviews.

Engage Your Audience

The reviews you see on the app store ratings page represent only a small minority of your customer base. This minority tends to be skewed toward either extreme when it comes to their evaluation of your app. These are people who either love or hate your app, with a lesser proportion of those in-between making the leap to the ratings page. You’re getting only the feedback of the vocal few and not feedback particularly representative of your greater audience.

Providing your customers with the tools needed to share their thoughts – without requiring them to leave the app to take a web survey or visit the app store – allows you to unlock a much more precise perspective of customer opinion. Mobile surveys (particularly when done right) let you to quickly poll a much larger portion of your customers and have response rates dramatically higher than their web counterparts and competing market research instruments.

For more on opening up customer communication, check out MobileDevHQ’s Complete Guide to App Marketing, in collaboration with Apptentive’s Ezra Siegel and a panel of industry experts.

Enterprise App Marketing eBook

The Retention Problem

Cutting Costs with Retention Marketing

What Continued Increases in Mobile Acquisition Costs Mean for Developers

Customer acquisition may seem like an easy task. After all, the growth of the mobile market is only accelerating and the mobile internet is predicted to be in the hands of half the world’s population by 2020.

If you build it, they will come… Right?

Not anymore. An increased number of smartphone holders worldwide and an increased demand for apps have created an extremely competitive marketplace where customers almost always have several strong options when it comes to finding that perfect app.

As customers increasingly shop around in the app stores and evaluate their options, mobile publishers are hit with dwindling customer retention rates. According to our own research, only 40 percent of customers continue to use an app they downloaded a month ago – and this number plummets to 4 percent over the course of the first year in the customer journey.

The Retention Problem

The cost of acquiring a loyal mobile customer (defined here as someone who opens your mobile app at least 3 times) is therefore at an all-time high. According to Fiksu’s Cost Per Loyal User (CPLU) Index, the average CPLU increased 34 percent from September 2013 to September 2014.

Between August 2014 and September 2014 alone, the base CPLU rose from $1.86 to $2.25. This 21 percent spike corresponds directly with the unveiling of the Apple iPhone 6 and iOS8. Both of these events led to an increase in demand for mobile devices and apps and a subsequent increase in competition among mobile app publishers vying for attention in an increasingly crowded market place.

Cost Per Loyal User, 2012-2014

As acquisition costs continue to rise, mobile customer retention becomes more important than ever. If done right, mobile retention campaigns can lessen the burden of the much-costlier new customer acquisitions while still allowing you to hit those monthly revenue and active customer goals.

We’ve put together a few, low-cost strategies to boost customer retention and loyalty – in turn, fueling sales, higher ratings, and organic growth through word-of-mouth and customer delight.

Give Your Customers a Voice

Before you can hope to delight, or even retain, your mobile customers, you must open up a two-way conversation where their voices can be heard. App developers constantly strive to create that perfect customer experience, but many lack the tools to evaluate whether or not their assumptions of customer opinion are really on mark.

Sure, there are the ratings on the app stores that can be used to guide future updates, but these are indicative of only a small fraction of your mobile customers – namely, the vocal minorities who either love or hate your app.

But what about the less vocal majority, those with opinions somewhere between those two extremes? This is a group that likely won’t make the journey to the app store ratings page unless they’re truly delighted or peeved. They constitute the bulk of your audience, yet their voices remain largely unheard across the much of today’s app market place.

To fill this void, developers are bringing customer service to the mobile channel – incorporating two-way chat capabilities between customers and publishers and prompting in-app surveys to gauge opinion throughout every step of the customer journey. In addition to allowing them to preemptively address customer issues before they surface publicly as a negative rating, these interactions provide developers with a wealth of data that they can use to shape future updates and delight their audiences.

Use smart, well-timed push messaging and in-app surveys

Opening up customer communication is just the first step in improving retention. Next, it’s time to actively ask for and respond to that communication.

We recommend our customers look for ways to reach out and solicit feedback during key events throughout the customer journey – such as the third time a customer logs in, or the first time someone shares content via the app. Once these events have been triggered, don’t wait for the customer to search through your menu navigation to tell you what they think. Instead, prompt a brief, non-disruptive conversation to gauge customer opinion at the broadest sense before diving into more specific sentiments in the event that the customer wishes to continue the conversation. (For more tips on asking for customer feedback, check out our 5 Tips for Writing Effective Mobile Surveys.)

Let your customers know they’re valued

The surest way to delight customers is to let them know that they are valued – and that means giving thanks and showing appreciation. If customers commonly make a similar request, consider shifting your development schedule to prioritize that need. Likewise, on releasing your next update, give a shoutout to your customers for contributing to a new feature release and remind them that you’re building a customer-first experience where their voices are not only listened to, but highly valued.

Regularly refresh your app with rich content updates

It’s no mystery that creating valuable is key to delighting mobile customers. If customers see new and interesting content each time they open the app, they are likelier to spend more time in your app consuming that content and return to your app frequently to see what’s new.

To really wow your mobile customers, align your content strategy with your customer data provides additional opportunities. For example, use your in-app prompts to suggest relevant content based on your customer communications or reward your returning customers by offering them exclusive discounts or deals out of appreciation for their loyalty.

Understand your app’s customer retention rates

And finally, it’s important to know your numbers – how to calculate retention rates and the revenue generated by each loyal customer. Of course, each app will have different retention and average revenue per user goals and benchmarks, but being able to calculate these metrics will allow you to internally compare both your marketing effectiveness over time and the ROIs of your retention and acquisition strategies to determine what makes the most sense for your business.

Calculating Your App Revenue

We’ve released a few guides to dive further into this concept and help demonstrate the importance of mobile customer retention:

Have a favorite retention marketing tip we missed? Pass on the knowledge by sharing it in the comments section or tweeting us @Apptentive!

Enterprise App Marketing eBook

The Complete Guide to Enterprise App Marketing

With continued increases in mobile customer acquisition costs and the challenges of customer retention in an increasingly crowded marketplace, app marketing may seem like a daunting task.

To remedy this, we’ve worked with some of the best in the business at MobileDevHQ, Apptamin, Leanplum, and AppFlood to shed some light on the strategy and best practices behind app marketing with our new eBook, The Complete Guide to Enterprise App Marketing.

This free, 100+ page guide is tailored specifically to enterprises and designed around Dave McClure’s startup metrics for pirates of Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue (AARRR). Each of the five metrics is explained in-depth in terms of their importance to mobile marketing and some tips and best practices that marketers and developers alike can apply to their mobile strategy.

We encourage you to take the first step to improving your mobile marketing strategy by downloading this free eBook and sharing your favorite tips and advice from the guide (or anything we missed!) using the hashtag #AppMktgBook.

Enterprise App Marketing eBook


How to Prepare for the Holiday App Stores Rush

As in the past few years, the newest tablets and smartphones are going to be the big gift for many this holiday season. Between Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas Day, and Black Friday/Cyber Monday (after everyone ‘gifts themselves’ new tech treats a little early to take advantage of early price reductions), people all over the world will boot up, charge up, and start loading new apps on to their new tablets and phones.

As a result, app stores across the board receive huge spikes in traffic and app download requests. According to a recent Flurry report, Christmas day sees a 91 percent increase in app downloads, as compared to an average day in the first half of December.

Seasonality of the app marketplace: Mobile commerce peaks in the Q4 holiday season.

Seasonality of the US mobile market: Mobile commerce peaks in the Q4 holiday season.

In recent years, the combination of the holiday break at Apple and the increased demand for new apps has created a notable point of concern for app developers, marketers, and mobile product managers… the ‘App Store Freeze.’

In anticipation of the surge of new submissions, updates, and App Ratings and Reviews flowing in to iTunes, Apple would ‘freeze’ its app ratings and version update listings for a period of time in order to work through the backlog of new data.

The Ratings and Reviews component of the ‘freeze’ came as a blessing and a curse to app marketers. Mobile marketers ahead of their game could take advantage of the ‘freeze’ by attempting to boost their Ratings right before they were temporarily ‘locked in’ through advertising blitzes and holiday sales. Consequently, app publishers with more organic app store ratings and reviews optimization strategies were bumped down right before the ‘freeze’ – and stuck in that unfavorable position for anywhere between eight hours to one week.

For better or worse, the App Store Ratings Freeze is largely a thing of the past. In 2013 Ratings updates were locked for approximate eight hours, while any Ratings freeze this year is predicted to be negligible.

Dwindling duration of the infamous 'App Store Freeze'

Dwindling duration of the infamous ‘App Store Freeze’

However, there are a still a variety of key considerations for mobile developers and marketers around the end-of-year holiday time period. Notable among these is the continued presence of the Apple iTunes Connect Holiday Shutdown – during which new app versions will not be processed through the App Store until after the Apple Holiday break.(See next paragraph.) We have assembled a few new tips to ensure that you ride smoothly through these exciting – but choppy – waters ahead for the next six weeks. As you seek to leverage the opportunity to delight customers who will be searching for new apps and trying out your app for the first time on their new mobile devices, we hope you find the following advice useful.

Plan early – especially regarding your app version and pricing updates.

While the App Ratings ‘freeze’ is no longer a main concern, app publishers should still be aware of – and plan around – the iTunes Connect Holiday Shutdown. This is the time Apple iTunes and App Store developers are typically away on vacation, preventing manual changes to app version updates in the App Store. The 2014 shutdown dates will be announced shortly, though publishers can anticipate something along the lines of Dec 20 – Dec 26/27 this year (in accordance with the duration and span of the 2013 dates).

During the expected iTunes Connect Shutdown, no new apps or updates will be added to the App Store and prices and descriptions for existing apps cannot be changed. Front-end functionalities of the App Store, including updates to app rankings, will be unaffected however. In preparation for the App Store Shutdown, we recommend submitting holiday updates and pricing changes by the first week of December to give ample buffer time for review and approval.

App Store Holiday Shutdown Dates

2013 dates for the App Store Holiday Shutdown Dates, when no new submissions will be approved by Apple – Not to be confused with the App Store Ratings Freeze, when app ratings were historically locked in place

The Google Play Store does not have a scheduled holiday shutdown (of which we are aware – if you know about one coming this year, please update everyone in the Comments). Android update submissions are typically made live within 24 hours. However, we would still recommend planning any app new submissions or version updates well in advance of the 3rd week of December to ensure that neither you nor your new Android device customers miss the ‘unboxing’ windows this year.

Similarly, if your new year resolution contains anything about SDK integrations or setting up mobile customer engagement programs, consider getting an early start while things are still relatively quiet in the time leading up to the holidays. This way, you can start to capture customer data during the busiest time of the year and use the start of the new year to focus on providing an incredible customer experience rather than working through a backlog of integrations.

Dress for the occasion.

There’s a reason retail stores play holiday music through all of December and most of November. Research has shown that holiday music and themes can increase the amount of time consumers spend in a store, their intention to revisit, and their intention to make a purchase.

The same goes for apps.

In addition to providing another opportunity to delight your mobile customers, holiday themes are an effective way to increase engagement and click-through rates. Capturing the holiday spirit may also provide opportunities for increased exposure if your app lands on an app store’s list of top holiday picks or in a festive industry round-up of ‘best in show’ holiday apps.

Consider holiday specials, but don’t sacrifice value for rank.

Everyone loves a deal, but make sure your holiday pricing aligns with your business goals. In the days of the App Store freeze, publishers would greatly discount their app’s price to boost its perceived value – and consequently, its ratings – right before Apple would freeze its listing of top-rated apps. With the much shorter duration of the freeze, tricks like this are much less effective and publishers should be careful of pricing below their cost of acquisition.

Before heading into the holidays, know your metrics inside and out – what it costs you to acquire a customer, and how much revenue you generate for each engaged user. Once you know these metrics, you can plan better plan your holiday strategy around maximizing either new user volume or your average revenue per user (ARPU).

Want help setting goals and driving revenue? Check out our free guide, The Math of the App Business.

Make that first impression a good one.

Customer Service departments are notoriously overworked during the holiday season. In the app world, customer service can be put on the back burner entirely as staff depart for their own holiday vacations or are simply spread too thin to accommodate the sudden spike in traffic. However, publishers that set themselves apart by delivering an exceptional customer experience to the onslaught of new users will be rewarded in spades in the form of customer loyalty and retention.

Don’t let the first impression your customer has be a buggy one – empower them with the tools to openly communicate any issues or suggestions before they make their way to the ratings page. The cost of acquiring a new customer is significantly greater than the cost of retention, so creating an engaging customer experience from the get-go this holiday season will make the year ahead that much easier.

Continue your campaign well into the new year.

The holiday opportunities last long beyond the initial holidays. It’s important to remember that user acquisition is just the first step in your journey.

New gadget holders are swamped with an endless list of new app recommendations from the moment they unwrap their shiny new toys. As a result, it may be hard to shine past the clutter as a must-download. In order to stay top of mind, consider investing in a longer-term retention or re-targeting campaign to nurture users into engaged and profitable customers long after the initial excitement of the holidays has waned.

Have any other tips? Share them with @Apptentive and we’ll pass them along! Until then, happy holiday planning!

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Tips to Implement on Your Way to the Top

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by our colleague, Tsipi Joseph, at AppGo2Market.

Many developers get really excited working on their mobile apps… just to realize, a little too late, that they haven’t set the right marketing infrastructure that will help their app shine in the very crowded app store markets.

Sooner or later, you have to learn the ropes of the app marketing business. Don’t let it happen it happen the hard way – the putting out fires sort of way.

We have put together a few tips we recommend you follow from an early stage to make sure that when the time is right, you have made all the necessary decisions and have the knowledge and tools in place to start pushing your app to market effectively.

  1. No need to develop everything yourself! Luckily, our young industry has already started producing some best practices and conventions around mobile app distribution, engagement, and monetization. As such, there are many service providers in the ecosystem, providing developers with off-the shelf solutions to many of the basic building blocks of a successful mobile app. Many of those are around marketing your mobile app: Inbound and outbound analytics, push messaging, A/B testing, in-app feedback, and more. So, there’s no longer the need to develop everything yourself. That’s great news! BUT, it is important to select the right vendors for you, your specific challenges, your goals, and your needs. And you may need help doing that!
  2. Seek recommendations and advice. Join mobile app related social groups – especially in Facebook and Google+. You can easily find app professionals who are eager to help their industry bros. You’d be surprised how quickly you can get priceless tips and answers to your questions. You can have meaningful discussions that will help you get smarter about your app promotion. There is also a lot of information out there that you can read, but it can sometimes get confusing and overwhelming. For best results, identify a few resources where you can get all the information you need and stick to them.
  3. Keep your balance. Once you start looking for information, you will see that the information out there is close to endless. The set of decisions you need to take is huge, and a lot of them will be based on intuition, at least in the beginning. Don’t get lost and lose focus. Always seek the balance between the time you spend learning the business and the time you do the actual work.
  4. Know where you’re going. Speaking of actual work, you need to know where you are going. It all starts with a plan, with goals, with you knowing what the word “success” means for you. Is it reaching the top five in the app store category? Achieving 10K downloads? Is it about user engagement? Maybe “60% of my users log in at least once a month” is what success looks like to you? Whatever it is, you can only get there if you know where you’re going.
  5. Know how you’re going to get there. Once your destination is set, you need to decide on the best ways to reach that destination. It’s called planning. One important pointer – When you come to evaluate your plan, try and explain why you believe each chosen tactic can bring you closer to your destination. All done? You are good to go. No matter if your way is made of buzz creation, viral marketing or even burst campaigns, just make sure it’s connected to your goals. It’s that simple.

About Appgo2market:
Appgo2market is a DIY Mobile app marketing resource center that supports appreneurs with (almost) everything they need to execute top-of-the-line marketing in order to meet and exceed their distribution, engagement and monetization goals:

Here is what you can find on Appgo2market:

  • A huge, and constantly updated library of how-to trainings (e.g., ASO, acquisition, Social, PR and more).
  • Downloadable templates tailored specifically to mobile app pros – you can just download and use as needed (Graphical, UX, spreadsheets and more ).
  • Access to top mobile app experts – Members can post specific questions to our “consulting zone” and get answers from relevant industry experts.