Guest Column: Ensure app installs and engagement in 2016: Rohan Patil Patil, MD AppLift India

With thousands of apps available on the app store, getting your app noticed is a tall task but with a few simple steps, app creators can boost the chances that their apps are installed and used writes Rohan Patil, MD of AppLift India

e4m by Rohan Patil
Updated: Feb 26, 2016 8:44 AM
Guest Column: Ensure app installs and engagement in 2016: Rohan Patil Patil, MD AppLift India

With thousands of apps available on the app store, getting your app noticed is a tall task but with a few simple steps, app creators can boost the chances that their apps are installed and used writes Rohan Patil, MD of AppLift India.

A report by IAMAI and KPMG projected that India will reach 236 million mobile internet users by 2016 and 314 million by 2017. The average mobile app usage in India has grown by at least 131 per cent and has outpaced the global growth rate. This has led to a lot of e-commerce companies and a lot of other businesses enter app only model. Hence promoting these apps has become a must for the marketers. However, as per a recent Localytics study, user retention dropped to 34 per cent in 2015 (from 39 per cent in 2014) and user abandonment has jumped to 25 per cent in 2015 (from 20 per cent in 2014). This is just an indicator of how small and competitive the playing field is for the apps today.

Thousands of apps are being launched every day and all these apps are fighting for loyal users who will help them generate revenue. The only way apps can do this is by targeting the right user base and keeping them engaged. There is a need to go beyond mobile advertising and help the app achieve the larger goal of maximum installs, maximum engagement and maximum revenue with minimum uninstalls.

To ensure mobile apps are seen by the right users and further ensure installs and engagement, here are a few tips that can be used by mobile marketers:

Eliminate Bottlenecks
The essential first step to getting your app discovered is making sure that it is of the highest quality possible.

You need to make sure that your app looks like a trustworthy product or service to users. Apps that crash, that cause problems to devices or look amateurish will attract negative user reviews, giving your product a lower star rating and sliding it down app store rankings that rely on the rating.

Furthermore, the app store gatekeepers, such as Apple and Google, will only feature an app that they believe is top quality. In the past there have been instances when they have withdrawn the apps from their app store pertaining to low quality.

Use your app analytics to identify where users get stuck in the screen flow – that’s exactly where your bottlenecks are! Run an NPS survey to learn what users find frustrating about your app usage and fix it ASAP. Compare session length and other relevant engagement metrics before and after major redesigns or changes. Additionally, A/B testing features and content from the server side enables you to quickly take decisions without the need to resubmit the app.

Creating a great looking, well-reviewed and useful or entertaining app is the main starting point for being discovered.

App Store Optimization
Next up, you’ll be looking to ensure your app performs in the App Store search rankings as well. App Store Optimization (ASO) is an important way of getting a steady flow of downloads totally for free. Firstly, make sure your app store assets are of excellent quality. A pithy app store description, an interesting app trailer, a selection of well-designed screenshots and an eye grabbing logo will help attract people to your app and convince them to install.

Secondly, you’ll need to make sure people find those assets by understanding the mechanics of the app store search engine. You should spend some time on your app name and keywords to test which phrases are bringing people to your app. The easiest way to do that is to use a keyword tool from the likes of Sensor Tower or App Annie to check traffic. As climbing the ranks is difficult, finding niche phrases that drive traffic can rank you in the top ten. Find enough of those and you can drive some handy traffic to your app.

A positive review score and a steady flow of downloads helps improve performance on both Google Play and the App Store.

Manage Your Ads Well
One needs to use the ad spend very diligently. Making use of the latest technology and data analytics can help brands reach the most targeted user, one that would most likely download the app and remain engaged, which is the actual purpose of the app advertisers. You must move past the empty metrics like downloads and identify how engaged those users are over the time. Use acquisition management to track the users from paid ads via different sources, and determine the paid channels with the best ROI so that you can concentrate your acquisition efforts on those areas.

Measure the Lifetime Value (LTV) of users from various sources and target them for long-term gains and then evaluate the revenue generated from individual sources so that you can assess ROI for each channel. Segment acquired users on the basis of different behavioral attributes to learn more about usage patterns by the source and optimize your campaign accordingly.

Market Precisely
Make a shift from generalist to specific approach towards marketing your app. Invest more time and money on current users. Use different tools of app marketing campaigns like in-app messaging, push notifications and A/B testing on segmented audience on the basis of their attributes and create targeted, personalized campaigns that those users will be most interested in. This would boost loyalty and retention for the app.

Beyond the app store
Finally, you need to be aware of how to drive more traffic to your app from outside of the app stores as a way to generate interest in your product.

The main way developers tend to do this is with social integration. By offering the ability to share meaningful in app content on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, you can take user generated content and add links back to your app to power installs from their enormous user bases.

There are other little tips and tricks you can take advantage of though. Since iOS 9 arrived, it has been possible to list content created within Apple’s Spotlight search engine. By doing that, and adding a “deep link” that takes users either straight to the content in the same app or to the App Store, you may be able to drive traffic from users who are searching through their phone (but not in the store).

Furthermore, there are many iOS 9 features one can explore that would help your app stand out.

Some apps become a success overnight attributed to a lot of reasons - from launching at the right time, to chance, to the exceptional features - but rest of us have to test, measure, and learn what works with our users, who have a sea of options available to choose from. 22 per cent of users only open an app once after install, so it’s our job to keep them interested.

By doing all of the above you will give yourself a fighting chance of rising above the rest of your rivals. And if you can establish a foot hold, even for just one app, that can be an excellent way of preparing your business for long term mobile success.

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