how to market your mobile appThere are many loners out there in our app-friendly world where homegrown mobile and tablet brands have already become native to users’ handheld interfaces. App revenue, according to an ABI Research project, is predicted to boost up from $8.5 billion in 2011 to $46 billion in 2016, leaving a lot of wiggle room for companies wanting to get their feet planted in virtual storefronts. Having the “next big app idea,” however, is only half of the battle because knowing how to market your mobile app is becoming just as important.

When you skim through your Android, iOS, Windows, or Blackberry app store, you’ll probably find that most popular apps are free. How then are companies able to generate revenue without generating sales? The answer: Mass advertising. Developers are coupling with ad agencies to incorporate innovative ways to seamlessly slide information into apps. But no matter how brilliant an app is or how much advertising it uses, no one will buy it (or access it for free) without knowing it exists.

Insights on Apps

The tech research group Compuware said that 85 percent of smartphone/tablet owners prefer using mobile apps rather than finding information through browsers. This includes map lookups, store reviews, and other news information. One thing to understand about how to market your mobile app is that competitive apps have been competitive for years. In the travel industry, the same Kayak, Orbitz, TripIt, GateGuru, and a few others have dominated the market. These apps may not perform as well or provide the range of function as some others, but they are trusted names.

In order to displace high-ranking apps, developers need to find an angle on the competition. As much as people enjoy using apps for searching out restaurants, locations, and contact info, developers who combine different aspects to reduce smartphone appage are finding some level of success.

Digital Price Tags

As mentioned above, the most popular apps out there are free (or freemium, apps that offer paid services as well). A fresh app’s marketing campaign needs to fulfill various functions, such as:

  • Providing a consistent user experience
  • Actively increase the app’s popularity
  • Be visible in the marketplace

According to data from the iPhone App Store, apps with cut prices saw more than a 1,600 percent increase in downloads. The conversion goal here is a download, which is often a mixed blessing for companies with late-out-of-the-gate users who aren’t yet generating revenue for the app. However, the freebee tradeoff is well worth it for a few “affordability” reviews and download numbers.

Meeting Demand

Figuring out how to market your mobile app usually comes down to fulfilling upswing download trends. Before you even developed your app, you should have checked out the top apps on the device you’re designing the app for. If there is a lively pulse in the “entertainment news” category, that might be just the thing to go after.

Some of the most popular apps avoid demographic and market target zones altogether and bring in users from every walk of life. For new developers with low brand recognition, it might work in their favor to produce an app that is targeted to a specific market in order to build up a name. A lot of apps are focused on local markets, so branching out and creating content for diverse locations is usually helpful.


SEO, or search engine optimization, is when a website utilizes techniques to increase page ranking (SERP) visibility. Apps operate in a similar capacity through app store optimization (ASO). In an app store, investigate what makes an app’s profile worth clicking the download button. Often, you’ll find that successful developers fill up the marketplace with app images, eye-catching icons, smart and precise app descriptions, user ratings, reviews, and keywords that match an app’s intent and name.

The name of an app is in itself an important aspect to optimize. Something catchy, memorable, and easy to spell will work a lot better than “App_84U” (unless, of course, that app is targeted to one specific person). Knowing how to market your mobile app is a tiresome, research-heavy process made easier by market research and a spark of creativity.

photo by: Jason A. Howie