Marketing Apps in 2020: What Has Changed?

Dayana Mayfield


Close Banner

Free Template & Financial Spreadsheet

Create your SaaS business plan

Sign Up

As we are moving towards the “new normal,” mobile application marketing needs are changing. Let’s go back to the beginning of 2020. We saw a new year full of hope for the latest trends in mobile applications. Everyone was excited about the 5G rollouts in many countries across the world. But COVID changed everything. 

As the pandemic started to spread across the globe, many countries imposed lockdown. It led to more people clinging on to their mobile phones. Suddenly, mobile applications saw a sharp rise in engagement. Businesses needed to revamp the existing apps, and many started to create new mobile applications. The market was full of applications with a need to have the right strategy for app marketing. 

Coming back to the present day, the competition is stiffer, and stakes are high. So, what will you do to ace the market? Well, we have some ideas for you! But before we share them with you, let’s revisit the defining principles of app marketing. 

What is App Marketing? 

App Marketing is the marketing of a mobile application; different mobile devices use that. It aims to drive a massive user base for an app or widget. App marketing is considered as a part of mobile marketing but is more focused specifically on the apps.

So, to put it in simple terms—you need app marketing to boost the number of downloads. When you have something measurable, like a sales figure or even downloads to achieve, building an effective plan becomes essential/

Below we’ll explore some of the tried-and-true app marketing ideas for the remainder of 2020.

 Target Audience 

Let’s begin by understanding why you should set the target audience? 

Here’s some context—when you market your apps, there are commonly two popular mediums. 

●       The first one is third-party apps. You might have seen ads in-between games or YouTube videos that promote other applications.

●       The second medium is blogs. There are articles and press releases promoting and rating the applications. 

Now, the choice of medium depends on the target audience. 

Marketing needs to have a dialogue strategy with customers, and to render efficacy, you need to identify the audience. Let’s take an example of an online marketplace application like Etsy. It is an online marketplace for handmade arts and vintage items.

Off late, there have been many online marketplaces competing with giants like Amazon and eBay. If you are to create such an online marketplace application and develop a strategy to drive sellers and buyers to it, which medium will you choose? An app that is selling beauty products can be the right choice.  

But to reach this decision, you need to have a clear idea about the target audience. Also, you need to understand the challenges of reaching your audience. An online marketplace faces the dual problem of reaching out to sellers and buyers because you are new to both of them. 

The obvious choice for a target audience is sellers, as they are the ones to attract more buyers on your platform. It will help your user acquisition campaigns. The best part is you can ask your sellers to promote the app on their respective mediums.

 Free Vs. Premium Downloads

There are many ways to earn money from mobile applications. When you set out to market your apps, one crucial factor is the source of revenue. Most of us probably know that the iPhone has mostly paid apps, while Android offers many apps for free.

So why waste money on free apps?

Marketing your free apps is great if you have a plan to mint money out of it. Open mobile applications are easy to reach and build your audience of avid users. So, apart from the development costs, marketing has a significant impact on the budget. Many firms and developers choose not to promote free apps. The argument is that it already bears the development costs.

Such an argument can be valid for apps that are free without other sources of profit. But, take Spotify as an example. They provide free content; however, they earn on ads and premium memberships.

The Social Marketing of Apps

Social Media is a powerful medium. If you are going to strategize your app marketing, social media platforms should be right at the top of your checklist. For example, the lockdowns saw a massive jump in popularity of Instagram. 

According to a survey by Statista, more than 43% of respondents in the U.S. said they would spend more time on Instagram during the Coronavirus lockdown. 

There is no doubt that Instagram is an excellent platform for marketing apps. If you know the strategic ways to use this social networking platform, app marketing can provide ten-fold results. 

The choice of social media platform depends on the kind of audience and profit model you follow. Let’s take an example of a mobile application that earns through the download of ebooks. 

If the eBook marketplace is for non-fiction or storytellers, which is the best social media platform to promote the app? Twitter can be a great platform as there are many authors and ebook lovers on it. 

There are several social media promotion platforms that can help you build your following and connect you with influencers.

App Store Optimizations 

Two mobile application stores rule the market. 

Apple’s app store and Google’s play store offer more than 4 million apps combined. App store optimization (ASO) is all about strategically placing your app above others in the search rankings. Every app store has their search engine that shows mobile applications according to the search phrase. 

Here, you can see that as we search the term “free music streaming app,” there are many options, including Spotify, Deezer, and others. The most important thing to understand is to strategize your ASO. A successful ASO strategy has two main parts:                                             

1.     On-metadata factors

2.     Off-metadata factors 

On-metadata is the elements that you can control on an app store listing. You can use some assistance to use the Google Play Console to make changes. Developers can help you insert keywords, enhance visibility, and even attract more users to the product page. 

Off-metadata elements are not under your control. These elements include the volume of downloads, speed of installations, and user feedback. 

App Reviews 

App reviews are not a controllable element. But, you can undoubtedly strategize it by establishing customer experience metrics. One of the strategies that you can employ is CES or Customer Effort Survey. It can help you know whether your application is easily accessible or not.

The survey can help you understand how much you need to tweak your mobile application or a web app. In the case of web applications, responsiveness means everything. Creating a mobile optimization policy can help you achieve more remarkable UX and receive good reviews.

Mobile SEO is another practice that helps to avoid redirections. Whether they are on a mobile app or website, users expect fast browsing. To stay away from delayed redirects, use subdomains or subdirectories. Coming back to the reviews, responsive web apps can mean positive feedback. 

Take an example of the Tiktok review incident. Overnight the rating of the Tiktok app was down to 1.2 from 4.5. Google even deleted some of the negative reviews from the play store. It was a result of backlash due to an acid attack video posted by an Indian creator. Online reputation management can help you to handle negative reviews. Such instances show us that negative reviews can have a huge impact on your app’s reputation.

Digital Marketing Strategy

Apart from ASO, reviews, and focus on the app store, there are other means to market your apps. Social Media could help as a platform to promote apps. But, there are different strategies to market your apps, including digital ads.

There are many forms of digital ads.

●       Banner Ads

●       Display Ads

●       In-app Ads

●       Interstitial Ads

●       Blog Ads

●       Video Ads


Here, you can see a creative video ad that helps users understand the USP of the Woo app. The app allows girls to remain anonymous while dating through phone number masking. The feature is beautifully integrated into a restaurant scene where two strangers meet. 

Creating a mobile app marketing strategy needs reliable solutions. You need to strategize your ads, personalize the content, and create an ecosystem of campaigns. One can use all the above techniques, like identifying the target audience, ASO, maximizing reviews, mobile SEO, and others cumulatively.

Getting Personal

Creating personalized content for your customer becomes quintessential to campaigns. Let’s take the example of a mobile application developed for the banking industry. You can implement instant chat or messaging app integrations for your banking website. So, whenever your customer visits the website, the chat option will promote your mobile application. 

Such customer information can be scraped through data sourcing. Often companies use live chat options for their mobile apps. It is an excellent solution for your consumers to interact with you and promote your apps during these conversations.

User Support

Customer support is an essential part of your business model.

 If you have the right user support technologies in the application, there will be higher consumer loyalty. It is a feature that should be planned for in the early stages of mobile application development. Because once you launch the app, it may receive negative reviews if there’s no customer support available. So, plan it accordingly and try to include as many user support options as you can. 

Wrapping It Up:

From ASO to app reviews and creating app marketing strategies, you need an out-of-the-box approach. Often some marketers stick to a popular definition and lack the right marketing instinct. It is essential to think beyond your regular mobile app marketing channels and explore new ways to do it. Here, you can get some insight into smart ways to market apps. Integrate them with some well-planned campaigns, and you are bound to see results.

Editor’s note: the following is a guest submission from Parth Bari, a Tech Addict, Software Geek and a Blogger

Close Banner

Building a product?

Discover the DevSquad Difference

Learn More