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A hand holding a mobile phone with apps surrounding the phone.

There are currently over 1.5 million mobile apps in the marketplace. Source: Google Images.

App marketing is growing exponentially as smart phones and desktops become more commonplace across the globe, even in developing countries. Currently, in both Apple and Google Play App stores there are 1.5 million mobile apps. A major concern for mobile app marketers is that it is difficult to retain and maintain customers. Mobile marketers no longer use the measurement of the number of app installs but rather how loyal users are. Effective mobile app marketing needs to be sold to an audience of at least 5,000 people, according to an article found on business2community.

Mobile app marketing is extremely competitive. Within mobile app marketing there are many channels to utilize but in order to boost app sales, two or three digital channels must be chosen. Based on a recent survey conducted, the most effective user acquisition strategy for marketers is social media; social media is found to be the most effective advertising channel for 14.8 percent of marketers.

To determine which types of social media are most effective, marketers often hone in on a target audience. Facebook has been able to maintain itself as the most successful app install channel. Most mobile marketers, who want to use app-install advertisements, invest all their money in Facebook. Besides Facebook, other social networks are some of the fastest growing channels for acquiring mobile users and these social networks are increasingly mobile apps themselves.

  • 92 percent of time spent on Pinterest is mobile.
  • 86 percent of time on Twitter is mobile.
  • More than 50 percent of YouTube views are on mobile devices.
  • Facebook traffic is at least 68 percent mobile, with mobile ad revenues making up 73 percent.
  • Instagram is almost 100 percent mobile.

Global mobile ad spending is expected to reach $101 billion by the end of 2016. Although mobile ad costs are rising, marketers are willing to pay more to get ads in front of the right audiences. A mobile-marketing firm, Fiksu, reported that the cost to acquire loyal users (CPLU) is 51 percent higher than a year ago; it costs more now to get users to purchase mobile apps and games. A reason for this increase in cost can be attributed to the number of apps now available to users.

Apple, who is planning to release iOS 9 September 9th, may cause mobile marketers to drastically change their current operations. The next version of Apple’s mobile operating system will enable ad-blocking; certain types of ad-content will be blocked and not displayed on Apple’s mobile web browser. Although this update will hinder advertising companies, users will have cleaner and faster mobile web experiences. According to marketing magazine, marketers predict this update to cause a large impact on mobile app marketing.

Understanding how target users search app stores enables marketers to craft their app listing specifically for the intended audience. Additionally knowing what features the target audience is searching for and specific phrases consumers’ use affects the success of marketing a new mobile app. Mobile app marketers, without a single paid install, have been able to reach the top of the app install charts by addressing their target audience.

From a marketing management perspective, here are some questions to consider:

  • Research the most effective mobile apps and their current marketing strategies.
  • Why do you think social media is the most effective marketplace for mobile apps?
  • In light of Apple’s new update, do you think mobile marketers will have to alter the current way they approach marketing?