Everyone knows that “build it and they will come” is a myth, but quite often we choose to believe in it. Either because of time constraints, lack of skills or just because marketing side of app development is of no interest to us. Whether you like it or not, you will have to invest your time and, likely, money into making your app or game a success post release.
Here are a few points to keep in mind to make the most of your marketing and user acquisition efforts.
Define your goals and know your budget
What are you trying to do? Do you want to make a splash and get up the charts quickly? Plan to spend a lot of time/money in a short period of time and focus on key (and achievable) markets. Do you want to ensure a constant stream of new users at an optimal price? Prepare to invest time and money long-term and constantly optimize your efforts.
In short, your goals define your activities and your activities should always be checked against your goals.
Since Windows 10 was released Windows Store lets you track the effectiveness of your external marketing activities. This can be achieved by appending a parameter called CID (short for campaign ID) to your store URL.
For example, a canonical URL to our app AppRaisin is https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9nblggh5x358
If I modify it to look like this https://www.microsoft.com/store/apps/9nblggh5x358?cid=w10marketingblog I will be able to track all installs of the app originating from this blog post. I can see these stats by going to my Dev Center account –> App –> Analytics –> Channels and conversions –> Conversions breakdown by campaign ID:
You can track effectiveness of your efforts and see how many downloads and in-app purchases they lead to.
To go a step further, you can extract campaign id for each install from the code of your app and use it to analyze effectiveness of your efforts deeper. Whatever the metric that you care about the most, you can associate it with a user acquisition channel this way. See documentation for details on how to handle this.
Alternatively, if you want a third party to provide unbiased attribution statistics or, if you want to use the same tool across platforms, check out solutions like Kochava.
Test your creatives and ad copy
Contrary to what you make think, the most beautiful or the clearest ad copy is not always the most effective. That’s why, before you spend serious money on advertising, try spending a fraction of it on figuring the most effective creatives.
Keep in mind that for each channel and each goal a winning copy might be different. For example, if one channel charges you for ad impressions and the other channel charges you for clicks, two banners may produce opposite results in each case.
Here’s an example from an early campaign we did for AppRaisin:
From the same number of impressions banner on the left produced 1.5x more installs than the one on the right. So, if we were paying for impressions it would get us the same results 1.5x cheaper.
However, if we were paying for clicks, the one on the right would get us users at almost half the price of the one on the left.
Target as narrowly as you can afford
Your initial instinct would tell you to cover all of the users you care about with as wide a net as possible (aka your marketing campaign). While this will let you quickly get back to other activities, this approach is likely to be not very effective.
Say, you care about English-speaking users only. So you decided to target users from USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand. If you lump them all together you lose control over each country individually. It could be that the price you are willing to pay is not enough to outbid competitors in US, but enough to cover all other countries. Your campaign is running, your budgets are fulfilled, but you are not getting any US users. On the other hand, if you bid enough to get US users you will likely overpay for the ones from, say, Ireland.
So, for as long as you can afford to invest your time into managing multiple campaigns, try to target them as narrowly as possible. This way you retain control over results and can optimize your ROI.
Optimizing user acquisition efforts is an occupation in itself. It is not easy, but Windows 10, Windows Store and 3rd parties provide you with enough tools to make it manageable.
Still confused or don’t have time to deal with this? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help.