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App Developers: Are You Using All of the Best Advertising Channels Available to You?

Marissa Delisle
Marketing Specialist at Digital Turbine
Oct 17, 2017

Learn the ad channels app developers use to promote their apps and discover some that you may not know about

With 55% of total mobile publisher revenue generated from ads, app developers are increasingly looking to continued growth in mobile publisher revenue.

Laurie Fullerton, Project Manager at Shipwright Communications, Advertising generates more than half of revenue sources for mobile app developers, The Drum, July 2017

As an app developer, you know you must advertise if you want to get your app in front of the most people. With billions of apps in the market and thousands added daily, it’s a tough business. “With 55% of total mobile publisher revenue generated from ads, app developers are increasingly looking to continued growth in mobile publisher revenue,” says Laurie Fullerton, Project Manager at Shipwright Communications, in this July 31st blog post in The Drum.

Advertising a mobile app is a proven way to raise awareness and drive downloads, but there is a tremendous amount of competition. To be competitive, you have to utilize all the ad channels you can for optimal ROI on your app.

Which advertising channels are you missing that could make a huge difference in your app’s number of installs? Find out the ad channels that exist for mobile apps and discover the ones you’re missing out on!

The Best Advertising Channels for Your Apps

Many channels already exist to advertise your mobile apps, but not all channels are created equal. Price does not necessarily determine how well a channel will perform for you—this is a big part of what makes it a challenge to find the best advertising channels for your apps. To help you out, here are the best channels for most apps:

App Website

To help boost visibility of your app, create a website for it. If you have only one app, a single-page website may be adequate. Draw attention to your app’s website with content that offers tips and tricks that help your users get the most out of your app. Get the most promotional boost out of your app’s website by creating viral content that is shareable on social media.

For app developers who have published multiple apps, a website is a great way to promote them. With it, you can create targeted content that not only speaks to the users of each app, but also gives you the ability to introduce your user base to all of your apps.

App Landing Pages

There are two basic ways to create a landing page. If you already have a website, it’s as easy as creating a new page for your app. If you don’t have a website, you can still create a standalone landing page through one of the companies that offer landing page services, such as Instapage or LeadPages.

A carefully designed landing page zeroes in on your target audience with searchable, relevant information. It draws the reader in with engaging content and compels her to take some kind of action, such as clicking a button to your app’s download page.

One of the great advantages of landing pages is that you can drive traffic to them from anywhere. For marketing savvy app developers, you can tailor your landing pages into a funnel, with each landing page guiding the reader further down the funnel until he converts.

Landing pages are a great channel for targeted advertising, but they’re definitely not the only way to reach your target audience. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social platforms also have an important role to play.

Social Media

Social media is an excellent channel for advertising your app. You have the benefit of creating and posting viral content that promotes your app, and you can instantly share your viral posts with all of the users you have following you.

Paid Search

Smaller app developers often overlook paid search because they fear they don’t have the resources to fund it. One of the advantages of paid search is that you can budget how much you want to spend. When your budget runs out, your ad is removed from paid search results until you add more funds to your paid search ad account.

Cost Per Click (CPC) Campaigns:

CPC, also known as ‘Pay Per Click’ (PPC) campaigns, debit your budget a set amount for every click on the link in your paid search ad. When your PPC ad reaches its budget limit, your ad is no longer displayed in paid search results. Budgets can be set based on how long you want to run the ad and how much you want to spend daily on your PPC campaign.

CPC campaigns are ideal for text-based ads that you want to show up in paid search results on Google, Bing, and other popular search engines.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM) Campaigns:

CPM campaigns debit your account for the set rate of  every 1,000 impressions. In advertising and marketing, an impression is the single display of a single banner ad on a web page. Banner ads are imagery-based ads that focus on branding. Banner ads are also known as display ads, a term with origins in traditional advertising.

CPM campaigns are ideal for lead generation, raising brand awareness, and retargeting. Banner ads are most effective when they are placed in high traffic websites in your industry niche.

Banner ads are effective because people are image oriented. Statistics vary, but it’s estimated that between 30% – 50% of the brain’s cortex is devoted to processing what we see.

Featured App Ads in Google Play and Apple’s App Store

Both Google and Apple have launched versions of paid search ads for apps, and app publishers are loving it. Publishers are finding that up to 80% of app downloads occur after users have looked at paid search ads for their apps—something to consider if you want to give your app a huge boost in the two most popular app stores on the planet.

Ad Networks

Positioned to provide ad services to app developers on both the supply and demand side of the mobile advertising industry, mobile ad networks provide targeted ad campaigns tailored to your app promotion needs.

Mobile advertising networks offer CPC, CPM, and other ad campaign models:

Cost Per Install (CPI) — You are only charged when a click on an ad results in the installation of your mobile app. This has quickly come to be a critically important metric for marketers to calculate ROI on ad campaigns.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) — You get charged when a user takes a specific action, such as making an in-app purchase. This can help you to monetize your app and increase its ROI.

Cost Per View (CPV) — In the CPV advertising model, you pay a set amount every time someone watches your mobile video ad. As video advertising grows, more app publishers are utilizing this option to drive branding, lead generation, and app installs.

Ad Types

There are multiple ad types app developers can use to raise brand awareness and drive lead generation:

  • Interstitial Ads are full-screen ads that cover the UI of the app. They are strategically placed within an app to display without interrupting the UX flow, such as between game levels or after completion of a task.
  • Offer Wall Ads are ad units within an app that provide multiple offers for users. Popular in game apps, offer walls often promote third-party apps or apps from the same publisher as the app the user is interacting with.
  • Video Ads are short promotional videos that last one minute or less. They are used to promote other apps, advanced app features, or other ad content.
  • Native Ads are ads that have the same look and feel as the app they are displayed in. They tend to be perceived as less intrusive than apps that are obviously different.
  • Banner Ads are image-based mobile ads that may be animated. Like other ads, they may be used to promote a third-party app, another app from the same publisher, or advanced features of the app in which the ad is displayed.

Index Your App on Search Engines

Indexing your app allows the search engines to see its content and publish links to that content in search results. This gives users the ability to view your app’s content directly instead of on a web page.

Content Marketing

Content marketing often takes the form of blog posts about topics relevant to your user base. This content can be published on your app’s website and within your app to provide information on topics of interest to your users. For optimal results, use different types of content, such as infographics, videos, and listicles to present an engaging variety of content to your users.

Email Marketing

In spite of all the trash talk about email marketing, it’s still the most effective marketing tool available. When done right, it delivers a much better conversion rate than any other type of advertising or marketing. Some email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp, offer free tiers to small app developers who don’t yet need to send out tens of thousands of emails per month. Most offer plenty of guidance and help through tutorials, blogs, and expert support to help even the most inexperienced marketer get started with their first email campaign.

Native App Preloads

Arguably the most neglected advertising option, native app preloads give you a huge advantage. With a native app preload, your app is placed right in front of the user, a position that’s tough to pull off from within an app store.

Native app preloads have come a long ways in the last few years. Mobile operators are using AI to and advanced user profiling to preload native apps that are likely to be the most relevant to the phone’s owner.

Mobile operators have also loosened their grip on preloaded apps. Users now have the freedom to uninstall the apps that they don’t want or use while keeping the ones they want.

Conclusion

To get the optimal ROI from your ad channels, learn where your users can be found and target the channels that can reach them. Use other channels to support your target channels including paid search and PPC campaigns.