Anatomy of App Discovery Part 4: Rethinking Your App Discovery Investment

Jun 14, 2021
By: Jon Hudson

Mobile advertising tends to happen during moments when consumers are engaged in other activities – at a pause in a game, reading content, browsing a feed. But consumers also are discovering new apps outside those moments – during phone set-up, changing screens, or organizing apps. Our 4 part series talks about these “outside the app” discovery moments. Here is Part 3:

In Part 1 of our series, I described three Discovery Dimensions that can affect how fast “outside the app” discovery can occur: Brand recognition, Icon, and Leisure-tem appeal.

In Part 2, we revealed a metric called Days to 25 that measures how many days it takes for 25% of an app’s preinstalled volume to be opened and used. An app’s Days to 25 measure is the equivalent of a vehicle’s 0-60 time – while all apps get discovered (just like all cars will eventually get to 60 mph), some are discovered faster. 

And finally, in Part 3, we talked about the 4 different cohorts of the Days to 25 metric: 1) Fast Discovered (7 or less), 2) 30 or less, 3) 60 or less, and 4) More than 60. The cohort “speed” is based on how app categories rank in the 3 Discovery Dimensions. 

So now the big question is: What should you do with this information? The short answer is to learn to be patient with your discovery campaigns. If your app category doesn’t rank among the “Fast Discovered”, that simply means you’ll want to give your campaign time to run its course. Once your app has hit it’s Days to 25 metric, evaluate again if you felt initial results were lagging. 

Traditional performance campaigns focus on finding that moment of “intent” and sending the right message at the right time. App discovery is more organic, or natural, where it has your app ready and waiting and reminding until that time of “intent” comes. That makes the time to return on investment longer, but it’s more efficient in delivering long term results.

Here are 3 things you want to keep in mind when planning your campaigns: 

  1. Understand Your Investment. How much are you investing in app discovery? While other methods might give you quality air cover, app discovery is the ground game that will get your app into the user end zone consistently. Understanding how app discovery works and the Days to 25 network is critical to understanding the right among to invest.
  1. Compare Apples to Apples. Comparing your campaign to other more traditional forms of advertising won’t be a true barometer – but the Days to 25 metric is a good indicator of when you can start seeing conversions pick up. Outside the app moments tend to be more “organic” than traditional advertising because you are waiting on consumer desire rather than them acting on a prompt. The end result, however, is a customer who has strong intent to be a user of your app and give you high LTV.
  1. Be Complimentary. On-device app discovery happens in more ways than just preloads. You can boost your conversion rates higher by using other methods – like notifications that strategically recommend apps to the user or display ads that are targeted and capture the user at the point of intent. Getting to conversion means focusing on all parts of the funnel, and app discovery is no different. There are many ways to get your app in front of users.

In part 1 of our series, we asked “What prompts an app install?”. The truth is, there isn’t one finite answer. With so much noise out there consumers will often opt to wait til they have a bigger need to install an app. You can only do so much to try and get their attention until that moment comes – but when it does come, you want to make sure they remember where you are and know how to find you. 

If you need help determining if an app discovery campaign would help boost your growth, reply to me and I’ll help you figure out what the expectations for your campaign should be. 

By Jon Hudson
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