Tag Archives: advertising

What Quora says about how to market an app

Over a million apps but how do you market yours?
Over a million apps but how do you market yours?

The global apps industry continues to grow massively – iTunes approved it’s millionth app back in November – yet it is still in its infancy.  It’s a very exciting place to be working right now.

For hard working appreneurs the only stats that matter are the number of downloads and the rate of returning users  – these are the magic numbers that investors want to see.

And getting there means marketing.  Unfortunately there is a derth of case studies, research, advice and online chat about how to do this.

Most of the marketing advice tends to be either:

1.  Buy online advertising to get your users (as eshewed by those platforms with ad space to sell) or

2.  Get an influential person with large social reach to promote your app (as advised by smug people who’ve achieved this).

Neither of which is a valid strategy for most cash and time strapped start ups.

So, here’s a summary of a thread I found on Quora with a bit more useful information about how to market an app.

Essential actions to market your app

1.  Identify your target customers and the pain point your app is solving for them

2.  Articulate this in a value proposition and snappy description

Must do actions to market your app

1.  Provide awesome screenshots (not to be under estimated)

2.  Write a press release and other good PR fodder (research stats etc) and make easily available.  Post them on news distribution sites like prmac.com, prnewswire.co.uk and gamespress.com

3.  Use social media to create a buzz – blogs, Facebook and Twitter were the platforms mentioned

4.  Write on and create new threads on forums like MacRumors, Touch Arcade and Tuaw

5.  Capture email addresses as soon as possible and ask early adopters for reviews

6.  Engage with app influencers to secure reviews

7.  Launch in phases

8.  Identify your (SEO) keywords so your app is easy to find in the App Store

Jury’s out on these actions to market your app

1.  Buy advertising space

2.  Focus all your energy on marketing within the App Store

3.  Learn how to do it properly by building one app purposely to throw away (Angry Birds was Rovio’s 57th game)

4.  Have a lite and paid for version of your app

Have-fun-but-not-high-hopes actions to market your app

1.  Get it featured on The Big Bang Theory

2.  Ask Stephen Fry to play with it

One marketing tactic missed from the Quora thread is the importance of email marketing to drive downloads and engagement.  Another is the clever (ie neither stalkerish nor  so infrequent it’s irrelevant) use of push notifications within the app to drive repeat use.

It stands to reason that best practice for app marketing will evolve in 2013 though, like SEO marketing, it may well be a moving beast as the boundaries and rules set by the App Store change.  But what then of Android?  Time will tell.


Warning: when NOT to advertise

Marketing people have been reminded this week of the problems of purchasing advertising space in printed media and importance of its context and relevance.

The tragic sinking of the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia has dominated the front pages in recent days.  Those selling holidays and cruises would have been wise to pull their advertising this week, irrespective of whether budgets were lost or not, to avoid the type of front page that the Belfast Telegraph published yesterday:

Belfast Telegraph front page, Tues 17 Jan 2012
Belfast Telegraph front page, Tues 17 Jan 2012

And just to prove that it’s not just advertisers who should know better about timing, Education Secretary, Michael Gove was widely mocked for suggesting that the nation should purchase a yacht to gift to the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year yesterday. 

The Guardian duly responded with this page:

The Guardian front page, Tues 17 Jan 2012
The Guardian front page, Tues 17 Jan 2012

The only three things you need to know about marketing

Open signThere are three things that a budding successful start up needs to understand about marketing and that is the triumvirate of customers, product and competitors. 

Without a thorough understanding of each of these three areas in relation to your business it will be very difficult to stay open for longer than six months, tops.

Strategic marketing is so important to a business that, without it, you have no business.  It is less about the number of followers you acquire on Twitter and fans you amass on Facebook (although this definitely has its place) and more about finding a profitable niche in the market that has your name on it.

Here’s my lowdown on what you need to know.


  1. Who’s likely to buy your product or service and what they might pay for it?
  2. What pain point do they have that your product or service is going to solve?
  3. Are there enough potential customers willing to pay the price you’re asking for you to stay in business?
  4. When do they buy?  Is your business heavily dependent on seasonal traffic and, if so, are you prepared for this?  Don’t miss the window
  5. Can you draw a profile of your customer?  Include who they are, where they live, what they’re currently buying now instead of your product or service and how they are influenced


  1. Can you identify the features and benefits of your product (and are you clear on the difference between the two?  Each feature should have a benefit) 
  2. Do you know what price your customers will pay for your product and is there enough margin in this for you to be profitable?
  3. How is your product different to and better than your nearest competitor’s?


  1. Do you know who they are, what they’re good at and what can you do about that?
  2. Do you know what they’re bad and how you can exploit this?
  3. What can you do to raise the barriers to entry?  Are there natural barriers to entry in the market place or do you have to create some with your business model?

No doubt there are more questions than I have listed here, I’d be interested to hear your views.

Finally, I read this definition of marketing some time ago somewhere on the internet (apologies if it was yours) and I thought it summed up the breadth of marketing quite well.

What is marketing?

If the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying “Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday”, that’s advertising.
If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion.
If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’s publicity.
And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.
If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales.
And, if you planned the whole thing, that’s marketing!

Product placement and the power of advertising


product placement logo

From next week, 28th February, Ofcom will allow commercial TV channels to earn revenue from the placement of products within the programmes they make for UK audiences.

Viewers will know if a programme contains placed products by the appearance of the ‘P’ sign at the beginning and end of the programme.

Product placement has been around in films for years as fans of James Bond films will testify.  Cars, mainly Fords but, of course, the classic Austin Martin, have been featured in many of the films alongside computer and other electronic equipment.  It seems Q had some help along the way.

So how subtle or otherwise will the product placement be?  According to Ofcom there must be ‘editorial justification’ for a product to be in the programme and it mustn’t appear so often that viewers feel they’re being sold to.

However, you could argue that the promotion of products in TV programmes has been around in the UK for a while too – remember Jim Bowen’s Bull’s Eye where the losing contestant was teased with “Look at the prizes you could have won”?  Cars, speed boats and caravans were shown.

Or Brucie’s Generation Game where there was always a toaster or electric blanket (the height of many a viewer’s aspiration in the 70’s) to accompany the cuddly toy.

Clever use of product placement will make our favourite characters more real – their Starbucks choice may become ours. 

But how much impact will this really have on UK TV viewing audiences?   Will it just be a question of playing spot the product for a short while until we get bored of that game?

Like most cultural changes the effects will not be immediately apparent.

As the excellent short BBC series ‘Foods that made Billions’ showed, the power of advertising on our culture is astounding and only really apparent in retrospect.

The rise and rise of the breakfast cereal industry in the US and UK is one of the most successful marketing stories ever. 

The advent of product placement in our daily TV viewing will give brand owners and marketers another tool to use to increase the relevancy of their products and ensure that they become more immersed in the fabric of our everyday lives.

And, if nothing else, it gives a  whole new story line for the next Royle Family Christmas special as Jim, Denise, Barb and Dave have a punt on how many products will be featured in the latest episode of Corrie.