All apps are not created equal – so don’t make the mistake of applying a one-size-fits-all app marketing strategy to address your target your audience or achieve your marketing KPIs. An app marketing strategy that works for a gaming app will never work for business or productivity app – and the other way around. I take a look at the two most crowded and competitive app categories – Entertainment and Lifestyle apps – to show you the big differences and how you must factor them into your overall app marketing approach.
Whether you want to release a new app, or improve on your existing app marketing strategy, you need to start with market research. Many publishers rely on what they think they know about the market. But what they don’t know: not doing your homework will produce more misses than hits.
Make sure you start with research to gather the insights and concrete data you need as a basis for your marketing strategy. Use market data to determine if you have an app with a niche following or a broad, mass market appeal – and then define your target audience.
Market research is also an essential step to identifying current trends and understanding your competition. In addition to app store analytics and intelligence tools, be sure to check out the app store data offered by the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to find trending apps and determine the competitiveness of your own app.
While research is similar no matter what kind of app you offer, there is a big difference when it comes to choosing the right category for your Lifestyle or Entertainment apps. It’s all about using market research and data to determine which app store category is the best fit for your app. You want to pick a category where your app stands to face the least competition. In some cases, it pays to choose the less appropriate category than to compete with a large number of well-established rival apps in a crowded category. Fortunately, the definitions of both app categories – Entertainment and Lifestyle- are blurring. It’s a development that might bring business benefit, so make your decision carefully.
App Marketing & App Store Optimization
App Store Optimization (ASO) is a must. Like SEO, it requires you to continuously optimize your metadata in order to rank higher in search results. ASO also requires you to ensure your app ranks high in the category you choose, not just the keywords. Keep in mind that keyword optimization is not an end in itself. You have to present your app to the right user in the right way. Therefore, some of the app page elements will need to be quite different depending on whether you categorize the app you offer as a Lifestyle or Entertainment app.
Lifestyle apps should have simple app description and tagline with a clear message that communicates what the app does and how it is different from other similar apps.
Entertainment apps require you to be more clever in what you show and tell. Make sure the message is clear but you use some catchy lines in your app description that your target audience is sure to understand. You can also work with special characters and emoticons to make sure your app stands out.
Visual assets are essential to get right as different audiences are attracted to different selling points and activated by different triggers. Lifestyle apps should be accompanied by screenshots that show exactly how the app looks and works. It’s all about explaining the features. Remember: keep it clear and simple.
Entertainment apps, on the other hand, can be more flashy with the images and creative with the pitch. . Below you can find two very good examples, each well done but characteristic for their category.
Preview videos are important assets you need to master to market your app. Follow a similar approach, but put emphasis on “stories” and imagery that both trigger emotions and inform your users about features and use cases. It’s well worth the extra effort. Having a short video as a preview for your app can dramatically increase your conversion rate. This, of course, drives downloads – which allows your app to rank higher in app store search results and move up the app store top charts – all of which is the real goal of ASO in the first place.
Push notifications & engagement
After you have done your market research, optimized your app page and been successful in attracting users to download your app, you are ready for the next stage. Now you have to focus on user engagement and encouraging frequent interaction with your app. This is where push notifications stand out as one of the best ways to achieve this and more – provided you are sending the right message.
Again, there are differences between Lifestyle and Entertainment apps. If you have an Entertainment app, you can be somewhat more aggressive with your campaigns, and send push notification more frequently than you would if you offered a Lifestyle app.
This is because Lifestyle apps are need-based, helping users If your audience needs something – track their fitness, find ingredients to cook an amazing, manage stress – and the list goes on – they will use the app. The important point: your user is in control and decides when they need your app, not the other way around. If you offer a Lifestyle app, you definitely don’t need to send push notifications as frequently as you would for an Entertainment app. Depending on the type of Lifestyle app you offer, you can be creative and make push notifications part of the service. A good example of this is Tinder.
Social networks are where your users spend the vast majority of their time, so it follows that your app marketing efforts must extend to these networks. Facebook ads are one of the most successful ways to engage users and drive app downloads. However, these ads are also getting expensive. With prices increasing as quickly as the competition, getting the right audience to engage with your ad is a must.
A major advantage of advertising with Facebook is its relatively accurate targeting based on user behavior or life events, for example. It’s all about understanding what your audience is likely to appreciate. It figures that a married couple with a new-born baby might be interested in buying a new house. You can target them using Facebook ads tailored to this audience, which is what Facebook ads are a great fit if you want to target audiences for Lifestyle apps.
In the case of Entertainment apps, you want to target audiences based on interests. It’s the right choice, but you have to have the right balance. Many marketers make the mistake of combining too many interests. Avoid this by testing your campaigns and targeting parameters to make sure each campaign is targeted at a narrowly defined audience segment based on specific interests and preferences.
Target smaller audiences that might be really interested in your app, not millions of people who are more likely to drive up the price per click (not drive an increase in app downloads and engagement). For example, if you offer a movie streaming app that provides users free streaming services (supported by ads, obviously), then don’t limit yourself to targeting people who are interested in Netflix. Cast a wider net and target people who have shown an interest in related apps. Always remember: interest targeting should be more inclusive than exclusive – focusing on the “and”, not the “or”.
These are just some of the key points – and differences – you should keep in mind when you plan an app marketing strategy for a Lifestyle or Entertainment app. Start by taking a decision on the type of app category that best fits your app, and let that guide your strategy and your approach to audience targeting.
Thomas Kriebernegg spent over a decade in online marketing before building an impressive track record in app marketing, which has been his focus for the past 5 years. He is an app enthusiast and the CEO at App Radar, which provides an online App Store Optimization Tool that helps app developers understand and optimize their app store appearance.