There are now millions of apps across the App Store and Google Play, not to mention Windows Marketplace and the new Amazon Appstore.
With over 50% of the UK’s population owning a smartphone, and apps proving such a vital channel for keeping the consumer engaged, the competition for app visibility is huge.
Too often, businesses have apps developed without defining a clear marketing strategy for their app launch and without knowing how competitive the app market is.
A recent 2012 white paper by The Nielsen Company shows that app stores are the main channel people use to search for and buy their apps, but there are also ways to discover apps through mobile search.
According to a 2012 mobile search report by Performics, as well as searching on phones while on-the-go (75%), people are searching on their mobile browsers at home in the evenings (81%), at home on weekends (80%), at home while consuming other types of media (66%) and at social gatherings (56%).
The study also found that 40% of its correspondents use their mobile browsers to search at least 20 times a month. From these stats, it’s easy to see mobile search usage is growing and therefore marketers need to incorporate this into their overall app marketing strategy.
A lot of companies are still unaware of the ways you can market apps through paid and organic search and are missing out on clever ways to market their apps.
Click to download ads
For those of you who use, or are thinking about using, Google AdWords, there are a number of extensions you can use to enhance your ads.
The type of extensions you can add will depend on whether you are targeting your ad to desktop or mobile. With mobile-specific ads you can include clickable phone numbers and location extensions, as well as links that direct users to download your app.
These are called click-to-download ads and are a brilliant way to drive people towards your app. For example, if a user isn’t aware of the Amazon app and searches for Amazon in their mobile browser, they will be directed to download the app via a link within Amazon’s ad. If a user is searching for your brand in the first place, chances are they will want to install your app.
As well as links that drive downloads, you can also use a mobile app extension to direct consumers to a destination within your app (if it is already installed on their device). If the app isn’t installed, you can direct consumers to its install page.
Deep linking in mobile search results can be used in organic search as well as paid and can work across all types of products and services. Companies are not yet making the most of the opportunity that this opens up for businesses.
One example of a company already directing users to native apps within organic search results is Apple. When you search for a song or album in Google and click on the iTunes link, you will be taken directly to the native iTunes app on your phone (if you have it installed).
Deep linking to a page within an app is a very clever way of keeping the user engaged with your products and services. Once they are inside your app they can see what else you have to offer. From here, you can use other marketing channels to keep the user coming back.
Again, if you use or are thinking of using AdWords you can also drive app downloads through click-to-download ads. These send the user directly to your app in the relevant app store. Depending on how you set up your ad, Google will automatically find and display your app icon alongside the download link. Bear in mind, your ad will only be displayed in the mobile browsers of devices and platforms that your app is compatible with. For example, an iPhone click-to-download ad will never appear on an Android device and vice versa.
When your app is listed in any of the app stores, it is given its own web page. As search engines keep indexing these app store web pages and they continue to get shared through social media channels, they will remain high up in search engine results pages (SERPs).
This is why some of the more popular apps are being listed in organic search results, emphasising the importance of SEO around your app.
The key to making sure you are driving app downloads in this competitive marketplace, is to make sure you have a well-rounded app marketing strategy. Here we have highlighted a couple of things businesses might want to consider when thinking about attracting mobile searchers to their app.
When your app is listed in app store it’s displayed as a web page. As search engines keep indexing these app store web pages and they continue to get shared through social media channels. they will remain high up in SERPs.
It's important for businesses and brands to optimise their app store listings for visibility in organic search, which in turn will drive more people to download and use your apps.
This shows how important it is for businesses and brands to have a well-rounded app marketing strategy that focuses on both paid and organic search as well as app store optimisation, push technology, in-app ads and out of app promotion.