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“What does it take to get my app to the highest of the charts?”

Ah, the million-dollar query.

And if the reply had been that straightforward, all app builders and publishers can be multi-millionaires. And we, as an app advertising and marketing company, would have a brilliant simple job!

This text was first printed on the App Development Community weblog.

So, what does it take to have a profitable app progress technique? Is it nailing down consumer acquisition and getting as many downloads as potential? Is it specializing in app consumer retention and consumer engagement methods? Is it having the precise app monetization technique? Is it channeling your efforts into re-engaging churned customers?

The fact, pals, is that it’s all of this stuff.

If this appears overwhelming, that’s as a result of it definitely could be. The excellent news is that taking a scientific strategy to creating a profitable app progress and app advertising and marketing technique is far more manageable once you have a look at it by means of the lens of lifecycle advertising and marketing.


What’s Lifecycle Advertising?

Lifecycle advertising and marketing is about creating efficient methods that meet the shopper’s want the place they’re at of their app journey and, thus, elicit the specified motion at that second.

Methods to realize success on the acquisition stage (the place the objective could possibly be getting a brand new app obtain) is not going to essentially work for achievement on the monetization stage (the place the objective could possibly be a subscription buy).

For many cell apps, the shopper journey (or funnel) appears one thing like this:


Acquisition: enhance your consumer base

On the very prime of the funnel is Consumer Acquisition the place the objective is to extend your consumer base. Is smart, as you’ll be able to’t create paying app customers in case you don’t have any customers to information to that time, proper?

A variety of effort and time (and cash!) goes into this stage since you not solely have to seize customers’ consideration and get them to know what your app is/does however you additionally want to steer them to obtain it on their cell machine. There are two methods to do that:


1. Natural consumer acquisition

Right here, App Retailer Optimization (ASO), word-of-mouth, and social media techniques lead the cost. Let’s keep in mind that there are over 2 million apps within the iOS App Retailer and over 2 million apps in Android Google Play—which signifies that app shops are extraordinarily crowded! ASO is your probability to extend your app’s visibility so your ASO technique must be rock-solid.

With a correct ASO technique in place, your app will enhance its rating, which is predicated on all app retailer metadata—app identify and title, brief and lengthy descriptions, key phrases, screenshots—plus the variety of downloads and rankings/critiques.


Paid UA will assist up your consumer acquisition sport. Apple Search Adverts generally is a game-changer for iOS apps, as ASA is thought to be one of the environment friendly methods to draw intent-based, high quality customers.

With a enough media funds, paid campaigns with Google Adverts, Fb Adverts, Instagram and TikTok can actually ramp issues up!


Activation: convert acquired customers to engaged customers

Many methods come into play on the activation stage the place the primary objective is to maintain the customers you acquired engaged and really utilizing the app. Right here is the place you desire a consumer to carry out an motion like finishing the registration course of or signing up for a free trial interval. For a well being and wellness app—like a yoga app—the specified in-app occasion could also be finishing a yoga session.

However right here’s the tough business reality: On common, apps lose practically 75% of customers inside the 1st day of the app set up.


So how do you retain customers activated? Listed here are some methods:

1. Optimize the consumer onboarding course of

How optimistic (or unfavorable) a consumer’s onboarding expertise has an enormous impact on whether or not or not a consumer sticks round. That’s why following onboarding course of finest practices is vital. Ask your self these questions from the attitude of a brand new consumer that’s simply put in your app and opened it for the primary time:

  • What is that this app about?
  • What can I do with this app?
  • What am I imagined to do subsequent?
  • Am I completely happy that I downloaded this app?

If there are unsure or unfavorable responses to questions like these, then chances are you’ll want to return and repair the move and UX design of your app, in any other case, you’ll find yourself with a pissed off and/or disinterested consumer.


2. Supply a free trial

One of the simplest ways to get a consumer hooked on what your app affords is by letting them get the total expertise first-hand. A free 7-day trial that provides them full entry to all of the app’s options is an efficient approach to get them to discover your product. Ideally, they’ll love the app a lot that they’ll fortunately pay to subscribe to maintain utilizing it.

Ensure that the free trial is outstanding and included within the onboarding course of early on.


3. Use Push notifications

A well-timed push notification can have a major affect at each app buyer lifecycle stage—together with activation. If a brand new consumer hasn’t signed up for the app after opening, a custom-made nudge or reminder could be simply the factor to get them to finish the specified motion.

A push notification calendar that schedules particular notifications to be despatched inside specified time frames is without doubt one of the simplest methods. Right here’s an instance of an activation stage push notification calendar primarily based on app registration completion.


Retention: incentivize consumer behavior formation

Retention is a vital stage within the app buyer journey. Most apps want their customers to stay round and use the app persistently for the lengthy haul. Consumer retention not solely impacts app retailer rankings, but it surely’s very important to attaining monetary enterprise targets. Retention Day 1, 7, and 30 are a number of the most essential KPIs to trace.

Backside line: Have an incredible app product that individuals love! They’ll not solely develop into your most loyal, constant customers however they’ll inform their social community about it and develop into your strongest model ambassadors.


Some consumer retention finest practices embody:

1. Customise in-app communication

As talked about above, push notifications are helpful at each stage of the app consumer journey when carried out the precise method. In-app messages which are persuasive and well-timed might help give consumer retention the increase it wants.


2. Apply app gamification components

Assume rewards, badges, chief boards, and so forth. To get a consumer hooked, you want a sticky app product! Clearly, app gamification components like incentives and rewards are very efficient for gaming apps however they’re additionally extraordinarily related for different classes like well being and health.


Listed here are examples from informal gaming app, CoinMaster and standard meditation app, Ten P.c Happier:


Re-engagement: win again inactive or churned customers

This is a crucial stage to not overlook. The very fact is that re-engaging a consumer that has already used your product is far more cost-effective than buying a brand new consumer.

Remember to preserve consumer churn price and DAU knowledge in your radar from the get-go. Having a method in place for Day 1, Day 7, and Day 14 is the way in which to go—most instances, ready till Day 30 is simply too late!

Some helpful methods embody:

1. Incentivize with “free stuff”

For a sport app, the re-engagement messaging could contain giving an inactive consumer further cash for gameplay or unlocking a brand new degree. One thing that the consumer can get at no cost that makes them return to the app is a win!

2. Supply a reduction or limited-time financial savings

Individuals love saving cash and, oftentimes, a very good deal is sufficient to win them again. Beneath is an instance from Uber Eats with a push notification providing a reduction to entice an inactive consumer to come back again.


Monetization: enhance income or convert customers to paying clients

Ideally, you’ve nailed down engagement and retention and customers LOVE your app. As soon as they’re hooked, their buyer journey brings them to the monetization stage the place they are going to decide to a purchase order.

Standard monetization methods may embody:

1. In-app purchases

It is a frequent strategy with gaming apps. Customers can “spend as they go” by buying an additional life, extra cash, a brand new character, and so forth. for a low value of some {dollars}.

2. Month-to-month and/or yearly subscriptions

Most apps now use this monetization technique that kicks in after the free trial interval is over. Customers are billed a set month-to-month value or will pay for a yr’s subscriptions at a reduced value.

3. One-time app buy

Some apps are arrange so that you just purchase them outright, that means that you just pay one low value to make use of them perpetually—like informal gaming apps, productiveness apps, or picture modifying apps. Others use a mixture of subscriptions and one-time app buy choices. For instance, a health app could supply a subscription for $19.99 per 30 days or a one-time buy value of $199.99 for lifetime entry.

Beneath is an instance from Transportable North Pole, a seasonal vacation app that gives a yearly “Magic Cross”.


What can go improper at every buyer lifecycle stage?

Protecting the funnel visible in thoughts, simply take into consideration the place you’ll be able to spring a leak—just about wherever, proper? The identical is true with the levels of an app consumer’s journey. The important thing factor is to establish the place these leaks are and repair them!

For instance—on the acquisition stage—your app could also be buried too deep within the app shops, giving it extraordinarily low visibility. Not together with related, high-performing key phrases in your app retailer metadata or poor app rankings could possibly be the issue. Getting a full ASO audit that identifies your weak factors helps you work this out.

Or, on the conversion stage, you might have a very difficult onboarding course of. Are you requesting an excessive amount of private data from the start or bombarded customers with an excessive amount of data earlier than giving them an opportunity to expertise what the app does? If that’s the case, you’ve discovered your leak.


Finest app engagement instruments to make use of for buyer lifecycle methods

Fortunately, there are numerous instruments accessible that assist arrange and optimize these buyer lifecycles. It is a enormous asset as a result of, as you’ll be able to think about, triggering the precise push notification on the proper time may get fairly messy with out an automatic instrument on the wheel!

Braze, OneSignal, Leanplum, and Airship are business leaders in terms of rising in-app buyer engagement and implementing multi-channel retention methods. Push notifications, emails, in-app messages, and A/B testing are simply a number of the superior options that they provide.


Remaining Ideas

For each cell app technique, getting downloads is essential. Nevertheless it’s often the tip of the iceberg.

For long run app success, it’s essential to have a look at the total funnel of the app utilizing the shopper lifecycle journey and figuring out the place the leaks are—what’s it that’s stopping your consumer from transferring ahead to the following stage and reaching the last word objective (i.e., making a purchase order)?

Mastering the funnel requires hands-on data and utility of essentially the most related methods for each stage. This consists of:

  • Mastery of UA finest practices for ASO and paid media (acquisition)
  • Offering the optimum app onboarding and UX expertise (activation)
  • Implementing efficient push notifications and gamification methods (engagement and retention)
  • Having a plan to win again inactive or churned customers (re-engagement)

If this sounds difficult, you’ll be able to depend upon the companies {of professional} app advertising and marketing businesses like our skilled group at App Development Community. We’re completely happy to assist.