MoMo London – Mobile Apps Marketing

mobilemondaylondon.gifI was at Mobile Monday London last night where the theme was Mobile Apps Marketing. After a brief presentation by Samsung, there was a panel chaired by Tim Green (Executive Editor, Mobile Entertainment) with Keith O’Brien (Head of Content Strategy, Samsung), Oded Ran (CEO, Touchnote), Richard Firminger (Managing Director, Flurry) and Paul Armstrong (Head of Social, Mindshare).

Here are some insights I took away from the event…

  • Samsung told us their (free) app review service is under utilised and probably should be used by more developers. They can validate your app on Samsung devices and provide feedback on how to improve your app. Keith O’Brien was of the opinion that there’s a need to spend more on media (ads) than was spent on creating the app. He also suggested most apps should have a start screen explaining what the app does. He says developers should test with a small friendly community first rather than using the public to test apps.
  • Flurry costs from 70 cents per download when you use their network to promote your app. Users are targeted using the data collected via Flurry analytics. Richard Firminger told us that user retention is as important as user acquisition. 
  • Oded Ran from Touchnote revealed that having used all of the main ad networks, none of them were financially viable for Touchnote’s usecase and they have stopped spending on ad networks. He expressed the opinion that numbers (metrics) are very important, particularly the number of downloads that result in retained customers. Viral (social) loops, better PR and partnering (with Samsung as it happened) have been better ways of acquiring users. Oden spoke of an acquisition funnel much like Mark Curtis (then of Flirtomatic) did in 2009.
  • Paul Armstrong suggested that using context (eg time and place) can improve the success of adverts.
  • Incentivised downloads should be viewed with caution as they don’t necessarily result in retained users.
  • While it seems everyone (and an increasing number of people) are chasing the top chart slots, it can still be financially viable for some companies who aren’t in the charts.
  • With regard to social, it’s best to target the right people rather than ‘all the people’. Target the poeple who fit best with your app. Also think about the tone, graphics branding etc. 
  • Consider finding ambassadors for your app before it ships so that you get a head start.
  • The large brands, games houses etc are driving ads, not the typical developer.
  • Examine how your main competitors promote their apps to gain some insights.
  • You may need to pay for ads, at least initially to get the app off the ground, such that it has some app reviews.
  • Ad categories that are working for large brands include gambling, travel, film, and dating.
  • Consider publisher platforms but don’t give away your IP nor do exclusive deals.
  • Lots of vertical press are now looking for specific apps to talk about so consider this PR route.
  • Finding compatible fan pages on social networks can lead to one post having a very large effect.
  • Consider the mindset for who you are building app.
  • Schemes that guarantee app store placement for a fee don’t make sense – economically, morally or practically.They almost certainly use dubious practices such as bot farms or mechanical turk-like people. If you get caught using such schemes, you can get banned from an app store forever.
I think the largest message was that user retention is as important, if not more important, than user acquisition. Most of the not-so-smart money is currently being poured into acquisition when it might be better spent on ways of keeping users through methods such as newsletters, engaging users and using device notifications.