In the competitive world of mobile app marketing, simply having a great product isn't enough. Developers and game studios face the ongoing challenge of attracting and keeping users engaged, especially with the constant changes in privacy policies and technology.
At Appodeal, we know how tough these changes can be. We're here to help you understand and adapt to this ever-changing landscape. We're lucky to learn from industry experts who successfully share their insights on attracting and engaging users.
This article will explore key strategies that can help boost your user numbers and increase engagement. We'll discuss the importance of natural growth, using social features in your app, and adapting to new privacy rules.
These insights come from industry veterans who have been through it all. They aim to help you survive and thrive in this challenging environment. So, whether you're a big game studio or a new app developer, this article offers useful tips to improve your marketing efforts and take your app to new heights.
Let's dive in!
Table of contents
- Embracing the SKAdNetwork Framework
- Creative Challenges and Loss of Hyper-Targeting
- Shifts in Marketing Mix
- The Importance of Schemas
- Looking Forward to SKAdNetwork 4.0
- Adjusting Attribution Models
- Exploring Different Channels
- Leveraging Social Features for Organic Growth
- Utilizing Social Platforms and Influencer Content
- The Role of Virality
- Referral Programs: Unlocking Organic Growth
- Deep Linking: Ensuring Smoother User Experience
- Capitalizing on Apple Search Ads
- Leveraging Google for User Acquisition
- Prioritizing Creatives: The Secret Sauce to Higher Engagement
1. Embracing the SKAdNetwork Framework
It's no secret that implementing the SKAdNetwork framework has profoundly affected mobile app marketing. Many apps and games in the industry found hitting the scan conversion thresholds challenging, particularly with regard to retargeting campaigns, especially on iOS. Nonetheless, the community has learned to adapt and work within this new framework.
Adjustments had to be made to how teams allocate their resources. The scan ecosystem changed the traffic mix, meaning not all ad networks and partners could successfully transition. Teams learned to be flexible, moving funds to where they saw the best return on investment.
2. Creative Challenges and Loss of Hyper-Targeting
The lack of visibility into the working creatives on iOS has made creative campaigns more challenging. Furthermore, the loss of hyper-targeting capabilities means that the audience on iOS has broadened significantly.
As a result, campaigns have had to be more versatile and creative in reaching the right audience.
3. Shifts in Marketing Mix
While the marketing mix has not drastically changed, some subtle shifts have occurred.
Budgets are now consistently being switched from one channel to another at a faster rate. Additionally, the focus has moved towards testing new channels quickly, adapting to the SKAdNetwork situation. This approach impacts how budgets are allocated and how campaign success is measured.
4. The Importance of Schemas
A key challenge and a path to success in navigating the SKAdNetwork framework is working on your schemas. This refers to building a schema of aggregated reporting data points without user-level data.
This could include binary coding around reporting to SKAdNetwork or tracking different events and user levels. Although the lack of user-level data might feel like navigating blind, optimizing schemas allows you to measure performance better.
5. Looking Forward to SKAdNetwork 4.0
There are mixed feelings about the potential opportunities and features SKAdNetwork 4.0 might bring. While some are optimistic about Apple providing more visibility and transparency for performance marketers, others believe it won't restore the scenario to what it was pre-SKAdNetwork.
Adoption rates of SKAdNetwork 4.0 have not been as high as anticipated, but it promises to offer a more extended measurement period beyond the initial 24 to 48 hours, making it easier for developers who optimize for long-term returns.
6. Adjusting Attribution Models
Navigating these changes has also required a shift in the preferred attribution models. A mix of SKAdNetwork and other models like probabilistic matching are used to gain as much data as possible. This dual view empowers performance marketers to make better-informed decisions.
As the mobile app marketing landscape evolves, so do marketers' strategies. Despite not offering immediate, actionable data for UA teams, media mix modeling, and incrementality are becoming increasingly crucial. In conjunction with other performance marketing tools, these models help secure a smoother transition into the future.
7. Exploring Different Channels
Expanding into new channels isn't a sprint; it's a marathon. The team at Appodeal discovered that venturing into areas such as CTV (Connected TV) posed measurement challenges. Even when direct response metrics aren't readily apparent, persistence is key. While these challenges may be more daunting for smaller companies, sustained effort is how you build momentum over time.
Not every channel will be a direct response gold mine, but diversifying your efforts can offer incremental growth and open up new user bases. It's all about consistent application and patience in seeing your efforts bear fruit.
8. Leveraging Social Features for Organic Growth
The discussion turned to an essential question: how to leverage social features to drive organic growth?
Firstly, social features within apps were highlighted. Some games and apps are built with a more social environment in mind, encouraging users to invite others to join the experience. This social engagement within apps has the potential to drive organic growth, with user referrals acting as a powerful marketing tool.
The conversation also pointed to plans for Player vs. Player (PvP) mechanics in certain games as a future growth driver. PvP can introduce a competitive edge to the experience, encouraging players to invite friends to join the competition and boosting user engagement and growth.
9. Utilizing Social Platforms and Influencer Content
The experts also discussed leveraging social features within platforms, such as collaborations on Instagram and Spark ads on TikTok. User-generated content (UGC) on platforms like TikTok is an invaluable resource. Brands that already have a presence or following on such platforms can capitalize on content created by fans to promote their apps.
The win-win situation is that influencers boost their engagement, brands get promotional content, and costs are minimal.
10. The Role of Virality
Lastly, the potential virality of games was highlighted. Some games, by their nature, have high virality due to their interactive gameplay, encouraging player-to-player interaction.
While not all game genres may be equally suited to this, incorporating social and viral elements within the game can significantly contribute to organic growth.
11. Referral Programs: Unlocking Organic Growth
One of the crucial ways to encourage organic growth in your mobile gaming community is through well-implemented referral programs. You can create a self-perpetuating growth engine by incentivizing current users to invite their friends to the game. These invitations can be trackable, allowing you to measure the referral program's success.
For instance, with Appodeal's advanced analytics and insights, you can monitor the conversion rate of referral invites and assess the overall performance of your program. Although the process of sharing can be as simple as hitting a share button and texting it out, Appodeal ensures that your in-app sharing feature functions seamlessly and tracks results accurately.
12. Deep Linking: Ensuring Smoother User Experience
Deep linking is another powerful tool that mobile game developers should consider.
It allows you to direct users straight to specific in-game locations from external platforms, thus enhancing the user experience and increasing the likelihood of conversions. These links can be shared through various channels, such as SMS or social media platforms, to invite friends to join a particular game or event within the app.
13. Capitalizing on Apple Search Ads
Apple Search Ads have grown significantly in recent years, and their use has become a cornerstone of effective app marketing strategy. They are a more premium and accurate channel, even if they may be more expensive.
Since Apple search ads are seamlessly integrated into the Apple Store, it allows you to track data more accurately, which can help you optimize your campaigns for better performance.
One approach to expanding Apple Search Ads' effectiveness is targeting specific keywords. This strategy can be particularly beneficial for games with famous IPs, allowing them to target relevant keywords and reach a highly engaged audience.
14. Leveraging Google for User Acquisition
Google also plays a crucial role in user acquisition. It has effectively mastered lower funnel event optimization, making it an excellent source of Android traffic. Its recent advancements towards supporting SKAdNetwork and introducing Quality of Service (QoS) bidding make it an even more compelling choice for iOS traffic.
One of the benefits of Google is that it can match your ad copy with the right people, making targeting easier. This advantage, combined with effective video content, banners, and text ads, can significantly enhance your ad's performance and user acquisition.
15. Prioritizing Creatives: The Secret Sauce to Higher Engagement
Finally, the most effective marketing strategy often revolves around creatives. Creatives are still the most impactful way of drawing in users. The conventional format of hook, gameplay, and call to action remains the winner of all ads.
Different iterations of this format, especially in creating a call to action or depicting gameplay, can significantly impact your ad's effectiveness. Pairing this with user-generated content (UGC) or influencer marketing can further enhance your creativity and improve its performance.
In the dynamic world of mobile app marketing, the most powerful strategies focus on creating quality products, building and nurturing strong communities, and leveraging genuine, compelling advertising. A thriving, satisfied community translates into a successful product; engaging your players and creating resonant content fosters a sense of belonging that can encourage organic growth and virality.
Simultaneously, exploring new channels, maximizing the potential of in-app social features, and adapting to the shifting landscape are critical steps toward driving this organic growth. Indeed, as the mobile app ecosystem evolves, so should your strategies.
The current climate may prompt a shift towards more traditional marketing, but this can be viewed as a golden opportunity to get back to the roots of marketing and reinvent your strategies. Quality products, genuine ads, and user-focused methods reign supreme.
Facing this rapidly changing landscape might seem daunting, but remember: it's not a sprint but a marathon. Consistent efforts and the right strategies and tools can pave the way for your app's sustained growth and success.
At Appodeal, we're committed to standing with you—game studios and mobile app developers—through these changes. We offer the tools, insights, and support you need to thrive in this vibrant, evolving arena. While the path forward may be uncertain, we believe that together, we can navigate this exciting new world of mobile app marketing and unlock your product's full potential.