The art of marketing an app

Aaron Watkins is the co-founder of Appency, a mobile marketing firm in the Bay Area focusing on marketing apps.

Start by finding your niche. Does your app have mass-market appeal, or is there a specific group of people you are trying to reach? What age are they? What types of websites, magazine, and newspaper articles do they read? This is useful not only in determining what to expect from your sales, but also what types of influencers you will need to reach out to.

It is also important to take a look at your competition. How much market share have they taken up already? Generally, when it comes to competition, you have three ways to establish dominance, price, features, and quality.

Establish Your Presence

Your app is a brand, and every brand needs a brand identity. You name, your icon or logo, your app description, these are all aspects of your brand identity that will help the consumer decide if they want to be a user of your product.

Your app name is the primary search term that people will use to find it. Avoid words that are easily misspelled, and/or make sure common variations are included in your keywords as to still show up.

The Power of PR

The most straightforward coverage is the app review, a basic review of your application for the sake of giving people information. When sending information to someone reviewing your app, make sure you give him or her everything they need to make a full review. Screen-shots, description, links and relevant bits of information the average person may not know.

In the end, PR is about relationships, and relationships take time and effort to build. Reach out to anyone you know that may have friends that are in the media, get an introduction if you can. Often it is best to hire the services of a PR agency like Appency that has experience and relationships in the app space.

Social Media Marketing

While there are a million sites that call themselves social media, the social media sites that are most important for app marketing are generally Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. This does not mean every app should have all of these, each one should be looked at in turn and a decision must be made regarding the appropriateness of the network for the app you are promoting.


Not all sales from an ad are tracked. During an ad buy, you have to know your baseline, and see the total lift on the app, not just the tracked sales.

Advertising is about building your brand as much as direct sales. Brand impression takes a while. Your first impression will help strengthen their brand recognition for your app later. When users see the impression again in another spot they are that much more likely to buy it.