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Paid App Distribution Strategy - should you #SocialMedia?

Paid App Distribution

Paid App Distribution

Paid App Distribution

So you’ve developed an app. You’ve checked off all the boxes that we discussed in the App Distribution Strategies article, you are earning followers in social media, and you are focused on engaging users. What’s next? Paid App Distribution.

It is time to evaluate and test paid app distribution options. Today we’ll look specifically at paid social media, do’s and don'ts, and the easy places to test. Before we start make sure you have all of your social media assets in place first. Most importantly, make sure your measurement tools are in place as well. The only truly failed paid media campaign is one you didn’t learn anything from. No measurements mean no learning, and even if the media backed out you’ve failed because you can’t replicate the campaign.

As an app you are either in one of two places with your social presence – you have a community that you are interacting with or you are building one. Let’s look first at the “building” side of the problem and how to address that via paid app distribution. Building a Social Media presence via paid media is hard, it is time consuming, I’ve made many of the following mistakes myself you should avoid them:

Mistake 1: Not measuring and not being able to optimize.
Mistake 2: Affordable, ROI positive, large reach – Pick 2, you can’t have all three.
Mistake 3: Stopping a successful campaign for budget reasons. If it’s working find more money, otherwise you may spend months starting over again and chasing success.
Mistake 4: Not developing and sharing KPI’s with your partners. If media partners don’t know how you define success, they’ll decide for you and will likely focus on the wrong things.

So with those big mistakes out of the way, how do you start to build a community? First and foremost, find out where your target markets' influencers and users congregate. Profile the influencers and reach out to them directly to help you promote your app and engage their community of users. Get them free versions of your app, pay them for reviews, posts, shares, discussions launched, etc. Engaging users directly yourself is a delicate balance. You must first build value in the community, share advice and have some tenure before promoting product. User communities turn into angry mobs quickly if they feel you are taking advantage of them, so first provide value then engage and promote.

With those basic steps above completed you can turn to traditional paid media. Sponsored posts and CPC based ads the easiest starting point. Launch and learn with these first. Create numerous versions of your ads and segment by device/demo/carrier/etc. This will enable you to find the “soft spots” in the market where new users can be acquired cheaply. Focus your efforts on those spots, and focus on reach until it gets too expensive on a per user basis. If ads are more than 250% off from your KPI’s immediately shut those down. No amount of optimization and segmenting is bringing that back in-line with where you need it to be.

If you already have a social media community in place then your approach to paid app distribution and focus of those efforts will be different. To start with, developing KPI’s is a lot easier and you can spend far less money. Your only real KPI will be reach within your community. Focus on driving your per unit and per engagement costs as absolutely low as possible. They ideal way to do this is look at the content in your community that engages organically, and then model your paid ads off that. Then test the modeled ads against your segments from above looking for the combination that yields the lowest in segment unit cost. Following these simple steps will get you off on the right foot when the time is right for paid app distribution.

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