Not that long ago the world of app development was still very niche - it was reserved for the big brands, with big budgets, and big campaigns. But no more. These days app development is within reach for smaller independent businesses, and apps are becoming a more mainstream marketing channel through which organisations can engage with customers on the move.

So what of this? That’s great surely? That more businesses are able to tap into this much-loved medium? Well yes - and no.

Yes, it’s great for consumers that there are more apps on the market. Great that we are able to interact with more organisations in this very convenient way…but consider for a moment, with so much more competition, how are we to discover the new apps on offer? We can only interact with them if we can find them. Herein lies the problem with many new apps.

The black hole

What’s the point in spending thousands in app development if post-app marketing strategy isn’t considered? There is very little point but that is what often happens and it means that many great apps disappear into a black hole. If a brand is to use apps as a marketing channel, it’s essential that they consider that any app development costs may only be a fraction of what it will cost to market it effectively, if it is to ever gain traction (downloads). Apps can be relatively low cost these days to develop but that really isn’t all there is to it.

Apps generally fall into one of two categories and either is situation presents marketing challenges:

• Those in a market already highly saturated and competitive such as ‘dating’.
• Those that offer a new service that may be hard to find or get lost amongst the other 2 million apps.

To put this into perspective, UBER currently requires an annual budget of over $300 million. The following marketing channels will require careful consideration and budgeting for: ASO, SEO, direct marketing, Google Adwords, display network, remarketing, social, affiliate and any above the line activity such as TV, YouTube, radio, outdoor, print, endorsements etc.

How tough is it to get new apps ranking in the app store?

Obviously, a presence in the app store is a dream position to be in, so how do you get there? This all depends on how competitive your keywords are. We look after a leisure client whose achievements so far have included position one ranking in Apple’s App store for 11 of their primary keywords. They also have the best visibility score within their sector that falls in the extremely competitive ‘Travel’ category.

When should businesses consider SEO/ASO?

Always at the start. Lots of keywords have become hugely competitive. For example, if you search Google for ‘cheap laptops’ you will see that page one is owned by Amazon, Argos, PCWorld, Currys, Tesco etc. Any new startup wanting to rank amongst this type of company for the same search term is going to require a significant SEO budget.

What should businesses be wary of when talking to potential SEO/ASO suppliers?

A digital marketing agency is only as good as the people they employ. My advice is to find out who the person is that will be directly responsible for investing your money in SEO and leading your strategy. With this role comes a huge amount of responsibility. I would expect the person to have at least 5 years experience, working client side or agency side, ideally, a mixture of both. They will have managed key accounts in a variety of competitive verticals (travel, finance, e-commerce etc) and be able to showcase multiple success stories.


By Richard Andrews, head of SEO/ASO at Bolser

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