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Are You Wasting the Money You're Spending on Advertising Your App?

  |  January 20, 2012   |  Comments

Effective app advertising requires three key areas of focus: brand, buzz, and balanced opportunity.

Let's face it, if you have an iPad app out there you need to advertise to make sure people know about it. And, just like the traditional world, the ad opportunities are endless. Effectively determining where and how to advertise your app can be tricky if you don't stop and consider a few key elements. Effective app advertising requires three key areas of focus: brand, buzz, and balanced opportunity.

Brand. In the app world, your brand is immediately leveled. Even if your company has the strongest brand name around, in the app world, you face a different world; a new world where a virtual game, that people spend real money on, suddenly has more cache than yours. You need to build an "app brand." Building an app brand consists of two elements:

  1. Reaching out to your traditional brand followers to let them know you now have a presence as an app.
  2. Creating a personality around your app's brand and introducing it, for the very first time, to many people who have never heard of you.

Most companies are only focusing on No. 1 - this is a mistake. It is a short-term win, but a long-term loss. The key to success is to invest in both and go way out of your safe zone to find ways to build a brand with a completely new audience.

Buzz. If there is no buzz, there is no engagement and revenue. While many people look to their brand-building efforts to build buzz, the critical key here is to build a consumer audience that is buzzing. This means spending time on the standard locations like Facebook and Twitter, but also hitting the device user forums hard, in addition to any review sites you can find. If you are not spending time or money here, you are missing out. In app buzz building worlds, the blogger and vlogger community may just have hit their sweet spot in earning influence.

Balanced opportunity. This is where your app efforts could fall flat on your face. If you think traditionally here you might just be digging a hole for yourself. Gone are the simple days of selecting sites that match your target audience to advertise on. Gone are the days where email marketing lists have an impact. In the world of app advertisement, you could be throwing your ad dollars away if you don't consider this one key point.

If you are looking to reach someone who is on a smartphone or a tablet while they are on the smartphone or tablet, do not try to interrupt what they are doing.

That statement may sound silly, but it's true. Unless you are simply executing a brand campaign, consider what app's you advertise in and around and how engaged the person is with the app. While you may think your app is perfectly aligned with people who stay at XYZ hotel, you might want to think twice before advertising your app in theirs. Why? Because if you are in the XYZ hotel app you are doing something. You are checking on a reservation, making a reservation, or changing a reservation. This means you will not want to drop what you are doing because you see a shiny object. As an advertiser, seek out those apps that your target audience engages with when they have free time. For example, the weather app. Of course people go there to check the weather, but then they are happy to leave. It's a perfect time to head to your app.

Creating a strategy that takes advantage of the culture we are building in an app-driven society will propel you light years ahead. It's not the same as we have gotten used to in online advertising, or our traditional efforts, but it does open up a whole new world of opportunity. Taking time to put effort into your strategy now will pay dividends in the future.



Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition. 

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