ironSource blog

8 Free App Discovery and App Marketing Tricks That Actually Work

With over 2 billion smartphone devices globally, one would assume there are more than enough mobile app users for everyone to share. The problem is, your app is not alone, and mobile app discovery is becoming harder and harder to crack. According to Statista, there are currently over 1.5 million apps in the App Store, each one competing for users just like you. Some may be in different categories, yet many are searching for the same user who fits your app.

In order to market your app in the App Stores – be it iOS or Google Play – ASO is usually the first term to be thrown around as a tool for discoverability, with many highly-discussed ASO marketing techniques which promise to quickly drive downloads. In fact, when approaching a game plan to promote one’s app, ASO is often used synonymously with “marketing.”

Recommended Reading
App Store Optimization: 3 Ways to Boost Your App Rank
How to Top the Ranks and Rule the Play Store (9 ASO Tips)
The Perfect Soft Launch for Your Next App

But how about outside the App Store? What lies beyond the big bad world of mastering app-store descriptions and top keyword rankings? Yes, ASO is essential to your app’s success, but there is an art behind leading potential users to your (optimized) app’s store page. It’s called discoverability, and it goes far beyond ASO.

Below are 8 marketing hacks to apply to your app outside the world of ASO. Once integrated into your marketing campaign, these free tools have proven essential to optimizing your app’s marketability – from getting your app discovered and downloaded, to acquiring the right users and increasing your ROI.

1. Work the forums

Submit your app to directories and forums in order to attract the right audience – i.e. for gaming apps, this means attracting devoted gamers who are looking for new games to play. For games, forums such as Indie DB are a good place to start, whereas for general apps Product Hunt can be a great springboard for getting exposure. Depending on the forum, you could have the added benefit of gaining access to tech experts or early adopters, who are often willing to give you feedback on the app before it’s official launch.

2. Approach alternative app store markets

Distribute your app in alternative app store markets and directories such as Itch.io, SlideME, 1mobile, and AppBrain. It’s essential to choose the right mix of traffic channels, since correctly leveraging all the different marketplaces available holds the key to improving app discoverability.

3. Pitch to publications

Pitch your app to reporters to score articles from relevant publications such as Social Times, Gamasutra, Appadvice, Appolicious, Gamezebo, and Pocket Gamer. In order to find the right tech reporters and blogs that will generate buzz, try Publicize or Bolo as helpful PR tools that will guide you in identifying the right publications that fit your app.

4. Learn from your competition

Despite the proliferation of apps in the marketplace, the number of apps used remains around the same. With people spending more and more time in their top few apps, it’s essential to get yours in the hands of loyal users in order to increase your ROI.

Fastest Growing AppsIn most cases, your app is not the first of its kind. In order to understand your market, you should first identify your competitors, and then learn from them. Which apps are trending in the market; who is seeing the most growth; what tactics are they utilizing to become popular? Tracking platforms such as ironSource’s Fastest Growing Apps can offer insights into the chart-topping apps and fastest growing app categories, helping you to quickly determine market trends in the industry and shape how you choose to market your app.  

5. Build your community

Build an adoring fanbase by becoming active in community outreach – like on forums and social media – and you can increase discoverability exponentially. If you’re searching for content to share, consider blogging and creating videos about the development process for your app, like Nathaniel Weiss, the creator of the Wizard Fu game engine, who has documented his work on YouTube. From participating in events around the community to converting visitors into fans with interactive content, you should make an effort to create irresistible promotional materials that encourage your community to engage.

6. Cross-promote

Cross-promotion is a wonderful, free way to promote your app to similar audiences. You can cross promote within your own apps, if you have them, so that users who are already using one app will see an ad for your new one. Since they are already enjoying one app of yours, they are likely to download and install another from the same developer.

While cross-promotion works best when you have developed a string of apps and can tap into existing customers who already love and play your games, you can also work with external publishers and 3rd-party ad networks such as ironSource, via paid advertising channels.

7. Create a press kit

You’ve been able to gain press traction for your app through various pitching efforts, and manage to get some bloggers and journalists to stop by your site. Don’t have them hunt for information and screenshots for their article – make it easy for them.

Create a press kit page for your app that makes any marketable information easily available. This can be accomplished with helpful tools such as presskit or prMac, a free distribution tool that enhances press releases.

8. Soft launch

Before your official launch, consider a soft launch in low-cost countries in order to test your app and monetization mechanics. With a soft launch, you can test your game in smaller countries which demonstrate similar app trends and interests to your projected market, allowing you to make any necessary adjustments before releasing to your main market. For example, try testing your game with a soft launch in Canada before releasing your app in the US. Unsure what to test in your game? Consider your IAP funnel, which will help you hone in on the right users and ensure optimal ARPU.

 

If you want to increase the chances of getting discovered and downloaded in today’s saturated market, you’ll have to be resourceful and use every available tactic to get your app exposure. While it’s true that boosting your app’s store ranking will have a big impact on your installs, your ASO efforts should also be supported by drawing attention to your app outside the app stores as well.

From traditional advertising and social media techniques to efforts in forums, external publications and cross-promotion, it’s essential to supplement your marketing efforts in areas which are far less competitively crowded than the iOS and Google Play app stores. These free marketing hacks will help jumpstart your app’s success by utilizing as many traffic sources as possible to provide your app with a more thorough and well-balanced marketing campaign.

ironSource Blog

The Source

ironSource Named Top 20 Most Secure Network by Singular

Yevgeny Peres is the VP Growth at ironSource. In recent years, mobile ad fraud has become an industry-wide issue which affects every advertiser - their budgets, their reputation, and mainly their effectiveness in achieving sustainable growth. That’s why we’re excited..

AdChat
warren-woodward-nexon-dominations-ironsource

Best Practices for Launching Your Mobile Gaming App: Pt. 2, Worldwide Launch

Warren Woodward is the Director of User Acquisition at NEXON M, the San Francisco division of Korea’s largest mobile gaming company and one of the ten largest gaming companies in the world. Their hugely popular games include DomiNations, Titanfall: Assault, and Battlejack. This is the second part in a three part series. To read part..

AppChat
what-is-mobile-ad-mediation

What is Mobile Ad Mediation and How Does it Help App Developers?

If you’re looking to monetize your app through ads, you’ve likely come across the term "mobile ad mediation." But while the term is thrown around quite often, it can be hard to understand whether or not the solution is right for your app. Let’s take a look at what it means, who it’s best for,..

AppChat
what-is-k-factor-app-developer

What the Hell is K Factor and How Can You Boost It?

Every app developer wants to understand how their app’s user base is growing, and how viral the app is. For this, look no further than your app’s K Factor. But what exactly does K Factor tell you about your app’s growth? And how can you work yours out? What is  K Factor?  K Factor is..

CompanyChat
tomer-bar-zeev-ironsource-ceo

ironSource CEO Tomer Bar-Zeev Among 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs at 2017 Builders + Innovators Summit

Goldman Sachs is recognizing ironSource CEO and Co-Founder Tomer Bar-Zeev again as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2017 at its Builders + Innovators Summit in Santa Barbara, California. Goldman Sachs selected Bar-Zeev as one of 100 entrepreneurs from multiple industries to be honored at the two-day event. A technology veteran, Bar Zeev..

AppChat

Trends and Challenges in User Acquisition: Q&A with Playrix’s Artur Grigorjan

Artur is Head of Growth Marketing and is charged with the mission of finding unique opportunities to grow and improve the marketing efforts of Playrix - one of the biggest game developers in the world. They’re the team behind the wildly popular, and top-grossing titles of Township, Gardenscapes and Fishdom. Artur knows a thing or..

AppChat

What the Hell is ARPDAU and How Can You Boost It?

For an app developer wanting to understand more about the health of their app, there’s a whole load of metrics to choose from. Some give insight into the day-to-day, others take a longer view.   ARPDAU is a staple day-to-day metric developers should be using - but what exactly does it tell you about your..

AdChat
ironsource-launches-first-augmented-reality-mobile-ads-games-ar

ironSource Launches ‘World’s First’ Augmented Reality Ads for Mobile Games

This article originally appeared on VentureBeat.  Augmented reality is set to become more mainstream thanks to Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore development platforms, marking the birth of a new marketing channel. And as with all shiny new objects, marketers are keen to start leveraging AR. Today ironSource — the mobile monetization and marketing company —  announced the launch..

AdChat
how-to-soft-launch-your-game-nexon-mobile-battle-jack-dominations

Best Practices for Launching Your Mobile Gaming App: Pt. 1, Soft Launch

Warren Woodward is the Director of User Acquisition at NEXON M, the San Francisco division of Korea’s largest mobile gaming company and one of the ten largest gaming companies in the world. Their hugely popular games include DomiNations, Titanfall: Assault, and Battlejack. In mobile gaming, the soft launch is critical - especially with oversaturated app..

AppChat
user-acquisition-mobile-games-apps-creatives-kongregate

The Secret to Great Creative Optimization: Q&A with Kongregate’s Linh Tijan

As Senior Marketing Manager handling user acquisition at leading game publisher Kongregate, Linh Tijan has a huge amount of experience in how to optimize UA campaigns. Kongregate is behind hugely popular games such as AdVenture Capitalist, Animation Throwdown and Pocket Politics. Their online games are played by tens of millions of players each month, and..

Interested in becoming an ironSource partner?

We’d love to hear from you.