Five Gold Nuggets from the App Promotion Summit Berlin 2014

By Thomas Sommer | November 27th, 2014

The App Promotion Summit Berlin is one of the most interesting mobile marketing conferences out there: short but insightful and hands-on talks, uncompromising panels, a (rather) small amount of self promotion, and plenty of networking opportunities. Its fourth installment (and second in Berlin), which took place last week, was no exception to the rule.For those who didn’t get to attend (or need a brush up after a hard night of Berlin partying), here is a concise wrap-up of the five most important analyses, concepts and tips touched on during the conference. app promotion summit banner

1. Why Games Don’t Rule the Top Charts Anymore

Priori Data is a new Berlin-based app store analytics company offering competing with the likes of App Annie and MixRank. During the first talk of the conference, their CEO Patrick Kane, among other insights, produced an interesting graph showing the trend in the app categories at the top of the app store chart rankings.

app promotion summit top games

The result is staggering: while in October 2013 10 out 10 apps in the Top Global Free Apps on iOS were games, one year later this figure has dropped to…zero.

app promotion summit groups

We could say this shift shows the industry’s coming of age. More factually, it is likely to be due to “the Great Unbundling”, a tendency of the major incumbent publishers (namely Facebook, Google, Apple and Yahoo!) to release several stand-alone apps for various functions that were previously contained in just one app.Combining cross-promotion with high engagement levels (Facebook boasts 17% of overall time spent on mobile), they are then able to bump these new apps into the top charts with no or little paid marketing, making the latter even more competitive than before. The most recent example is Facebook ‘s release of a standalone “Groups” app.On a side note, it might be worth mentioning that this strategy has a few unsuccessful iterations for the company, as very few people remember Facebook’s attempt to release stand-alone “Poke” and “Photo” apps. The more recent “Pages” app does not seem to be faring that well, either, as it hasn’t been released outside of the US App Store.Let’s also mention that this phenomenon has not affected games’ dominance over the top grossing charts, as the other apps’ revenue models usually revolve around advertising, while the top grossing charts only take app store - either upfront or in-app - revenue into account.

2. The Mobile Growth Stack: Textbook Mobile Marketing

It has often been said that mobile marketing is a landgrab. Over the past couple of years however, we have seen the industry mature and benefit from much more rigor and professionalism. Andy Carvell of SoundCloud is definitely helping this trend by having created an elegant and practical framework: the Mobile Growth Stack.

app promotion summit mobile growth stack

If you want a more detailed explanation of the framework, head over to Andy’s Medium post. Explained in a nutshell, it consists of a table divided into subsets of tools/areas which need to be used or optimized in order to achieve growth for your app. All of them need obviously not be used all at once, the choice to tackle one or the other will depend on various factors, such as the category/vertical of the app, or the growth stage it is currently at. The subsets are grouped into layers, which also coincide with the elements of the user lifecycle:

  • User Acquisition
  • Engagement & Retention
  • Monetization
  • The fourth layer is Analytics, which obviously needs to be used all along the user lifecycle.
Two items are spread across the first three layers:
  • Retargeting: getting a message to existing users all along the lifecycle in order to get them to come back to the app, further engage with it, or spend money is key. In more general terms, we could talk of CRM or User Relationship Management.
  • International: localization and culturalization. This part is not negligible and should be applied to all aspects of your growth efforts as well.
If you have comments or would like to contribute to the stack, do not hesitate to let me know or get in touch with Andy directly.

3. Review Mining: Why It Can Pay Off

Tom Leclerc of Wooga stressed the importance of mining and leveraging app store reviews by starting off with a few impressive stats:
  • User spend is increased by 40% when the buying experienced is deemed “positive”.
  • The insights gained from Candy Crush’s review data have an assessed “counter” value of $70,000 per month.
  • 9 out of the top 10 grossing apps have less than 5% negative reviews.
Here are the four reasons why you should go mining for app store reviews. Some are to be expected, others less so:
  1. Gain a competitive edge. Before launching an app for instance, look at what your competitors are doing right, and more importantly what they are doing wrong. For this purpose focus only on the bad (1-2 star) and good (5 star) reviews.
  2. Understand what you are doing wrong by looking at your own negative reviews (1-2 stars).
  3. Run a sentiment analysis of your app by looking at reviews around specific keywords, such as “price“, “pay”, “cash”, etc, and look at reviews within each star rating to understand where to focus your priorities.
  4. The most interesting and underrated advantage: discover keyword ideas through reviews. By looking at both your competitors’ as well as your own reviews, you can find “hidden gems” to understand your brand language and generate a list of powerful keywords that are popular among your target group.

4. The Three Best Features of iOS 8 (Which Prove That It Wasn’t a Useless Update)

It was widely commented that the iOS 8 adoption rate has been somewhat lagging compared to what it had been for iOS 7 one year earlier. Many attributed this poor performance to the fact that Apple’s latest vintage was lacking new killer features or significant visible changes that would make iOS 7 users tick.

app-promotion-summit-ios8-adoptionSource: Mixpanel

Patrick Haig of TUNE, formerly VP with MobileDevHQ (the App Store Optimization specialist which was bought earlier this year by the Seattle-based tracking and analytics company) offers a different viewpoint. iOS 8 did not bring any major differences in terms of user features, but for developers some changes to the App Store are already showing a strong impact:

  • Video app previews. The new marketing asset made available by Apple (only a few years after Google) is seemingly generating a 16% average uplift on downloads, but the effect takes over a month to sink in. In other words: developers, start early!
  • Vertical scrolling for search results. With iOS 8, search results are accessible seamlessly by scrolling vertically (vs individually by scrolling horizontally as was the case with iOS7). This change makes searched apps much more quickly and easily accessible by users. Here again, a 28% average increase in downloads has been observed. Patrick notes however that the App Store appearance of your app (icon, first 2 vertical screenshots/first horizontal screenshot/app preview still) must be even further optimized so as to catch the users’ eye, as they can easily scroll by the search result if they don’t get a good enough first impression.
  • Related searches. This feature is for now only available in the US App Store but early results are promising: a 24% download increase has been observed on average. It is worth considering that related searches also give a nice glimpse at user intent and are thereby a good way for developers to find new keyword ideas.
app promotion summit iOS8 5. Three is the Magic NumberMick Rigby of Yodel Mobile offers another interesting way to look at the various stages of mobile marketing. His revolves around the rule of three. While we agree that this might depend greatly on the purpose and the category of the app, it is a good framework around which to organize your growth strategy.
  • 3 minutes: the time by which you should have positively impressed your user, or they are very unlikely to ever come back to your app.
  • 3 weeks: the time by which you need to have converted your users in some way: purchase, review, sign-up, share, etc.
  • 3 months: the time by which you need to have offered your users at least one update and some new content in order to sustain usage and engagement.
We hope this few tips from the App Promotion Summit were useful. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line or express yourself in the comments if you have questions or observations to make!

Thomas Sommer
Thomas heads up content marketing at AppLift. As such he’s in charge of sourcing, curating, creating and distributing insightful content to increase visibility and thought leadership for the company. Thomas loves to scrutinize the relentless and trilling developments of the mobile industry. You can follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.