To Drive App Growth, Focus on Users’ Micro-Moments

There’s an app for that. For anything and everything, there are dozens and even hundreds of apps that perform similar functions. And every day, there are new apps hitting the market in search of users. If you’re a brand or a developer trying to get your app noticed, and more importantly, installed and used, you have to rethink “app discovery” from the user perspective.  Mobile isn’t just the new battleground for apps, it’s also changing behavior and how discover new and relevant things. User attention is pulled in a million directions. Being there in the right moments is just the beginning. It’s how you get and act on user-centered insights that helps attract the right users and substantiates new marketing investments.

Mobile breeds new expectations and behaviors…

Mobile has changed consumer behavior and how people find relevant things creating what Google calls “micro-moments.” These real-time, mobile-first moments happen when customers reach for their smartphones to search for, or are open to, something they want to buy, do, or learn more about. More so, micro-moments are defined by three pillars that help marketers learn how to reach the right people, in the right place, at the right time and in the right way:

  1. Intent (what a consumer is trying to do),
  2. Context (location, time, etc.), and
  3. Immediacy (time/efficiency).

Micro-moments are important to developers and marketers because it is in these mobile-first moments that users search for relevant content (which could be an app). Understanding and focusing on your user’s micro-moments will help you reach more valuable users who will continue to engage with the app beyond the initial download. Additionally, gathering key insights generated by in app analytics will help you better reach targeted users based on behavior, context or interests.

This changes the game for marketing apps. Generally, apps are marketed to the masses and measured in bulk downloads. This is akin to mass advertising that aims to drive volumes of unqualified traffic and then measures success by the number of visits instead of tracking relevant users, activities and outcomes. Said another way, app marketing is making the same mistakes that early digital marketers made in the days of Web 1.0: Everything changed – however, when site analytics helped marketers understand online activity to drive smart growth.

Everyday consumers discover app in the same ways they do traditional content and services: by seeking out what’s relevant to them. It’s easy for them to miss your app if you’re not there. Why use demographics and general activity to try to reach them? With micro-moments and in-app analytics, marketing apps can evolve to the next level. You can plug into meaningful data sources to track real actions, interests and download and usage trends. And, with app analytics combined with studying micro-moments, you can discover more effective ways to find and engage ideal users.

Where to start?

Like with great content, people are open to great apps if you do the work to connect your value proposition to them in the places and ways they’re open to discovery. This is top-of-the-funnel stuff but aimed specifically at micro-moments.

Facebook, Twitter and Google offer dedicated advertising programs to promote your app. Obviously, you should only use the platforms that reach your audiences; however, don’t assume there’s one platform to rule them all. People use social networks. And, you can’t forget that users also search for what’s interesting to them through Google search or Youtube or Google Play (among other apps). And when they do, these micro-moments are rich with intent. Particularly at the top of the funnel, when your consumer is searching for something relevant, you have an opportunity to help them discover your app. While they may not be specifically searching for an app, the discovery or search process is similar. This means that if you can be there and be relevant, consumers can find your app the same way they find relevant content, information or services.

10 Best Practices for App Marketing

To reach the right type of user to drive installs, design a next-gen strategy based on the following 10 best practices of app marketing…

  1. Develop a kick-ass app first and foremost.
  2. Look at existing high value users based on their in-app action
  3. Find others like them by identifying those users’ micro-moments
  4. Reach them in those intent-rich moments through ads and content
  5. Study your user’s micro-moments (here’s a helpful link) – identify the specific situation and need where a potential user would search for the features/functions your app provides.
  6. Measure the value of an app download to then determine tangible ROI.
  7. Measure the right things. App downloads aren’t enough. Establish a KPI framework that measures qualified reach and meaningful actions.
  8. Remove Reduce the discovery and download friction by using richer ad formats, video stories, etc., to let users experience your app in ways that are relevant to them.
  9. Launch a convincing app landing page (that also mirrors activity in #6 plus features reviews, screen shots and relevant narrative that users will value).
  10. Invest in the right platforms that reach your targeted audiences based on the three pillars of micro-moments (intent, context and immediacy) – aim for value not volume.

Times are changing and that’s a good thing. You have the ability to know users/people like never before. This sets the stage for a new golden era of marketing that comes to life with new perspective, expertise and experiments. Everything begins with you.

Being there and being relevant in the moment always wins. And, how you study new behavior, act on insights, and experiment with innovative campaigns to drive adoption and loyalty become the best practices for others to follow.

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Written by:
Brian Solis is Principal Analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet company. He is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders, keynote speakers, and best-selling authors in innovation and digital transformation. His new book, X: The Experience When Business Meets Design, explores the importance of experiences and how to design them for customers, employees and human beings everywhere.
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