6 Difficulties A Marketing Team Can Face While Promoting An Ecommerce App

Against the backdrop of the growing popularity of mobile apps, most ecommerce owners aim to develop their application and promote this to their customers.
In this article, we will share the experience of our Promodo team to highlight common issues they faced when marketing mobile apps through paid channels. Moreover, these insights will be useful for businesses who are planning to develop an application of their online store or service.

1. Not every ecommerce website needs an app

It often happens that after examining the world statistics business owners take a prompt decision to develop an app. This approach is not always accurate.

A mobile application can be efficient in the following cases:
— An online store/service has a wide audience and range (mass markets, classifieds, marketplaces and so on)
— An online store/service has a high purchase frequency (one user make 2-3 orders per 12 months)
— There are successful examples of similar apps in the market
— Most loyal customers prefer to purchase via their mobile phones/Website has a large volume of mobile traffic
— An owner has enough budget for time-consuming app developing and promotion

Otherwise, businesses could risk spending money in vain. And digital marketing teams will be forced to waste their time on conducting a full analysis of online store/services and on arguments why this solution can be unprofitable.

2. Ecommerce owners misunderstand that a marketing strategy for a mobile app is different from a website’s

Marketing directors can erroneously build the same strategy in the promotion of an app as for a website. As a result, they encounter poor campaign performance, vague statistics and are forced to stop the promotion in the near future. Currently, it’s impossible to track app data in the Google Analytics account, however, there are other solutions for these objectives which we will describe below.
Therefore you need to be sure you’ve found an experienced team who are directly specialised on the mobile application marketing to save your time and money.

3. Most businesses do not have accurate KPIs

In many cases, business owners who apply for app marketing services have never dealt with apps before. Thus, their objectives can be uncertain, such as ‘I want to gain new customers’ or ‘I want customers to use my app regularly.’ They may not think of commercialisation when a marketing team must do. To launch the promotion successfully, they both should elaborate a plan as well as understand the LTV (Lifetime Value) and ARPU(Average Revenue Per User) of the app. In other words, they need to realise how much investment they need to pour into an app user to earn a profit.

Otherwise, the client’s KPIs can become extremely challenging for a digital marketing team. For instance, recently, our specialists promoted a mobile-only bank app which was a new product in the market. The main KPIs were card activations, which was the last stage in the customer funnel. But they were forced to work only with the first three stages: Awareness, Interest, and Consideration, and couldn’t control and influence the final results directly.

4. Google Adwords has its stumbling blocks

Your app promotion strategy can include different channels, but almost all of them conceal pitfalls.

Google is changing the game. Suddenly. Earlier, Google AdWords allowed for setting the audience and CPAs, but they have changed the policy and presented their universal app campaigns which need CPA and budget only as well as target your ads automatically. For our team that was a big surprise once, as they were failed to control the audience when promoting the app. For example, they couldn’t forbid showing ads aimed for installation for those users who had already installed the app on their iPhones.
You never know when and how the services will change their strategy, but you should always be ready to adapt your strategy in accordance with their rules.

Creatives are wearing out. When promoting an app at the stage of Awareness/Interest PPC specialists usually use one pack of banners which can annoy users within a short period of time. To keep the audience engaged, they should change the creatives from time to time. However, Google AdWords has a limited number of banners you can use in one campaign.

In the meantime, to test new banners (which, besides the point, require a designer) specialists have to create a new campaign to avoid the analytics data reset. However, do not forget that you target the new campaign on the same audience, and ads from both campaigns will be shown simultaneously. This leads to increasing the CPA.

5. Video ads show excellent results

Users watching in-app video ads are 3x more likely to install a promoted app. First, they tap to skip the video every 5 sec on average and consequently, switch to your product page, and secondly, they are loyal to such ads as they consider this as a cost for a free app or various bonuses.
However, business owners usually find the creation of video ads to be time-consuming and expensive. For a marketing team, it takes much time to assure them that it worth trying. They should convince them that 10-sec video with all app benefits will be enough, the install rate can increase by 25%, and finally, this will influence positively both on ecommerce and on marketing team performance.

6. Tracking of app performance has its peculiar properties

As mentioned above, tracking the app analytics data in the same way as the site’s is impossible. Instead, there are numerous in-app analytics tools (Firebase, Branch, Facebook Analytics, Amplitude) and trackers (AppsFlyer, Adjust, Tune), which can provide you with the information on average session length, sources which users came from, user interactions, registrations or submitted orders, and so on. These tools can help you connect your website and app insights, which is not a simple task, however. Owners may falsely assume that they need to track installs and deletions only when the most valuable information lies in sync.

Often, an ordinary marketer is not able to install the analytics tools themselves. The reason for this is the need for SDKs – pieces of code which should be integrated into the overall app code to report specific data. These depend on objectives; thus SDKs can be different for tracking in-app transactions, first actions and or leads from a specific marketing channel. For this, you should ask your developers to examine the analytics tool ‘manual’ to find out the details on how an SDK should look like and how to implement this into the app code.
Then, you should update the app on app stores, as well as ‘send’ your updates to users who have already installed your application. Therefore, it is better to choose all the data you will need to track and analyse it in advance.

Last Thoughts

Even though the popularity of mobile apps is rising rapidly, business owners should conduct detailed research in the market and their customers’ behaviour first. Reckless decisions can lead to a significant loss of money and time. Before starting cooperation with a marketing team, a business has to comprehend their accurate KPIs to help specialists build an effective marketing strategy on the first try.
In turn, marketing specialists who are planning to deal with mobile app promotion in digital should understand well the specific traits of this process. Because site marketing is different from app marketing in general. To perform efficiently, they should cooperate with business while reporting the issues and advising the right solutions. A marketing team should always be ready for unforeseen changes in the services and tools they use for promotion, do not be afraid of experiments and failures.

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