How To Promote An Ecommerce Mobile App

Consumers continue to shift their spending into ecommerce via mobile shopping apps. Just last year, mobile sessions grew by 54% in the shopping category. Combination of both traditional and mobile marketing can not only increase your sales but help your estore be in tune with the times.
In this article, we will explain why customers shop with a mobile device and provide you insight into how to promote your ecommerce app successfully.

Why a mobile app is a “must have” for your online store today?

In case you have not decided yet what is more crucial for your website – responsive design or mobile app, the answer is simple – both.

You need to have an adaptive website to impress users when they visit your e-store via a phone the first time or they remember a product they previously noticed in your catalogue, but decide to use a tablet to make their purchase. You should also have a mobile app to keep up the interest of your regular customers as well as many other benefits, such as:

  • Quick loading
  • Offline access to important information, as contact section or favourites list
  • Ability to send eye-catching push-notifications about sale offers or new arrivals
  • Ability to send in-app messages
  • Speeding up the purchase process
  • User-friendly design for convenient comparison of prices and products, and so on.

The trend toward ecommerce applications stems from the Asian market. For instance today, Chinese ecommerce mobile apps cover 713 million users. According to the data of December 2017, ecommerce applications had a 69.9% penetration rate compared to 63.5% the previous year. Especially, this benchmark was generated by the large worldwide marketplaces as AliExpress and TaoBao.
Along with this, users from the US spend over 90% of their mobile time in apps. The total amount of time spent in retail & ecommerce apps through a month is 35.7 minutes, and through the week – 17.13 minutes respectively. Moreover, only 23% of users use mobile apps for shopping once, while 39% of users return to the app for 11 or more sessions.
Benchmarks of open rate through app push notifications are sufficiently high as well:

However, inasmuch as our phone or tablet memory is limited, we like to keep our favourite and most useful applications only. To make customers launch your mobile app among the millions available within the app store, and to avoid removing your app after just one purchase, you should do your very best to provoke real interest in to your business and product range.

Effective channels to promote an ecommerce mobile app

The first stage of the mobile marketing funnel is called “Discovery”. This has two goals – to make people see an ad for your app and to make them click on it. Solutions boil down to only two channel categories – paid and organic.

Paid Approaches

The most effective way for promotion a mobile app is to use digital media channels. These include paid search engine marketing, paid social media, messengers and SMS.

Pay Per Click

Google AdWords gives you an ability to boost your app with “search” and “display” ads. In the first case, your ad will be shown for targeted user search terms in search results. And in the second, your ad will appear inside other apps. Both options are effective, but the display network receives more volume because it does not provide for such large competition.

PPC advertising is good at least for these reasons:

  • Due to the targeted campaign configuration, you can choose specific demographics, locations, and time when your ad will be shown.
  • While campaign setting up you can also customise device targeting by operating systems, device model, mobile carrier or Wi-Fi connectivity
  • You can focus your ads on installs
  • Such campaigns cover mass of users

In addition to Google AdWords, you can use Bing to promote your app across, and Bing-owned apps.

Pre-roll advertising

The pre-roll ad is a short advertising video that runs before the main video a user chose to play. This is divided into skippable and unskippable types.
Even though most people skip ads of a habit out after 5 seconds on average, skippable pre-roll videos are still relevant. Nevertheless, unskippable videos are still more successful in getting conversations. Users consider this type as a light pay for the free content and click through such ads 27 times more than with standard banner ads.

App Extensions
You can also use app indexation tags, letting users download the dedicated app straight from the search results. Even if you want your app extensions to appear under your paid ad, you will pay when the link is clicked only.

Social Media Advertising
Another efficient channel – social media platforms. But these also have their specifics. For instance, LinkedIn is better for business-oriented apps, while Facebook is good for retail. Facebook Business lets you promote an app with the help of “App Install ads”. By doing so, your ad with direct links to the App Store, Google Play and Kindle Fire Store, will be shown across Facebook, Instagram and Audience network. Moreover, ads can be shown in the newsfeed of your target audience as well as in the Messenger.

You can also inform your customers and prospects about your app via SMS and messengers. But consider time-zones and try to send messages during waking hours for your recipients. Frequent messages can annoy your app users, so this would be better to use this type of campaign one time.


One more efficient way to promote the app is involving referrals. These are companies or bloggers who will publish or speak about your ads. When choosing a partner, you should pay your attention to their audience, cost, targeting abilities, and attribution structure. Often marketers connect with reputable publishing partners with the TUNE Certified Partner Program to simplify this process.

For last few years, this is very popular to promote apps via YouTube vloggers. This solution appeared when most of users started to install adblockers. There is a number of vloggers with thousands or even millions of followers that create content conformed to your store specifics. For instance, a vlogger with fashion and beauty channel can advertise the app of an apparel or cosmetics online store, and an owner of a channel with electronics reviews can be perfect for advertising the app of a hardware store, and so on.

Organic Approaches

App Store Optimisation
Paid advertising is effective, but this also needs a large budget for campaigns. While an app store is a natural habitat for your ecommerce application. App store optimisation is using proven tactics to boost your ranking in the app store and make it easier for consumers to find your app.
To achieve high results in ASO, you really need to take care of your keywords here:

  • Ideally, your title should consist of 3 to 5 of your most important keywords only. Place the rest in the keyword field for app description. Do not duplicate these.
  • Use individual words instead of complex phrases
  • Optimise your description for quick comprehension and scannability
  • Use keywords from the users’ reviews
  • Take advantage of App Store Analytics’ suggested keywords feature

Do not forget to track your competitors, as well as analyse your ratings and reviews. The last is a highly important factor in influencing consumers to download the mobile app inasmuch users trust comments more than screenshots or descriptions. 

Anyway, using both paid and organic advertising is better for increasing the mobile app visibility. Because every paid campaign gives you a boost in organic downloads of about 1.5 installs per a paid campaign.

Advertising on your website

In a departure from games, there is no need to create a landing page for mobile commerce apps. Placing your own ads on your website will be enough.
Things you can do on your website to boost an ASO app:

1. To place the section title in the footer on your website

2. To add the “Get on App Store/Google Play” stickers

3. Create a pop-up or banner with app ad on your website, and offer your customers bonuses after downloading.

4. Place a promotional bar on your website that will suggest installing your mobile app.

You can also announce your app through emails from your store.


Developing mobile commerce app is not only a good tone but an efficient instrument of boosting sales for your online store. By virtue of quick product pages loading, the purchase process begins to be easier and nicer for customers. This improves user experience and increases brand loyalty as well.
The mobile marketing funnel is no far different from the traditional. Promotion of an app is a first and the crucial stage of this funnel which is called “Discovery”. You need this step to make your consumers see an ad for your app, and make them click on it. There are just two solutions which can help you promote your app: paid and organic. You can advertise your app via search engines, social media networks, and involve affiliate platforms or bloggers for money. And you can also optimise an app store as a traditional channel for users to look for new mobile apps for free. Do not forget about your website as an advertising platform. Nevertheless, if you work toward high results, combine both paid and organic approaches to improve your app awareness.

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