7 Proven Ways To Market Your Mobile App Effectively

7 Proven Ways To Market Your Mobile App Effectively

What qualifies as an effective mobile app marketing technique? It doesn’t necessarily have to be highly complex and multi-layered to bring in results. A solid mobile-app marketing strategy needs to be designed keeping in mind its primary target audience. Their likes and preferences, their online behavioral patterns and the sources that they trust for picking up new mobile apps will be crucial in creating a high-performance strategy.

Here are a few techniques to help you get started:

1. Create a valuable app experience using Push Notifications contextually
2. Leverage the power of ‘Social Connect’
3. Using Influencers who are relevant to your app’s TG
4. Create giveaway campaigns
5. Create an effective Referral Program
6. Be present in Search Ads
7. Enhance offline experience via mobile app

1) Create a valuable app experience using Push Notifications contextually

The idea here is to create app evangelists. Marketers have been criticized for overdoing app engagement via push notifications and in-app messages. If you tend to go overboard with these engagement mediums, your users will dismiss these messages reducing engagement percentage, and you will end up annoying them negatively affecting the user experience.

Instead, create a push and in-app strategy that actually adds value to your user’s life.

By leveraging deep profiling, brands can figure out the motivations of each user by combining personal and behavioral attributes along with purchase history.

This data will help you carry our Predictive Personalization to enhance the user’s app experience by being contextual and adding value to the user’s life.

Examples: Netflix, Waze, Amazon

The user got this push notification after finishing the fourth season of hit Netflix show ‘House Of Cards’. It contains the user’s first name as the primary personalization element, and also has clear references to the show.

Netflix uses push notifications to keep viewers looped in about the launch of new content for shows that users have been watching. This example has clear references to real-time events from the show’s previous season and actual in-show references. 

The Waze app is aware of the user’s daily commute and notifies them about anything out of the ordinary on their frequented route with a push.

Amazon sends a contextual, personalized message to the user informing them about their shipments arrival date.

In all of the examples cited above, a delighted user ended up sharing the push notification example on their social media channel.

2) Leverage the power of ‘Social Connect’

There is immense power in social networks. It binds people together in unseen ways and is responsible for shaping consumer behavior. Music streaming brands ‘Spotify’ and ‘Soundcloud’ have used this insight and integrated social network Facebook with their platform. The result? A truly social music streaming service that lets the user see what their Facebook friends are listening to, and the kind of playlists they have created. Users trust their friend’s recommendations more than sponsored ads, which is why there is immense traction on these platforms.

Using social connectivity and integrating it with your app will help you maximize the stickiness of your app and help spread the word to a highly relevant target audience.

Take my example: I downloaded Soundcloud on a friend’s reference, and I have recommended it to almost 10 people in my friend’s list, and spend more time on the app because of the ‘social connect’.

This is a screenshot of my Soundcloud app, showing my Facebook friend’s track reposts on my feed. Now, I trust his taste in music as it is aligned with my likes, which is why this feature is really useful in helping me discover new music.

With Spotify’s ‘Group Playlist’ Messenger feature, music discovery and sharing among a core group of people has been massively simplified. 

Zynga Poker’s Facebook Integration takes the game to another level. It lets you invite your Facebook friends to play together in real-time and compete with them on a weekly basis.

3) Using Influencers who are relevant to your app’s TG

Influencers hold great clout over a large section of people who place their trust in these individuals. An Influencers opinion is considered important enough to alter consumer behavior and affect purchase considerations of their followers.

Influencer marketing involves the use of people who have a large, strong social following to promote an app or a product to their audience base. Click To Tweet

Their followers highly value the opinion of these influencers, often hanging on to every word that they have to say.

The logic here is to find relevant Influencers who cater to a similar target audience as your app. Secondly, the campaign has to be as organic in nature as possible. Consumers today are quite informed, and overselling the app’s advantages would be counterproductive by becoming a turn-off.

The right influencer marketing campaign can help you reach newer target audiences that are difficult to convince via regular advertising channels. Secondly, It will help your app get the recognition that it needs from the right audience. The right influencer can help shorten this need gap and get your app into the phones of the right segment of people.

Examples: Kevin Hart & Pokerstars campaign

Mobile Dating app Tinder created an Influencer Marketing campaign with the world’s top meme-influencers to appeal to the Millenials and Generation Z TG that form a large part of their audience. 

4) Create giveaway campaigns

One way to ensure hordes of people installing your app and using it is by hosting Giveaways.

The basic premise of Giveaways is to create genuine value for users by incentivizing the app’s usage. Click To Tweet 

  • This creates immediate usable value for users (in the form of cash, credit, gifts etc.) and hooks users on to the app right at the onset.
  • Also, a giveaway campaign will help you break the trial barrier by letting new users try your app and experience the features for themselves.
  • The coupled incentive enhances the whole app experience by creating a moment of user delight. That is a tried and tested method to get a user to actually try your app and keep them coming back.

Secondly, it can also be used to increase the Lifetime Value of users. Successive campaigns that offer valuable giveaways tied to product usage will keep users hooked on your platform for longer. It will directly affect the stickiness of your product and be the ace in your retention strategy by getting users to transact regularly.

Fintech brand Paytm used Giveaways effectively right from their inception as a habit-building tool. They championed ‘Cashback Marketing’ by giving away cash to users in their wallet as a reward for simply ‘transacting on their platform’.

Paytm swears by the method, having allocated 148 million US$ in 2017 specifically for cashback and promotions.

Paytm advertising their cashback incentives on Instagram Stories.

The app interface has multiple cashback schemes on offer.

5) Create an effective Referral Program

The whole point of a referral program is to ‘refer’ the app to people by waxing lyrical about its benefits. Consumers trust reviews and recommendations that come from their friends and family more than ads. An effective referral program will incentivize the referral process for the user, and that will reduce the implied burden because the user (who is the initiator) will be getting something out of it. Secondly, a good referral campaign will also be 2-sided, i.e. provide an incentive to both the user and the referred consumers. By doing so, you will create a whole new marketing channel powered by consumers who will invite more and more people from their network to try your app.

Ride-hailing giant Uber has managed to crack this problem rather effectively with a super effective referral program.

6) Be present in Search Ads

According to Google, 1 out of 4 people discovers a new app using Search engines. The app store is not the only place where you would expect most people to find apps surprisingly. Refer to the infographic above – Search ads drove the maximum amount of app downloads (50 percent) compared to other mediums. With the right advertising campaign, you can target the right set of users who are specifically looking to solve a problem that your app is designed for. By identifying those intent-specific long-tail keywords that resonate the value of your app, you can reach out to an untapped reserve of users who would find your app highly useful and create a delightful experience in the long run.

7) Enhance offline experience via mobile app

Contrary to what certain technology evangelists might be feeling, the offline retail experience isn’t dead yet. Your mobile app can serve as a powerful marketing medium to market your brand positively by focussing on enhancing 1 critical aspect – User Experience. To appease the hyper-evolved consumer in this day and age, it is essential to create a user experience that slays the competition by providing maximum value. If your app is not improving the user’s life in any way, then it will end up being neglected, and eventually deleted from the user’s phone. The brand will end up losing a highly important user touch point, and the users will end up bad mouthing you to their extended network because of an unsatisfactory experience.

However, brands like Ikea & Sephora have grabbed the bull by the horns and taken on this opportunity to create really unique apps.

Take Ikea Place, for example, It lets you select from several products from Ikea’s portfolio and place it anywhere in the real world (might be your house, might be the alley outside) using Augmented Reality.


Sephora’s mobile app lets you virtually try on their products from the comfort of your living room. It helps you sample their products using your mobile phone’s camera and check their availability in your nearest Sephora store. You can even book an appointment for personal services from the app.

These apps are actually enhancing the in-store experience digitally, which makes the user more dependent on them because they add value to the overall brand experience. The by-product? Free marketing. Using novelty tricks like AR have helped the brand garner a lot of press, bumping up those app install numbers.


Leveraging the power of word-of-mouth marketing, social referrals and ensuring the presence of the app in the right place at the right time will be the way ahead for mobile apps in the future. At the end of the day, the value equation will determine the popularity of your app. If your app fails to add value to your user’s life, then no amount of marketing gimmicks will give you consistent results. If you have any actionable techniques of your own, then please let us know in the comments below. 


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  • Created: 17 May 2018
  • Last Updated: 12 Jan 2022



Priyam Jha Lead - Brand Marketing, WebEngage

Priyam looks after Brand Marketing at WebEngage, learning the ropes of building iconic brands in the B2B space. He is striving to develop EngageCast into the leading podcast for user retention & engagement with cutting-edge, top-quality content. When he isn’t busy looking after brand marketing & PR initiatives, he likes to dabble in a bit of photography, listen to rock music, and indulge in PC gaming.

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