All posts by Ron Medlin

How To Get More App Users With Paid Acquisition Campaigns

Paid app user acquisition strategies

This article is the fourth in our series on how to acquire new users for your app.

Yes, you can get users through App Store Optimization and other organic methods, but in the highly-competitive app market, it’s hard to win without paid acquisition.

You can work in some old-school marketing like Uber and Angry Birds have done, but the majority of app marketing happens online through displayed ads.

In terms of digital marketing make sure that, for the most part, the lifetime value of a converted user is greater than the cost of getting the user. In other words: don’t sink $5 of your marketing budget into a customer worth $4.

Now that you understand that paid user acquisition will be a key ingredient to your apps growth, let’s dive into some of the channels available for running these campaigns.


Social media


Social media channels make most of their money from marketing revenue, and for good reason. Social media companies like Facebook are able to compile tons of data on their users from the profiles they fill out, things they share and like, and pages they follow. By offering this data to advertisers they are able to help these companies pinpoint their target customers making their ads more effective.

From the standpoint of both the companies and the audience, this is perfect. As a company, you can narrow down your target audience to the people who fit your user persona. If your app is about checking baseball stats, you could just show the ad to people who mention baseball as an interest. For the audience, it means you’ll only see ads relevant to things you might actually want or need, reducing annoyance.




facebook paid user acquisition
The Power Of Mobile Advertising on Facebook


Facebook allows you to advertise in two distinct ways:

  1. You can promote your page’s activities and presence, growing your social reach and promoting app downloads through your Facebook page.
  2. You can market an outside web page or app marketplace with a direct-linked advertisement. In this case you would send your audience to an app download page that’s not on Facebook.

Facebook allows you to target your audience, track your results, and take users directly to your Google Play or App Store download portals. Smart App Marketer has an entire article dedicated specifically to app install ads through Facebook, and it doesn’t leave out a single detail.




twitter paid app user acquisition


Twitter offers a similar product to Facebook, but it cross-sections its targeting a little differently. For example, device usage and wireless connectivity figure highly in Twitter’s options, where Facebook doesn’t offer the options at all.

Being such a strong international social medium, Twitter makes sense if you want to target abroad but your app requires a certain OS or device to download. This might sound trivial until you consider that, on Facebook, you can only guess at what device someone is using based on other behavior features such as “liking” the Apple Inc. Facebook page.

Mobyaffiliates has a simple rundown on setting up app install ads on Twitter. Getting the ads up and running shouldn’t take more than a couple hours, depending on how much time you have to spend on designing them.




Instagram paid app user acquisition


Whether you use Instagram or not, it’s still a growing social media outlet with a large audience that can really boost your growth. The fact that Instagram is such a visual experience can totally seal the deal for you if your app is very aesthetically focused or specific to images. The app install ads that Instagram shows are, above all, another image getting in front of the user, so make sure you bring your best design game.


And don’t back out just because Instagram isn’t a titan of data gathering yet; parent company Facebook shares audience targeting data between the two accounts. Let Facebook provide the information you need and have Instagram show the ad people want to see. It’s a win-win situation. Here’s a great post by Localytics on Instagram app install ads if you’re looking for more info.


Search engines


search engine paid app user acquisition


Search engines are a great way to market your app, especially under two conditions:

  • If your app answers a very specific need that people will search for online.
  • The organic traffic for your app’s key search terms is very competitive, but the paid advertising is not.

The great thing about paid search ads is that you are able to place your in front of people when they are actively searching for your specific solution. To get started perform some keyword research to find the best keywords for your paid search campaign and launch campaigns on the major search engines like Google and Bing.

Need a little more help? Here’s a guide by PPC Hero explaining specifically how to use Google Adwords to drive more app installs.


App Store and Google Play search ads


Mobile app marketplaces like the App Store and Google Play have traditionally been free of ads, limiting developers to only app store optimization (ASO) and featured app lists to attract audience attention. However, these app marketplaces are changing their tune, and soon both stores will provide advertisers the opportunity to promote their apps when potential users search for relevant keywords within the app stores themselves.


Google Play


google play search ads


Google Play, the first of the major two app marketplaces to adopt paid advertising and uses Google AdWords to manage these campaigns. Search ads within Google Play have been available since late 2015. The value of advertising directly in the Google Play store is that you are messaging to nearly one billion Android users who are actively searching and interested in downloading apps.

Unlike App Store search advertising, Google is implicitly using whatever data they have on users for Google Play ad targeting (unless a user modifies his or her account settings). This means that, in addition to targeting your app for a search term, you may also be prioritized and shown to a user based on other relevance factors, such as location.


Apple App store


apple store search ads


The App Store is huge. With it already being difficult for smaller app developers to get their product in front of relevant audiences, some wonder whether paid search will bury matching results even further. The tides are changing whether developers like it or not, though, so it makes more sense to go with the flow and take advantage of paid search when it matches your app.

Apple’s search targeting will not take advantage of user data Apple already possesses, on the basis of protecting privacy. According to Apple:

“Search Ads is an efficient and easy way for you to promote your app within the U.S. App Store search results, helping people discover or reengage with your app at the very moment they are searching for apps like yours. Designed to give users a safe search experience, Search Ads sets a new standard for delivering relevant ads while respecting user privacy.”

It seems, for the moment, that you’ll be bidding almost exclusively on search terms. The good news? With research and smart budgeting, you may be able to displace entrenched organic App Store search competitors. You’ll have a fighting chance to show above them with paid search, and then your organic rank may improve from your new downloads.


Mobile ad networks


Ad networks display your advertisements on a variety of specific websites and mobile apps, not just on search engines or social media websites. Because active app users tend to be a logical target for selling apps, the most appropriate ad networks for driving app installs are typically mobile ad networks where your ads shown in other apps and mobile sites.

There are numerous mobile ad networks available and choosing the right one can be quite overwhelming. To make your decision easier many of these networks help advertisers get granular on the types of audiences they want to advertise to helping improve conversion rates and overall campaign effectiveness.

The goal is to help you reach the right people without having to over-analyze, making these networks easier to manage for app businesses. The key is to test these networks for ROI but it helps to choose the networks you want to test smartly coming out of the gate. Checkout the image below to get a visual on just how many options are available to mobile advertisers.


mobile ad networks for paid app user acquistion

To help you navigate the overwhelming world of mobile ad networks and make the best choice for marketing your app, here’s a look at how these networks are categorized.


Demand-side platform (DSP)


A demand-side platform, or DSP, are services that offer the ability to buy ad inventory across a variety of ad exchanges, networks, and publishers. The best DSPs help advertisers pinpoint the best inventory for targeting specific users based on location, interests, browsing behaviors and more.

In this type of network, publishers make their ad inventory available through ad exchanges where ad impressions are auctioned off to the advertisers with the highest bids.


Supply-side platform (SSP)


A supply-side platform, or SSP, is where companies will interface with an ad exchange if they want to show ads inside of their own app. An SSP is, in basic terms, where the people who show the ads go to see the other side of the equation from a DSP.

If you wanted to show ads in your own app as a revenue source, you’d look at an SSP. This is not exclusive in any way, though, as you can still advertise your own app through the DSP.


App install platforms


App install platforms are advertising networks focused on app installs as the primary measure of effectiveness. Some networks charge you by the number of impressions (how many people see your ad) or clicks (how many people interact with your ad), but app install platforms only charge when and ad click leads to a completed download of your app.


Affiliate networks


Affiliate networks essentially use revenue sharing as a way to get more people to promote products. An affiliate, in exchange for driving an agreed upon action i.e. an app download, can earn an agreed upon sum of money for each action. Building a team of affiliates through these types of networks is an excellent way to get your app to spread like wildfire.

For comprehensive list of mobile ad networks brokedown by DSPs, SSPs, app install platforms, and affiliate networks, check out this article by Mobyaffiliates. You can also check out an extensive list of popular ad networks here.

Mobile ad network resources and tools:

Avocarrot can help you narrow your search with an article on how to choose a good mobile ad network. It requires a big picture approach with some data and some qualitative analysis, but it should be easy to quickly determine the major outliers for good and bad.

Think Gaming wants you to know the best mobile ad networks for games, and Avocarrot suggest going with several at once regardless of how good any particular one seems.


Video ad networks


From the name of these networks you probably already realize that the ad inventory offered by these networks comes in the form of video. 

Video ads typically cost more to create than static ads, and are more expensive to display through ad networks. However, video ads often boast a much better conversion rate, making them worth the cost so long as you can safely assume the risk of such an expensive ad failing.

Video ad resources and tools:

Video marketing is bigger than you think and it’s still growing, according to Tubular Insights. Whether or not you can turn this data into part of your user acquisition strategy is up to you.

Apptamin also has an article to choose from the best in-app video ad networks. With such a specific need, it’s important to have a good selection of relevant in-app video ad networks to back you up.


Measure your user acquisition returns


If you spend money on paid user acquisition and don’t have an analytics tool set up to track your campaign results you will have no way of knowing which channels or ad formats are yielding the best return on your marketing dollars and will essentially being flushing money down the drain.

Don’t make this bonehead mistake. Our next article is about measuring, tracking, and attribution so that you can start analyzing your campaign data to make more informed decisions. In fact, this kind of data applies to all of our previous sections so far, not just paid user acquisition. We’ll show you how to get the information it takes to build a better app and marketing strategy.


The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 7/4 – 7/8

The Appreneur Weekly

Here at Zapporoo, our goal is to help each and every person that has a mobile app idea turn that idea into a thriving business. To help further our mission, we scour the interwebs each week to find and share the best content we can find on app development, app monetization, app marketing, and more so that you don’t have to. Be sure to read and implement the strategies you learn from these posts each week and watch your app business flourish.

In this week’s edition you’ll learn how to acquire massive amounts of app users organically, which top mobile video advertising platforms you should be using in 2016, the ultimate guide to iOS keyword localization, and more.


Top Mobile Video Advertising Platforms 2016


Mobile video advertising is absolutely blowing up right now. More people will be watching video on mobile devices than desktops by the end of the year. As a result more and more mobile video ad networks are investing in improving their platforms with better targeting and offering more mobile mobile video ad formats to yield better results for their app developer customers.

When choosing a mobile ad platform, you’ll need to consider how much control it offers you. For example, how often will ads be shown? How can you filter ads? How well do the networks match your audience? The better the match the more profitable your monetization strategy will be. Video advertising is also a great way for developers to raise the profile of their mobile games and apps and acquire valuable users. The range of video ad formats is also very important. Incentivized video is increasingly popular; and changing viewing behaviour, along with a shortening average attention span, calls for innovative video formats.

This is an excellent list of the best mobile video advertising platforms available to app developers. It also gives you a description of each platform and key features to help guide you towards choosing the right service. If you have an app that lends itself to video ads choose a few of these to test, pay attention to your data, scale the ones that gives you the best ROI, rinse and repeat until you find your money makers.

Follow @appindexhq on Twitter


13 Organic App User Acquisition Strategies To Boost Installs


Getting people to download your app is the first step in growing your app business. There are multiple strategies you can implement to attract and convert these people, some are paid tactics some or grass roots or organic tactics. Organic user acquisition strategies are vital to any app growth plan and it’s important to understand the options available to you so you can decide which ones will be most effective for your app.

Getting app users organically, or without paid marketing, is the alternative. Needs are different for everybody, so there’s no one-size-fits-all organic plan. Organic growth is going to be the main option for some apps and a force multiplier for others. Despite the differences in strategy, organic acquisition is really not optional. Every app should be implementing every organic acquisition technique that works for them, regardless of marketing budget.

This post provides a checklist of organic app user acquisition strategies explaining what they are and giving you some tools and resources to make executing on these strategies easier. Take this list and develop your first user acquisition strategy and continue to iterate and tweak as you get more data.

Follow @ZapporooApps on Twitter


The Definitive iOS Keyword Localization Guide


App Localization, or translating your app listing information into different languages within the app store, is a great way to increase your potential audience size. Doing this can help make it easier for people who speak and search in foreign languages to find your apps within the app store.

Most app publishers and marketers know there is a 100 character limit on the App Store keywords field, but it’s less widely known that Apple indexes more than one set of localized keywords in each App Store territory. For example, U.S. App Store users with the Spanish language enabled in their device settings can search in Spanish to find an application. However, this is only the case if you have localized your metadata in Spanish (Mexico). If you haven’t created a set of Spanish (Mexico) keywords, Spanish users will not be able to find your app when searching in Spanish on the U.S. App Store.

This guide tell which language localizations the top 15 countries for apps use to help developers maximize their ASO efforts. If you’re launching an app in the app store or have an upcoming update and haven’t localized your app store listing it’s definitely something you should consider. Use this guide to help.

Follow @SensorTower on Twitter


The Big List of iOS Development Resources


Learning to code your own apps can save you a lot of money and allow you to build exactly what you want, but there is definitely a learning curve. Luckily, there are tons of online resources to help you along your journey.

One of the many advantages of coding native iOS apps is that, while Swift came out in 2014, Objective-C has been around for much longer. This results in two things: first, the language is stable and highly refined, and second the number of tutorials and community-created tools for developers is vast and of excellent quality.

This post is a huge list of resources for those looking to learn or improve their iOS programming skills. So if you’re a do it yourselfer and want to build your own Apple apps, this is a must have resource.

Follow @appindexhq on Twitter

Like this post? Don’t forget to checkout previous editions of “The Appreneur Weekly” for more education on how to grow your app business.

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 6/20 – 6/24

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 6/06 – 6/10

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/30 – 6/3

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/23 – 5/27


mobile app development guide


13 Organic App User Acquisition Strategies To Boost Installs

Organic App User Acquisition Strategies

This article is the third in our series on how to acquire new users for your app.

You’ve got to grow your app’s user base through marketing to the masses; even the most viral apps use advertisements and paid promotion. However, not everyone has an enormous marketing budget right out the gate, and just because you have the money doesn’t mean you should blow it quickly.

Getting app users organically, or without paid marketing, is the alternative. Needs are different for everybody, so there’s no one-size-fits-all organic plan. Organic growth is going to be the main option for some apps and a force multiplier for others. Despite the differences in strategy, organic acquisition is really not optional. Every app should be implementing every organic acquisition technique that works for them, regardless of marketing budget.

In fact, large marketing budgets can’t even replace the benefits of many organic techniques, so don’t overlook them based on the fact that they aren’t cost-driven.


Soft Launch


Soft Launch Strategies for Mobile
App Companies
from Fiksu

Make your initial launch a small-scale event with less fanfare and marketing. Rather than exhaust yourself reaching everyone right off the bat, learn the ropes from a specific, targeted audience. In fact, it makes the most sense to soft launch outside your eventual main target audience.

Go with a group that is otherwise similar in language and behavior, i.e. if your main launch will be in the US, perhaps soft launch in Canada. With the right audience (based on your personas from our first article in the series), you should get tons of feedback as well as a lasting, viral audience.

A soft launch isn’t meant to generate your entire user base by any means. However, jumping over this small audience and going straight to the masses is a missed opportunity to test your product and create a solid user foundation.

In summary, the most important element of the soft launch is that it allows you to measure data for usability and features on a select audience before exposing your app to mass critique. The feedback you get won’t immediately increase organic acquisition, but it will help improve your product. A better product is more viable and worthy of spreading by other organic means.

Soft launch resources and tools:

V-play has a very recent article on how to learn from your soft launch and even to check organic viral growth within your initial audience.

Gigacom has some helpful things to say about limiting the scope of your soft launch both in terms of data gathered and scale of the release. They advocate a “less is more” strategy that can help if you run the risk of going overboard in your soft launch.


Temporary Paid To Free Strategy


This strategy comes from our friend Steve Young at By offering your app for free for a limited time only (imagine a week or less), you can acquire a flood of new users to boost your reputation, which in turn should attract new paid users through ASO, reviews, and word of mouth.

This option can work wonders, but can also backfire in two minor ways:

  1. If the people who join for free were already likely to be paid users anyway, you don’t gain much besides goodwill and maybe some positive reputation. The solution for this is making sure that you reach the user persona (from earlier in the series) who would not have downloaded your app unless it was free.
  2. If users assume that your app will be free again in the near future, they may hold back from the paid download (even if it turns out they’re wrong). Your frequency for free downloads should be very rare, well publicized, and seen as a promotion rather than an alternative to a paid download.

App discount resources and tools:

Fast Company has a great article featuring a case study from a few years ago where an app went from $.99 to free for a week and actually doubled the number of paid downloads gained in the months following.

Appiday writes daily articles announcing discounted and free apps. Aside from just using the site to find some good deals for yourself to download, you can contact the staff at Appiday and let them know about your app going free so they can spread the word.

Top App Charts categorizes apps in all sorts of useful ways, including by whether an app is temporarily free or on sale. Try to look past the website’s spartan design; you can contact the curator directly and suggest showing your own app when you lower the price.

Want other great app growth hacks? Checkout this post.


App Store Optimization (ASO)


There’s a ton to be said on the subject of ASO, and it’s definitely worth including under the umbrella of organic user acquisition. If ASO isn’t already on your app growth strategy to-do list, consider these reasons to optimize for the app store:


ASO for user acquisition


  • Over half of all users find new apps through App Store searches, so optimizing creates a whole new potential user source.
  • ASO is a self-perpetuating marketing source: good ASO leads to more downloads, which in turn improves your App Store ranking and ASO.
  • A bad app store showing may actually turn new users away. Reduce losses for better acquisition.
  • App store optimization may make your app more appealing than a competitor’s app that appears above or nearby in search.
  • App store optimization may increase new user satisfaction, leading to better retention (and yes, retention often helps acquire new users by extension)

ASO resources and tools:

Apptamin offers premium “cheat sheets” to use as checklists for your ASO. They’re helpful if you need to make a record of what items are done or need to be done, but each item also includes a link to an explanation if you’re not sure what the terminology means.

App marketing intelligence tools like Gummicube and Sensor Tower can help you manage your inputs and rankings for ASO.

Marketing tools like these come in different shapes and sizes. While Sensor Tower, for example, has a very broad spectrum of focus for app marketing needs, Gummicube specializes in ASO, even claiming to be “The #1 App Store Optimization Company.”

App Annie, AppTweak, and Mobile Action are a few other solid choices that have stayed in business thanks to a high success rate. Rather than making a choice based on the size of the company providing the tool, look for which one best fits your needs. Sometimes less is more.


Social Media and Inbound Marketing




If you have an existing web, blog, and social media presence, use it for your new app. Good presence can come from the business your app will support, or another app you’ve developed, but you can start from scratch as well.

Regardless of whether you’re building a social reach from the bottom or not, you’ll want to follow social media best practices and optimize your web presence for both the end user and search engine optimization (SEO).

To decide which channels you’ll focus on, refer to your audience analysis. Hypothetically, if your potential users aren’t interacting with Instagram, devoting resources to there might be a waste.

By the same token, you should have some user data on what types of content your users want. It may require some assumptions, but you’ll want to at least list out the media type, length, tone, and subject matter that appeals most to your audience.

If your followers like long how-to articles, provide them with information that empowers their decisions. If they prefer short quirky videos, then provide lighthearted content to meet their needs.

And don’t just imitate a strong competitor’s online presence because it works for them; if you see a better way to mix up the variables, trust your data and your own conclusions. Let your brand’s voice show through even when you’re adapting to your audience’s preferences.


Social Media Accounts


If you own a larger business of which the app is a part, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll want separate social media outlets. For example, Rovio is the company that makes Angry Birds, but each of them have their own unique Facebook page. On the other hand, Starbucks has its own app, but only one Facebook page for the whole company.

Social media is a great organic conversion method because users can get so engaged. You can share release updates, promotions, contests, and any content you create for your website. Make sure you social media has some value for the audience, too. Being strictly self-promoting will lose people’s attention quickly.


App Blog


Keep a running blog of the development process on your website and create content around the issues that your app helps solve. If you don’t have one setup already, add Wordpress or some other blogging platform to get the ball rolling. If your app isn’t out yet, let your audience sign up for beta and launch notifications as a call to action on your blog. If it is out already, send readers to go download the app itself.

If you blog often enough and optimize your blog with the latest SEO bet practices, your content will begin to appear in organic search results for the keywords you are targeting. If you have an app that helps people find new music, and you talk about “up and coming hip hop artists” on your blog, then you may get some organic traffic.

Optimizing and creating blog posts can be a full-time job, but the simple best practices can get you huge returns if you put in the effort:

  • Blog at least once weekly. If you can, blog more often.
  • Make sure to use the key terms people would enter when looking for your product.
  • Do your best to edit grammar and spelling to seem professional.

At the very least, this blog will add personality to your brand and provide something for website visitors to get engaged with if they’re not sure about downloading the app. You can even show your development blog to an interested investor as a means of summarizing your work so far.

Social media and inbound marketing resources and tools:

Apptamin has an iPhone app marketing guide including great sections on social media and inbound marketing. Their guide also provides other acquisition insights for you to expand your knowledge.

HubSpot, an authority on inbound marketing, publishes a helpful blog about marketing through content, including your blog and social media. They also offer a great interface of their own for managing your online presence, should you choose to integrate your marketing with HubSpot.

For daily articles on inbound marketing and social media, subscribe to Content Marketing Institute. You’ll find an abundance of current material specifically related to this particular aspect of marketing.


Public Relations


Public relations for app user acquisition


Your relationships with trendsetters and the general public can transform the way people see your app and your business. Certain relationships can work as a force multiplier: your access to one key person or group can encourage dozens, hundreds, or thousands of other people to take interest in your product.


Influencer Marketing


You may seek out endorsements from personalities with reach on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, among other places. While many influencers are celebrities who are paid for their endorsements, this doesn’t have to be the case.

Contact influencers who may simply be interested in sharing something valuable, and who might benefit from being later known as an early adopter on a huge product. Let them feel like they’ll gain success from your own rise to popularity, and they’re more likely to talk, tweet, write, and post about your app.

Influencer resources and tools:

Moveo has an article that goes right into finding key influencers for your app, specifically in your own niche.

Buzzsumo lets you analyze websites and certain terms in order to find who the online leaders are in a certain subject according to website or author. Cross-check to see if these influencers can back you up in your user acquisition goals.

Followerwonk is a Moz tool for tracking Twitter behavior and learning more about your audience. The best part is finding out who the key influencers are so you can reach out to them and see about building a relationship.




Most forums, being free, community-generated content, strictly forbid shameless self-promotion. Don’t jump into forums and spam links to your app or use marketing language; people will like you less, not more.

You can, however, get involved in a related community. Bring up your own app only when it’s completely relevant. If you’re asking for feedback, you can also gain additional downloads in addition to the usable advice you’ll hopefully get from other people in the forum.

A very safe way to approach a forum is to be genuine in someone else’s discussion and let the app’s reputation grow as an extension of you. I mean, if everyone came to the forum just to talk about themselves, there wouldn’t be any conversation, right? As long as what you say and do for self-promotion is not disruptive, you can often include links to the app’s website or download from your signature as well.

Once you’re a member of a forum community, it would probably also be considered positive to post about something unique like making your paid app free for any period of time. A brief, sincere update that is clearly beneficial to other readers and is only a small part of what you’ve posted makes sense and adds value. It also needs to be brought up in the proper place and time on the forum to prevent crossing the boundaries that make forums useful to begin with.

Forum resources and tools:

The best resource is to just search for your industry with the word “forum” added. If you find a forum, start an account and just be humble.

For advice on how to build traffic through forums, check out this helpful post from Quick Sprout. The article’s not solely focused on marketing apps, but has some relevant info for everyone using forums for promotion.


Community Sites


There are entire websites devoted to helping people find great new apps, like Product Hunt. In order to prevent abuse, most community sites and apps require you to already participate for a while before submitting or promoting your own product.

Essentially, whatever place you’re at now, you need to start an account and get a little involved in the community. Procrastination will not work. If you’re prepared, when the time comes to promote your app and get new users organically, you’ll already be in the right place.

The rest is dependent on the individual community site, but once you’re involved, each system should be self-explanatory.

Community site resources and tools:

Super Dev Resources has compiled ten community sites where users find new products, including apps. Since you’ll need to be active to get a real benefit in most cases of app promotion, see which community most interests you first.


App Review Sites


In the app space, there are numerous professional reviewers and bloggers who talk about products similar to yours. Seek out the people who talk about apps for a living, give them access to your app, and politely ask them for a review. You can get their feedback first to improve your app, and when their review goes live, you’ll have a free form of advertising. It’s a win-win situation because reviewers need more apps to review, and having access to you as the developer gives them more knowledge to share with their own audiences.

You can find reviewers on YouTube and various blogging platforms. There are many websites solely devoted to reviews.

App reviewer resources and tools:

ManiacDev’s list of iOS app review sites still boasts a large number of active reviewers for you to submit your app to. The sheer volume of choices should get you on the path to identifying several matches before submitting as many packets as you can.

For those of you working with Android, the website Androidb has a great table with over a hundred reviewers for you to approach with your app.

AppAdvice has a huge section of reviews and is open for suggestions, including an app review pitch.


Guest Blogging


First, investigate a few blogs that have readership and match your industry and appeal to your target audience. Then reach out to them. Building relationships with other leading websites in your industry will allow you to approach the curators, editors, or bloggers in charge to suggest adding your own guest post. With the right credentials on your side, most blogs welcome guest posts for the added content and variety.

When it makes sense within the guest blog, mention your own app and include a link for someone to find it. For example, if you’re talking about your personal experience in the industry and have an anecdote to tell about working on the app, add it in. As long as it’s not a shameless plug, you have little to worry about. The worst that can happen is that the blog you’re working with says no.

And even if they do, any self-respecting blog will allow you to link back to your own website or blog at least once in your bio or signature at the end. After all, guest blogging needs to be a mutual relationship, not just an instance of you giving away free expert articles.

Guest blogging tools and resources:

This post from Quicksprout is a very comprehensive guide to finding guest blogging opportunities, contacting the blogger, creating the perfect post for the blog, and promoting the post. This post will teach you everything you need to get you started with guest blogging.


Press Releases


A press release can be an excellent way for you to summarize your app’s launch, or a major update, for journalists and bloggers. While most people don’t simply stumble onto press releases, they make a perfect link or attachment to give outsiders a quick, simple, and factual way to spread the word about your app.

Because honestly, journalists and bloggers are looking for stories to tell, and yours can be one of them. Once they put the word out through their own portals either based on your press release or linking to it, you can potentially convert that audience into new users.

Press release resources and tools:

Apptamin has written at length about how to write a press release for your app. They hit all the broad strokes for optimizing a press release as well as touching on the central features to adapt for the app industry.

MobiliSpot says that press releases are not only good, but they can even be used as part of a plan to get potentially huge press attention. Results may vary, but the article includes a few special techniques to breathe new life into a press release strategy.

Rather than write a public press release, Appmasters outlines a more precise method of offering exclusive content to a major media outlet. The plan is to shoot for the quality of a huge publication that will want one-of-a-kind content over the quantity of people who see a public press release.


App cross-promotion


App cross promotion for app user acquisition


Find other apps to exchange promotion with. Often, cross-promotion will come in the simple form of advertising another app in exchange for them to do the same. When done organically, little or no money changes hands, but both companies benefit.

Of course you can cross-promote with almost any app, but the ideal middle ground is an app that is already reaching the same users as yours but is not competing for their money, time, or attention.


Organic cross-promotion example:


Your app Cross-promotion 1 Cross-promotion 2 Cross-promotion 3
Purchase app for a regional coffee shop chain you own Competitor’s coffee shop app Game app from a business your friend owns Regional retail clothing store pre-purchase app
Lets users order and pay online before or during visits Does the same thing as yours but for a different coffee shop Doesn’t have any correlation with your product Lets users order clothing sizes and styles online before trying them on and picking up in-store
Shortens lines and wait times Competitor is selling in your same region Performs mostly outside your region Operates in the same regions as your business
Promoting other apps inside your own app will not necessarily push users away Your audience members can only be in one place at a time Promoting game app would seem confusing to your own audience Does not compete with your market, but provides same benefit in same area for another business
Conclusion: Should try cross-promotion Conclusion: Bad fit for cross-promotion Conclusion: Bad fit for cross-promotion Conclusion: Good fit for cross-promotion


There are also app cross-promotion networks, which can either earn or cost you money depending on how much promoting you do versus how much promotion your app gets. You won’t get to decide much on where or how your app is displayed or what ads you’ll display yourself, but it’s a very streamlined system.

Cross-promotion resources and tools:

Tappx is a large, free cross-promotion network. Showing ads and being shown depends on a credits system rather than money. Apps are reviewed for quality so you won’t end up promoting something questionable, although you won’t get to choose the apps you cross-promote.

InMobi has a brief but helpful article on using cross-promotion for games, which is the most popular type of app for such a marketing tactic. However, you can apply the lessons learned to any type of app.


Email Marketing


Email Marketing for App User Acquisition


Your user acquisition can easily be supported by email marketing. Yes, push notifications, SMS, and social media own a large share of the organic app promotion messaging, but email is still a strong way to reach users. This is especially true when your message needs to seem personal or is promoting something that your audience will really find valuable but might miss otherwise.

But who do you target with email messaging? How do you build an email database organically? Here are some strong ways to create an organic email list that makes sense and helps with user acquisition.

  • Allow people to sign up for email release notices before launch. Perhaps take in the email addresses in exchange for free app content or some other promotion. These folks will be expecting the email and will likely become new users.
  • Many of the other organic tactics we’ve mentioned in this article, such as inbound marketing, social marketing, and public relations, can be used to capture email addresses for your database. Include links in those media for landing pages with premium content or special offers in exchange for capturing email data to market further.
  • Notify audiences you already reach with email newsletters from other apps you run or the business attached to your new app. Your existing relationship will build trust, but make sure your new emails don’t disrupt your existing purpose for the email audience.
  • If email addresses are collected from existing users in your app, reach out to them with promotions, contests, and referral requests. Let the emails be seen as valuable and aid user acquisition rather than being used as a hard marketing or sales push.

Email marketing resources and tools:

Smashing Magazine has an excellent breakdown of email marketing strategies and execution. It’s specific to apps, and has both data for proof and instructions for your next steps.

MailChimp is an industry leader in sending emails to any audience. If you don’t already have email integrated with your CRM, MailChimp is a standard go-to for businesses.


Organic growth is just one piece of the puzzle


Organic user acquisition can be a great force multiplier alongside paid marketing, or it can be a way to get initial users for that first revenue that you’ll in turn devote to paid advertising.

Either way, it’s pretty challenging to grow and sustain that momentum on strictly organic user acquisition. The next article in our series focuses on paid advertising for user acquisition.

Haven’t read the earlier parts in our user acquisition series? Find parts 1 and 2 below.

Part 1 – How To Increase App Downloads By Getting To Know Your Users

Part 2 – How To Ensure Your App Is Prepared For User Acquisition

Ready to build your own app business?  Click below to find out how to become the next App Millionaire!


mobile app development guide

How To Ensure Your App Is Prepared For User Acquisition

Preparing your app for User Acquisition

This article is the second in our series on how to acquire new users for your app.

User acquisition isn’t just a matter of marketing. In addition to the fact that marketing can already be expensive, you may be frustrated even more to find out that your marketing gets people interested but fails to bring new users fully on board.

Here’s the catch: there are tons of things in the app itself that actually affect whether new users come on board and whether your current users attract new recruits to your app.

If you haven’t prepared your app for user acquisition, it’s probably a bottleneck that could really cripple your success. On the flip side, thoroughly preparing your app will actually become a conduit for more users than your marketing can bring in alone.


Create a Quality App Landing Page


landing pages for app user acquisition


Your landing page will be a website that, in the words of GetSocial, works as a business card for your app. Done correctly, the landing page will let audiences get to know your app better without committing to the download right away. Minimalistic videos, reviews, and branding should be followed with a call to action. Audiences on mobile, tablet, and PC will then be able to jump directly to downloads for their devices.

Landing page tools and resources:

Unbounce runs a business devoted entirely to the creation and improvement of landing pages. While their tools cost a subscription, you can start for free, there are no contracts, and you can change plans on the fly.

Wix is an inexpensive point-and-click design platform. You can make app landing pages without any prior design experience, and they already offer templates that you can customize and build from for literally this exact purpose.

Hongkiat put together a list with screenshots of 20 great-looking app landing pages, helpful for inspiring your design and minimalism.


Optimize your download size


app size for user acquistion


While phone memory continues to get bigger, so do apps. Between photos, music, operating systems, and apps, your audience continually finds themselves deciding between how best to use the space they have.

The larger your app is, the more likely that users will have to delete content from their phone in order to install whatever you’re offering. In many cases, those users may simply decide not to download your app at all.

We understand that nobody purposely wastes space in their app, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve. How does one optimize download size?

Aside from streamlining your coding from a developer’s standpoint, you can eliminate superfluous code that’s not being used in your app. Places to look are sections you’ve changed, eliminated, or not released yet.

The estimated average iOS app was about 50MB in 2015, with the size and complexity of apps growing every year (games average a much larger download size). The maximum allowable size is 4GB, but users will need a wifi connection for anything over 100MB. All that being said, it helps to be leaner than the competition, so a good benchmark is to come in just under the average 50MB if possible.

Added bonus of optimized download size: The smaller your app is, the less likely it will get the axe when your users need more space. Optimizing your download size means better retention, too.

Size optimization tools and resources:

Apple has a nifty little section in their developer resources library that goes straight to the tactics that reduce app size for iOS.

Apple and Unity both offer some basic resources on app thinning and resource slicing, which function similarly in letting you manage your app download size based on each device it works with.


Simplify your onboarding process


app onboarding for user acquisition


Simply put, users don’t want to create a new account for every app they download. Integrating your app with social media accounts or streamlining your onboarding for minimal requirements will make it much easier for people to get to enjoying your app instead of putting in more work.

There are numerous tools, tricks, and systems to optimize onboarding, but the most important thing is that you do something to improve onboarding. An app with a long onboarding that requires a lot of personal information will turn users away: in 2014, over 60% of apps downloaded were never used, and in 2015, 23% more users abandoned an app after just one use. Ease their pain and don’t lose the vast majority of users before you ever really get them.

Added bonus of simplified onboarding: Depending on who you use for eased logins, associating your app with popular social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, or Google will increase your perceived familiarity and credibility. Simply seeing the Facebook symbol for login, aside from making the login easier, will add to the trust users have for your company.

Onboarding tools and resources:

UnserOboard sells educational resources, case studies, and consultation to optimize onboarding. They specialize in this one function, so you won’t have to worry about losing focus.


Add rating and review cues for your app’s users


App ratings for user acquistion

When people searching in the App Store see positive ratings and reviews for your product, they’re more inclined to get it. By the same token, the App Store also shows apps with better reviews higher in searches than the apps with less feedback as these are major factors in the App Store ranking algorithm.

Sometimes you’ll get reviews and ratings by simply having users. They’ll probably rate and review your app to a small extent without your interference, but you’ll be missing out on a huge amount of positive reputation and chances to show up for search results. Having more reviews and ratings of a high caliber simply makes your app capable of grabbing more users.

When you’re prepping your app, consider adding pop-ups or prompts to send users to the App Store to give you a review. Naturally, you’d want to have this option at a point in your app where you can assume that the user has been getting more involved and probably enjoys your app.

  • Don’t ask for a review right when a user enters the app, makes a purchase, or experiences a limitation such as gated content or losing a game.
  • Ask for a review when a user has been in your app for several minutes and has finished, accomplished, or unlocked something that will feel like success. This positivity carries over to the review.

Rating and review tools and resources:

Apptentive has a tool that actually asks for user feedback in-app and sorts between positive and negative sentiment before sending only the positive users to the App Store. Not only will you get more ratings, but you’ll catch the negative feedback early and get the information you need to simply improve your app.


Set up an in-app referral system


App User Acquisition Through In-app referrals

It may seem like a trivial leap, but there’s a pretty big difference between users rating and reviewing your app to the public and your users asking their friends to use it too. An in-app referral system is perfect for growing your app from within, but unlike external marketing, it needs to be built in.

The process involves deciding when users would want to refer your app to other users, why they would want to do it, and how they’ll spread the word. Then, it’s up to you to integrate notifications and interfaces with your app.

Referral example:

If your users can connect their app to social media, prompt them to invite their friends at the time they connect. You’ll know which social media account they have, and they clearly will like your app enough to link accounts. Give them a premade but personalized message and consider whether you will let them customize or add their own text as well.

Referral tools and resources:

AppVirality’s referral tool personalizes invites according to both the sender and recipient. You can also add rewards for referrals and track all of the conversion data in detail.

GetSocial offers a package of products which includes in-app referrals and other features like chat, allowing your users to engage one another and their friends. The GetSocial in-app referral tool is ideal if your app is geared to spread through interaction and you want to deploy some big social features without too much hassle.


After preparation comes implementation


You can continually improve your app in terms of user acquisition, but there comes a point after which you need to start taking real action. The next two phases in our series involve attracting new users with both organic and paid efforts and really seeing the results of your personas and prepping. We’ll see you next week!

Want a step-by-step guide to launching your app? Click the button below to download “The Ultimate App Marketing Checklist”.


App Marketing Checklist

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 6/20 – 6/24

The Appreneur Weekly

Here at Zapporoo, our goal is to help each and every person that has a mobile app idea turn that idea into a thriving business. To help further our mission, we scour the interwebs each week to find and share the best content we can find on app development, app monetization, app marketing, and more so that you don’t have to. Be sure to read and implement the strategies you learn from these posts each week and watch your app business flourish.

In this week’s edition you’ll learn the secrets to hitting the top of the Google Play charts, how to get more app installs by getting to know your audience, how to make kickass app video previews that sell your app, and more.


How To Hit Android’s Top Charts – Google Secrets Revealed


Over half of all apps are found through app store searches. For this reason, app developers and publishers would pay big money for the secrets to achieving top of the page rankings on the app stores. Well for Google Play at least, developers now have more insight into what it takes then ever before.

By launching several marketing tactics simultaneously, developers can accrue new users from several sources at once. For those launching apps, releasing a marketing campaign in conjunction with your app launch packs a powerful punch, giving your app much needed traction early on.

This post recaps a presentation given in May at the Google’s annual I/O Developer Conference titled “Raiders of the lost app: Google Play secrets to launching and getting discovered” (Watch it here). In this presentation, Larissa Fontaine, Google’s Head of Apps Business Development unveiled how the Play Store’s Top & Trending Charts are determined. If you’re launching an app into Google Play, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE read this post and watch the video. You’re success depends on it.

Follow @Mobilispot on Twitter


A List of Mobile Advertising Services


With mobile overtaking desktop as the #1 way consumers access the internet, mobile advertising should undoubtedly be part of your app user acquisition strategy and potentially your monetization strategy as well. That being said, pinpointing which ad networks to use can be quite daunting.

Now that most of us are officially mobile-first internet users, how is the mobile advertising industry responding? A report by comScore reveals that 65% of digital media time is spent on mobile, largely driven by smartphone app usage (consumers spend 85% of their time on smartphones in apps, according to Forrester Research). It’s no surprise then that mobile advertising spend has soared. The latest figures from IAB UK show that in 2015, mobile ad spend grew by 60% (from the previous year) to reach a whopping £2.6 billion.

This post provides a thorough list of mobile advertising platforms broken down into 7 key categories for easy navigation. Use this post along with our post on Localytics to be your guide when planning out which advertising platforms to test in your marketing and monetization plans.

Follow @mobyaffiliates on Twitter


How To Increase App Downloads By Getting To Know Your Users


User acquisition, while not the end all be all of a successful app, is the first step to creating an engaged community of active users who will drive the revenue for your app business. The first step in developing an effective user acquisition plan is really understanding who you ideal users are and developing an avatar of that person to help guide all future decisions on everything from app development, to monetization, to marketing.

If you want to hunt down new users for your app, whether before or after launch, you need to be able to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. This means identifying more than just age, gender, and income, though. You need to know your audience’s story, motivations, and dislikes.

This post gives is a comprehensive guide to building an ideal user persona for your app. It shows you what key characteristics are important, how and where to gather the data about those characteristics, and how to put all the pieces together to create your user persona avatar. If possible, read this guide before even going into development as it will help you build a better app product.

Follow @ZapporooApps on Twitter


What Smart Invites Can Do For Your App’s Growth


Preparing your app for user acquisition and retention is a vital part of developing an app that will actually generate income. One of the pieces of this preparation is having a well designed referral process as word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to grow your app.

Referral marketing not just adds to your user acquisition, but also to the retention rate of your app. Since the bigger the number of a user’s friends and family on the app, the longer he is bound to stay on it to communicate with them regularly.”

This post lays out the benefits of using this company’s “Smart Invites” feature to generate more app referrals for your app. Get Social makes a great case not only for designing an in-app referral program but also for demo’ing their tool.

Follow @GetSocial_now on Twitter


How To Make An App Video Preview


A strategic, well designed app video preview can help you convert more people who find your app download page. A poorly done app video preview can repel even the most enthusiastic of your potential app installers.  

Since a lot of people have been asking if they should make a video preview, I’m going to answer it directly before explaining how to do it.

The answer is yes. You should make a video app preview.

However, you should only be making one if you are going to make a good one. This is because a bad video can actually hurt your app’s chances more than it helps. It is very, very important to focus on quality.

This is a video post where Carter Thomas gives you 3 great tips on how to create great app video previews that will turn more of your app store page visitors into app installers, the first step to a successful app business.

Follow @BluecloudApps on Twitter

Like this post? Don’t forget to checkout previous editions of “The Appreneur Weekly” for more education on how to grow your app business.

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 6/06 – 6/10

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 6/13 – 6/17

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/30 – 6/3

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/23 – 5/27

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/16 – 5/20

How To Increase App Downloads By Getting To Know Your Users

increase app downloads by knowing your audience


This article is the first in our series on how to acquire new users for your app.

If you want to hunt down new users for your app, whether before or after launch, you need to be able to put yourself in your audience’s shoes. This means identifying more than just age, gender, and income, though. You need to know your audience’s story, motivations, and dislikes.

You also need to narrow down into specific groups so you don’t get caught up trying to please everyone at once. There will ideally be a best-fit audience for your app that can’t include every person possible, and you’ll have to weed out the distractions to reach the right audience directly.

But how can you build such a robust picture of your target demographics?

Listen to your audience and create user personas based on the feedback.

Those two concepts come loaded with a lot of demands. It’s all worth it, though, when you measure up all the benefits of having user personas. Among other things, personas will help you:

  • build a better app
  • improve your monetization strategy
  • develop a more effective marketing plan
  • offer better customer service


benefits of knowing your app audience


Personas take a little work. We’re going to unpack what goes into a persona, how to listen to your audience, how make a persona, and how use that persona to increase your app downloads.


What You Want To Know About App Users


If your app is already out, your first order of business is to start collecting information from various sources to find out who your users are and what they want. You can also reach out and investigate what potential new users would look like and how you could bring them on board as well.

If your app hasn’t launched yet, the first thing you’ll have to do is make some assumptions. You’ll need to make an educated guess on your future users’ demographics so you can start investigating without taking the shotgun approach. Asking literally everyone about your future app simply takes more time than it’s worth.

Once you know or predict who you’re approaching, there are some specific data points you’ll want to explore. You can add or subtract details on your own as needed, but here are some of the most common points used in strong app user personas:

Key Details To Include In User Personas

  • Age (range)
  • Gender (can be both)
  • Location (broad or specific)
  • Income (range)
  • Knowledge and expertise (potentially education level as well)
  • Background (cultural, professional)
  • Behavior
  • Interests
  • Influences (people, brands, media)
  • Motivations, needs, desires, and goals
  • Key problem your app can solve for the persona


Details of App User Personas




Ages should almost always be a range, preferably covering about 5 to 15 years. While not the rule, younger groups typically have smaller age ranges than older personas. Ages should also tell you something about what your audience is doing that other audiences may not be. Users who are 18-22, for example, are much more likely to be in college. While people go to college beyond their 20’s, it may be unwise to stretch your college app’s main persona from ages 18-60.




If neither gender is preferred over the other in a persona, just say that it includes both male and female. When you’re writing your persona later in the process, you may find that you include facts that are important but specific to only one gender. The best thing to do then is break the one persona into two personas and explore what makes them different by gender.




Take location into account especially when language differences come into play. Cultural cues and international laws should also help you separate arbitrary location differences from important ones. After all, the location differences between North Carolina and South Carolina may not be nearly as important to you as the persona gap between North America and South America.




A range of incomes can span anywhere from $10,000 to hundreds of thousands or more at the top end. The key is to start and end the income range at significant points for social indicators, such as $35,000 (moving to middle class if single) and $100,000 (moving to wealthy). Also, mark whether the persona may have no accessible income, such as in the case of children. Income helps for targeting price, style, and marketing.




Education level can be broad, but if your app requires or gives special knowledge, note the persona’s relation to that knowledge. A quiz app that helps college students study should note that the persona has completed high school but has not completed college, for example.




Cultural and experience markers may tell you a lot about a user. This is different from a user’s location, as someone of European background could still be a user in America, for example. Look for unique traits you can identify, such as what your user grew up with and what values they find important.




You’ll want to know what devices users prefer, when they use apps, why they download apps, and why they uninstall them. A good plan is to paint a picture of a user persona’s typical day, and then have a story of the app lifecycle from the point of view of the user. These approaches to behavior will be the core of your user persona’s narrative.

If you already have an app on the market, your analytics will be invaluable. Break down how your audience is using the app and which features they’re most engaged with.

For example, if you have already created a local dating app and you find that users are routinely updating and maxing out the text space they have for personal profiles, you can use this data in later projects. Say you’re now creating a new social app; if you have the data in your persona, you might consider allowing larger profiles, or more individual talking points. Since users love it, maybe the profile editor is easier to find in future navigation.

Specificity on behavior can also aid your design. Finding out the user’s preferred time of day, days of the week, and time per session can guide your hand on a new project. Users always logging into your app during work and school hours? Make sure the interface doesn’t require or push sound.

The key is to start predicting which behavior information might be useful later and add it to your persona now. You’ll want to update personas any time you learn something new and applicable, but it’s much harder to constantly switch gears between personas when you can do most of the investigation up front.




Interests are less about your app and more about related subjects for marketing, sponsorship, content, events, and affiliates. If your users are all in college, hypothetically they might be interested in things like dating apps, part-time remote work, and study tools. Even if your app is none of these things, you can still build relationships with other companies, be selective with your marketing, or create a brand that models after some of the same things those other products do.




Brands, people, and publishers may all have an effect on your audience. Determine who they are and whether their effect is positive, negative, or neutral on your brand. For example, a competitor could be an influence against your own brand, but a famous TV personality might be a neutral influence that could be turned positive as an endorser for your app.


Motivations, needs, desires, goals


If your user does not want or need anything, there’s nothing for you to offer them. Look at what you’ve already said about the persona and see if you’ve stumbled onto problems, insecurities, or aspirations that might be relevant for marketing or your app itself.


Key problem your app can solve


Identify what challenge your app can solve for the persona. If you can’t think of anything, then you may need to consider whether your audience will even be drawn to your product at all. If you’re making a game, then it may solve boredom.

If you’re making a drawing and art app for young children, it may solve a desire to be creative for the kid’s persona. It will also solve a need to occupy the children for the parent’s persona (since the parent makes the download decision, of course they should have a user persona!)


Where To Get App User Data


This information can come from numerous sources, and those sources are different depending on the status of your business and your app. So, whether your app has already launched or not, here are the methods by which you’ll collect information.


App reviews


If your app is out, go see what your users are saying in the reviews. Read both the positive and the negative reviews, as both can reveal strengths and weaknesses you can improve on. Just as importantly, you’ll also apply these wants and needs to descriptions of your users later on.

Although the intent is user research, you may still choose to improve your app immediately based on these reviews. Afterward, you may find acquisition to be much easier from the angles of ASO, ratings, word of mouth, and improvements for you to highlight in your marketing.

Then, whether you’ve launched your app or not, go read the reviews of competitors. Look for the most similar apps on the market, and see whether you can provide something their users want and aren’t currently getting. It’s an excellent and transparent form of market research you really should be using.

Example: If you’re making a fitness tracker app, and your competitor requires lengthy account creation that users despise in the reviews, see about integrating social media logins on your app. When users are telling you exactly what they aren’t getting from the competition, you should listen and try to exploit the opportunity.

What you’re looking for in app reviews: If you can tell by the profiles of the reviewers, you might be able to decide on age and gender. You’ll really be looking for desires and key problems to solve, as those are what users are most vocal about on app reviews.

Recap of app reviews:

  • Check your own reviews if you’ve launched
  • Check competitor reviews no matter what
  • Gather and record audience information you find
  • Implement possible improvements from feedback as well

 app reviews reveal user data

When you get face time with your target audience, ask them for an honest reaction to your app (or app idea). One of the best ways to get interview time is to approach grassroots adopters when you meet with them. You can conduct interviews over the phone or computer as well.

Ask questions that create a dialogue where users reach a little deeper than they would elsewhere  Create a series of questions that build upon one another in order to get the clearest view of your user’s behavior, motivations, needs, desires, and goals.

Try questions like:

“Which mobile app do you use most?” [behavior]

“What makes you go to that app?” [motivation, needs, desires]

“What do you want from that app that you’re still not getting?” [needs, desires, goals]

You can phrase and structure your questions in an endless number of ways, but use open-ended questions like these that dig deep progressively.

Avoid questions like:

“Why do you think our competitor’s app is inferior?” [leading]

“Do you like our app?” [yes or no question, should ask for a rating if anything]

“Do you expect more from your apps?” [yes or no question, leading, vague]

This works both before and after launch, although the feedback you get will be different if the people you’re talking to have already gotten a chance to experience your product.

Although an interview is more of a dialogue than other forms of data gathering, make sure that you try to listen about five times more than you talk. Prompt your interviewee to communicate if necessary, but be careful not to lead your audience into giving you a specific answer. Either record the interview or take notes or both, but make sure to keep a record. You won’t remember everything.

What you’re looking for in audience interviews: You can get much more detailed information in an interview, so you could hypothetically ask for everything if given the time. You’re still going to focus, though, on the things that are harder to get elsewhere: motivations, needs, desires, goals, and influences.

Recap of audience interviews:

  • Get face time with your target audience
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Listen more than you talk
  • Keep a record of interviews


audience interviews to collect app user data


Competitive analysis


A solid competitor analysis will look at much of the same data that you would analyze for your own company. Fortunately, even if your own app is still in development, you can mine your competition for data without waiting until your own launch.

Since you may not be privileged to everything your competitor knows about their own audience, your competitor analysis should look outside their app at things you can find. Look at all ratings and reviews, as well as articles written about your competition. Even their own case studies and marketing claims may reveal something you can tap into yourself.

A good source of info on the other guys also comes from website and social media data. Find who’s talking about the app around the internet, this could clue you into which websites and which individuals influence your target audience.

You can use a tool like Facebook’s audience insights to identify key demographics, interests, income, and more. Also by looking at your competitor’s social media pages, you can identify which social media channels your audience spends the most time. This info should be included in your persona to help guide you on which social features to add to your app and help with your marketing plan down the road.

What you’re looking for in competitor analyses: Behavior, interests, and influences can all come through in competitor analyses because you can reverse engineer what their audiences are doing and why.

Recap of competitor analysis:

  • Analyze the competition’s marketing strategy
  • Analyze the competition’s monetization plan
  • Analyze reviews and ratings
  • Analyze social media channels


competitive analysis for app user data


User surveys


Maybe it sounds too simple, but with an existing app, you can just reach out and ask users what they think. Users who are both happy and frustrated will give you feedback, although asking through a private survey on your app will probably bias towards positive feedback, unlike public reviews that tend towards negative feedback.

Regardless, the goal of user surveys isn’t quantitative; you’re not trying to get a star rating or satisfaction poll. What you’re looking for are qualitative ideas where a user details strengths you can build upon and weaknesses you can cure. Yes, you can easily gather age, location, gender, income, and interests with a few questions, but a survey like that would miss on other opportunities.

User survey questions, aside from the demographic ones we just mentioned, must be more than yes or no questions. For example, don’t ask “Do you enjoy the app?”  do ask “What features of the app do you enjoy most and why?”

If you don’t want to make your own survey interface, you’re not alone. You can create a survey with a number of free tools including Survey Monkey or even Google Forms. There are also some paid tools for surveys if you need a little extra. If you haven’t already built your app, you can define your audience and these tools will find these people and get the answers to the survey for you. This is an excellent user research tool for either situation.

When you get your answers, look at common threads. You may not choose to weigh all feedback equally, and you certainly can’t make everyone happy. What you’re really searching for are common themes so you can create a better picture of who you’re serving, how big a group they represent, and how to make them happy.

What you’re looking for in user surveys: Age, location, gender, income, and interests can all be quickly answered at the front end of a survey. Ask about behavior and the key problem your app can solve for the persona. If you think it won’t push survey takers away, try to open up motivations, needs, desires, and goals, too.

Recap of user surveys:

  • Ask open-ended questions, not only yes or no questions
  • Use tools to find survey takers and collect data
  • Aggregate the feedback into a bigger picture


App user surveys to collect audience data




This is an easy one. Whatever data you have on your users from social media, analytics tracking software, and app user profiles should be rounded up. Even if you only have ages, locations, gender, and other census-type information, you can get a much more accurate look at your audience.

Analytics will help you overcome many assumptions and bring new insights to light. Did you assume most of your users were male, but the analytics say they’re mostly female? Did you think mostly children were playing your game, but it’s really senior citizens? Throw away your old beliefs and take those new balances into account.

What you’re looking for in analytics: Analytics deliver some great core data. Age, location, gender are easy to aggregate through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google Analytics on your website.

Advanced app analytics tools like Localytics will tell you an incredible amount about a user’s behavior and interests. For example, it can tell you about their device, other apps, which features they interact with most, how long their spending in your app, and much more that can guide your product improvement and marketing plan.

Recap of user surveys:

  • Compile all analytics data to build a story
  • Use app analytics tools to track app user behavior
  • Use the data to validate assumptions and develop new ones




Building Your App User Personas


A persona is an encompassing idea of a user based on information you have. While ages will cover a range of years, and some personas can encompass both sexes, you want your personas to be as specific as possible.

Why? Because the more specific you get, the easier it will be to tap into the things that really matter to your users. If you’re too general, then someone else is probably already meeting that general need.

If that’s not convincing enough for you, consider that specific needs are often stronger than general ones, meaning that tapping into detail makes your app marketing much more magnetic.

Obviously, being overly specific limits your total audience size and therefore growth, but that’s not a problem.

Rather than making one huge catch-all persona, create several specific, targeted personas.

This is the cornerstone to addressing your audience’s pain points directly and really engaging new users in a personal and lasting way. You can either create your persona in a spreadsheet or document, or use a design interface made for personas.

Some CRM systems already accommodate persona creation, plus there are also some great tools in which to work such as UserForge and the Xtensio Persona Creator.

In fact, some tools and CRMs help to aggregate persona data from customer accounts. On the other end, the system may help describe your new leads and customers to sales and marketing. This two-way relationship can plug directly into your lead generators and customer profiles to both aid in customer management and take back new data to flesh out personas.


Persona profile and narrative


Take everything you know about your first persona and write the main points that set them apart. We’ll go back to the options we listed before, and you’ll need to determine which information you captured and which you plan to use (sometimes it’s better to omit a section if you can’t make an educated guess).

If your data collection is broad, here are some of the points mentioned earlier to extract and document:

  • Age (range)
  • Gender (can be both)
  • Location (broad or specific)
  • Income (range)
  • Knowledge and expertise (potentially education level as well)
  • Background (cultural, professional)
  • Behavior
  • Interests
  • Influences (people, brands, media)
  • Motivations, needs, desires, and goals
  • Key problem your app can solve for the persona

After you have your listed data, write 3 to 10 paragraphs about a hypothetical member of that group. Include a day in the life that walks through your target users’ day from waking up in the morning to going to sleep at night. If you find it difficult, the two most common problems are:

  • Your persona is too broad
  • You didn’t gather enough data

Adjust your persona as necessary.

For a more in-depth education on building user personas click here for a fantastic resource we found on the subject. This resource will help you buildout more robust user personas like the one below which can be extremely valuable to the success of your app.


Building an app user persona


Now You Know Your App Users, What’s Next?


It would be an awful waste of time to collect all this analysis only to let it sit in a document unused. You’re going to implement the next few steps in our series around the personas you’ve created, so stay tuned part 2 in our ongoing user acquisition series where we’ll discuss preparing your app for new users.

Meanwhile checkout some of our other posts on how to grow your app business.

9 Growth Hacks That Will Spark An App Download Frenzy

How Do Apps Make Money: A Complete Guide To App Monetization

App Store Ranking Factors: What They Are and How To Optimize


mobile app development guide


The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 6/13 – 6/17

The Appreneur Weekly


Here at Zapporoo, our goal is to help each and every person that has a mobile app idea turn that idea into a thriving business. To help further our mission, we scour the interwebs each week to find and share the best content we can find on app development, app monetization, app marketing, and more so that you don’t have to. Be sure to read and implement the strategies you learn from these posts each week and watch your app business flourish.

In this week’s edition you’ll learn how to perform in-depth analysis of your app competition, the essential elements of an effective app user acquisition plan, how become a better mobile marketer, and more.


10 Steps To Get You Started With Behavioral Analytics


Understanding how your users interact with your mobile app is ultimately the key to user retention and the growth of your app business. By having a solid grasp on how your users move through your app and react to your in-app communication, you can create a better user experience, retain more customers, and create brand evangelists.

Sending optimal event data to your analytics platform is the single most important step toward understanding how your users are engaging with your product. If you’re too hasty in instrumenting your analytics you may never get the full value of your data.

This post gives you 10 easy to follow steps to begin tracking and analyzing your user’s behavior to better understand how they use your app, which features are working well and which aren’t, and what steps to take to improve the overall experience of your app. If you haven’t already you should implement some sort of analytics into your app and this post shows you exactly how to do that.

Follow @amplitudemobile on Twitter


Introducing 6 Essential Elements Of An App User Acquisition Plan


Having a user acquisition plan in place is the first step in growing your app. This plan most certainly will change and evolve over time as you collect more and more user data. The success of your app hinges on being able to drive downloads for your app but not just any downloads and to do this, you must understand the essential elements of creating an effective user acquisition strategy.


Getting app users means having a plan that is built to evolve so that you can go from a small scale to a larger scale later. What works at the start of your user acquisition may not work for the later steps in your approach. Gaining your first users through face-to-face engagement, for example, might be a great first step, but it’s not a scalable model for your later downloads. Your strategy has to be agile, meaning you need to be able to shift directions and tactics by following where your data leads you.


This post is the introduction to an upcoming series explaining everything you need to know about user acquisition. If you want to learn how to build an effective plan for continuously acquiring new users for your app make sure and follow this series it will be packed with excellent info that you can implement immediately.

Follow @ZapporooApps on Twitter


‘Out of the Box’ Competitive Analysis: Supercharging App Marketing Results


Analyzing your top competitors can uncover many helpful insights to guide the growth and success of your apps. A thorough analysis can guide both monetization strategies, marketing strategies, and what it will take to succeed in each area while also uncovering your apps competitive advantage.

Analyze the top performing apps that are similar to us (in the Productivity category) or successful apps that are “in the neighborhood.”

Then by uncovering their budget, marketing tactics, tools they are using, growth rates in any given geo (geographic area), I should be able to optimize our strategy.

This is an awesome post walking you step-by-step through performing an in-depth analysis of your apps competitor’s. It explains exactly what you should be looking for when doing this analysis and why and also provides the tools to find each data point. Everyone should perform this type of competitive analysis before launching any app to help guide their monetization and marketing plans.

Follow @apptamin on Twitter


Prioritize Your Mobile Product Roadmap for Retention


If your app marketing strategy is primarily focused on acquiring new users you might want to reevaluate. No matter how many new users you acquire, if they’re not sticking around, using your app, and spending money with you, what good are they? Focusing first on how your app will retain and engage users is where you should concentrate in order to create a truly effective app marketing plan.

Trying to acquire and engage users is moot if retention isn’t a core part of your strategy. It’s like trying to fill a leaky bucket. You can keep adding water, but unless you either plug the hole or have an endless torrent in your pipeline, you’re going to be constantly scrambling to acquire more.

This post gives a very basic framework from which to build your user retention foundation on, the Aha! Moments, the moments in your app that increase retention in your app. The post also explains where to find these moments and tips on to make them more effective at retaining your users. These are excellent tips you should be considering when planning out the development of your app.

Follow @Apptentive on Twitter


The 5-Step Evolution of a Mobile Marketer


Becoming a mobile marketing guru takes time. You need to pay your dues, continue to educate yourself, pay attention to new trends, analyze data, and get some real experience before you can become like Neo in the matrix and see how to market more clearly.

“Wondering where your company stands in the mobile marketing landscape? Whether you’re just getting your feet wet or are at the top of your game, always up for a chance to swap war stories over a round of drinks with other thought leaders in the space, we’ll help you assess your current mobile marketing presence and offer recommendations for what you can do next to advance your strategy and execution.”

This post does an excellent job of walking you through the inevitable stages of your mobile marketing mastery and also gives you some excellent educational resources to move yourself to the next level. If you are interested in taking a direct route to becoming a better mobile marketer, read this post.

Follow @Appboy on Twitter

Like this post? Don’t forget to checkout previous editions of “The Appreneur Weekly” for more education on how to grow your app business.

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 6/06 – 6/10

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/30 – 6/3

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/23 – 5/27

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/16 – 5/20



mobile app development guide


Introducing 6 Essential Elements Of An App User Acquisition Plan

6 Essential Elements of App User Acquisition Plan

We’re kicking off a six-part series on one of the most important elements of a successful app business: user acquisition.

An app is nothing without growing it’s user base, not to mention that users are ultimately the source of revenue one way or another. Whether you use freemium, sponsored, or other app monetization models, you can’t make money without people coming to your app. Ideally, you also have those people use your app and stick around for a while, too.


What Are The Core Principles Of App User Acquisition?


Core Principles of App User Acquisition

The 4 Core Principles Of User Acquisition:

  1. Establish Value For Target Users
  2. Reduce Friction Between Users And App
  3. Track And Analyze User Behavior
  4. Optimize Your User Acquisition Plan Over Time

User acquisition is built on the idea that you will establish value with your potential users. The primary way you’ll reach your future users is through marketing, whether organic or paid.

Once you establish value, you’ll need to reduce friction standing between your users and your app. This might mean lowering the download cost, making on-boarding easier, and decreasing download size.

After you get those obstacles out of the way, new users will start downloading your app. During this period, you’ll want to track and analyze what brought users to your product.

Since you’ll learn based on what your data says over time, it’s vital to optimize over time depending on what works and what doesn’t. User acquisition should never be a one-time achievement (and if it is for you, your app is going to fade out quickly).

All of these subjects are covered in detail at various points in this series. Any user acquisition strategy lacking these elements will fall flat, but it’s also important to consider each topic on its own for maximum effect.


Why You Must Master User Acquisition?


Acquiring new users for your app in a meaningful and profitable way means digging way deeper than the surface. You can’t simply build an app and wait. Doing the bare minimum most likely will not cut it in the highly competitive app market. This is because there are some important issues specific to app businesses and customers.


Reasons to become an app user acquisition expert


3 Reasons To Become A User Acquisition Expert:

  1. User Acquisition Plans Need To Be Agile
  2. Creating User Engagement Is Complex
  3. The App Marketplace Changes Quickly


User Acquisition Has To Be Agile


Getting app users means having a plan that is built to evolve so that you can go from a small scale to a larger scale later. What works at the start of your user acquisition may not work for the later steps in your approach. Gaining your first users through face-to-face engagement, for example, might be a great first step, but it’s not a scalable model for your later downloads. Your strategy has to be agile, meaning you need to be able to shift directions and tactics by following where your data leads you.


Guiding New Users To Become Engaged Users Is



Many people who download an app never end up using it, wasting the money and effort companies spent to get them that far. This is because so many app marketing plans automatically assume that a download or ad click represents a meaningful conversion. That shouldn’t be the case for your app, though. An effective user acquisition strategy involves a systematic buyer’s journey, moving the target audience all the way from strangers seeking a solution to engaged users.


The App Marketplace Changes Quickly


A digital business can be built faster than a brick and mortar store. An app product can reach the market, change, and grow in the blink of an eye compared to physical goods.

You have to keep your finger to the market’s pulse. What you assumed in testing might change if a similar app launches before yours hits the market. Or, what worked at your own launch might not work a year later. Knowing about these possibilities means you can’t become complacent or hold false assumptions about your audience without risking failure.


The articles in this series


You’ll want to read each section, implement what you learn, and then move on to the next article. Of course, if you really just need to dive into a specific subject, you’ll absolutely still get value from any single section’s insights.

Below you will find links to each element of this series as they are published:

Part 1: How To Increase App Downloads By Getting To Know Your Users

Part 2: How To Ensure Your App Is Prepared For User Acquisition

Part 3: 13 Organic App User Acquisition Strategies To Boost Installs

Part 4: How To Get More App Users With Paid Acquisition Campaigns

Part 5: How To Measure App User Acquisition The Right Way

Part 6: How To Monitor And Optimize Your App’s User Acquisition

Need more help developing your app marketing plan? Click the button below to download “The Ultimate App Marketing Checklist”.


App Marketing Checklist

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 6/06 – 6/10

The Appreneur Weekly

Here at Zapporoo, our goal is to help each and every person that has a mobile app idea turn that idea into a thriving business. To help further our mission, we scour the interwebs each week to find and share the best content we can find on app development, app monetization, app marketing, and more so that you don’t have to. Be sure to read and implement the strategies you learn from these posts each week and watch your app business flourish.

In this week’s edition you’ll learn about a new Apple App Store service to help developers make their apps easier to find, how to get your app published, how to optimize your app install campaigns and more.

Apple Introduces Search Ads, coming this Fall


Over 65% of downloads come directly from searches on the App Store, and until now app developers had to rely on users finding their apps through organic App Store rankings. Well that will all change this fall, iOS app publishers will finally have a new way to make finding their apps easier.

”Search Ads is an efficient and easy way for you to promote your app within the U.S. App Store search results, helping people discover or reengage with your app at the very moment they are searching for apps like yours. Designed to give users a safe search experience, Search Ads sets a new standard for delivering relevant ads while respecting user privacy.”

This post gives an in-depth look at Search Ads, the App Store’s new and exciting feature to help increase app discoverability. It will be interesting to see if this helps or hurts developers with smaller budgets, but it will definitely be worth testing. Checkout this post for a great overview of what’s to come.

Follow @AppPromo on Twitter


How to optimize your app install campaigns


Paid app install campaigns are a main stable for any app marketing plan. If you have an app and you want it to be successful, you will most likely incorporate this strategy into your overall plan. “But setting it and forgetting it” does not make for a profitable campaign, there is a lot of planning, analysis, testing, and optimization that go into it.

Remember that app marketing has multiple streams in the conversion and engagement process. It’s one thing having great campaigns set up to your perfect audiences who are clicking like crazy on your ads. If these clicks are not converting to installs you obviously have a major problem with your ASO (App store optimization). Go back and analyze your ASO strategy to see where things could be improved further. If you are getting the clicks, getting the installs but not getting much engagement, you either have a problem with your targeting in that you are not targeting your ideal user base or you have a problem with your app. This is a bigger problem that extends marketing and we suggest you perform some user experience studies to find the blocks that are causing you to lose users.

This is a slightly more advanced post, but a very important one. This post is the 3rd part in a series of posts about creating and optimizing successful app install campaigns which you should be using in your marketing whether you do it yourself or hire and agency. I definitely recommend reading this post along with the first two parts in the series here Part 1 and Part 2

Follow @Appromoters on Twitter


How To Get Your App Published


Finding a publisher who is willing to back your app can be absolutely huge for app developers who may have lower marketing budgets. These publishers can be anyone and are typically people who are can send large volumes of potential users to your app. But how do you find and engage with these publishers effectively?

To answer this question, there are two things I need to talk about. But first, is it a good route? Yes, getting a publisher can be a great route. If you’ve got an app with mass market appeal, something that could go viral if it sees a spike in downloads, getting a publisher can be everything.

This is an awesome post for those developers out there who have a great app but don’t necessarily have the resources or expertise to make it grow. Read this post and learn how to effectively find and approach publishers to help grow your userbase quickly.

Follow @BluecloudApps on Twitter


App Funding: How To Get An App Developed Without Paying For it


App development can cost a lot of money, and then to add on to that, app marketing isn’t cheap either. That’s where seeking funding for your app can be very valuable. There are lots of different ways to acquire funding for your app, you just have to chose the resource that best fits your situation.

It’s not enough to simply describe your app to the public and then ask for whatever they’re willing to contribute. You must lay out what you plan to build and what it will cost to achieve it.”

This post is a comprehensive guide to the entire process of preparing for, finding, and acquiring funding for your app. By the end of this article you’ll be ready to begin the development of your app project and be well on your way to building your app empire.

Follow @ZapporooApps on Twitter




The mobile device offers brands and app developers multiple channels for reaching and engaging with their customers. But what are they and what is the appropriate situation to use each channel to deliver the message most effectively

”As mobile becomes increasingly central to how customers engage with the brands they patronize, reaching your audience effectively means using today’s digital messaging channels to communicate with customers in a thoughtful, targeted way.”

This post is an excellent introduction to the 4 major mobile messaging channels and how to most effectively use each one. If you’re new to these channels this is an excellent guide to lead your customer communication planning. If you’re already familiar with the different channels this post is a great refresher.

Follow @Appboy on Twitter


Like this post? Don’t forget to checkout previous editions of “The Appreneur Weekly” for more education on how to grow your app business.

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/30 – 6/3

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/23 – 5/27

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 5/16 – 5/20

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 4/25 – 4/29

The Appreneur Weekly – Education For Serious App Creators 4/11 – 4/15


mobile app development guide


App Funding: How To Get An App Developed Without Paying For it

App Funding Information

You want to develop an app? Spoiler Alert: it costs money.

You don’t necessarily have to provide that money out of pocket though. Plus, whether you can or not, there are some good reasons to look into outside funding:

  • If you have insufficient funds to get the app created
  • If you want to make your app even better than what you can afford now
  • If you want to lower your personal risk


Reasons to get app funding


There are so many ways to get funding for your app. Some are conventional, such as angel investors, and others are specific to apps, such as app contests.

In this post, we’ll guide you through the entire process preparing, finding, and acquiring funding for your app. By the end of this article you’ll be ready the development of your app project and be well on your way to building your app empire. So let’s get to it.

Here’s a quick table of contents to help you navigate this post faster.

Table of contents:

  1. Decide on what you need to fund
    1. Funding the entire app
    2. Funding special app features
    3. Funding marketing and promotion
  2. Prepare to ask for funds
    1. Determine amount needed
    2. Prepare pitch and presentation
    3. Build a minimum viable product (MVP)
  3. Approach potential sources of funding
    1. Friends and family
    2. Partnerships with developers and designers
    3. Crowdfunding
    4. Grants
    5. Angel investors
    6. Venture capitalists
    7. App contests
    8. Bank loans
  4. Conclusion


Decide What You Need Funded

Determine what you need funded


It’s not enough to simply describe your app to the public and then ask for whatever they’re willing to contribute. You must lay out what you plan to build and what it will cost to achieve it.

The core three things that you can assess and raise money for are:

  • The entire app
  • Special app features
  • Marketing and promotion


Potential Funding Needs


You don’t necessarily have to fund everything at once. If you have some development skills, you may be able to do some of the prototype work yourself. Or, you could start with a small goal to raise enough to pay someone to develop the prototype.

Then, you could use money raised to add new features or improve the design. Perhaps you could even use some early capital to market the app to start earning more, which can be reinvested in additional app development.

Funding can be generated up-front or work in cycles, but you still must be clear on your product and your goals whenever you seek funding.


Funding the entire app


If you need funds to get a functioning version of the whole application, then you’ll have to determine how much your developer would charge for their work.

If you’re developing the app yourself but still want outside investment to compensate yourself for the time, then you’ll have to appraise the value for yourself. Consider both your own time and the tools needed.



Funding special app features


You can make your funding goals flexible by separating some features from the rest of the product. For example, you can create a complete game for a certain amount of money, but you can determine what a second budget would look like for game expansions.

This will help you make better pitches and get investors excited about contributing over your initial goal. You can also use these special features to justify asking for investment even if you’ve already funded the main app yourself.

Special feature estimates

New Signature calculator with feature buttons

Andreas Ley calculator with feature toggles


Funding marketing and promotion


Creating an app without spreading the word will leave you dead in the water.

To regain your expenses in development, you’ll have to monetize your app, and to monetize you’ll have to market your app.

In fact, leaving marketing budget goals out of a pitch will tip off investors that you don’t have a plan to properly promote your app.

App marketing resources

The Complete Newbie’s Guide To Mobile App Marketing Strategies

Creating a budget for marketing a mobile app


Prepare To Ask For Funds

prepare to ask for app funding


The majority of the funding process is preparation. You’ll make your calculations and create a presentation. You’ll also want to break ground on a model of the app itself.


Determine amount needed


Use a spreadsheet or at least an itemized list. If you’re working with a developer, a major portion of your amount needed will be their overall quote for the project. That being said, your developer can still break down the project quote into various phases, each with their own price.

Include all business expenses if you need those funded as well. While they’re sometimes minor and not specific only to apps, you will find it better to cover everything. There’s no reason to go through all the other trouble of creating the app only to come up short on the costs to incorporate a new business or launch your app’s website.


Prepare pitch and presentation


Your pitch will vary depending on both you and the person you’re presenting to.

There are, however, best practices that apply to virtually everyone.

Elements of a pitch

  • Your pitch should include both the strengths and weaknesses of your app. Being one-sided looks like you’re hiding something.
  • Provide the best working prototype you can for the pitch. In most cases, showing something is better than nothing. Most people will understand where you’re starting from.
  • Respect the time of your audience. If your app is going to be huge and expansive, stick to the core features rather than explaining every detail.
  • Show what makes your mobile app idea truly unique. While there are others who can make a similar product to yours, emphasize the reasons yours stands out.


Build a minimum viable product (MVP) prototype


Now that you’ve got a presentation for explaining, create whatever model of the app you can in order to show it for real.

If you have development abilities, this may mean creating a bare-bones program that shows just the logic, or layout, or features behind your app. You can create the prototype yourself even if you’re going to hire a developer for the real thing.

There are also a number of prototype tools available for creating mock-ups as well. Having something to show at a very basic level is still superior, in many cases, to nothing at all.

Of course, you can always have someone else develop your MVP. You can either apply some of your personal funding to jumpstart the process with a developer, or see if someone else would willingly make your prototype as their own contribution.

Many of our clients looking for funding do so after what’s called our Omega Phase, where they get a wireframe mock-up of what their app will look like and a full UI design map that will show how the app will function. This has proven to be very successful at acquiring investment capital.


Approach Potential Sources Of Funding

Approach potential app funding sources


Now that’s you’re adequately prepared, it’s time to reach out. Keeping your numbers and pitch ready along with any prototype you might have will give you a strong showing.


Ask for app funds from friends and familyFriends and family


When appropriate, ask the people closest to you if they’d be willing to invest. Because this project will be very important to you, they may be flattered by the chance to help you realize your goals.

Be clear whether the money is a gift or a loan and what the expectations are for repayment. Perks, like free content which may be worth less than the amount given, are still a meaningful way to show appreciation for donors.

Pros of family and friends

These people know and trust you already, so it should be easier to sell the idea of your app to them. Other investors who’ve never met you will be partially fixated on whether or not you’re the genuine article, but those closest to you can bridge that gap instantly.

It’s also typically the least formal, but make sure you keep records and stay professional. Family and friends may clarify that they don’t plan to be repaid (and the money is a gift), or they may not expect dividends and perks if they are repaid (and they’re just doing it to help you). These are liberties that most other investors would not consider.

With personal forms of payments, you can also avoid the fees that come with processing payments through crowdfunding websites, and your family members can record the contribution in various ways to reduce tax liability.

Cons of family and friends

With family and friends investing, you always risk hurting the relationship. Make sure that expectations are clear to mitigate potential regret.

Friend and family resources

Five Tips for Asking Friends and Family for Funding

Should I Ask Friends and Family to Invest in My Business?


partnerships with app developersPartnerships with developers and designers


If you partner up with the people who can potentially build and improve your app, it’s the same as funding. A developer who gives his time is essentially providing you the value of his wages as funding for your app.

Typically, a partnership like this would mean giving the developers and designers some stake in the company when it succeeds and monetizes later on.

Pros of developers and designers

These are the people who will actually do the work, so you cut out the middle-man investor. It will be exponentially easier to explain your app to them than to a venture capitalist with no programming experience, for example.

Cons of developers and designers

If developers and designers are expecting monetary or perk returns on their non-monetary contribution, you have to calculate what they’re worth and how they’ll be compensated. This isn’t exactly a huge burden, but it does take much more communication and calculation than getting investments that are simply money taken in and money paid out.

Developer and designer resources

How to Recruit a Great Programmer as a Partner


app crowdfundingCrowdfunding


Crowdfunding, for the uninitiated, is when you explain what your product and your fundraising goals are, and then people pledge money to help you reach the goal. In most cases, if you fall short of the goal, nobody has to give the money they pledged. If you do reach the goal, everyone chips in their bit and you create what you promised.

Most crowdfunding is now done online. There are websites for crowdfunding businesses in general, but there are also websites specific to raising funds for apps.

Pros of crowdfunding

The benefit of crowdfunding is that you can have a static page to present your needs and ideas without you having to pitch it to everyone individually. Many ideas go viral, meaning that people pledge financial support just to see it succeed.

Crowdfunding attracts both large investors and small ones. Whether your app has mass appeal or elite status, you can still draw in the right people.

Cons of crowdfunding

Many crowdfunding websites encourage you to give out perks for investors depending on what they contribute. Managing these perks can be time-consuming, confusing, and expensive. Also, many companies underestimate the coordination needed for perks, which backfires when contributors become frustrated at not getting what they expected.

Crowdfunding websites also take a small percentage of the money you raise. If you expect that most of your crowdfunding will come from large contributors that you already know personally, skip the middle man and go directly to investors to cut the fees.

Crowdfunding resources

Kickstarter – While Kickstarter lets you crowdfund for anything from board games to hoverboards, it’s been known to be a viable fundraiser for apps.

Appsplit – Appsplit is one of many sites specific to funding apps. What’s great about Appsplit is that you can do all-or-nothing funding at a lower fee than open funding. You can also sell interest in your app to funders and recruit freelance developers all in one place.

AppsFunder – AppsFunder successfully recruits many small pledges of money because an investor can essentially make dividends back if your app succeeds. For many, this outweighs the perks others may offer, and ties your success together with the investor.

Mobile App Fund – Mobile App Fund is not a traditional crowdfunding resource. The group puts your app idea to the test, but once they establish the viability, they will fund anywhere from $5,000 to $1,000,000 in bulk (no perks or goals). They’ll potentially cover anything from the app itself to marketing and launch, and despite them putting in all the capital, you will still make money from it yourself.

Ultimate List of Crowdfunding and Fundraising Websites

Complete list of crowdfunding sites for app developers

Setting up your crowdfunding page for success

Your crowdfunding page should be similar to your pitch, except much faster to present and digest. Basically, you’ll have to boil down what your app does and how it will make money in just a single page.

A personal narrative about how you came to your idea helps. People often want to identify with whomever they’re funding, so briefly summarize your journey to where the app idea is now. Once people can relate to you, they’ll feel like they’re helping make your story happen rather than just putting money in the bank.

If you’re using a perk-driven site like Kickstarter, you’ll have to decide what perks you’ll be able to afford, what contributions will earn them, and how you’ll describe it all. If you’re creating your own personal website for the crowdfunding, make sure to focus more on design, since it won’t be restricted to another website’s template.


app grantsGrants


Grants typically require a long application and proposal process, but that’s because the money is otherwise provided without further conditions. Grants don’t have to be repaid (so long as there is no abuse) and are usually specific to the app’s social value rather than monetization.

If your goals are entirely commercial in nature, there may still be grants to support you, but less likely than if you are working in academics, museums, libraries, or a cultural organization.

Pros of grants

Getting a grant means you can focus on your product rather than thinking about returning dividends, paybacks, or perks for investors. It could also help your marketing to let people know that your app has been validated by a reputable grant source.

Cons of grants

The paperwork and research are tedious and sometimes costly, there is a limited number of available grants, and you may not even be eligible for any.

Grant resources – This is the overarching search database for the US federal government. You can use this to find hundreds of grants by keyword or category.

National Endowment for the Humanities – This is one of the largest government-funded grant databases. Sometimes NEH grants will prioritize grant proposals for making an app, but many times they’re much broader in requirements.

Institute of Museum and Library Services – Specific to only museums and libraries, the segmentation actually increases your chances of success when you’re a better match (thus cutting down on the number of proposals you’ll have to create).


App angel investorsAngel investors



What are they?

Private donors, also known as ‘angel investors,’ are those who believe in your project enough that they will help launch it without necessarily expecting returns. Some angel investors give for partial ownership, some for long-shot returns, and others invest as a gift or for sponsor recognition.

Angel investors frequently are people close to the project owners who can see the value and get excited about it. They typically invest their own personal funds rather than managing a formal, professional funding account with pooled money.

And despite their generosity, angel investors still want to know that their money will be put to good use. Providing a presentation or prototype is still monumental for getting them behind your app in the form of financial aid.

What are they looking for?

Angel investors are typically looking for your personal and professional potential for growth. They often want to see that, despite your app company’s humble beginnings, you have the social skills, humility, and adaptability to create something lasting.

The amount of risk an angel investor will take is usually directly tied to the amount of money you’re asking for. If you’re only asking for $10,000, then it may be okay that you only have a basic app sample and your presentation. If you want $1,000,000, then you better have an existing business and a working prototype.

How do you find them?

A lot of angel investors can be found just by networking. Find investors from other businesses who attracted private donors. Put the word out that your app’s value can be proven and that you’re interested in finding angel investors.

There are also many networks for finding angel investors, although the lists change often as investors come and go. This is a consequence of angel investors being individuals rather than companies.

Angel investor resources

5 Qualities Angel Investors Want in Founders

Getting Started With Angel Investing

How do you get them to fund you?

Give angel investors your prepared app investment pitch and show them your own personality. The truth is that people invest in other people that they know, like, and relate to. When the only thing standing between you and your angel investor’s funding is the investor’s personal decision (and not a written form like at a bank), you have to prove that your app is great, your business will be strong, and you personally deserve the chance at success.


App Venture CaptialistsVenture capitalists



What are they?

Venture capitalists are groups who are specifically interested in whether you can monetize your app. If you can show that the return on investment far outweighs the risks, you’re likely to attract good investors. These investors take the combined, impersonal wealth of a group of people and use it to fund projects based on merit and potential.

Your presentation to venture capitalists should have the strongest research and the most detailed number values. Why? Because the difference between your app and the next opportunity might simply be a half of a percent more annual return on investment or a million more potential downloads.

Accuracy is key, however. Overselling your app’s potential will come off as false and unrealistic and will turn off venture capitalists more than anything else.

What are they looking for?

Venture capitalists are looking for opportunities to make a huge return on a risky venture where they see potential that others might overlook.

That being said: Venture capitalists want to see a working prototype, customer orders, or downloads with your existing app version. Give them proof that your app is going to be popular and more than just an idea.

Lots of people have ideas. To win over venture capital, you need to have a successful business model and functioning prototype with your only weakness being a lack of capital.

How do you find them?

Look to the major venture capital organizations like Small Business Administration’s Small Business Investment Company program and the National Venture Capital Association. These groups exist specifically to connect entrepreneurs with venture capitalists and other sources of funding.

Venture capitalist resources

VC 100: The Top Investors in Early-Stage Startups

List of venture capital firms

How do you get them to fund you?

Generate a very compelling amount of evidence that your business is unique and will return a huge amount for investors. Your app prototype, business financials, and growth model are going to be clutch. Use these measurable and tangible items to show that venture capitalists can get rich on your idea. If venture capitalists were just looking at getting a standard return on investment, they’d be putting their money into mutual funds.

If they think that your idea is awesome in the short term but is mostly a clone of other ideas, you’re less likely to get buy in, as their investment isn’t secured by its uniqueness. Be persistent, enthusiastic, and data-driven, and you massively increase your chances.


app contestsApp contests


Entering your app into an app contest can be a great for exposure, feedback, and potentially for a prize.

Most app contests charge an entry fee, which cumulatively funds the prize money for the winner. Even if you don’t win, you’ll still get the fringe benefits that come from having people see and tell you about your app.

Since contests change year to year, it’s impossible to curate a list that will last. The best plan is to start by simply searching online.


app bank loansBank loans


If you approach a bank, remember that most banks make small business loans based on the current business, your expansion model, and your credit, but not on the product itself.

Another consideration with banks is that they rarely (if ever) make loans for the full amount to fund your company. You’ll need to bring your own collateral. In order to get a loan for your app development, you’ll have to show that you have buy-in from other investors or your own personal capital.

Or, if you’re creating an app as an extension of another business you run, and you’re willing to consider that as collateral, then the bank is more likely to fund your expansion.

Bank loan resources

7 Steps To Getting A Business Loan

How to Get a Business Loan in 5 Steps


Note: Don’t give away your entire business to investors


Remember that the amount of business ownership you sell to investors can actually dictate the future of your company. When people become partial owners and partners, they have a say in what happens. When other people and groups own the majority of your business, they can actually fire you. You could literally go through the act of creating and funding your business only to have the people who financed you put you out to pasture. It’s not the norm, but it’s also not unheard of.


Go Get Your App Funded


Funding is typically one of the last stages before pulling the trigger on an app development project. While fundraising, prototyping, and pitching works in cycles, the first development phase is the point where your dreams start becoming reality. Follow the steps in this guide to determine what funds you’ll need, how to prepare your pitch, and which funding resource you’ll be using and knock you funding presentation out of the park. Good luck and we’ll see you in the app store!

Did we miss any tips or tricks for acquiring app development funding? Leave us a comment and let us know.

Now that you know how to fund your app it’s time to learn more about how development works. Click below to download “An Entrepreneur’s Guide To Mobile App Development”

mobile app development guide