Influencer Marketing: Brand New Way to Market a Mobile App

Andrew Klubnikin
Jun 23, 2016 · 6 min read

By 2017, less than 0.1% of all mobile applications out there will be commercially successful. With one thousand new apps added to the App Store each day, the chances your masterpiece will replicate Flappy Bird’s success do not look great. As a result, both app publishers and software vendors look for new techniques and channels to promote their products. And that’s why influencer marketing is trending.

What is influencer marketing & why is it huge?

An influencer is a person who is well-known in your industry. It’s somebody — a blogger, fashion journalist, speaker or simply a creative person with massive support on social media — your target audience is looking to for information. A couple of years ago being an influencer was celebrities’ prerogative; today anyone can start a YouTube channel or create a popular Instagram account. Look at Scott Disick. We all say he’s “famous for nothing”, but the chap has nearly 20 million followers on Instagram and works as an influencer, charging up to $ 20 thousand per post.

Still, there is a thin line between influencer marketing and celebrity endorsement. Justin Bieber doesn’t have to be a fashion guru to advertise Calvin Klein boxers — and Scott Disick probably doesn’t know a single thing about Bootea protein shakes he’s been promoting lately.

An influencer is a specialist who’s built a community in a niche space.

If you launch a mobile app & get a positive review from TechCrunch, your app will most likely top the App Store/Google Play charts. If Eric Bangeman from Ars Technica praises your brand-new social game, be prepared to give interviews on a regular basis. An influencer may even come from inside your own company — and yes, customers can be influencers, too! In fact, 90% of online shoppers admit their buying decisions are often driven by other customers’ reviews.

4 reasons why influencer marketing is the next big thing

· We see influencers as peers. Can you imagine running into Ellen DeGeneres in the street and talking to her like she’s your bestest friend? Well, I don’t think so. Influencers, on the contrary, are simple guys like me and who want to share knowledge with followers and interact with them on social media;

· We value stories we can relate to. A good influencer never uses scripts. He tries a product himself and expresses his opinion, usually telling followers how the product in question helps him to deal with some problem. Sometimes the strategy works even with celebrity endorsement. Jessica Simpson suffered from acne and tried Proactive Plus. The cosmetics did an amazing job, and Jessica became the brand’s huge advocate. The singer shared her story with the public, and the advertising campaign became a massive success;

· We need freedom of choice. Years ago TV, radio and printed media were the only advertising channels out there — and the only sources of entertainment, too. Things change. Forrester claims 50% of US population will soon be “cord-nevers” (it’s not even “cord-cutters”, right?). The percentage is even higher among millennials. Since 2013, the US cable TV industry has lost over 2 million customers — and more is to come (we have smartphones and Apple TV after all). Now it’s your customers who decide what type of content they consume & how to interact with it. With influencer marketing, you can reach out to your target audience through a channel they follow of their own will;

· We make spontaneous decisions. 50% of smartphone owners who shop on mobile end up buying something different from what they intended to buy simply because they get influenced by customer reviews and promotional content. 60% of your potential customers are likely to buy a product recommended by a famous YouTuber. Being there at the very moment of purchase is something you can easily achieve through influencer marketing, so…are you in?

Guide to launching a successful influencer marketing campaign

· Plan your marketing strategy. Before you partner with a famous blogger or social media personality, you should think your campaign over and set the goals you want to achieve with the help of a third-party marketer (or marketers; IT experts recommend that you should hire at least 5 to test different channels & types of content). Every video or photograph an influencer shares must give your customers an incentive to do something (download a mobile game from the App Store, write a review or visit your website). Unlike contextual advertising, influencer content will basically live on forever; how are you going to use it once the first spark of success dies out?

· Choose the right platform & form of content. Tweets and Instagram pics surely increase your brand’s popularity, but with Twitter you’re always limited to 140 characters — and you can’t click on Instagram pics to get to another website. Short-form content is not really effective when it comes to driving ROI and making your potential customers take an immediate action once they receive your message. Here’s an example. Your small company sells designer clothes. Posting a photograph of a fancy dress on Facebook is not enough to encourage users to click on the link below it and purchase the item. But if an influencer records a 2-minute video telling about your company (and how your dresses are made), your chances of success will be a lot higher. Also, long-form content improves search engine results;

· Be brief & articulate. Never treat influencer-generated video content as advertising. If you think you can record a short movie and put your company’s title and logo all over it, go back to the Sixties. Wake up, guys! Thanks to smartphones, humans now have shorter attention spans than goldfish. Don’t hesitate to deliver your message — and don’t be too pushy, of course! If you’re a nobody, you can display products of a well-established brand alongside yours. Customers don’t give a damn about your company. They come to an influencer’s page to learn what he’s been up to lately;

· Provide creative freedom to influencers. A content professional doesn’t need your script to write an engaging article & seamlessly integrate your message into his story. Instead, provide him with free samples of your product, be it a pair of trendy jeans or a mobile app. Your brand’s ambassador should get excited & really passionate about your iOS application. If you manage to convert him into a customer, you’re doomed to success. Once you achieve positive results, make sure to go back to the same content creator and do more promotion;

· Do not try to measure everything. Do not treat influencers as street actors looking for a part-time job. You can’t just hire one and dump him once you achieve the desired result — simply because you can’t really evaluate the results of your campaign unless you distribute coupon codes or track the number of app downloads. It doesn’t mean influencer marketing bares no fruit; you just need to wait a little longer till they are ripe.

In case you wonder why work with influencers in the first place (after all, the future of advertising lies in the Internet of Things), here are some things to consider. Mobile ads traditionally underperform (unless we’re talking about die-hard Androiders who’d rather tolerate advertising than upgrade to an app’s paid version). By 2020, the global video traffic will amount for 82% of all consumer traffic — compared to 70% in 2015. Posting informative SEO-friendly articles on your corporate blog is a great way to promote your goods and services; however, it will take you months (if not years!) to get things off the ground.

Working with an influencer is a perfect opportunity to deliver your transparent & 100% human message to your target audience a lot quicker.

It’s like having a third-party validation stamp on your product. And it’s going to work — provided you build a great application that will turn the App Store upside down!

Andrew Klubnikin

Written by

Senior Content Manager at R-Style Lab — custom software development company (IoT, Web, Mobile, AR, VR) with a business office in San Francisco, CA.

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