7 growth hacks to maximize the reach of your mobile app

This article is a summary of my talk at App Promotion Summit in London. The video can be seen here and the slides are here: Growth Hacking For Apps at #APSLondon.

We’ve reached millions of users thanks to these growth hacks

During the talk, in addition to amazing articles and resources spotted during my strategic watch, I give many examples of apps I’ve been working on and for which we applied these techniques with success (Deezer, Viadeo, LeKiosk, Consult, …), sometimes leading to millions of new users. Indeed, I estimate that Deezer and Spotify grew their apps downloads to tens of millions (and also retention) just with deep linking, viral loops and proper content SEO (at that time in 2010, we didn’t have a marketing budget at all — startup mode!). Note that it was also the time the FB feed was all open / unfiltered, so all music sharings were appearing, allowing an amazing viral loop.

Love, Money and Growth

First, my talk starts with a brief introduction to startup life and to AARRR (Acquisition — Activation — Retention — Revenue — Referral), which is the typical funnel to focus on when building a startup. And that’s also true for an app! I prefer to use the cycle “Love, Money and Growth”. Indeed, before even thinking about growth, you have to ensure your users love your product. On this matter, the concept of Minimum Lovable Product is quite interesting! (@AndrewChen’s take on Minimum Desirable Product is great too) So, as mentioned, “Love” for your product has to come first. It’s indeed quite useless to try to grow a product people don’t love (or don’t love YET — indeed it’s a search and discovery process, with iterations and pivots, and it’s all about Product Management). During that phase, we aim to reach a status called Product / Market fit. Then it’s time to focus on growth, and to leverage growth hacking methodologies and techniques. To get what growth hacking is, the article “Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing” is definitely a must read (@AndrewChen again!)

7 growth hacks for mobile apps:

  • Hack your existing marketing chanels: Deep linking is more and more an essential factor to leverage all your existing marketing assets, and is the ground to quite all other growth hacks for mobile apps. There are now many deep linking solutions providers: Tune, AppsFlyers, Adjust, URX, Deeplink.me, AppUrl, Tapstream… Some actors like Branch even use deferred deep linking to do quite advanced magic on personalization (more on that later). Everything about deep linking here: http://www.apptamin.com/blog/mobile-deep-linking/
  • Hack expectation: hack your landing page, and launch much prior to app to collect leads / Beta testers contacts. They’ll help you build a better app and they’ll be the 1st evangelizers of the app at launch.
  • Hack SEO with App content: description of the app on appstores and landing page is quite poor. Why not index all the great content that is in the app? (SEO, App indexing, …)
  • Hack ASO: ASO relies most on optimizing the number of conversions to app install, compared to the number of people that visited your appstores pages. So, it’s obvious that visual elements people can see on this formatted page are critical. The app name, texts, app icon and screenshots have to be crafted very well to ensure maximum impact — and optimizing these can lead to conversions increase of up to 30%. But how to test them? How to find what works, since there’s not much ways to “try” on the appstores pages? Comes the “App store proxy” technique: we create a fake landing mobile web landing page that looks exactly like app store page, and we do all the tests on it. Then we replicate the findings on the app store pages. And there are tools for that: SplitMetrics, StoreMaven and TestNest
  • Hack ratings and reviews: I won’t provide any detail here, it has to be seen in the slides and this article has to be read — The Right Way To Ask User To Review Your App. Basically, this is a virtuous mechanism that favors good ratings & reviews, and helps you to collect feedback to build a better product and satisfy your users even more. Note that it’s not new, the main evangelizers of this technique were Apptentive and Helpshift — both provide tools to make it work with your helpdesk.
  • Hack virality: When WoM (Word of Mouth) works, social networks and sharing mechanics are just technical ways to amplify it. But it’s then essential to growth and speed of growth. However, it’s not something that can be created artificially, and it requires a lot of time (tests / measure / tweek) before getting real results / sustainable growth. In case of mobile apps, there are now nice tools to favor sharings (Facebook App Invites, Google App Invites, …). Two channels are often forgotten when talking about sharing: email and SMS. And it appears these 2 ones are just powerful for virality, because they allow to share a specific content privately and to targeted contacts.

As quotted by Peggy Anne Salz:

  • Hack referral: A referral program right within the app can be a huge growth driver, particularly if it’s incentivized. And now there are amazing tools to create them easily with deep linking but also personalized on-boarding which dramatically increase the conversion. Indeed, without such technique (known as deferred deep linking), the app store acts as a “cycle breaker” when the app gets installed by the invitee. Deferred deep linking uses ad tracking mechanisms, but instead of triggering an ad attribution, these services trigger personalization on first app opening. I’m personally a huge fan of Branch (also known as BranchMetrics) both for their product and contents, but Yozio and Hokolinks are great tools too.

Last part of the slides showcases the app Consult (an app for doctors), where we mixed a lot of these techniques, including a nice way to ask your users to share your app. Finally, since I’m a product guy, I also have a slide deck on how to build a great app: http://fr.slideshare.net/AlexandreJubien/mobile-product-build-great-apps-producttank-paris-17
Feel free to reach out to me if you have any feedback to make the slides or the article better!

The slides:

Originally published at www.thinkmobile.fr.