By Thorsten Trapp, Chief Technology Office, tyntec
You have a great app. You believe in its potential.
Now it’s time for the pay-off.
But the harsh truth is: the world is not waiting for your app.
For every story you heard about a kid who programed an app in his basement and became a millionaire overnight, there are hundreds of thousands who place great apps in the various app stores and nothing happens.
Because no one noticed.
How to get noticed?
It is a problem that app developers and marketers are all familiar with. The best brains have filled books and blogs on how to best overcome the challenges of bringing an app to market.
But the intricacies of both app marketing and app-store positioning have never been harder. Even large, well-known brands that have a head start in terms of recognition and marketing spend struggle to make an impact.
One route that many are using is price management – adapting prices to ensure continued presence in app store charts. However, this approach can quickly result in a ‘race to the bottom’ that is unsustainable.
Other marketing tactics, such as advertising, PR or sponsorship can help to maintain a price level, but the cost of these tactics usually means a prohibitive cost per acquisition for all but the most expensive apps.
What are friends for?
Another option is recommendation. Encouraging users to recommend your app to their friends can generate downloads at minimal marginal cost, maintaining price margins whilst minimising CPA.
But the word is out and so-called word-of-mouth marketing – fuelled by the plethora of social media platforms – has quickly become the Holy Grail of marketing
Yet unfortunately, in marketing, when everyone’s doing it, the communication channels get clogged up.
And so you’re back to square one: no one notices.
One recommendation solution that has been overlooked in the web-savvy world of app developers is the use of SMS.
Whilst the idea of using SMS to market apps might seem counterintuitive, it being ‘old technology’ and all – there are many arguments in its favor.
- SMS has undeniable cut through. According to UK Telecoms regulator Ofcom, 97.5 percent of SMS are usually read within 5 seconds
-SMS is trusted and personal. Consumers consider an SMS from a friend as trust-worthy and act upon it.
- SMS can be extremely cost effective. In low termination rate territories, in particular, you can send messages at a cost which keeps the cost per acquisition low.
- SMS is a feature on every phone. All app developers need to do is integrate an SMS recommendation tool within their app and they know it will work.
- SMS guarantees complete interoperability. You can send a text secure in the knowledge that it will work on the recipient’s phone, whatever make, model or Operating System it uses.
Simple math, simple mechanics
In the end, of course, it comes down to the cost per acquisition (CPA).
Now imagine customers were incentivized to send a free SMS to contacts they choose right out of an app with a recommendation to download the app, including a link leading straight to the app in the app store required for the handset.
Friends and contacts would not only trust the recommendation and likely download the app – the stickiness factor will be higher too. Users are more likely to act on something have been recommended personally. In fact recommendations from people you know achieved a 92% trust rating in Nielson’s Global Trust in Advertising survey, Q3 2011.
Assuming the prevailing model in which you, the app owner, carries the cost for the SMS and not the customer, you are looking at a calculation that is, in simple terms: Number of SMS required to gain a new user x the cost of SMS.
SMS prices vary. The number of SMS required to achieve conversion will also be greatly different from app to app. But the CPA is low.
But the potential that exists here is blindingly obvious.
You get a bang for your buck and you rise above the noise on an underused word-of-mouth marketing channel.
And, after all, those are two key factors that will count when you are trying to launch that app of yours.