Focus On Video To Boost App Marketing And Buzz

It’s a key takeaway in my forthcoming VB Insight practitioner’s guide,which draws on 35 interviews with ASO professionals and an informal survey of over 500 ASO users to map out  app marketing best practices and identify the ‘Next Big Thing’ just over the horizon.

Recent research from VentureBeat, which examines the techniques and strategies used by the most successful developers with the largest number of monthly active users, reveals that video is the key capability they are using to drive interest, buzz and downloads. It’s also the best way to build brand at a time when an increasing number of users are searching for app companies by name, not just general keywords.

Emotive and effective marketing

Read between the lines, and app developers and companies would do well to borrow a page from successful consumer brands and engage in emotive and effective marketing using images that leave a lasting impression. Brand building is moving to the top of the agenda, and video is a BIG part of what will determine if you fly high or fall flat in the year ahead.

Get it right and you can hit it big, particularly if your video trailer or ad goes viral via a social network such as Twitter or Facebook. Even better if it drives users to your app or YouTube channel, which benefits from having a billion viewers as well as one of the most solid search engines in the world.

The data tells us the audience for video is there. And so is the massive opportunity to take your app to new heights — even if you don’t have millions to spend on mobile video ad formats and creatives.

Rovio Entertainment Ltd.,  the Finnish developer, publisher, distributor of blockbuster entertainment and apps including Angry Birds, needs no convincing. To the contrary, ‎User Acquisition Lead An Vu tells me video is “priority” in the company’s wider app marketing strategy to build both audience and brand. She reports the video trailer advertising Angry Birds 2 in the app store “improved conversion by 60%” and “cut CPI in half.” She also observes that “users from video ad networks have about 20% higher retention on average than other ad networks.”

These results kicked off a re-think within the app company about the real value of video. “We have a  good ROI on video but the real value is linked to the quality of users. Their value is  much higher because they are engaged by marketing that really shows, not just tells, the awesome features about our games that formats like icons, screenshots and text descriptions simply can’t communicate.”

Know your options

Video is also aligned with how all companies, not just app companies, need to approach marketing to an audience that prefers to experience content, not read it.

App developers have two options to choose from:

  • Mobile video advertising to promote your app using the framework of an ad network or platform such as AdColony, Vungle, Unity or any of the number of major players beefing up their offer with video ad tech.
  • Mobile video on the app store to support your overall app marketing efforts. The arrival of app trailers on the iTunes app store last year and the option open to app developers and companies to embed YouTube videos into Google Play further paves the way for video to help sell your app on-store and off.

If you choose to make a video ad, keep in mind that providing a ‘sneak peek’ into gameplay doesn’t just get users super-excited about going to app store to download the app to experience it first-hand. Andrew French, who leads the EMEA office for AdColony, the HD mobile video advertising and monetization platform belonging to Opera Mediaworks, points out it can shave a sizeable percentage off your overall UA budget.

“Video campaigns also cut down on wasted efforts and spend because users know precisely what they are getting into; they know what to expect and they genuinely want the app for that reason,” he explains.  The result is more users who are aligned with the app from the get-go, and more likely to spend more time (and money) to savor the full experience.

Advantages for UA

Users who come to your game via video ads and trailers may not end up being ‘whales’, but you can count on them to convert.

This dovetails with data from Nordcurrent, a developer and publisher of casual games based in Vilnius, Lithuania, best known for its addictive F2P Cooking Fever app — which counts “over 15 million” monthly active users.

“Users who downloaded our game after watching a video were 50% more likely to convert to a paying user, compared with users that just watched a display ad,” observes Nordcurrent CEO Victoria Trofimova. She credits the positive results to a strategy built on viral creatives and a cautious approach to video rotation.

“When we introduce a new video we do A/B testing with our advertising partners to check on how it performs compared to our other videos,” Trofimova explains. After if ticks all the boxes, and hits all the KPIs, the video included in the general rotation.

It’s all part of the wider app marketing strategy that has allowed the company to claim — and maintain — a top ranking position in the app stores.

It’s an impressive success, but not a benchmark that you can reach if you run your business —or your video campaigns — blind. KPIs always come first in any marketing campaign, not just video. Be sure to map out the metrics and objectives for what you want to achieve and make the match with attribution and analytics packages to measure and gauge your success (or failure).

About Peggy Anne Salz

Peggy Anne Salz is the Content Marketing Strategist and Chief Analyst of Mobile Groove, a top 50 influential technology site providing custom research to the global mobile industry and consulting to tech startups. She is also a VentureBeat mobile analyst, frequent Forbes contributor and guest contributor for a variety of leading media outlets, including the Harvard Business Review, where she shares her insights on mobile marketing, mobile apps, customer engagement and business innovation.

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