How to market an Android app
As a massive market consisting of 2.5 billion devices around the world, the Android app market offers mobile app advertisers immense scale and access to niche demographics around the world. In addition to Google, which purchased Android in 2005, these 2.5 billion devices are manufactured by a long list of OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). The key OEM players in the Android market are Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Motorola, HTC, and Asus.
The Google Play Store is likely the most popular distribution channel on Android devices, and often a go-to for most Android app marketers. However, because unlike iOS, Android is a completely open operating system, the Android market also offers dozens of alternative distribution options. This includes third-party app stores such as the Samsung Galaxy Store and Huawei AppGallery, as well as technology partners such as ironSource Aura that connects advertisers with users through OEM and carrier partnerships.
5 tips for how to market and advertise your Android app
As we mentioned, there’s more to the Android market than the Google Play Store. The Play Store, while a great starting point for app distribution, is hyper crowded and competitive - after all there are now more than 3 million apps available to download, making organic discovery almost impossible. That’s why the next logical step most app companies take is putting their budgets behind advertising.
Let’s run through a few best practices to ensure you market and advertise your Android app and get it in front of relevant, engaged users at scale.
1. Choose the right KPI for your performance campaigns
Before running any sort of advertising campaign, be sure to set your KPIs, or your goals. Are you aiming to increase downloads? Registrations? First purchases? Do you want users to reach a certain page in your app?
If you’re launching in a new market, scale and downloads may be what you’re looking for. But if you have a sale on certain items, first purchases may be a better metric to optimize towards. By setting the goal ahead of time, you’ll be able to more easily evaluate the effectiveness of your campaign later on.
2. Diversify and launch on multiple channels in the Android market
The key to any successful user acquisition strategy is diversification - that means not only running ad campaigns on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram, but also on mobile ad SDK networks like ironSource, display advertising platforms like Google Display Network, and technology partners that distribute apps via OEM and carrier partnerships like Aura.
Each channel will provide you access to a specific segment of users - but by running them all together, you’re casting the widest net you can. Using the KPIs you set, be sure to evaluate the performance of each channel - you may find that one ad source offers high scale but low engagement users for your Android app, but another channel offers low scale but high engagement users who end up paying down the line. Which channels are worth continuing to pay for and which should be put on pause?
3. Work with a partner that can provide access to your niche demographic
There are hundreds if not thousands of advertising sources available - one if not a few of them likely have direct access to your Android app’s niche demographic. If your app is for students, find a channel that can deliver your ads to them. If your app is localized only for a specific country, work with a partner that knows the ins and outs of what consumers in that country are interested in.
Much of this will also rely on your partner’s targeting capabilities. Many larger channels, because they’re so widespread, also have access to niche demographics, but require machine learning algorithms to deliver your ads to them. Be sure to ask your advertising partners how granular their targeting is and also what demographics they have access to.
4. Test creatives often and pull ones that don’t perform well
Just like you test the effectiveness of your ad sources, be sure to test the effectiveness of your creatives as well. Whether you’re running a video ad campaign on Facebook or a full screen offer on Aura, you should always be measuring CTR, CVR, IPM, and whichever other KPIs you set in the beginning of your campaign. Run a 2-3 creatives at once and see which one delivers the highest performance. Once you’ve narrowed it down and stopped running the low-performing ones, continue making slight adjustments - there’s always room for improvement, and always something to tweak.
On OEM and carrier channels like Aura, there’s much less effort involved in tweaking creatives - since the ad placements are a part of the device lifecycle. But even in these situations, where perhaps only the app icon is present, work with your partner to find the design that delivers maximum performance.
5. Localize your ad campaigns
Localization is a powerful tool, but one that’s often forgotten about. The Android market spans the entire world, and offers both high-end devices that are more commonly seen in first-world countries as well as low-end devices more common in second or third world countries. Be sure to localize the language and design of your ad creatives according to the country you’re running in. It’s important to highlight that localization doesn’t stop at translating language - different cultures respond to different designs, so watch out for specific colors and animations that are known to work better than others.