Back to glossary

In-App Marketing

So, your app is on the market.

It’s getting attention and downloads. You even have a healthy number of daily active users. What next?

It’s time to take full advantage of that engagement with a solid in-app marketing campaign that will drive revenue. If you’re not sure what that means or want some help on forming strategies, not to worry–that’s what we’re here for! Read on for a deep dive into in-app marketing and tips for developing your own unique approach.

What does “in-app marketing” mean?

The term “In-app marketing” refers to any kind of marketing campaign that is developed for, and deployed within, a mobile application. While there’s a lot of variety in specific methodologies, we’ll be discussing how to connect with users that have already installed your app and started their first session. This includes a number of in-app communication tactics designed to promote desired behaviors and drive revenue, such as:

  • Promoting virtual goods and currencies for sale in an app’s IAP (In-App Purchase) store
  • Incentivizing social shares for the purposes of attracting more installs
  • Encouraging engagement with rewarded ad placements
  • Fostering interest in loyalty programs and scheduled engagement
  • Informing active users of features included in the latest update

While your own in-app marketing strategies will vary based on your specific platform and app format, what’s important is making everything easily accessible for your users and keeping your messaging fresh. Staying on top of the latest marketing trends can be challenging, but the results are worth it.

Customer and community engagement

Many successful in-app marketing strategies borrow fundamental principles from traditional marketing campaigns. As always, marketers need to know their audience. Knowing the average age, habits, and lifestyle trends of your target customers will help ensure your communications resonate. According to Forbes, targeted marketing approaches like these are more successful than campaigns developed for a general audience.

Next, your campaigns have to be on-trend and creative. This means staying on top of what the newest operating system capabilities are and taking full advantage, even if they change frequently. In-app marketing placements that take the form of traditional ad formats like full screen rewarded video or offerwalls remain consistently effective, but creative marketing pros are always coming up with new ways to promote their products. Monitor the market to see what tactics are being employed by the apps at the top of the charts, as well as those being spotlighted in the app stores by Apple and Google.

For example, sophisticated sharing tools like those seen in the Nike+ app allow users to share their fitness accomplishments with their social networks. Including this feature comes with the added benefit of raising awareness of the app via the implicit endorsement of its community. Give your users a reason to show the world how they’re using your app on social media, and your daily install numbers will benefit.

Keeping users informed

Effective mobile marketers use in-app marketing to keep users up to date on new features and available content. Full screen interstitials can be used to let users know what has changed or been added in your newest update, or to suggest how they can engage with your in-app economy for a better experience. For example, Spotify regularly reminds non-paying users they can upgrade to a subscription package that includes a commercial-free listening experience. Marketing communications like these are most effective when they include a prominent button or link that directs users to take immediate action.

Along with Nike and Spotify, Starbucks is a leader in the field of effective in-app marketing. Their mobile marketing team regularly updates their mobile app content to feature new drinks, snacks, and discounts. All promotions include a clear call to action for customers to order these items. In-app marketing campaigns like these are most effective when they’re personalized based on each individual’s in-app behavior. Users appreciate birthday messages and recommendations for products based on recent searches.

In-app marketing tactics to avoid

While every app requires its own approach, there are a number of practices that every mobile marketer should watch out for. Most importantly, campaigns should not be intrusive or interrupt a user’s intended experience. Promotional videos or interstitials shouldn’t be difficult to dismiss and should make graceful use of screen space. Communications should be clear enough to be noticed while prioritizing user experience above all else. While most marketers like to cultivate a unique brand voice, keep in mind that most mobile businesses have found success in cultivating a natural and conversational tone.

Earn revenue from your app

Sign up to start monetizing your app with ironSource.