Marketing Your App or Mobile Game

I love to learn, but I also love to share. One of the best parts of my love for marketing is helping friends out, who may have a completely different domain expertise (they often have lot’s of insights to listen to from a different point of view, even when asking for advice). This morning I spoke with an Android developer in Portugal, whom is a best friend from home to a former room mate (yes, the digital universe makes the world much much smaller), who recently launched an Android app for system monitoring and is about to develop a game. We have never met in person, although we connected over a game design book that we both referenced in an introduction email. Below is a G chat conversation we had on how he could get started marketing his app or game. I figured it might be helpful to some of my readers who may also be developers looking to launch an app and need some marketing advice to publish our conversation. After all, one day, I may have an Android SDK problem that I need the favor in return for — just saying, it could happen.

Christian: Have a question about marketing.
I’ve been watching some videos from the guys at Google, about marketing apps
that say that one of the most effective ways of marketing apps is through mobile advertising
Do you agree?

I mean.. Everyone ignores ads, right?
Sent at 9:43 AM on Wednesday

Me: I would agree with mobile advertising being effective.
If I were to market an app, I would look at Admob through Google Adwords as a major tactic to explore.
Simple to start and you have a lot of control.
Also, there are some game marketing platforms out there that market through mobile advertising.
I heard about one yesterday actually…that I am failing to remember now.
Christian: hmm but is a big budget needed in order to get some results?

Classic marketing fallacy that still exists even among marketing execs.

Me: Nope, certainly not.
It is always about marketing mix.
You will likely want to do some paid acquisition through admob and other platforms,
but you certainly don’t need to.
Other tactics:
1) Press – write killer data driven pitches for big journalists. Also, send out personalized pitches to bloggers to write and review your game. Make connections with influencers in the industry that reach your target audience.
2) Make the app inherently viral. Bake it in. Words with Friends, What’s That Phrase, Farmville and the list goes on, in and outside Zynga of games, that are shared in order to play (for the most part).
How can you convert your users into evangelists with as little friction as possible?

Christian: sorry, I don’t understand some of things you wrote (my english still needs improvement)
killer data driven pitches?
Me: Happy to explain.
When you pitch a large journalist for a major publication, you want to provide them something of value
No journalist wants to write about “your cool game”.
They want to know what is going on in the industry that only you would have unique insights into from your angle? What story can you tell that is captivating and enchanting about you and your game? What information do you have that a journalist would need for a great story (where you would be quoted or your game would be mentioned)?

Christian: Oh I see, totally makes sense.
so, take a day or two to really think about the perfect text.

Sent at 9:56 AM on Wednesday
Christian: And what about “users into evangelists with as little friction as possible” ?

Me: You bet, so making a great game that people talk about is technically turning users into evangelists. Although, it is not enough anymore. Give your users reason to share.
For Words with Friends, you have to have friends to play, or at least it is more fun with friends.
How can you make your game more fun with friends?
– “Invite friends” functionality
– ‘See which one of your friends scored higher than me’ or ‘Pick a friend to challenge’
What type of game play can be social and attract you to invite friends?
What about the game makes people talk about the game?
These are the questions you want to ask yourself when designing for a social game that is meant to be shared.
Christian: ok I get it, super info !

Sent at 10:03 AM on Wednesday
Christian: copy/pasting and saving to file
Sent at 10:05 AM on Wednesday
Christian: well, just set up an admob campaign for my app, to give it a try
I’m really curious

I love this instant execution. Can all people be this awesome!

Sent at 10:08 AM on Wednesday
Me: Awesome! Let me know the results
I would be super curious what your cost per click and cost per acquisition come to.
I would also send some pitches to blogs that write about apps, etc
Get great pitch examples through

ok, in case you’re interested about the details of the campaign:
– Total budget: 150$
– Max budget/day: 25$
– Bid price $0.01
– Min Android version: 4.1 (I think users with the most recent version will also be willing to spend more money)
– Geography: USA (40% of my users come from USA and are more willing to pay)
– Demographics: Male users (99% of people that reach to me are guys)
– Age groups: 18 – 64

More from the campaign when results are in. Hope this conversation was helpful. Not gloating about my knowledge, just making some info public that I happen to have experimented with and seen work. Also, please not that there are a lot of other effective tactics not mentioned in here. Until next time!

– Jenna


Launching Your Single on Twitter

Last week I got an email from an old friend of mine whom I worked with when she was a brand manager for the healthy energy drink, Celsuis. She recently found herself on a different path forming a band and making music. She is just about to launch their first single and sent me a quick email for some marketing 101 online using social media. My response is a quick, off the top of my head, no structure, help-a-friend-out email, although the essence is there. So, I decided why not publish it. After all, it might be helpful to another friend working on launching a product that may not have online experience.

Mercedes: Jenna!!  Question.. our single (Leaves) is about to release.  Do you have **any** tips on the Twitter thing?  I already know to release it on a Monday, because there’s a #musicmonday hashtag, but if there’s anything else, please advise.  Last time we talked about Twitter, you told me we need to have music (haha duh!).  Anyway… our Twitter, MySpace, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, FB, Musicpage, etc. is all about to launch.


Hey Girl,

Twitter is just a broadcast and engagement tool. There is no secret sauce. The secret sauce is rather in the landing page. If people are to click your tweets, where will they land? What can they do when they get there? Moving back a few steps: Where do people listen to your music? Do you have a website? Facebook, Twitter, MySpace are just ways to share you content, make sure you have a place to host your product and engage the audience that you are trying to drive through Twitter first. You want people that come from Twitter to actually click your page and listen to your song, not bounce.

Next step, if you know you are launching (for this personal project), email all your friends and give them an exact tweet to send out. I say exact, as you want to give as little friction as possible to helping you out.

Okay, now once they have listened, how do you keep them around? Can they “like” your page or subscribe to your email. Create a call-to-action. What is someone who likes your song going to do next? How do you keep them as a fan to engage later when more songs launch?

On a whole, there is really no one thing you can do, so it is tough to just give a “Twitter plan”. It is all an online marketing mix really.

1. Great website with calls-to-action
2. Broadcast to audience
3. Broadcast as many places as possible in communities (try to go viral in communities, get friends who know each other to share)
4. Build brand equity though community (guerrilla marketing) and press

Rinse and repeat.

Also, before all of this… outline your goals. What do you want from this? Do you expect to make money? Knowing your goals is always step one.

Hope this helps!


From experience, I cannot repeat this enough: Landing page, landing page, landing page. A bad landing page with trump any brilliant campaign from being successful.


A Better Way to Do PR

I have always had a love/hate relationship with public relations. I have been on both sides of the equation (a bombarded journalist and account manager at a PR firm), so I feel for both sides of the deal. That being said, I can’t help but feel that most PR firms don’t care much about you unless you are a Fortune 500.

LOVE                                                         HATE

Connecting with journalists                 Angry/overworked editors whom wish you were dead

The Perks of Press                                 The assumption that press is a marketing strategy

A great interview                                     Pitching to angry/overworked editors who wish you were dead

A great article                                           Inaccurate quotes or a poorly crafter pitch from your firm

At the company I currently work at, we are working our way through the 3 main PR tactics that can be used for press release creation and distribution:

1.Third party PR firm
2. In-house/relationship building (call your friends who are journalists)
3. Press Release online service membership

We recently spent $3k a month for 3 months with a local PR firm for national coverage which would include one major pitch a month. Well, $9k later and three half-assed pitches and not a single play from the deal. All the press we got during the time we had an agency, came from direct personal relationships through our network to journalists. That being said, personal relationships does not work for volume and you can’t call you friends every month with a new announcement. It has got me exploring, as there must be a better way! Time for tactic 3.

So, I started exploring online to actually look into all the resources I have seen around the web these past few years. Here is what I found. I hope it saves you (my fellow marketers) some time in finding the best PR service options on the web).

For sending out releases:

1. PRWeb (under the Vocas umbrella)

2. Marketwire

3. Free Press Release

4. PRLog

5. PRNewswire (A partner of Vocus)

6. GlobalNewswire

For connecting with journalists:

1. HARO (Hire a Reporter Out)- (under the Vocas umbrella)

2. Reporter Connection

3. Expert Tweet

4. PRNewswire

The ones not included are the ones slow to return calls or do not have pricing listed on their website. Why is pricing always a secret!

For Finding a good publicist that is an actual fit:

1. Airpr (coming soon)

This article by Forbes is where I discovered many of these PR services online.

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Social Media Evolution Beyond Broadcasting

Taken from my work on the BNOTIONS blog, where I currently work as Director of Marketing.

“In this day and age, I can’t imagine a company not using Facebook for marketing,” says a Facebook software engineer as we wait for our flight in the Dominican Republic airport. From one bias to another, a Facebook software engineer to a Facebook Preferred Marketing developer, the statement is surprisingly not so outlandish among the world’s marketers. It seems we live in a world of marketing where digital and social are the most accessible, yet powerful tools for every sized business. Even in Dominican Republic, a developing country, social media is used among businesses to market and offer promotions (the topic that initiated our conversation). With more marketing presence emerging through digital means, how do you navigate through the grey matter and join the chatter?

Just because social marketing is accessible does not mean it is one dimensional. Yes, you are in high competition for a mass audience surrounded by lots of noise, but broadcasting is not your only tool. Here is how we suggest navigating Facebook as a business for marketing:

1. Market Research

How else would you get to know your customer? For companies with no budget for formal market research, Facebook can be a great tool for getting to know your  prospective customers for the initial creation of a target market. Who is following the brand? What are there interests? Do they rationally relate to the product service or offering? If not, you may be starting off with the wrong messaging. If they do, get to know them better and find out specific needs through direct conversation.

For BNOTIONS, Facebook gives us a good idea of our community. We can see who are interacting with the brand and how they relate to our client list. Are we interacting with our target segment? In Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm (the technology marketing bible), he walks us through the marketing cycle from early adopter, to visionary, to mainstream markets, to the last majority in the high tech world. It is important to keep a pulse on which segment you have the eyes and ears of as this will clearly direct your marketing efforts. Facebook can give you a nice peek at individuals in your market to see which segment you are currently interacting with. For us, we interact on Facebook with the early adopters who often lead us to visionaries (or the decision makers in large companies for technology adoption). Although, most visionaries have a right-hand man…which most often happens to be an early adopter. Word-of-mouth has to start somewhere and it is better if it is reinforced, so you want to make sure you have the attention of the early adopters before you start planning for the visionaries. Facebook is a great place to confirm this segment for strategic marketing.

2. Feedback and Iteration

Once you have developed a core target market and established your segment that will define your influencers and decision makers, you want to make sure you are listening. Facebook is a free beta testing tool! No need for focus groups, ask your Facebook network. Ask questions and opinions about your industry. Follow up on comments and messages. Facebook is a crowdsourcing tool with a mass network. People are very open to expressing opinions and ideas on Facebook, so do not be afraid to tap into that.

3. CRM

Personally, I think of Facebook as my personal roladex. All my friends in one place and easy to get a hold of. As a business, there are multiple ways you can turn Facebook into a CRM of influencers and prospects.

At BNOTIONS, we build a lot of Facebook apps that help develop specific ‘lists’ for clients. For example, if you are doing a specific promotion for a coupon through a Facebook app, the list of people who interacted for the coupon have shown obvious ‘intent’ or interest. Back to our market research, it gives you an idea if your market is accurate to your prediction, but more importantly, a very clear view of potential customers; who they are and what they like. By creating an app, you can segment your Facebook audience down through specific actions such as downloading coupons, reviewing products, or interacting in other specific ways. We recently did a campaign through Ogilvy and Mather for Scrubbing Bubbles through a Facebook app where users could download a coupon to try the product, review and share with friends. After the campaign, we were able to look at the users of the app and notice qualities, demographics, and other market information.

Reposted from my work on the BNOTIONS blog, where I currently work as Director of Marketing.

4. The Hype Machine

This is the obvious one. Facebook is an amazing broadcast tool. But make sure not to get stuck on the obvious, as we have come to expect more than information from brands; but rather a relationship.

Also, don’t discount Facebook as an amazing traffic referral tool. If you are interacting correctly, you will likely find Facebook in your top 5 sources for referral traffic (the first step in the lead conversation cycle!). Facebook is a great tool for driving traffic to your website that has already interacted with a ‘touch point’ (meaning will likely know your brand before hitting your landing page). We can’t guarantee this will improve your bounce rate, although in many cases this first interaction can certainly guarantee more targeted traffic (along with SEO and SEM).

Here at BNOTIONS, we’ve been fortunate enough to have worked on many Facebook applications on both mobile and desktop over the years. We value our social knowledge and take pride in helping brands connect with their core audience by developing apps that not only promote engagement but clearly define what make them special. We’ve worked on some amazing Facebook projects such as Scotiabank’s “the Richness Project” and Samsung Canada’s “Pursue your Passions“.

Jenna Hannon | Director of Marketing | @JennaHannon

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