4 Strategies for marketing Mobile App in Kenya

Kenya’s technological space is fast growing with increased smartphone penetration in the country at 7 million users. It is recognized as one of the key destinations for technological innovations in the African continent and a significant player both as a producer and consumer. Kenya is active in the mobile app production cutting across different industries including tourism, finance, gaming, health, and transport among others. With many established and new mobile applications in these industries, competition for the market is inevitable. Moreover, some local apps are competing against global players making market penetration even harder. Nonetheless, even with relatively lower competition in the local market, the Kenyan mobile apps are still grappling with the market dynamics. This is partly attributed to poor marketing strategies used by the app producers. Other factors include poor user experience, unmatched functionality, etc. The article highlights some of the effective marketing approaches appropriate for mobile apps.

The first step to marketing your mobile app is to set up your goals as you would do other marketing campaigns. Focusing on the app specific nuances set measurable, specific and realistic goals for your marketing plan. Mobile apps come with completely different KPIs specific to the market such as cost-per-download, store rankings, app store optimization and user acquisition among other. It is thus important to understand the effects of these KPIs in your marketing plan. Additionally, you can further break down your goals into primary and secondary to help drive your marketing plan. An important factor to note is that these mobile app marketing goals should reflect the company objectives. If they are not aligned with the company objectives then you may end up not realizing your product specific goals. In essence your product-specific marketing plan should be a subset of the company’s general marketing strategy.

Perform market research

Market research starts from the early stages of app development. Before starting the development process you should have a better understanding of the market dynamics and the key players in your target area. You can apply superior marketing strategy but if the app is not addressing a pain-point then it is likely to fail. For example, if you are developing a money lending app you should collect appropriate information about other players in the market such as Tala, Branch and others. Identify your unique offering that will get users downloading your app. Otherwise no one wants to fill up their phone space with app that do the same thing or those they have no use for. Therefore, identifying your app’s unique selling point is vital to the development and marketing strategies.  Having appropriate information about your competitors will be vital in creating impactful message to your audience. Moreover, you will be able to improve your marketing processes and maneuver through the market challenges.

Marketing research is also important for your marketing plan to help create a defined audience. Like any other marketing strategy trying to reach everyone with your marketing message is a waste of time and resources. For example, targeting 60-70 year old audience with a party event app may not be as efficient as targeting a youthful demography. Your market research should help you identify and choose specific groups of consumers interested in your app. You should be able to create their profiles based on details such habits, demographics, and lifestyles. This will significantly boost the effect of marketing effort.

Select appropriate app marketing channel

You can advertise your app in any platform including billboards, website banners, mass media channels, and touch points among others. However, relying on these platforms alone may not be effective to realize the objectives such as the increasing downloads. Advertising in such platforms comes with a clunky process where the user will have to pull out their phones to look up the app after seeing the ads. The best app marketing channel is mobile where potential customers are. Promoting the app through mobile advertising networks such as Google Adwords has proven effective for most companies. They have proven to be low-cost and efficient for reaching the target audience segment. In essence it is easier for a user to click a pop up of another app on their mobile phones than having to pull out their phones to such your app in the app store. In some cases you app may not have been indexed and by the apps store search engines and thus may not show up on search hence a user may end up downloading a different app.

Optimize you app for the app store

App optimization also known as App Store Optimization (ASO) involves making you app visible to potential customers. It comprises of strategies aimed at making you app rank higher in the app store search results. Like search engines, your app should feature in the top results when someone searches apps similar to yours. Similarly, your app should come up when a user searches relevant search topics. For example, if a user searches for eazypay then similar apps such as KCB bank or NIC banks should be featured in the result page. Similarly, if a user searches for keywords such as mobile money in Kenya then apps like Tala and Branch should be featured in the result list. Here are some of tips to boost your ASO:

  • Make your mobile app title focused and readable.
  • In the description section describe clearly the problems your app solves using relevant keywords. Using relevant keywords helps the app store search engines itemize and categorize your app for increased visibility. For example, a transport app like Ma3Route would use a keyword like “Nairobi traffic app” to target motorist looking for traffic navigation routes within the city.
  • The app icon serves as a logo that uniquely identifies the app from others in the market and therefore should be uniquely designed to reflect its essence. It should also be designed for both mobile and desktop users. While in most mobile apps searches happen in mobile some users prefer learning about the app on desktop and the last thing you want is your icon looking pixelated in desktop.
  • We are visual creatures and having clear screenshots showing the key features of your app is vital for boosting its download rate. Users should be able to have an idea of the core functions of your app by looking at the screen shots.

Social media promotion

Social media platforms like Facebook have proven effective for promoting apps to reach potential customers. They provide access to vital information about users’ demographics, psychographics, hobbies etc. This helps you target a more defined audience for optimum effect. However, it is important to understand how different social media networks operate in terms of audience targeting and the analytics.