Companies have happily found mobile marketing in Finland. Several companies have come to the conclusion that the best way to take advantage of mobile opportunities is to create their own mobile applications. With mobile apps, companies are able to fully utilize the possibilities of mobile devices. With mobile apps, however, the biggest challenge is to get users to find and download the app. Furthermore, downloading the app is not enough; the target is that they become active users of your app.
Did you know:
There are over 2 million mobile apps in Apple’s App Store and over 2.2 million mobile apps in Google Play
About 2,500 mobile apps are submitted daily to Apple’s App Store
Only about 30% of users who have downloaded an app will continue to use the app after the first day
The mobile app market is global, so Finnish mobile companies are competing for people’s time and attention among all apps, not only with apps from Finland. For example, competitors are Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Uber, Foodora, and Pokémon GO. If you want to succeed on mobile devices, it isn’t enough to be the best in Finland. Your app needs to be one of the best in the world. Also including user acquisition/marketing for the app.
Previously, I worked on user acquisition for mobile games. Therefore, I’ve been closely following how different companies are approaching user acquisition for apps. I’ve seen that there is a difference in how well succeed apps from somewhere other than Finland and how they approach user acquisition when compared to Finnish companies (excluding game developers). However, the differences have been detected mostly by my gut feeling and nothing else.
To detect the differences more accurately, I documented the period from March to July 2016, noting all ads that came to me when I assumed the main or sub-objectives were downloading the advertised app. Based on the documentation, I did a short report on how different companies are approaching app marketing for apps.
The report included 195 different ads, which were shown in 50 different media/channels; I divided them into 12 main media categories. The ads advertised 105 different apps; 51 were games and 54 were other apps (utility).
The majority of advertised apps were foreign. This finding further strengthened my conviction that competition on mobile devices is global. Finns’ applications do not compete for the attention of people and space on mobile devices only with apps from Finland.
Based on the report, it can be concluded that the approach of marketing an individual game does not really differ among games. Most of the games were advertised in similar ways and places. Also based on the report, my gut feeling was correct. There were differences in how apps other than games were advertised. Additionally, there are minor differences in how games and other apps were advertised.
When games were advertised, the game/app was more often presented clearly, or it was in the main role when compared how other apps were advertised. This is partly natural because in many cases the most effective way to advertise the game is to show the game(play). When advertising other apps, the main functions of app are different menus and screens, and this might not be the most effective way to advertise the app in all cases. For example, when advertising travel-related apps, it might be more useful to show pictures of travel places than different screens from the app.
In practice, the advertising of games was mainly focused on two different mediums, both of which were within mobile apps. Non-game ads were more evenly spread between several different media. The most common places to advertise were within social media apps and within other mobile apps.
In most cases, the ads directed users directly to app stores. However, if the app that was advertised was a non-game app and it was from Finland, users were directed surprisingly often to a separate campaign page. In some of the cases, this was reasonable, but it was often just an extra barrier to downloading the advertised app. In a few cases, the campaign page did not even have a direct link to the app stores, where the application could have been downloaded.
When directing users to a campaign page, marketers will lose an opportunity to measure the most effective mediums to drive downloads for the app. Unfortunately, if the advertised app was non-gaming and it was from Finland, then in over 40% of cases, the direct effectiveness of marketing was not measured, even if it was possible.
In the report, I assumed that advertising measurement was used if the advertising medium was Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Google. When advertising in these mediums, advertisers usually have SDK integrated in the app, which enables the measurement of how ads are performing in those mediums. When looking at how many case measurements were used, we excluded Facebook, Instagram, and Google—it is clear that Finnish app advertisers don’t utilize the measurement of advertising effectiveness as much as global big players.
In the report, clear differences were found concerning where the users were directed from the ads and the measurement of advertising performances. In the media, choice differences were also found, but these were not as meaningful. The reason for this is that the different mediums are providing the best results from advertising. The best medium depends a lot on the advertised app and the target group of the app.
The difference in ad directions is probably explained by the fact that Finnish companies often make a campaign page for advertising campaigns, and it is not even properly thought through, is it necessary to have a campaign page in app install campaigns. When the campaign page is created based on earlier habits, users from ads are then directed there in order to get traffic to a page and to ensure that creation of the page wasn’t waste of resources. In addition, to the campaign page it is possible to put links for the App Store and Google play and all users haven’t needed to direct only to App Store or Google Play. Rarely a few advertisers is hardly even thought to put a link on ads, which would automatically recognize which device is a user using and then directing the user to the correct app store based on user’s device.
Differences in the measurement of advertising performance between Finnish and foreign app developers/advertisers is explained by the fact that foreign advertisers who advertise their apps in Finland are relatively large players. To them, advertising measurement is vital to understand how the efficiency of the app marketing campaigns can be improved. For many Finnish companies, mobile apps are still a relatively new thing, and their experience of digital analytics is based on web analytics. Finnish companies don’t know enough about the better services and tools available for measuring ad campaigns’ performances and the usage of mobile apps.
Information about how the report was done
The study was run from March to July 2016. During this period, I documented all the ads I saw, with the main or sub-objectives assumed to be application download. The documentation method was screenshots of the mobile device, photographing ads as well as the manual notes. Media I followed were mainly those that I normally use, but, during the report, I used mobile apps more than usual. I went to different websites, I browsed through the various magazines, and I drew attention to the outside of the home while navigating through advertisements. The sampling method was not entirely random nor accurately selected in advance.
Mobile use was usually an Android smartphone, but a few times an iPhone was used. In addition, the ads that came to me were impacted by the target group of different ads. My background in the game industry and the fact that I play a variety of mobile games may have influenced many ads for mobile games appearing on my Facebook and Twitter feeds.
07 Jan 2017
07 Nov 2016