How to Optimize Your Mobile App Marketing Budget

Jennifer Wong

ABI research estimates mobile users will download 70 billion apps in 2013. With more businesses investing their marketing budgets in promoting mobile apps, it’s more important than ever to optimize spend to generate the largest return on your marketing investment.

They Key to Running a Successful App Marketing Campaign

The key to running a successful app marketing campaign is being able to track and attribute your marketing spend. As with your other marketing campaigns, having the technology in place to track the performance of your channels will give you the insight later to recognize what is and isn’t working. Unfortunately in the world of paid media for mobile ads, ad networks and other traffic sources aren’t consistent in their support of various types of ad tracking methodologies. As an advertiser, you must diversify the types of tracking methodologies you use so that you can advertise on a variety of networks that support particular methods of tracking.

In order to gain access to the largest amount of media inventory, your app should support as many ad tracking methodologies as possible. This will give you the opportunity to reach the widest audience and generate large install volumes. Having the large data set allows you to identify and focus on the high-performing media sources.

There isn’t a standard tracking method that spans across the entire landscape for mobile ad inventory. Ad networks, real-time bidding exchanges, and premium networks all support several types of tracking methodologies. However, incentivized networks and paid social referrals use tracking methods that support device identifying technologies, since reconciliation needs to happens once a conversion takes place. Depending on the media source, marketers need to recognize the tracking methodologies it supports.

The Metrics to Measure

After you have the tracking capabilities in place, the second step of optimizing your mobile app budget is to analyze the data to turn it into actionable insights that improve your mobile app marketing campaign.

Optimization is a critical component of every mobile app marketing program. You want to make sure you are spending your budget in an efficient way, to drive the best results from what you are spending.

There are many way to conduct tests to find efficiencies in your spend. A common example is to set up detailed multivariate tests to find specific high-performing audiences. Accurate tracking and optimization reduces wasted ad spend by allocating budget to high performing sources.

As you plan your media buys for your campaign, there is no guaranteed method to know which ad networks or traffic sources will deliver the largest number of installs. You also have to consider the quality of users that are installing your app. It’s important to discover if they are loyal users that you can monetize or a one time user that will never open your app again.

Many mobile tracking solutions track, attribute, and report only on downloads. This method only allows for advertising that can be optimized based on install data. While useful, relying exclusively on install conversions may lead to wasting a significant portion of the advertising budget because only a fraction of downloads convert into loyal users.

It’s crucial to track post-download events, such as in-app purchases, sales, registrations, level completions, upgrades, etc., that are important to your business. The ideal optimization aligns the combination of traffic sources with the specific targeting attributes that are driving the high-quality users who show engagement post initial install. These are the users who ultimately drive your business.

Jennifer Wong

Jennifer is the VP of Marketing at TUNE. Weekdays, she's all about helping marketers better measure their mobile campaigns. Weekends include brunch and blogging. Find all her thoughts on marketing here.