This is the first in the series of actual advice I provide to App entrepreneurs. Checkout the exclusive Facebook group for free advice from successful app entrepreneurs.
If you want personal advice on app marketing, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
K****: Hello Puneet, great work with the wiki page and fb page. I have gotten access and spoken to some really interesting articles and people. I was working on the advertising framework (Ad network) for my app, and was wondering if you had any suggestions as to which would be the best to use.
Puneet: Thanks K****. When you say advertising framework you mean showing others ads on your app right?
K****: yes. Like iad
Puneet: Can we discuss a bit about your app and your business to understand your needs better so that I can make a recommendation?
K****: sure, right now I am trying to create a social app through smartphones. Where you can /* idea Hidden*/
Puneet: ok that’s a great idea. So basically you will need your friends to be using the app as well for it to be valuable or do you pull friends updates from FB , twitter etc without requiring them to use the app?
K****: yes going over through fb only right now.
Puneet: cool. Are you a developer or are you getting the app developed by somebody?
K****: I am a coder, but am working with a team of developers.
Puneet: oh ok. So tell me. If I use your app and do not have any friends using the app, will I still find it useful? The reason is that the strategy will be different based on this.
K****: Well the thing is, if u want to see your friends’ updates, you have got to be using the app and vice versa.
Puneet: makes sense. So there are network effects in play here?
Puneet: I am assuming you have implemented multiple viral features and FB invitation points etc. if you haven’t you should.
K****: Could you give me a few examples.
Puneet: hmmm… check out this topic on wiki: Marketing Features for Apps
These are just a few examples. Take a look at them and I can provide some more info if needed. But let’s proceed with the discussion now.
K****: yes I will definitely go over the points.
Puneet: So you mainly take care of marketing of the apps or do you have others for marketing your apps?
K****: I am looking after the marketing, feature design and business development.
Puneet: ok cool. So you are the only one doing all this?
Puneet: ok cool. How much would you say is your total budget or monthly budget for marketing?
K****: well with what I am currently looking at, my launch budget was around $1K. But the launch has not been planned as of yet. We are still at quite an early stage of development.
Puneet: ok that’s actually quite low but might be ok. You will need to focus on getting a good viral coefficient before you spend your entire budget. So do you pay for the developers or are they your friends and acquaintances? I mean, will you need to continue to pay them after launch?
Puneet: oh I see
K****: we are partners.
Puneet: ok K**** how much do you know about app marketing? I mean have you been doing some research or learned about it?
K****: well I have been doing some research on it. To be honest, this is still a very new concept There are free app strategies, apple features, top charts and the snowball effect, ads through facebook and google. Very interesting topic, but I guess what I know is just the tip of the iceberg.
Puneet: hmmm. Ok K****. So let me first make a few recommendations for you to learn from. Can you share your email address?
K****: sure. email@example.com
Puneet: Now coming to your original question regarding the ad network you should use…. are ads going to be your main channel for monetization? or do you plan to monetize some other way as well?
K****: ads are going to be it I guess. I am going to try and add some in app purchases. But that area is kind of hazy right now, still in development and planning.
Puneet: hmmm… let me give you my frank advice K****.
- The 1K budget is actually pretty low and you will run through it very quickly so the first step for you should be optimizing your viral coefficient
- Once you have a viral coefficient of at least 0.7 then start spending money on FB mobile ads for your app since you want people to be already on FB and not drop off from linking their FB to your app
- Monetizing through ads might not be a good idea for this app. In app purchases might work best
- For your app http://tapfortap.com/ might be best as it will give you free downloads and users. Since your app requires network effects, you need users more than revenues now
K****: So you suggest advertising and distributing through a platform such as tapfortap. Focus on users before promotions. I agree with you about the users, that is the most important factor for our app. However, my revenue generation strategy has not been finalized yet, which is why I am considering all options for ads, as well as in app purchases.
Puneet: yeah that’s what I think. The reason being network effects. if you want to make money now, that is not going to work because users will not value your app enough to use your app long enough to get sufficient revenues from the ads. Ads are a good option but in your case not the best option.
K****: yes that is true. I was thinking of more of a specialization. Ads based on the updates of friends, active friends. Basically targeting ads effectively based on the data I have.
Puneet: hmmm that is definitely a good idea but you will need huge data processing capabilities to do that and you will need an ad network which supports that. I do not know of any ad network which supports anything like that.
K****: well, I was thinking integration with more than one ad network, and classifying each network as a collection of general categories. Some data processing can be avoided through that.
Puneet: may be… but you will end building a lot of backend just for the ads instead of focusing on your main app. You can definitely implement this strategy once your app succeeds. So I guess it is a matter of prioritization.
K****: These are all ideas being looked into right now, as to how to eventually come up with a decent monetization strategy at the end of the day. That has become a big hurdle for developers. In fact recently there was an article about PunchQuest, which has done really well, but has been unable to generate a proportionate amount of revenue. We are a little worried about that happening to us. TapforTap is an interesting marketing tool. I am just going over their website.
Puneet: if you want to make real money then in app purchases is the best option.
K****: I agree. We are a just little lacking in confidence about that though
Puneet: hmm…K**** can I ask you for a favor?
K****: Sure, what can i do
Puneet: can I publish this discussion after removing all confidential info? Your name etc.? Many people will benefit from this.
K****: I’m totally cool with that
Puneet: you might get some more advice as well.
K****: please keep the idea hidden, as it is in quite an early stage of development.
Puneet: sure I will do that… I completely understand your concern.
K****: the rest is all good. You had mentioned viral coefficient earlier. Could you elaborate on that a little bit please? How to measure it etc.?
Puneet: again, there’s a wiki for that – Wiki on App Virality
K****: great, will go over it.
Puneet: No Probs
K****: lastly any more suggestions for ad network? iAd seems the simplest. And any other suggestions for app marketing such as tapfortap will be welcome as well. I wasn’t even aware of tapfortap. So thank you for that.
Puneet: I am actually very impartial to all the ad networks. Your mileage might vary based on the country your users are predominantly from. I would suggest using one of the services which let you put multiple ad networks and optimize based on which gives maximum revenue. I am trying to remember the name of the service which helps you use multiple ad networks but can’t seem to remember it.
K****: please email me the details if it’s not too much of a hassle. Are you a developer yourself Puneet?
Puneet: sure I will do that. I am not a developer but have been working with devs all my working life.
K****: ok….you’ve taken a good initiative with the app marketing and entrepreneurship group.
Puneet: Thanks K****. I need to sign off now but I am glad to help you out if you have any more questions.
What do you think about this advice to K****? Do you think she is ready for adding ads to her app? Do you know better ad networks than Tap4Tap which can help her get users? Add your recommendations as comments.
About Puneet: Puneet “Neet” Yamparala is the co-founder of Vnturous and he likes to share his thoughts and advice about app marketing on the Vnturous blog. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the exclusive app entrepreneurs Facebook group.