TikTok growth hacker Jonathan Maxim explains the top app marketing strategies in 2021

TikTok growth hacker Jonathan Maxim explains the top app marketing strategies in 2021

One of the most rapidly evolving industries unsurprisingly is tech. Some may think things get easier for marketers and entrepreneurs as new tech platforms and business solutions crop up daily, however things are actually becoming more competitive.

More advanced software capabilities make the barriers to entry lower, meaning more market entrants and therefore increasing competition.

So, it’s not as simple as staying aware of these new solutions that can improve your business, it’s now a necessity that you actually integrate and apply them. This not only streamlines your business and reduces human workload, but keeps us on the competitive edge in our space.

For tech companies, the app marketing space is overrun by big spenders. The days of going “viral” or gaining an 8 or 9 figure investment on a bright idea are behind us. Now it’s solely about the problem your tech solves and how well you can engineer its user growth.

Most tech companies today have already turned their user acquisition marketing programs into an elaborate and perfected process at this point. So to undermine them, you need creative growth strategies.

Growth Hacking is Becoming a Necessity

This is where growth hackers like Jonathan Maxim come into the picture. Jonathan is a fitness app founder himself, who gained 14,000 users to his app overnight, and began deconstructing what makes apps go viral.

Soon after he founded the boutique marketing firm K&J Growth Hackers, which does user acquisition marketing for small tech startups all the way up to brands like TikTok, Monster Energy and Universal Music Group.

150 marketing campaigns at K&J later, here are his predictions for 2021 on the best app marketing strategies.

Performance Based Marketing

The definition of performance marketing is for the marketing team to be compensated on hitting specific goals and metrics.

This is not only an effective accountability matrix but also ensures the client doesn’t pay if the marketers can’t hit a growth curve that makes sense for their brand, budget and goals.

For example, in app marketing, a performance marketing agency like K&J, Jonathan’s firm – projects an expected cost and return for the client before taking any campaigns live. The client only pays the full balance once the deliverable is complete.

That way risk is shared between the client and the firm, ensuring both have skin in the game.

These strategies work well for tech companies seeking user growth because the analytics platforms are nearly 100% trackable throughout the customer journey, and scalability is nearly unlimited. Meaning marketers can make tweaks at every level of the funnel to reduce costs and improve results, while delivering 100s of thousands of new users to a given platform.

There are several different channels in which performance marketing can be done on. Jonathan explains, “For TikTok we used a mix of influencers, bulk Instagram DMs, programmatic media buying, and social media ads. For other clients, we most often use multichannel programmatic media programs, including display networks, social media, search and more. This way our clients are omnipresent. Meaning, wherever their users are, the client’s logo is there too. Also, when using media buying, the scale is immense, and cost is controlled. Some clients we push over 100,000 new downloads to per month”

App Store Optimization and App Store Marketing

It sounds like a given, but Jonathan explained that most tech companies he speaks to don’t have an optimized App Store listing. App Store Optimization (ASO) can be equated to SEO for the App Store and Google Play store.

ASO involves researching competition, keywords, colors, icons and other trends within your app category, and optimizing your app store listing around the findings. Ultimately to show up more often when users search the app store to solve a problem they’re encountering.

There are two components to ASO, however many brands don’t consider both. Jonathan explains “The first is organic impressions from users querying certain terms, like “food delivery near me”. There are millions of app store searches daily, and a lot of free downloads to be had. The second component, and less popular but more important is ranking. For example, in the photo/video app category, if your app is ranking in the “Top 5” on the Apple App Store, you’ll gain one million search impressions per day. With a click through rate of 2.5% and conversion rate of 25%, that’s 7,500 free app downloads to your platform per day!”

Your ranking in the App Store is determined on the total volume of downloads per day. Therefore you need a combination of both ASO (organic growth) and Cost per Install (performance marketing). The top app brands do a balance of both until they hit their target rank in the app store.

With ASO being mostly “free” in terms of advertising costs, it’s a no brainer. That helps balance the cost of doing performance marketing.

Integrating New Strategies into your Playbook

It’s not easy learning how to do complex marketing strategies. Therefore, it generally makes sense to bring in experts to help.

The most important considerations when evaluating an app marketer to help grow your company are of course their years of experience, track record and whether they do it on a performance marketing basis.

Lastly, before approaching a marketing agency, it helps to know your core marketing metrics, like cost per install, customer lifetime value, in-app purchase rate and churn rate.