026 APPetite App Marketing podcast – Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire

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The 26th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast features an interview with Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire, an app marketing and advertising firm. Barker and Haley are the authors of a new book – APPOWER: A Guide To Mobile App Marketing Success. Interview transcript below.

APPPOWER - A Guide to Mobile App Marketing Success

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Do you have an interesting app marketing story or special insight into app-specific marketing? We’d love to interview you. Email us.

If you haven’t listened to the APPetite PR App Marketing podcast before, check out these earlier interviews:

Interview with Aron Aharonoff of GreatApps.com.

Interview with Molecube about their app marketing experiment.

Interview with Jeff Hughes, author of Android Apps Marketing, Secrets To Selling Your Android App.

Interview with Glenn Kiladis, GM of Free My Apps at Fiksu

Interview with Mark Grossnickle, CEO of Kihon Games

Interview with Nick Foster of Adrenaline Punch

Interview with Jacob Stevens, co-developer of Pizza Vs. Skeletons

Interview transcript

APPetite App Marketing podcast Episode 26

Jeff Rutherford: Welcome to the 26th episode of the APPetite App Marketing podcast. I’m your host, Jeff Rutherford. Stay tuned for my interview with Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire, an app marketing and advertising firm. They’re also the authors of the new book, “App Power: A Guide to Mobile App Marketing Success.” Stay tuned for the interview.
[music]

Jeff: Welcome back to the APPetite App Marketing podcast. My guests today are Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire.me, a leading mobile app marketing agency. Appspire.me recently published an ebook about app marketing that’s available for the Kindle, “App Power: A Guide to Mobile App Marketing Success.” Guys, thanks for joining the podcast.

Cliff Haley: Thanks for having us.

Carson Barker: Yeah, thanks for having us on.

Jeff: Sure. Given your knowledge of app marketing and the effectiveness of certain tactics and strategies. They obviously change over time. As you look ahead in 2013, what are the top performing app marketing tactics and strategies right now that you think developers should definitely consider?

Carson: The two top ones are in app advertising. That’s a big deal. You can get a lot of downloads and you can increase your rankings that way. Developers should bear in mind that when they’re in the developing process they need to make sure they get the SDKs installed, so they can do that in app marketing process. I would say social media, as well. It’s always been a big deal. If you get a good app, you can build a good, engaging social media campaign around it that just increases your chances for success.

Jeff: OK, go ahead.

Carson: I’m interested in to see how the Windows 8 thing unfolds in 2013, as that takes off. I use Windows 8 their app market seems a little bit limited, but I don’t think it’s always going to be that way. I’d say one thing to keep to keep an eye on is what’s going on there, and maybe you can be the first guy to market it in your particular niche with Windows 8. That’s an open playing field at this point.

Who knows? It may be horrible and crash eventually but not if enough people jump on board. I’m definitely keeping an eye on Windows 8 app market.

Jeff: That’s interesting. So, in terms of social media, are you specifically referring to social media around the app itself, or building in social media hooks for sharing and et cetera if that makes sense for your app?

Carson: Yeah, you have to do a little of both. If you’re going to do a social media contest, hooks and campaigns, they need to be focused around your app. They can’t just be win a free iPad, and that’s it. You have to tie it all together and make a brilliant package that will draw people back to downloading the app.

Jeff: Got it. So what is your experience been thus far with mobile app ads via Facebook, are they performing well? Is the costs going up?

Carson: Well, I would say that they’re performing well, but it’s as a direct response to direct ROI, as in app advertising is. Just because you get someone on Facebook, they still have to click the ad, they have to click and read your Facebook page, more likes. Then you have to convince them to download the app from there.

There’s just more steps in the process. It’s still a really good tool for mid to long term marketing. If you ever have updates to your app, you can announce it on Facebook, and so forth.

Jeff: Got you. In terms of the pay-per-download campaigngs, are there specific networks, exchanges, or players, in the space, you would recommend?

Carson: I’m a little hesitant to do so, because obviously, the app marketing world is changing every minute, every day. I mean some of our favorite ad companies that we use, I mean we may not use them next week, then we may use them again. Apple is always changing things. We got to stay ahead of the curve the best we can. I mean, our preferences change frequently.

Jeff: Sure, sure, if a developer is going to pursue a cost per install campaign for their app, are there general guidelines or best practices that you would suggest?

Carson: I would say shoot more for rankings than downloads because if you get higher rankings, you get organic downloads, not ones you’re paying for.

Jeff: In terms of that, how would that impact how I would do a campaign? In terms of focusing on rankings versus downloads.

Carson: Most people that do advertising campaigns, they’re more concerned about getting a few downloads here and there, in paying for those. That’s great, but I think the bigger picture is, you want to get higher rankings, so you have to pull together a more expansive campaign to pull in rankings than just downloads.

Jeff: Can you talk about store review optimization? SRO? What are some SRO guidelines that app developers should keep in mind?

Carson: We break ours down into a format. Keywords’ obviously a big one. I would say you have to sum up your app in one or two sentences, somewhere at the top of your app store description. That’s another big one as well. You have to make it creative and punchy and it grabs your audience pretty quickly, or else they’ll skip onto the next thing.

Jeff: Do you have any suggestions for developers and how they can increase the number of reviews of their app? What are some ways that…?

Carson: At in store app reviews? Is that what you’re…?

Jeff: Yeah.

Carson: You can always submit to review sites that will get people… Your app out there more often and get more people to review your site in the store.

As always, tell your friends about it, but really giving a lot of buzz up through press releases and social media so people can come check out your app and leave comments on there.

Cliff: Yeah. I also recommend that if you’re an app developer, that you are paying attention to what people are saying in the app review sections and you’re responding to that. If there are complaints, you’re addressing them in the open. You’re transparent about that. That can influence whether or not somebody leaves a review if they come to your page and they see that you’re interacting with people.

Even if they’re completely happy with your app at this point in time and they understand that it might get better, they maybe more inclined to say, “Hey, this is app is great on the first download. I can’t wait to see what comes next.”

If they think that you’re an active developer and you’re going to listen to the feedback you get, you’re going to keep working on your app. Whereas if you don’t respond to anything and your app is not that great on its first run, then people might expect it will never be that great.

How you interact with people in the reviews themselves and through social media, of course, can kind of influence your overall image.

Jeff: I mentioned earlier your new ebook “App Power.” Can you talk about the ebook? What does it offer app developers?

Carson: Sure. Cliff and I decided to write that a few months ago. After talking with clients, we realized we had some kind of industry insight that not many other people have, and so we decided to divulge that and put that out there for app developers to check out how to make their app successful. Apps are being uploaded by the hundreds now to iTunes and Android. If you don’t any marketing behind it, your app’s just going to get lost in the dust, so to speak.
These are some basic guidelines on what to think about when you’re uploading your app and if you want to make it successful.

Cliff: Yeah, and we kind of wanted to reach an audience that wasn’t the developer audience as well, but maybe the guy who has a cool idea for an app. Obviously, the first step that they’re going to think of is, “How do I build it?” Once you build it, then what? It’s not only for developers, but conceivers as well.

Jeff: I know you mentioned in your book the importance of the app icon. Can you talk about why the icon is so important?

Carson: Your icon is pretty much your business card. That’s your handshake. That’s the first thing people see when they look at you in the iTunes store of the Android store, so if you don’t have a compelling icon that’s simple but has great design to it, you’re just going to get passed over.

Jeff: If a developer listening has released an app and it hasn’t performed as well as he would like, or he or she would like, and it’s just buried in the app store, are there any specific tactics or strategies outside of what we’ve discussed that you would recommend of how they could revive interest in the app and improve the rankings?

Carson: Yeah, sure. First of all, I would say that it’s never too late to get your app some more downloads and some higher rankings and make it successful. We’ve had apps that come to us that have been around for a year and they’re just kind of struggling. We’ve turned a great campaign around for them. As far as what’s wrong with it, most of our clients that are in that position, they just don’t do any marketing or advertising behind it so no one sees it.
The first step they should take is look at their app and say, “OK, is this something wrong with the app or am I just not doing any marketing behind it?” Once you get to that step, then you see where you go from there.

Cliff: Right, and what we said about listening to reviews and your users folds into that, as well. It’s surprising how many people have apps and they’re wondering, “Why isn’t my app doing well?” Then you point out to them, “Well, look. These people are telling you why it’s not doing well. Address these issues and then we’ll talk about getting you some advertising.”

Jeff: Sure. Let’s talk a minute about Appspire.me. What does Appspire.me offer app developers? What do you guys do?

Cliff: We do marketing and advertising campaigns for app developers to get them higher rankings, more downloads, and some buzz in the press. We’ve been doing that marketing since 2009. That’s our specialty. We figured out a few years ago that app marketing was going to be the next big thing so we jumped into it head first. We figured out pretty quickly that it’s a whole different animal than any other marketing out there.

We did some trial and error stuff and learned some best practices, and now we’ve got our services down to a T.

Jeff: Great. For app marketing specifically, what are the big differences that you see between Android and iOS platforms.

Cliff: Well your audience is different. We’ve noticed that the Android audience, I guess because they’re smaller and more dedicated, they’re a lot more responsive than the iTunes audience. You’re people that buy Android phones, usually you do a lot of research and thinking into buying their Android phone just because an Android can do so much, whereas just random customers will buy an iPhone just because they’re out there and they’re just kind of the majority.
But usually the people that have Androids are a little more tech savvy and therefore they’re glad to have this phone and they’re reading reviews and checking out more apps and so they’re an easier audience to reach out to.

Jeff: Got you. What apps have you downloaded and used in the last six to eight months that really impressed you?

Carson: One of the most recent ones that’s impressed me is KiteDesk. That’s a really cool app that’s a cloud server. Basically, it takes all the cloud services that you have, like Facebook and Google and DropBox, and converts them all into one streaming format. So it’s super convenient. We definitely like that app a lot.

Jeff: Any others or any games that you’re playing?

Cliff: You know what, as much as I would like to play games on my phone, I’m so busy right now. Games are not an option for me. [laughter]

Cliff: Well, games are an option for me, so there’s definitely one that I want to talk about and mainly, if they’re listening. I want them to understand that they have got to get their app on the Android system. Ever since I’ve switched from iPhone to Android, this game is the only one I miss. It is called “High Noon,” where you basically gun down an opponent in a Western street. It sounds horrible, but it’s awesome. They really should build that on Android and I’ve reached out and told them to do so, which means that they probably will if they care at all what I think.
[laughter]

Jeff: That’s great. Well, any current clients that you’re working on that you would want to mention and give a plug for an app for the listeners to check out?

Cliff: Yeah, we’ve started working with one that’s really cool called “TumbleWords.” It’s like “Scrabble,” and they’re actually based here in Austin, as well. They’ve just got a really compelling design to this app, and it’s a fun game to play and it has a little social media and group playing aspects on it, but the design, especially, just really blew us away when we checked it out.

That’s definitely one we’re excited to be working with.

Jeff: That’s great. That’s all the questions that I had. Did you have anything that you wanted to mention that we didn’t discuss?

Carson: It’s all I’ve got. How about you, Cliff?

Cliff: No, I think that’s it. Just for app developers out there, to really pay attention to all the clutter and noise that you’re going to have to cut through with your app. We’ve seen a lot of apps come across our desk that are trying to, in some way, replicate or be the next Twitter or Facebook. Iit’s better to take Twitter and Facebook and use that to enhance your app than try to unseat those guys.

If you do that, if you use existing social media technologies in your app you’re going to have a much better chance than trying to replicate social media again, just for the sole purpose of your app.

Long story short is if you can leverage any existing technologies to make your app better, it’s better to do that than to try to recreate. Reinvent the wheel.

Jeff: Right. One thing that I did want to ask. We talked about it earlier. Are there any specific social media campaigns or tactics or strategies that you’ve seen that you would recommend developers consider and think about?

Carson: Contests always do really well, but you have to tie that in with your app. Or else once the contest is over, you won’t have anything else to do with it. If you can bridge a social media contest with live events, like you put on a booth at South by Southwest, or if you have a music related app, you go to some music festival, and tie that in with the social media, that’s always a really good thing to do as well.

Jeff: Got you. Well, great. Again, we’ve been speaking with Carson Barker and Cliff Haley of Appspire, a leading app marketing agency. They have an ebook in the Kindle store, “App Power: A Guide to Mobile App Marketing Success.” I’ll have links to all of that in the show notes that you can check out.
Guys, thanks for doing the interview.

Cliff: Yeah, thanks a lot, Jeff, it’s good talking to you.
Jeff: Yes, sure.

Carson: Yeah, thank you very much.

Jeff: Sure.

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