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Mobile apps dominate as marketers plan to boost budgets to acquire customers

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Nearly two thirds of marketers expect app marketing budgets to grow in the coming year, with many seeing user acquisition as the main goal.

So finds a wide-ranging survey by App Annie published today, which finds that app publishers are optimistic about the state of the app economy, with 65% of respondents saying it’s trending upwards.

This bullishness is reflected in expectations for app marketing budgets, with 91% of respondents expecting them to rise or remain flat.

80% of respondents selected user acquisition as a marketing goal for their company’s mobile apps, followed by retention and app monetisation, while active users is the top metric used to measure marketing success by all except gaming companies, which tend to focus more on user retention and customer lifetime value (LTV).

More than 30% of respondents reported organic search as their most highly rated strategy for driving installs and LTV, highlighting the need for strong app store optimization (ASO).

App marketers had a wide variety of goals in mind for their budgets. Acquiring new users was top of the list for every app category, with 80% of respondents overall selecting it as a goal. However, very few respondents cited just a single objective, with nine out of ten choosing several goals.

The strong showing by several secondary goals was due to variation between app categories. For example, retaining and re-engaging current users was second for video, social and health and fitness apps.

Meanwhile, driving new revenue streams was the second highest scoring goal for games, music, retail, maps and navigation, and productivity apps.

Finally, finance, messaging and communication, and on-demand services apps selected improving customer engagement second most frequently.

Clarity on the marketing goals to be achieved is a vital prerequisite to determining where to spend budgets and how to measure success.

Unsurprisingly, delivering an overall user-friendly app experience came out on top, by a wide margin, among drivers of retention. That experience, however, is made up of a variety of more specific factors, some of which respondents also rated highly, including value-added features, targeted relevant content and effective on-boarding and tutorials.

Beyond the in-app experience, factors including strong customer service, user community and personalized communication were selected by more than 15% of respondents. These factors can support retention by helping users find value in the app, resolving issues and driving engagement.

Developers will want to balance creating the best possible in-app experience with using these other factors as ways to cement or incrementally improve retention. Given that it’s less costly and more effective to retain an existing use.

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