What is the best channel to promote a mobile app?

What is the best channel to promote a mobile app?


Promoting an app can be done through many channels, which is why it’s important to identify the most effective ones early on. Otherwise, you risk wasting money and time, and more importantly, losing momentum for your app’s spread and popularity.

Here, we come across the Pareto Principle, where 20% of your efforts will bring in 80% of the results. This makes it very important that you focus on the most effective channels that consistently deliver results.

Currently, there are three main channels that have been used to great effect by apps that have reached over a million customers.

1. Paid Ads

The first thing that comes to mind when you say marketing is paid advertisements. And for good reason; paid advertisements predictably deliver results. Whether you choose to advertise on search engines, social media, or through banner ads and retargeting, you can expect to see the number of downloads scale to the amount of money that you spend.

Typically, the best results come when you spend more on a single day, rather than spreading your efforts over a number of days or weeks. With enough capital, and a small enough timeframe, you can create an upward trajectory in the number of downloads, which will place your app on the featured list in the app store. This in turn will start generating organic downloads and your app will naturally stay at the top (at least for a while).

The downside is, of course, the cost. This method can deliver the results for companies that have the budget for it. Paid advertising is worth it as long as the lifetime value of a customer is higher than the cost of attracting said customer. The ideal ratio would be three to one. If you can hit this ratio, and you have the budget to get the whole process started, paid advertising is one of the best, if not the best, channel for getting consistent downloads for your app.

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing is a less consistent, but also cheaper, way of getting your app out there. Through great content that is shared across social media, you can increase brand awareness and user engagement.

You can go with one of two ways here: create content in-house or with a copywriter and establish yourself as a thought leader within your field, or share already popular content to your audience. Content marketing does not have to be either/or, you can employ both to great effect.

As a little side note, effective social media marketing involves engagement, so having a community manager who responds to comments and reaches out to experts within your industry can be beneficial to your overall efforts.

3. Viral Loops

The ideal result of any marketing campaign is a “snowball effect”, where you generate additional users through word of mouth. The truth is that success through word of mouth results from a great app combined with a strong marketing campaign.

There is however a technique which can be implemented within the registration process/app itself, which will generate new users for free. This technique is called a viral loop.

A viral loop can be described as the steps a user takes from the initial engagement with you app to extending an invitation to additional users. As an example, you have Dropbox’s offer of free extra space for the user and an invited friend, thus creating a strong incentive for anyone willing to recommend the free app to a friend.

By providing benefits to users who invite other people, you create a powerful marketing tool that complements all your other efforts, at a very low cost.


To best promote your app, you have to approach marketing from a variety of angles. Depending on your resources and expertise, you can maximize certain channels. If you have the budget for it, you can focus more on a paid ad strategy, sustained over time by content marketing. If however, your budget is limited, you want to focus your efforts on a content marketing strategy that is complemented by paid advertisements. Both strategies however have room for the implementation of viral loops.
Remember, be bold and creative with your marketing solutions. You will be surprised at the results.


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