How App Marketers Can Keep the Economic Engine Running Through the Recession

By Paul Wright, GM Western Europe and MENAT, AppsFlyer

App marketers are feeling the heat in the current economic climate, needing to make the most of reduced budgets and smaller teams while delivering stronger results. As such, elaborate campaigns are out, precise and highly-effective ones are in.

That is no mean feat to achieve when global consumer in-app spend dipped 4.8% year-over-year in Q3 2022. To keep the economic engine running, marketers must now shift their focus to maintaining connections with core audiences and spending on the channels that generate the best value.

With these four tactics, app marketers can weather the tough times of 2023.

Focus on the most important element of app marketing: the user

One of the best investments app marketers can make is building an in-depth knowledge of core audiences. To do so, they must assess their user personas and identify key characteristics such as challenges, goals, preferences, and of course demographic insights. Although app marketers will likely have a picture of what these might be, this picture needs to be placed under the microscope and appraised in light of hard data.

Furthermore, user personas are not static. As apps evolve, so too will personas, which means app marketers must continually stay in touch with the habits and expectations of their core audience. This makes gathering data and feedback from app users imperative. These insights can help identify pain points in the user experience which need to be addressed, or unearth user interests that can inform the next app feature.

Evaluating user personas thereby enables app marketers to deliver the greatest benefit to audiences with their strategies. In the education vertical, this could take the form of ensuring users stay up-to-date with their courses. For entertainment apps, it could be providing fresh content that aligns with user interests. App marketers should learn what core audiences value most and put it at their fingertips.

The cross-channel approach is now critical

Audiences do not confine themselves to using one channel, so why should app marketers? Diversifying the channel mix allows app marketers to reach their users more effectively, connecting with them not only through the app, but also through email marketing and social media platforms. In addition, broadening the channel mix can unlock new opportunities.

TikTok, for instance, is witnessing phenomenal growth in terms of usage compared to other social media platforms, with Android app users in the UK spending more than 27 hours per month with it. App marketers cannot ignore the potential of platforms that attract this level of user attention, making it crucial for them to trial it as part of their channel mix. TikTok has also been experiencing a huge uplift in ad spend as marketers make the most of its affordability in comparison to competitors such as Meta’s Facebook, which means it has a strong potential to enable app marketers to do much more with less.

By exploring other channels and how they work together, app marketers can engage their users all along the funnel, driving installs, boosting retention rates, and building loyalty.

App evangelists: the heroes app marketers need

As app marketers expand their cross-channel strategies, they must strike the balance between promoting their app and delivering supplemental value outside of it. In today’s online landscape, apps can take a leaf from the playbook of media companies and work on creating not only a user base, but a fanbase as well.

This involves managing, producing, and sharing content that aligns with the interests of audiences on the channels they are most engaged with. Health app MyFitnessPal, for example, shares content such as webinars and success stories on its Instagram account. Meanwhile, second-hand clothes marketplace, Vinted leverages the platform to engage its community with style-based inspiration, aligning its content with sustainable values.

Continually using these tactics curates a loyal community of app evangelists — users who have a connection with their favourite apps and recommend them to others. By supporting user acquisition and retention, building loyalty through this approach proves to be a cost-effective way of amplifying app marketers’ efforts.

Affordable artificial intelligence (AI) can free up time and manpower

The capabilities of technologies such as ChatGPT, the generative AI tool that has recently gone viral, open up further opportunities to save teams many hours and alleviate the pressure on stretched resources. Even though OpenAI, ChatGPT’s creator, has recently announced the launch of a paid-for version, the subscription fee currently stands at $20. So, how can app marketers benefit from this small investment?

  1. Assisting content production: By inputting the right prompts that describe the content’s tone, audience, and the issue it is meant to address, app marketers can use ChatGPT to formulate ideas or enhance existing content. From ad copy to social posts, ChatGPT can be used to complement human creativity and accelerate output.
  2. Improving App Store Optimisation (ASO): ChatGPT can support app marketers increase their app store visibility and the likelihood of installs. For example, it can generate an app name, subtitle, and description based on the ASO ranking criteria, giving the app a competitive edge. ChatGPT can also pull together a list of keywords to target based on how competitors are ranking and what users search for.
  3. Evaluating user feedback: App marketers can copy user reviews into ChatGPT and request it to identify recurring themes, automating the analysis of qualitative feedback. This makes it quicker for app marketers to pinpoint users’ preferred features, their points of friction, and even what is being shared about competitors’ apps, which can then inform their strategies.

Although economic headlines aren’t optimistic, and app marketers are undoubtedly looking to show fast results, cutting budgets completely comes with the risk of stalling success. Instead, app marketers should be smarter with spending and look to reinforce the foundations of their strategies with a deeper, up-to-date understanding of their user personas. Learning what their users value most, plus how to communicate this value through complementary channels, will strengthen app marketers’ connections with core audiences and develop communities that will sustain them through 2023 and beyond.