Adventures in Mobile Marketing

Incredibly Simple Android App

Sunday, 15. June 2014 by Anna Billstrom

Just wrote up instructions on how to make the most barebones Android app. A view, a button, and then something happens on the button. In Java, KitKat, works from SDK 8 to 19.

Code here.
Instructions here.

Mobile Ad Service- iAd vs. AdMobs/Google Ads

Tuesday, 27. May 2014 by Anna Billstrom

Recently, I implemented these two services in different mobile apps (iOS) and had to jot down the pros and cons. Enjoy!

iAD- Apple’s ad service that is native to iOS apps. This is easy to implement for developers, but not great for advertisers:
- High cost to entry, for advertisers
- Difficult to include multiple instances on any individual view (top and bottom banner, for example.)
- “in-app” experience- ad pops up as interstitial before “leaving” the app.

Google Ads (AdMob)
- Cheaper to be an advertiser
- A little more difficult to integrate
- Ability to have more ads per view
- More callbacks on click, open, leave app
- No “in-app” experience like iAd; user clicks actually leave the app.
- Nice tie-in with Google Analytics

Mobile Marketing- How to Get Your App Out There

Wednesday, 14. May 2014 by Anna Billstrom

(cracking knuckles) It’s been a long time, but I’m ready to re-invigorate this blog! A question was posed by a fellow developer on an iPhone mailing list: how to promote his app?

My current company – PickAxe Mobile- of which I am a founding partner, deals with this problem constantly. Well not a problem, more a challenge.

The first thing to ask yourself is:

What are my goals for this app?

That will determine your marketing strategy.

- lots of users
- product direction
- cash

Those are separate strategies, by the way.

Lots of Users
Products such as Instagram weren’t out there for the money, they were out there for the wallet-share. Getting onto phones and getting used by as many users as possible. This marketing strategy is going to be viral, with ad dollar and key reviews. Focusing on top placement in the App Store and very aggressive responsiveness to customer concerns. Alpha and beta groups are a necessity, and all product planning will go towards happy customers.

Product Direction
The goal here is to have the users define your product direction. Similar to “lots of users” you are focusing on getting feedback and usage details and highlighting *what people want* versus what you want- basically,Customer Development. You’re evolving a product to an ideal opportunity (which may pivot) or customer. Methods would involve setting up a feedback loop mechanism, a/b testing, and high responsiveness to all feedback. Alpha, beta groups of users that are more along the lines of your ideal customer than earlier adopters or friends. Bloggers, ads, and placement in the store aren’t as critical. It’s not about the number of customers but the quality, defining your product (probably for acquisition, or for your brand).

You’re doing this to make money. So the viability of course depends a lot on what kind of app you’re making. Assume you have a great product. How do you get the most monetarily out of your app?

The very first thing is product uniqueness in the store. Do your competitive analysis.

Next, find out where users* of your app (or competitors) are going to get recommendations. Is it Google and SEO, the Store’s keyword categorization, or blogger and top app sites? Create relationships and try to get your app some visibility. May involve putting some capital forward, where promo codes aren’t enough.

* Find out who/what are those potential customers of yours. This is a hard task, but try to define the ideal customer.

Strategies of monetization include:
- pricing app (revenue from downloads)
- in app purchases
- free version, with upgrade sans ads
- in app advertising

The positives and negatives of each of those monetizations is another blog post, of course!

Transactional In-App Email

Saturday, 19. November 2011 by Anna Billstrom

Just had a great conversation with SendGrid – we’re already using their API for sending in-app messanging transactionally, at work. The API is easy to use, and you have great reporting on email deliverability through the web interface. Just chatted with two representatives at Women2.0′s Startup Weekend event- they’re sponsoring some prizes.

I’m also a fan of MailChimp- and have setup various clients on them. The Flash/UI interface is really great, and the reporting on the various email campaigns is also easy. They, like SendGrid, have a very communicative and readily available customer service – for engineering and design.

The Momentus Blog

Monday, 14. February 2011 by Anna Billstrom

Hello dear readers, sorry for the long absence. I have to admit I’ve been cheating on you with another mistress- the Momentus Media Blog! It’s a viral app development consultancy, I’ve been working with, at Momentus Blog

Guess which one was the most read (and had a running lead on the top read blog post on this site for a while…) The Oauth one, ha.

I’m also writing a lot about iOS, food & feminism on the main blog, If I have nuggets about email I’ll post them here, viral/FB stuff on Momentus. Gavin may write here occassionally as well.



Odd Ideas That May Make Sense… From Email Campaign Monitor

Thursday, 14. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

I’m a bit late to this article written in April, but it’s a goodie: Four odd email ideas that (maybe) make sense, by Mark Brownlow. What strikes me about this post, is that we really have to question common ideas and “best practices,” as sometimes they may be a way to get through the chatter and present our message to the right audience, at the right time, with the right content.

One addendum I’d like to add, to the mobile discussion on his post: this is yet another reason to include some meaty text-only content in your email. Mobile readers doing triage will be able to tell quickly what it is about, so they can read it at more leisure on their desktop or laptop. But if you have an image-only message, and no alt-text or copy, they’re going to hit the trash button before the image even finishes loading.

iPhone App Marketing- Measures and Metrics

Saturday, 09. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

I’m a huge fan of metrics, probably from 7 years doing email marketing and countless meetings staring up at an Excel spreadsheet, seeing lift in unexpected places, testing, and getting great results. I’ve seen it work- I drink the Kool-Aid.

In the iPhone world, we’re hamstrung by metrics that are limited and unserviceable. The iTunesConnect app gives us sales information, but as all marketers know, that’s the end game, not the funnel.

I’m going to implement a few test suites and write them up on this blog- this is more an announcement of an effort than any real juice (sorry readers). The test suites:

- MixPanel
- Flurry

iPhone App Marketing: Getting Visible

Friday, 08. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

In the space of the last 24 hours, two different friends of mine asked, with hints of horror and mystery, “How do poeple *find* your iPhone app?” To the uninitiated, it seems like a big black box. In reality, it’s not too different from other internet marketing efforts.

The issue with iPhone apps is – obviously – the iTunes store. It’s a strength and a weakness. Strength, because consumers go 1 place to get the product. Weakness, because we, as developers and marketers, are at the whim of single, isolated metrics.

Three major areas- number of downloads, number and nature of reviews, average rating, and keywords- are the backbone to the iTunes store formula. But then there’s other more nebulous and vague areas, that are familiar to the seasoned marketer.

- Word of mouth
- Niche*
- Blogs/Social Networks (Twitter/Facebook)
- Name recognition
- Journalism, reviews, editor’s picks, etc.

The goals of the efforts above:
1) the iPhone app name recognition
2) Access and actionable clicks to the download page
3) Written reviews including ratings.

*Niche: friend’s soccer stats app came out when there were no soccer stats app in the store, and World Cup was just beginning. Also, he had translation efforts and a quick release. The competitive space in the iTunes store is arguably smaller than other markets and so it’d be irresponsible to notice that marketing is a non-issue with niche apps.

Viral vs. Social – What Is The Difference?

Thursday, 07. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

Viral: when a marketing campaign takes on a life of its own.
Social: using social networking applications in your multi-channel (email/site/direct mail) campaign.

Viral example: almost anything that use a trope or motif that is embraced and reproduced by others, at no cost or expense by the company involved, such as, BlendTec

Social example: A marketing campaign that uses new social applications and existing social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. to further its goals. Example: Zappos.

I can’t tell you the number of times I have attended a conference seminar or read an article that was completely misnamed- not viral at all- and thus has been mis-used and abused in all of the time that has passed since it’s introduction. It’s not it’s fault, but the definition has been muddied.

Because I consider very specific social marketing being the use of social networks and social network tools- Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, etc. Viral has actually been around for a while, back to Guerrilla Marketing days, back to the “pay someone’s toll and add your business card.” Social marketing could be very un-viral, hiring interns to tap away twitter messages all day. Viral marketing could avoid all uses of social network tools- see example of business card at the toll booth.

Well, the distinction is muddied because most, if not all, social marketing campaigns aspire to viral. We all want to be the BlendTec of [insert your industry here].

Key Metrics in iPhone App Marketing

Wednesday, 06. October 2010 by Anna Billstrom

I’ve been using the email and internet marketing methods towards a new arena: iPhone marketing. These metrics have been useful:

1. Rank in the iTunes Store
This is the number of times it’s been downloaded. I do it according to to the top search terms for my app: “learning French,” for example. Since marketing the app for a few weeks, we’ve risen from the last page to the second, of five pages. A small success, but nice to know it’s measurable.

2. Number of units sold.
Yes, this is more an operational number, but it’s still a good metric to view over time.

3. Hits to the landing page.
The iTunes store lets you post a landing page for more information about your product. This is also an interesting gage of interest.

4. Ratio of paid-to-free downloads
If you have a free version, the ratio of paid-to-free version can be interesting to track, over time.

5. General name stickiness.
I do a Google search- also how many times the keyword was used in retrieving pages on your site. Both are good ways to tell if the app is getting traction.

6. Twitter name follow count.
The number of follows on your twitter account (of same name as app).

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