App Marketing: Landscape, Trends, Marketing Frameworks By Carrie Chen

App Marketing: Landscape, Trends, Marketing Frameworks By Carrie Chen

March 13, 2016

Carrie Chen is part of Telenor Digital’s Digital Distribution & Marketing team, focusing on reaching out to consumers in a targeted and relevant way within Telenor’s app products and in various external digital channels. Prior to joining Telenor Digital, Carrie was responsible for leading digital marketing operations of Indonesia’s biggest online classifieds site, (now known as OLX Indonesia). She led a team comprising of SEM specialists, Facebook campaign specialists, and a mobile analyst. She was also part of the start-up team that launched, Vietnam’s #1 online classifieds player.

Carrie presented the second key-note session of this year’s Digital Marketing Summit. She started off with a quote of Melissa O Malley, Director of Paypal which was based on the Transactional and Utilitarian value of products. The relevant questions she raised were, “How can we drive these actions through mobile? Or, how can we add value?” Before answering these questions, she explained the three factors driving the Mobile Data Traffic. The first one is Network Technologies under which come the 3G, 4G, and LTE network. The second is Devices, mainly comprised of the falling prices of smart phones and bigger screen sizes making the consumption of rich media. The last but not the least is Apps and Contents Services consisted of App stores, OTT communication, E-commerce, and Video & music streaming.

IMG_7122She showed some charts relating to graphical representations of US mobile app install Ad spending, growth of the android platform which is the dominant operating system in the world, comparison of App downloads & App revenue, global share of App vs. Web in impressions and revenue, and downloads of Apps in top five countries (United States & BRIC countries) by Quarter1 2015. It was prominent that the rate of download is higher in Google Play store whereas the revenue in greater in Apple Store. Around 90% apps in Google Play store are games although revenue of games and apps both has been consistently low. In Asia Pacific Market Overview, it has been estimated that the number of smart phone users has increased to 79% and 78% of ad impressions come from mobile apps. Through technological advancement, Bangladesh could become the key drive of Google in the future. Around 80% of smart phone subscriptions were added during 2010-2015. As a result, mobile data traffic is going to be 11x in 2020 comparing to 2014. Statistics showed that-

  • 60% of the total apps have been downloaded in Google Play
  • 19% of the installed apps have been only used once
  • 95% of the installed apps have been abandoned within one month of installation; meaning, the users do not return
  • Less than 1% apps are profitable

From the above-mentioned data, it can be deduced that even if an app is created, it doesn’t mean anything. Value has to be added to it. App session frequency and length should be benchmarked against the category set. Different regions have different usage intensities based on time. For example, the users in Japan and Korea are more intense in case of games whereas the users in USA and UK are more inclined towards the social apps.

Android Vs. iOS

Operating system is a strong influencer of app usage.  A lot of apps make itself to active users’ list in android rather than in iOS. The user drop-off is enormous after 7 days. Apps lose 1.5x as many users when they drop from top 10 to top 50. In this case, the user decision funnel is a useful framework for app marketing.

App marketing funnel

There are four fundamental funnels of app marketing planning framework:

  • Acquisition
  • Activation
  • Retention
  • Referral


The acquisition funnel is constituted of three underlying funnels- Awareness, Consideration, and Download. Awareness basically means that the users need to know that the brand exists. In the Consideration funnel, when the need arises, user searches for the given brand in the app store. Finally, in the Download funnel, the user is convinced to try out the app. Some critical points discussed by Carrie Chen were-

  • Direct response advertisers cite native app install ads as the best performing; for instance, is just like or
  • Facebook is more effective.
  • Lookalike audience in Facebook helps find new users who have higher chances of converting, keeping acquisition costs low. The only challenge here is that the volume could be low given that there is a narrow set audience.
  • Capture the demand in the consideration funnel by being present in Google search.

Read Also: The Future of Content & Service Landscape

Carrie highly recommended the marketing heads to use Universal App Campaigns to maximize the app install volume at their target CPI (consumer price index). The sequential stages of which would be – Ads followed by Budget Distributions followed by Targeting. It is essential to understand that the majority of users download an app through searching it the app store. The factors that are significant to users when deciding whether to download an app are ranked in the following manner-

  1. Ratings
  2. Title
  3. Description
  4. Screenshots
  5. App Icon


Users are needed to be told why they should use or sign up with the relating app. Ms. Chen drew examples of Tinder and Pinterest apps to illustrate further. The benefits associated with Tinder are- it collects metadata, enables sharing with social log-ins, and communicates value proposition and brand. Pinterest has tutorials onboard for newbies using the app which reduces confusion.


There are three ways of approaching to prevent churn and re-engage- Push Notification, In-app Messaging, and Paid Re-engagement. The only drawback of push notification is that it contains limited space to convey the message. The in-app messaging is not very engaging because it is only in the form of SMS. To overcome this challenge, apps should be made more engaging and must offer rich experience to the users when they are logged in.

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The importance of segmentation of users by actions or by level of engagement with the app to customize communication strategy is paramount. The tactics implemented for the various segments of users are: Newbies: In-app messaging; Passer-bys: Push notification, Paid re-engagement; Engaged: In-app messaging; Dormant: Push notification and Paid re-engagement.


Integrating with social drives, referrals, and engagement should be the focal point of app marketing strategy. Carrie Chen said, “Make it easy for users to invite friends and other incentives to do so.” Referral includes social login followed by share to social networks followed by connect with friends.

app success through app marketing planning framework

Finally, app success can be measured in six buckets.

  • Active users
  • Acquisition: Install CPI (consumer price index) and Cost per loyal user
  • Retention: Session interval and Session length
  • Performance Load Time: App and page load time
  • User Satisfaction: App rating and Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Revenue: LTV (life-time value) and ARPU (average revenue per user)

The session run by Carrie Chen was highly data centric which will work as guidance to the marketing managers of Bangladesh. It is advised that the executives comprehend the landscape of the country, establish new trends, and follow the marketing frameworks to achieve the highest reach in the market.

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