There are more forms of communication and potential marketing channels with which to engage and reach your target audience than ever before. Marketers are struggling to pinpoint the most effective outlets for reaching the largest and most clearly defined audiences. With hundreds of millions of apps in existence, app developers are looking for ways to make their apps stand out among the rest. How did apps like "Angry Birds," Instagram, and the slew of Zynga's social games manage to make their way to the forefront? Facebook has the widest reach out of all forms of media, and, when utilized properly, it can guarantee marketing success for app developers. Following just a few simple rules can result in a win for marketers.
Leverage user connections
With more than 125 billion connections across Facebook, there are (almost) infinite opportunities for reaching your target audiences. By leveraging the existing connections between people, app developers can effectively increase brand visibility and reach. The average Facebook user has 130 confirmed friend connections, which means that every time they "like," share, or post something on their timelines, there is an opportunity for their activity to be seen by at least 130 people, normally significantly more. This is the whole premise of Facebook "word-of-mouth marketing at scale."
Make your app social
The more people playing your games at one time the better. Games are addictive, and engaging apps that draw players in will be most effective in generating new users. Adding a social element to your app will further increase engagement and interest in your app. As humans, we have the need to feel accepted and included into society, which is why social media has exploded over the past few years -- with Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Pinterest, and Instagram growing at a rapid pace.
By making your app social, not only will your user base increase, but users will begin to play at the same time so that they can interact with each other and compete, in real-time, through the application. They can share high scores and achievements on Facebook, and that added social element is just the motivation they need to continue playing. Knowing that they are competing against other users and that their results will be displayed on social media will entice them to continue playing and achieving.
Social game developer Zynga has utilized this marketing tactic extensively by creating games that can be played and shared on Facebook. Over 94 percent of its revenues are generated on Facebook alone. Its success is primarily due to users sharing game statistics on Facebook, thus driving more Facebook interactions.
There is no better way to attract users to your app than through the use of rewards. Consumers have come to expect something in return from their favorite brands, which is often why they become fans of brands' Facebook pages and "like" their content. In a world where social media governs a consumer's outlook on a brand, marketers are realizing that they have to do more than just advertise to their consumers; they need to engage them. Engaging and incentivizing content and offering consistent rewards for engagement are key elements of a successful app.
When consumers are presented rewards from their most beloved games, apps, or brands, they are highly likely to share that content with their connections. By "liking" the reward or incentive, they are contributing to its exposure. Sponsored Stories increase the visibility of friends' engagement with brands by featuring their interactions with the brand pages in the news feeds and on the right-hand side of Facebook, whether it be through a "like," check-in, or post on their page.
Utilize Facebook's large-scale capabilities
Facebook is the most effective way to reach a mass audience. With more than 901 million users and counting, Facebook's large-scale capabilities far surpass that of any other media channel. Social media may well be the most important outlet for marketing your app to a large audience. Developers should thus focus on rapid user acquisition to max out user density immediately. Since Facebook is the widest-reaching social channel, user density within the social graph is key.
Popular games such as "Angry Birds" have already cashed in on Facebook's viral capabilities. Rovio, the maker of the game, acquires 10 million users within a single month as a result of social media. The ability of an app to go viral via Facebook has been proven time and time again.
Target page post ads at relevant demographics
In addition to reaching the largest audience possible, app marketers can utilize Facebook page post ads to target very specific demographics of consumers. Page post ads are a powerful marketing tool and incredibly effective type of ad, which enables your fans to virally share your marketing message with their friends, leveraging word-of-mouth marketing at scale. When your app is geared toward a distinct group of people, whether it be 13- to 18-year-old males, fans of Britney Spears, or fitness enthusiasts in the New York area, Facebook's targeting tools are the most effective in identifying and targeting ads toward a desired group of consumers.
In order to reduce ad spend and increase paid media effectiveness, page post ads should be targeted at current fans who are demographically and geographically relevant to the content or reward being offered. This is most effective if there is a high correlation between friends' likes and interests. Coupling the two ensures that page post ads are having the most powerful effect on consumers.
Rob Jewell is the founder and CEO of Spruce Media.
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