Hanzade Bayülken is Senior Performance Marketing Manager at Vision Tech. She began her digital marketing career back in 2014, managing and optimizing paid social campaigns at TrendyOl Group. Over the last few years, Hanzade developed her skills in user acquisition marketing, growth marketing strategy and analytical metrics. Currently Hanzade develops the ASO growth strategy and manages the paid UA channels at Vision Tech.
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At Vision Tech, we’re looking to expand our apps into new global markets, and over the last few weeks I’ve had a chance to research and test how our apps perform in different regions. We’ve been focusing on the LATAM and MENA regions in particular. While our performance has been relatively good in MENA, in LATAM, our results were below what we expected. Another thing that surprised us was how countries in the same region or in neighboring countries had similar media costs, but some had lower install and transaction rates.
As the number of emerging markets grows, especially for gaming, it is likely that your business will encounter lower performance in some countries and not others. Making sure you tackle this can take a lot of effort, but the good news is that it can be done. The most important thing is to have the right strategy in place.
Identify the Problem
First things first, you cannot come up with a proper plan unless you understand the root cause of the problem. You need to begin by determining what happened and why it happened. In our case, our app was new to the market, and although we were getting a good volume of installs, we had really low transaction rates. The root cause? Our lack of offers for new customers to try the app for the first time. Competitor research and customer reviews really helped us. We ended up providing a welcome pack with a discount for new users, which increased our CR by 15%.
Here’s another example. Let's say you have just launched your app in a highly competitive market and you are focusing all your effort on Apple Store Optimization to get visibility on competitor keywords because they have high search volume. There is a high chance that you will experience inefficiency with low rankings and poor organic installs. In this case, brand positioning is the cause of inefficiency, and you’ll need to build up your strategy based on that.
The best way to identify the problem is to collect data, listen to your customers, and understand what your position in the market is.
Make a Plan, Set Goals and Analyze Results
After you determine what is causing your under-performance, you need to come up with a well-defined strategy to solve it. Here are four steps to follow:
- Start building your strategy by prioritizing your KPIs. Consider where you are in the marketing funnel. For upper-funnel activities, you may choose to focus on CPI over CPA—but do not forget to look at LTV.
- Understand your goals! Without them, you’ll get lost on the way. The more detailed the better. I also recommend setting a time frame for your goals, both short and long-term. Set yourself a target - you should aim for a 15% increase in installs within 6 months of your entry to market with a max CPI if your goal is to increase volume.
- Test, test and test! When your roadmap is ready to go and you know your goals, experiment and analyze your results. Start with analyzing your customer behaviors in that market and design creatives based on their personas. For instance, you need to consider how you can attract potential customers. Would they be attracted by a simple design and a clear message, or would they be intrigued by more energetic and colorful creatives? Build up a creative A/B test structure in order to optimize performance. Test your creatives to find out which ones work the best.
- Play with different bidding strategies and networks. Continue with the best-performing channels but also test out new ones. Some channels may work way better than others in certain geographies. For example, we experienced that Snapchat works way better in Saudi Arabia in terms of CPI and CVR compared to LATAM, so we shifted our budget. Do not be afraid of lowering your targets or reallocating your budget if necessary. It is always easier to start low and scale up based on performance over time.
Review Your Plan Regularly
The mobile app industry is a roller coaster, and you need to be prepared for rapid changes. Once you submit a marketing plan at the start of the year, do not just sit back and watch. Update it as you move forward with your plan. With each target you achieve, customer expectations and the dynamics of the market will change. You may also need to adjust to new opportunities or threats. For example, you may need to modify your marketing plan if competitors introduce new features.
Review your media mix, keep up to date with the latest marketing trends, and research what your competitors are doing. This way, you won’t fall behind your competitors. Additionally, understand networks' technologies, and develop content strategies for each network's user habits.
It can be challenging to get your app to stand out in a competitive market. However, it’s important to make sure that you’re also making the most of market efficiency. Identifying the problem at the beginning and following up with a good strategy will help you to find the key to success and improve your performance over time.