Planning and Testing for Your Marketing Push

photo by the U.S. Army

This is the second post in the “12 Weeks of Christmas” series.

First things first: if you have not done paid marketing before spend a few minutes considering how much you can afford to spend, and on what marketing channels. Try to stay away from non-measurable (i.e. brand-building) marketing efforts unless you have money to burn. Focus on channels that will let you calculate CoCA (Cost of Customer Acquisition), so you know exactly how your marketing efforts are doing. And if you have zero money there are always some free options – we’ll discuss it all below.

It’s tempting to set your marketing budget evenly throughout the year, but this generally isn’t the best tactic since app buying is very seasonal. Obviously, since this guide focuses on Christmas, we think you should consider spending more on marketing during the lead-up to Christmas than any other time of the year. That is, of course, if you want to take advantage of all those freshly unwrapped iPads and iPods and the download frenzy that happens between Christmas and New Year’s Day. But if you’re selling a Halloween app your priorities will be very different, so keep your audience in mind.

After the holidays, the app storm subsides and sales tend to take a strong dip. And so should your marketing spend. That said, some people feel they should spend zero on marketing at all times.

If you’re one of these organic marketing types (we’re totally into this too) there are also many “free” options to getting exposure for your app, including networks like Tap for Tap and inbound marketing strategies, which we’ll talk about in the weeks to come. Now, let’s get started with the paid stuff.

Know Your Audience: Choosing Paid Channels

The key to making the right advertising decisions is knowing your audience – how they act and where they like to hang out. If your app’s audience is children, you’ll probably want to find all the cool mommy bloggers out there with solid traffic – not a niche tech blog. The goal is to place your ads on a relevant blog that has a need or desire for what you’ve created. The only way to really discover your audience is to test, test, test.

See what ad networks and sponsorship opportunities exist

Here are some ad networks we suggest looking at – use Tapstream links with any of these to measure relative performance:

  • Mobile networks, including AdMob and iAds.
  • Web networks, especially Google AdWords which is often neglected by other app developers
  • Web retargeting to capture past visitors to your site via AdWords or networks like Perfect Audience
  • Facebook Ads to reach your fans, or users in your vertical
  • Premium networks like The Deck and Fusion Ads to reach tech enthusiasts
  • StumbleUpon for general interest apps, use Tapstream via Bitly for S.U.
  • Twitter Ads can be very effective for app developers, pay only for engagement

Sponsorships and ad buys

Stick to blogs, podcasts, videos, and other content producers in your niche. Think long tail and try to stay away from the obvious big names in your vertical. For example, some sites like theiPadFan.com have a highly engaged audience with a very active mailing list. It costs a lot less to reach one of their visitors than some of the big websites. Take some time in the next day or two to identify potential matches for your app.

Tip: make a unique landing page for each ad/promo you do. Speak specifically to that audience and use Tapstream to test which landers work best to convert visitors into app users (more on landing pages in week 9).

Some successful examples of sponsorships:

  • Livefyre, a blog commenting platform, sponsors BlogcastFM’s podcast because they talk about, well, blogging.
  • Tapstream sponsored Vooza because they laugh at tech people and our service is for developers. We got press.
  • Tapfolio’s Daring Fireball sponsorship reached a highly engaged and educated iOS audience for the iPad app

Test Channels and Measure Results With Tapstream

“Most people have it all wrong! They focus on rankings, traffic and vanity metrics, not revenue.”

-Neil Patel, founder of KISSmetrics

If you’re one of the few who’s already committed to your marketing channels that’s great. For the rest of you, it’s time to run some tests and discover which channels work best – and we advise you do it this week – so you can book your holiday placements and sponsorships before they’re all sold to your competitors.

Tapstream can help you measure results of the tests: just generate some Tapstream shortlinks and use them as destination URLs in your ads. From your analytics dashboard, Tapstream will show you which sites, tweets, emails or web ad units actually drive app installs – not just web visits. Hooking up your iOS, Android, and Mac app with Tapstream is an easy two-step integration.

Whether you’re testing out ad networks, sponsorships, or inbound channels (next week’s topic) before your push or trying to measure your final campaign results, Tapstream will help you put a dollar value on your cost per customer and enable you to calculate the true ROI of your marketing campaigns. Once you know how much it cost to acquire a customer through a certain channel, you can make much more educated marketing decisions for your app.

Take a look at our marketing cheat sheet for more ideas on how you can measure the results of your marketing efforts.


  • Set your budget for the Christmas push
  • Test paid channels (ad networks, sponsorships), make your final decisions and book them asap
  • Measure results with Tapstream, whether they’re live campaigns or just tests. Note: Tapstream requires integration into your app before you can view analytics.

Next week: content wins the game!

P.S. If you’re enjoying these emails let your friends know on Twitter or Facebook. We have 10 more weeks of actionable advice still to come. 

This is part two of the 12 Weeks of Christmas series

This post is part of a weekly series on marketing your mobile app more effectively – the sort of way that spikes your holiday sales.

This series will help you take your marketing beyond a simple App Store page, because that just isn’t good enough anymore. It’s time to build-out your web marketing.

To catch the whole series stay dialed-in to Tapstream, or why not subscribe by email to make sure you don’t miss a post. We have lots of great tips coming up.

You can read the first post here:

  1. Warning: The App Store Freeze Could Kill Your Holiday Sales (Here’s How to Thrive)