By Assaf Kolirin
George Silverman, author of The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing and president of Market Navigation. Inc said: “Word-of-mouth is far and away the dominant force in the marketplace. Yet it is also the most neglected.”
I agree. I know myself that if I like something, the most natural thing in the world is for me to tell my friends about it and as a former app developer turned technical marketing platform developer it’s never been more evident in the market in which I operate. In the battle for apps market dominance, it is the channel which until now has probably be most neglected.
It’s only when exploring the scale of the apps market that the challenges faced in marketing new apps can truly be seen. There are 1,000,000 apps already with 60,000 new ones being added every month.
Apple remains, for the moment, the market leader and in July 2011 reported the 15 billionth download from its Apple App Store – based on its own statistics that’s close to a billion downloads per month from among the 305,000 iPhone apps on offer.
Penetrating that saturated market has become a hugely frustrating, potentially prohibitively expensive and ultimately unrewarding task for developers. App distribution in a global market, which even when highly segmented, can demand outbound advertising, direct mail and television advertising and something which remains outside the budget of most developers and also brings with it huge amounts of wasted spend.
Even online, where there are an array of tools available – online advertising, cross mobile apps, show ads with other applications, websites and indexes that list and rank apps – these can be time consuming and costly in an arena already overloaded with information. The same can be said of search engine apps and third-party recommenders.
For some, venturing down the road of incentivising users to download may seem like the only solution. Whilst this does have the scope to achieve some market penetration, it is also likely to see developers closed out of the market by the app platform owners which remain opposed to such techniques.
So, how as a small developer, do you stand any chance of creating a global phenomenon?
Well, it’s here that some prime examples of effective modern word-of-mouth, or to give it its digital age title viral marketing, have lessons for us all.
Take Gmail which when it was launched in April 2004 was an invitation only service. Targeting early adopters with the service and giving them the ability to invite 10 people to join meant it created its own demand and eventually the free web-based service became available to the masses. The rest of course is history.
But even without a big budget viral distribution is achievable: Million Dollar Home Page being a case in point. Launched on 26 August 2005 by Alex Tew to help fund his university education it became an internet hit and he achieved his target in just four months.
World-of-mouth remains the most effective marketing tool available to us, particularly in a saturated setting, because it cuts through the noise offering a direct recommendation and allow happy car drivers, web browsers, fun seekers and in this case apps users to introduce dozens more.
Taking that concept and making it a marketing reality for the apps setting is the step that technical experts have now taken. The creation of a marketing add-on for apps which enables viral distribution – which continues to ripple outwards and increase downloads exponentially – is the way of the future.
That’s not to say that it’s the solution for second rate apps – now more than ever apps developers need to ensure that what they bring to the market is the best of its kind, unique if possible, and of course a joy to use.
With the creation of effective, intuitive systems which allow apps users to share their apps choices utilising existing social media platforms, apps developers now have the opportunity to tap into the most effective form of marketing known to man and to make their down loaders distributors too.
About the author
Assaf Kolirin is an expert in the field of app development and marketing. He has first-hand experience of many of the problems outlined above. He is the founder and CEO of buzzdoes.
About the company
The brain child of its CEO, Assaf Kolirin, buzzdoes is based in Israel. It launched its flagship social media app marketing tool at AppsWorld Europe conference in London in November 2011. buzzdoes delivers mobile apps market penetration and exposure through automated word-of-mouth marketing, maintaining and increasing download rates through viral distribution and achieving user engagement through rewards. Additional exposure is achieved through the social aspect of the add-on with new revenue streams generated by advertising area. Utilising drag and drop assimilation it offers click of a button operation and a profitable, risk free-pay per success business model.