With so many companies offering app marketing services, evaluating not only the providers but the service can be overwhelming and even subject to circumstance and debate. There are; however, several common services that marketing agencies should offer and demonstrate strength with as they are crucial to mobile app ROI.
Marketing Strategy Development
App developers can expect just about any app marketing service to offer assistance with marketing strategy development. Some companies offer initial marketing strategy development and ongoing strategy development as two separate services while others combine the two; however, successful app marketing starts with a jointly built strategy. Marketing strategy development is not something that an app marketing service does in a vacuum, but works collaboratively with the marketing, design and development teams or project management staff. After the marketing plan has been created, quarterly reviews (at least) with the marketing agency should be scheduled to re-evaluate and adapt the plan to market changes and customer feedback.
App Store Optimization
The way in which an app is listed differs depending on which platform it is sold on. Google Play has different rules than Apple's app store; however, both stores offer opportunities for creators to optimize an app's title and description so that the app will be highly visible both in the app store and on Google's search engine. Given that the app stores are the main way users discover and search for mobile apps - ASO should not just be an offering but a primary strength. Of course Gummicube leads with enterprise-level app store optimization and also partners with some of the world's largest marketing agencies to provide ASO research, tools and data to compliment and extend their offerings.
Other Forms of Optimization
As mobile apps have taken over how we interact with almost every facet of our lives, the path to apps and the content in apps have started to grow as well. Partnering with thought-leaders in your niche, building new channels for acquisition and engagement outside of the mobile app, and even traditional SEO efforts are starting to become a bigger part of mobile app marketing plans. Increasingly, the same forms of marketing that are employed to sell other goods and/or services online are used to create awareness of mobile apps as well. Many of these "off-app" efforts can have a positive impact on ASO as well, as Google uses social signals ("backlinks") in their Google Play ranking algorithm. The partnership with a thought-leader has the potential to drive downloads and a strong social signal as measured by links from their site and social accounts to your app store listing!
Between offline and online marketing efforts, website analytics, and now mobile user and app store data - it is easy to drown in numbers. Your app marketing service provider should help you navigate through mobile app and app store data to uncover actionable insights. In many cases, data collected in the mobile app and from the app stores can help identify and prioritize issues and opportunities. This data includes not only number of sales but also geographic location of buyers, which days the sales were made on, how many people actually use the app on a regular basis, why and where users drop off, which features are the most popular and what potential users are searching for. While an app creator may be able to gather this data without professional help, app marketing companies (should) do more than just register and compile data.
Market research goes beyond collecting and analyzing stats. It may involve conducting surveys, running focus groups, analyzing competitor performance or using app store data to research the preferences and needs of a company's target audience. In any case, it is a useful way to determine how an app can successfully reach its target audience and how to optimize or adjust for discovery and use. Market research - specifically app store research using app store data - can help a company stay ahead of competitors by locating areas of demand or weakness ripe for solving.
There are many cases where working with several marketing partners or agencies is not efficient (time or expense). If you have a significant investment in mobile, or your company sees the opportunity in developing mobile apps - your marketing partners should be able to address at least the above. If they don't have convincing answers or approaches to address the mobile opportunity, consider partnering with an agency just for mobile until your current partner either catches up or you move to a more modern agency.