Burst campaigns remain a cost-effective way to acquire users, but without proper preparation, they can quickly turn into expensive nightmares.
For anyone unfamiliar, a burst campaign is a carefully timed period of aggressive media-buying intended to push your app into the store’s highest visibility chart positions, thereby tapping into a wealth of organic acquisition value. The primary performance metric of a burst campaign is app installs, so they will often piggyback off of earned feature support from the app stores.
The most effective burst campaigns are planned months in advance. Extensive resources are dedicated to ensuring that every dollar spent is done so wisely. Every link in the chain is carefully scrutinized and optimized to ensure every advantage.
But plenty of things can go wrong leading up to, and during, a burst campaign. Any friction in the acquisition funnel has a domino effect that can make any subsequent stages exponentially less effective. If users encounter issues after install, publishers have just bought themselves a wealth of negative brand equity. It’s a tricky needle to thread, and proper preparation is the only way to increase the likelihood of success. What follows is a comprehensive list of the steps publishers need to take to ensure that their burst campaigns hit their targets.
QA Your App Extensively
The stakes are high. If all goes according to plan, there will be hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions!) of users viewing your ads, visiting your store page, and booting up your app. Before inviting this kind of attention, make absolutely sure that your QA team has gone over every inch of your app, and that you’ve resolved every last possible bug. The last thing you want is a flood of users hitting an app-breaking bug, driving them to leave negative reviews and nasty comments. Keep this in mind when planning your pre-launch production schedules. The weeks leading up to a burst campaign are not the time to be adding/testing new features.
Test Your Campaign Creative
The start of your campaign is not the time to be learning which ads perform well. Campaigns should be put through 2 - 3 rounds of split test optimizations prior to the launch of your burst campaign to ensure the most effective allocation of resources. Even if that means running tests on dummy-campaigns that push users to a lead-capture form rather than actual installs, no publisher should be going into a burst campaign blind. Doing so could lead to some rash decision making, as marketers are forced to decide between throwing money into a poorly performing campaign or cutting their losses.
Optimize Your Store Pages
Your app store pages are a critical step in the acquisition funnel. Make sure they’re optimized to get your message across while harmonizing with the stages before and after. There’s a lot to consider, so be sure to read up on best-practices well in advance of campaign launch. Also keep in mind that in order to build a cohesive funnel, store pages should expand on the features and messaging put forward in their ad campaigns. Showcasing one piece of functionality in your ads and another vastly different feature in your store page is a good way to confuse users and add friction to your funnel.
Get Set Up Across Multiple Networks
To maximize installs, publishers need to be sure they’re set up to draw from the largest possible pool of potential of users. Depending on your campaign budget, that may mean sticking to the two primary channels of Facebook and Google. If possible, however, marketers should be set up and ready to run campaigns across many of the second-tier networks in case performance on the primary networks starts to drop. This means getting set up as an advertiser with Unity Ads, AdColony, Chartboost, Tapjoy, Vungle and more. What you don’t want is to come within a few spots of the top ten with no channels to fall back on for that extra push needed to pull ahead of the competition.
Set Up Your In-App Analytics
Having a robust behavioral analytics structure is crucial to your game’s long-term success. Whether it’s a launch campaign or just a major push, leaving any amount of user data uncaptured is a missed opportunity. Developing useful analytic architectures is a highly specialized skill. Though there may be some similarities between your app and others, every product has its own subtle differences that require a bespoke measurement strategy. The best way to get started is by simply asking yourself the questions you’ll want answered. How many users are making it through the tutorial? Which features are they engaging with most? Where are most users leaving the app? With these questions outlined, you can start building the quantitative systems that will provide answers. Once your burst-campaign goes live, you’ll have plenty of hard evidence to help direct ROI-positive design initiatives in the future.
Set Up Attribution
Even during a burst campaign, publishers need to be able to associate desirable user behaviors with acquisition sources. Like analytics, it’s an investment in your future success and should never be overlooked. A proper attribution integration allows marketers to make informed media-buying decisions by clearly illustrating how each of your marketing spends translates to revenue. Attribution is just one of the many features included in the Tenjin growth data infrastructure. Get in touch with us to learn more!
As is often the case, achieving success in your mobile burst campaigns is 90% preparation and 10% execution. For many publishers, being properly prepared comes down to time management skills. Marketers need to objectively analyze and prioritize the tasks necessary to hit their targets before rushing to execute. Keep this list in mind, dedicate time to processes that will help ensure your long-term success, and your mobile burst campaigns will not only propel you to the top of the charts, but ensure your app enjoys a long and profitable future.