The way your customers find and download your video apps can be very different from how they subscribe on your homepage. Your marketing strategy should be different too. Let’s think about how to grow those install numbers!

When we build branded video apps for Vimeo OTT sellers we make sure to follow best practices for discoverability in each app marketplace. That includes things like pulling high quality images, using descriptive titles, and including a list of features. Many of our sellers go on to optimize their own app marketing above and beyond that.

In order to effectively market your app, it helps to put yourself in the frame of mind of someone who might find it. Usually a customer will follow one of these paths:

  • Deliberately searching for your app in an app store. In this case, you’ll want to make sure your app is optimized for search in different marketplace.
  • Deliberately searching for your video content via YouTube, Vimeo, and Google search. Title your videos with the most accurate information so that they’re easier to find (Vimeo OTT-powered sites are already optimized for SEO). You can also experiment with distribution on social video networks to increase awareness of your content.
  • Discovering your content/app because someone else shared it on a social network or because they see an ad for it. In this case, a potential customer isn’t explicitly looking for your app or content, but they might see it anyway. It’s important that they’re enticed by both the content and the service offering. Is your content designed to share (short, snack-able, clear call to action to “share this video”)? Is there a freely available piece of this content that can be shared effectively?
  • Discovering your app because someone is talking about it in the press, social media, or because it’s featured in an app store. Clarity is key here. For someone who knows nothing about your app, will they quickly understand the content and why it’s worth paying for?

Here’s a quick guide to help you get started on each of these elements.

1. Optimize your app store listing 

Your app store entry might be the first time a user comes into contact with your service, especially if you’re building a new video network from scratch. Optimize your listing by thinking specifically about how a customer will view it, and how it will appear in search.

  • Do people quickly understand what your app is?
  • Is the icon clear? If your app is featured in an app store, is the banner art clear?
  • Does the tagline or title give a good description to a new viewer who knows nothing about your app or brand?
  • Do people respond to your brand? Existing, recognizable brands do well in app stores, and have a high rate of conversion from discovery to download. If you’re a new brand, it’s important to think about how you position yourself both in the app store, and also to a general audience. You can test your brand and marketing with tools like Ask Your Target Market and Five Second Test. For more advanced testing tools, check out UserTesting, TestMate, and User Interviews.

Start early with app reviews 
In your app store listing, comprehensive reviews are a great way for potential customers to get a sense of your video app.

When you launch a new app, email a few friends or colleagues and ask them to download, rate, and review it. This is an easy way to get enough ratings to show a “star rating” when a user views your app in an app store. When we launch apps for Vimeo OTT sellers, we include a built-in prompt that asks users to review the app after they’ve viewed several videos. That kind of engagement is a good indication they’re having a positive experience, which is usually reflected in a positive review.

As your app scales, it’s important to capture ratings from users who have a positive experience and get feedback from anyone having a negative experience. This way you can improve your app offering, and ensure good reviews in the future. On iOS, for example, each time an app is updated, your app rating is reset for the current version.

More reading on optimization:

2. Monitor performance and rankings in the app stores 

Making sure your app is visible in app stores can help increase the number of people trying out your service. Pick the correct categories, keywords, and metadata associated with your app to increase the chance it will show up in relevant searches. We recommend App Annie and SensorTower to monitor and manage app store performance.

3. Run paid ads for your apps

The most engaged users who discover your app will likely find it organically, because they’re actively seeking something out. However, experimenting with small ad spends is a great way to test out different acquisition methods for subscribers. These ads can be a great use of money if you find a strategy that reliably acquires paying subscribers.

Facebook: Vimeo OTT supports the Facebook software development kit (SDK), which is a set of tools that helps you integrate your apps directly with Facebook. It’s all about tapping into the social audiences that you’re building on Facebook: You can run targeted Mobile App Install Ads to drive installs, or try ads that increase engagement and find new audiences.

Google: Vimeo OTT supports the Google SDK, which offers a diverse set of features for promoting your app. Try a campaign for downloads in the Google Play store, or drive installs with an AdWords integration.

4. Talk about your app and service in active communities

ProductHunt is a great place to find new and interesting apps. The best apps are upvoted on a daily basis. You’ll have more success here if you stick around and engage with the community in the comments rather than posting “promotional spam.”

Reddit can be useful if your content speaks to a particular niche area of users — there might be a subreddit with a lively discussion already happening. If so, engage these communities in a natural way.

5. Offer free videos

When you launch an app for a new subscription video service, there are so many potential customers who may know nothing about your offering. Posting a few free videos on Vimeo and YouTube can be a useful way to familiarize new folks with your content. You can also make some of your videos free on your OTT site. There are already people using large social video platforms like these to look for video. So post quality, free videos for them to stumble upon!

And be strategic about connecting customers back to your apps: Use your video description and the videos themselves to promote your app and subscription site. Don’t forget to include app download links on Facebook, Twitter, and other social profiles. On Vimeo OTT, we can also make free videos available within your branded apps so potential subscribers can have a similar experience.

Don’t have apps for iOS, Android, Roku,Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Android TV? Learn more about Vimeo OTT’s OTT app offering over here.