3 Ways Apps Can Leverage Influencers, Celebrities And Content To Drive Downloads


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Why Marketing Technology Isn't All That Different 

There are over 6.3 million apps currently on the market. And that number is only growing substantially.  The App Store alone is projected to have over 5 million apps by the year 2020.  And with the average adult user only using 9 apps a day, and 30 per month that is an incredibly crowded marketplace with a very difficult issue of distinction. 

Now, all those apps are not necessarily good.  Nor are they all funded well enough to be able to market themselves.  But many are, and our team is often called in to brainstorm and discuss how marketing strategies can build app awareness, in this very crowded marketplace.  So what's an app brand marketer going to do?  Our suggestion -- social influencer and content marketing. In this blog, Hollywood Branded provides insight into the 3 ways to use influencer, celebrity and content to drive downloads for apps.

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Just How Many Apps There Are For Every Demographic

Apps are not just about marketing to Millennials.  Sure, the millennial is a major target, but with apps offering solutions to everyone's every day lives, the demographics are extremely wide.  Today, apps are used by every age group, from Gen Z, Millennials, Gen Xer to Baby Boomers. 

According to Statistica, the below chart is a time series that highlights the number of apps in the Apple App Store from 2008 to 2017.  As of 2017, the App Store had 783,269 gaming apps and 2.33 million non-gaming apps available. 

Number of apps Apple from 2008 - 2017.png

And for Google Play Store (Android Market), Statistica states that from December 2009 - September 2017 that there are 3.3 million apps.  

Number of apps Google from 2009 - 2017.png

That is A LOT of competition for an app brand to stand out.

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How Apps Market Themselves Traditionally

How apps market themselves - typically through paid digital ads, is very different than using social influencers and content.  And it requires a BIG leap of faith, because the dollars put into digital ads, where a direct return is measured on who purchases after clicking the ad, is so totally different than working with influencers or content.

One influencer post isn't going to lead to amazing results.  One TV show isn't going to make an app be downloaded millions of times.  One celebrity becoming part of a campaign isn't going to move the needle so much that the app never needs to continue other marketing efforts.

And it doesn't work for all apps in creating an immediate return on investment.  It definitely is a longer term strategy ploy that CAN move the needle, but is about creating opportunities for the app to build it's own brand value by appearing to targeted audiences over and over again in organic natural settings, and really using that power of Word of Mouth to impact brand awareness and consumer interest.

It takes multiple efforts on a continual basis.  For apps and for other brand categories - there is no difference in that.  It is no different than running a PR campaign or an ad buy strategy.  One ad isn't going to result in top of mind memory recall and drive immediate purchase.  It's about building that relationship and awareness that will truly impact downloads.  And make the app into a household name.

And that means it is really important for the app brand marketer to decide if they are ready to expand a Cost Per Click (CPC) marketing strategy into one that is more about building a brand awareness strategy for the long term that uses social influencers, celebrities or content.

The First Option:  Social Influencer Partnerships For Apps

Because apps are literally mobile, one of the most often types of marketing partnerships many app owners are drawn to revolve around mobile viewing strategies, and in that I mean social influencer campaigns.

What is so great about social media influencers is that they come in all sizes - so no matter the budget of an app, there is an influencer type that will work well to market it.  For apps with low budgets, that might be micro influencers or macro influencers. 

  • Micro influencers have much smaller fan bases - typically under 30k or so, but have a higher engagement level of those followers.  They are also great at creating content that the app can repurpose across their social media platforms, and for a new brand, that is fantastic for two reasons.  It not only saves money in content creation, but it allows the app to start having it's own culture built and shared by those who are using it. 
  • Macro influencers have polished their game a little more, have bigger audiences - up to hundreds of thousands, and know how to best position brands to their fan bases, as they have been positioning their own brand in order to get to the size they are now.

And for apps with deeper pockets, that might be more so the celebrity social influencer, or an actual celebrity.  There is a big difference between the two.

  • When I say a celebrity social influencer, I don't actually mean a celebrity in the sense of athlete, actor or musician.  But instead, a personality that has created a social media footprint and grown their following to be SO BIG, that they are now considered celebrities.  These are the people who have tweens and teens flocking to their mall appearances, and up to tens of millions of people who tune in to their social posts, to see what they think is cool.  

Keep in mind, that working with social influencers extends beyond your typical social platforms.  Influencers who are bloggers are GREAT because they can really write detail about your app, include screen shots, and share through the blog as well as their Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter et al social accounts.  Blogger campaigns are, in my opinion, an absolute MUST for apps.

Check out these blogs our team has written about social influencer partnerships:

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The Second Option:  The Celebrity Influencer... An Actual Celebrity

A celebrity influencer is actually a lot different than a celebrity social influencer.  A celebrity is, well that is what you think it is.  That actor, actress, musician, athlete or star personality from reality series that has a strong social following - possibly gigantic, possibly not, who gets both the media and consumer's attention.  These individuals have a 3x higher - or more, price tag when it comes to their fan base size compared to the micro and macro social influencers.

And their fan base does not always justify their price tag. And they are not always so great at being creative and knowing how to engage their followers. There really is a big difference between the world of celebrities and social influencers, and knowing which to use and when is extremely important.

Celebrities are not going to mastermind a comprehensive online strategy with videos created and pictures shot.  That's what social influencers do.  Celebrities are going to be the center of a campaign that is built around them.  They are going to be the focal point for other marketing efforts of the app to be showcased around.  Sure, they may post out about the app - that's great, and should absolutely happen.  But they aren't going to be the strategist or the actual creator behind the content development.  They are instead going to post out what is handed to them.  Their power is in their name and their likeness.

Celebrity Social Media Webinar by Hollywood Branded

So for apps who want that celebrity to do call outs, or record content for their app and push it out... it isn't going to be cheap.  Expect to pay at least $50k for the lower tiers (ok, so those D list reality stars might be in the $25k and up range) and from there it can go into the millions of dollars depending on the celebrity's status.  All dependent of course on who that celebrity is, and what's going on in their lives.

So those figures scare away a lot of people.  Or lead many app owners and marketers to think they've come up with another solid strategy option of payment.  Equity in the company in exchange for the celebrity appearing in the campaign.  That's the plan of giving away a percentage of their company in order to better leverage money options to have a celebrity come on board and be a spokesperson to their brand.  Well... that's not working out so well anymore. 

Celebrities and their management teams are inundated with requests for the celebrity to jump on board a brand and work for equity.  And it just doesn't work out.  Why? Well because for one, the management team of the celebrity needs to be paid for brokering the deal. There are A LOT of hours that go into creating a celebrity partnership.  It has nothing to do with picking up the phone and inking a deal on the spot.  We outline how it actually works in our blog: 12 Steps To Get Celebrities To Work With Your Brand.  It’s not the easiest process, and it requires a lot of going back and forth. 

And as to equity?  Don't do it.  Just read the blog post I mentioned above to learn the reasons why.  And check out these blogs our team wrote on working with celebrities:

There are partnerships with celebrities for social call outs on their social platforms, or PR partnerships where they become a spokesperson for the brand.  Or even MORE comprehensive campaigns involving the apps' print, TV and digital media co-branded with the celebrity's likeness.

Celebrity invite to brand event ebook

The Third Option:  Entertainment Driven Content Marketing

And that brings us to the third way apps can create fantastic brand awareness campaigns, which is through 3rd party content marketing. There are so many options here to discuss, but they all boil down to figuring out which content type will get in front of the best demographics for the app, showcasing the app's unique features, while still being within the required budget. 

Entertainment content marketing has so many options. From scripted TV shows and feature films, to reality series that are water cooler conversation starters.  Or those mega talk shows that are viewed around the world where the fan base races out to purchase whatever brand the host is talking about.  There are smaller opportunities with local news programming and regional content that airs around lifestyle topics where apps can be integrated and discussed within the content.

Make sure you check out our next blog in this series, 12 Ways Apps Use Entertainment Content To Increase Downloads where I walk through the ways brand marketers can integrate their app into entertainment to increase downloads and brand awareness!

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Ready To Start Marketing Your App Through Influencers, Celebrities And Content?  

As I mentioned before, working with influencers, celebrities and content is not going to result in overnight sales. But it is going to build a massive footprint for your app that will result in word of mouth association, memory and ultimately, downloads.  

Since a lot of the strategies I've discussed are about content marketing, make sure you check out our in-depth guide to Product Placement and Promotions 101 Guide as it will help you better understand the landscape.  

Product Placement & Co-Promotions 101 Guide