Mobile app development is not an easy task. But creating an app that goes viral – this is insanely difficult.
When everyone in the business is working hard to put their apps in front of hundreds of thousands of people, how can you outstand the crowd and get real exposure?
How can you make sure to get thousands of downloads and make it to the top of App Store and Google Play searches?
In this post I will show you how five mobile games used real-time marketing techniques and trending (or even viral) topics or events, to drive downloads you dream of getting for your mobile app.
And though there is a ton of articles on how to make an app go viral, I will explain to you the ones that proved to work and consist of a pattern that you can use to repeat their success.
Here’s what everyone is trying out:
And this is what I’m talking about:
Pineapple Pen in Apple App Store Trends via AppTweak ASO Report
Pineapple Pen is a new game created by Ketchapp, piggybacking on insanely viral YouTube video that is only one minute long and while writing it, it has already over 77 MILLION views.
Here is the video in case you haven’t seen it yet:
If you’re still wondering what this video has to do with creating a viral app, then read on. I will explain it to you with details in this article.
To describe how you can grow your app or mobile game to more than 100k users, I will show you five simple, yet highly successful games, that has ‘stolen’ popularity from an influencer, viral video or event to drive a huge amount of downloads.
And the great part of this trick is that if they were able to do that, you can copy their approach for your own success.
Of course, there is a lot more to create an app which people will love and actually use. That’s why I have also included some good, proven techniques from mobile marketing.
But now, let’s get straight to our five examples.
So let’s start with our viral YouTube video.
Pen Pineapple Apple Pen was posted on YouTube on September this year and since then millions of people have watched it, talked about it and even remixed it.
It became so popular, that Ketchup decided to make an app out of it, which immediately got over 10,000 downloads from Google Play alone.
And as I’m writing it, it’s been only a week since it was uploaded to the store.
The game is actually pretty simple and reminds of another popular arcade game Flappy Bird, which is not only my opinion, to be honest:
Now let’s see what’s in it for you:
Successful mobile apps engage their users, to assure their retention. You probably know that already.
Here’s the best part:
Using something that is already engaging, you can use some (or even a lot) of its hype to create your own product, that will ‘steal’ this engagement.
It may be temporary, but can strongly impact your product’s campaign.
Note: This example is for the sole purpose of explaining how one can use a major political or social event to promote an app. It was not meant to offend anybody.
Jrump is a simple and entertaining mobile game, where you lead Donald Trump to jump higher and higher by building… walls.
The game, released on Apple Store and Google Play, use a simple platform game pattern that we all know from games like Icy Tower, where a player has to jump as high as he can to reach the next level.
As Mashable states:
“Yes, we know, the 2016 election is no joke, and many important issues are at stake. But this game is not only incredibly well done, it’s also funny.”
What real-time marketing has to do with this game and how can you use this trick?
Let’s start with RTM (real-time marketing):
It is a marketing technique that aims to make use of current events to piggyback on them and promote the brand that’s using this technique.
Some great examples of real-time marketing could be found during 2016 Academy Awards, including this brilliant Lego ad:
Image source: Brand24
Developing mobile product, you often hear or read about how you have to find out who your audience is and where it hangs out (both online and offline).
But what if you can use existing audience of popular event and promote your app to them?
In this example, the creators of Jrump used U.S. presidential campaign, which is probably one of the hottest topics right now.
The game got over 100k downloads in the first week since its upload to stores. How great is this?
Dumb Ways to Die is a fantastic example of a campaign, which thanks to its funny and entertaining message reached a global audience.
The campaign, created by Metro Trains Melbourne, promotes safety around trains and other means of transport.
The campaign became popular after this video, showing funny little monsters, went viral:
But YouTube was not the only channel to promote Metro Trains’ message. They also used mobile games to reach and engage more kids all around the world, to promote their safety message.
In most cases, to become viral, a content or product has to offer a valuable and shareable proposition.
Dumb Ways to Die kills two birds with one stone – it has a powerful, important message about staying safe, and is highly entertaining at the same time.
No wonder that it attracted over 100 Million views on the YouTube video and millions of downloads of mobile games across all platforms.
How can YOU benefit from mobile:
If you’re planning your next marketing campaign and have a product or service, that can be promoted by a mobile application or game in a meaningful or entertaining way, don’t hesitate.
With mobile apps, you can reach new audiences or engage those, who you’ve already acquired through other channels.
Let your app spread the word for you.
Influencer marketing became one of the most popular tactics amongst digital marketers lately.
67% of online marketers used this technique for content promotion in 2015, as a survey for eMarketer states.
And what’s best, you can use this technique to promote your mobile app as well.
One example of how big this is is Grindr – a dating app for gay men. When Stephen Fry, British actor and gay activist, mentioned the app on BBC’s Top Gear show in 2009, its user base grew overnight by 50%.
You can also think the other way – to create an app based on a popularity of an influencer, so you can use his followers as your potential user base.
That’s exactly what Felix Kjellberg (aka PewDiePie) did several times, creating mobile apps downloaded by millions of users.
He hired mobile developers to create mobile games and used his popularity and personal brand to promote them.
Even if you are not an influencer yourself or you don’t have such spectacular following as PewDiePie, you can still use this tactic to develop a popular mobile app.
Think of it this way – even if you personally don’t have a strong recognition, maybe your brand does?
Or maybe you can think of an influencer in your niche that you could work with?
There is still a lot of potential in influencer marketing and you can make a lot out of it while developing and promoting mobile apps.
Let’s face it, the Internet has been created for posting pictures of cats and turning them into memes.
Or, at least, that’s what it became after all.
And did I mention that viral content often is fun and entertaining?
Numbers don’t lie – Nyan Cat: Lost In Space mobile game has been downloaded by people all around the world more than 5 MILLION times.
The idea is simple – make your users laugh, let them have fun and after all, make it easy to share the app with their friends.
From here, your users will promote your app for you like crazy.
Engagement is the key to not only acquire users but also to retain them. And while 13% of users will delete your app right after trying it once, it is important to make them stay.
Funny, entertaining content will definitely be of help.
Now, as you have seen five real-life examples of how simple marketing tips can bring huge results for your mobile app, let’s recall all of them in one place.
You don’t always need to create something spectacular to grab people’s attention.
Sometimes all it takes to build a successful mobile application is an idea based on current events or something popular at a time.
And of course a perfect timing.
Watch trends, campaigns and media coverages all around your niche, product, potential audience, etc., and decide if there is something worth to use for your own purpose.
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