Where and How Should We Advertise Our Apps?

I’ve submitted an update to our app, PublicSpeakr. Over the last month or so I’ve been playing around with Squarespace and considering where and how I might advertise the app.

PublicSpeakr online

I have the following resources/accounts for the PublicSpeakr app:

Sketching out a plan on paper, I’ve identified 4 areas to put effort into:

  1. Paid advertising
  2. Website and blog
  3. Social Media interaction
  4. Meeting people in the domain

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is perhaps the quickest/easiest way to boost exposure. In a short period of time ads can be driving potential customers to the app; a decent landing page is good option, but less work still, sending people direct to App Store is a possibility.

The first three options that come to mind are: Google Adwords, the iAd Network and Facebook ads.

At this stage (having not yet tried), these options seem to be an easy way to advertise the app. Relatively simple to set up and they can all be targeted in some way. Not only that, independent of a campaign’s success, it appears that the ROI feedback is easy to gather. For taking my first steps with paid-advertising, these look like good options to try.

My hunch is that Google Adwords will be the least effective; I’m just not sure if anyone clicks Google ads anymore? This video from Gary Vaynerchuk seems to reinforce this, making a strong case that social networks are the channel for interacting with your audience. (If you’re considering advertising, that video is worth watching). I’m not writing Google Adwords off – it’s likely I will try them – but I expect it will be after iAds and Facebook ads.

The iAd Network. An obvious advantage of using iAds is that the user seeing the ad will own the supported device and be on that device, the prime place to make a purchase. However, you could counter that by saying they’re also using an app that displays ads, which was almost certainly free, and from there make a judgement about their willingness to pay for apps…

The fact that Apple runs the iAd network is also appealing. Apple tend to do things well so I’ve got no reason to believe iAds will be any different. Based on the overview videos of the iAd Workbench and iAd Producer tools, it looks quite easy, though I hadn’t considered how far the production of the iAds can be taken…

Facebook ads. I’m not a big Facebook user but I have seen some ads on there, both on the desktop and on a mobile device. This guide was the top hit for an intro to Facebook ads; it provides a decent overview of the different options available and what they’re suited to.

The destination for a Google ad would be the product page/website. With a Facebook ad, is it better to send potential customers to the product website or the Facebook page for the product? My current view is a landing page on the product website. PublicSpeakr is a niche app – I think the website will be the best place to tell a story about value. Of course, it’s possible to try multiple approaches and track the results – work out which method provides the best return.

Expectations? I’ve followed conversations on Twitter such as this one, this one and this one. They suggest that iAds and Facebook ads are worth experimenting with, but they’re not a guaranteed win (what is?).

I’ll set aside a small pot of money with no expectations attached. The goal is to see if anything bites – and to learn. Beyond that, I have no idea how this will pan out.

Website and blog

I will use publicspeakr.com as the domain for a new website and blog.

My plan is that the site will, initially, include a landing page and something akin to some ‘How To’ pages, showing workflows from the app. This content can help users who already have the app, if they’re looking for support, and contribute to the sales story for people considering it.

A website/blog with useful and interesting information can be a great way to generate traffic, bringing potential customers to the app’s ‘homepage’. But this type of online presence isn’t easy to establish; it takes time.

I have a (very) loose plan to publish something every couple of weeks, but nothing firm. I’ve no intention to take part in any SEO tomfoolery, but straight-up blog pots might work well with social media activity, as a way to bring people in.

I’m well aware that keeping a website fresh and updated with new content is a significant task. My view of how much effort to maintain will evolve as this marketing push progresses.

Social Media

Twitter – I don’t have any plans for this yet. Simply broadcasting new website content and the occasional announcement is missing the point; Twitter is about interacting with those with similar interests. I’ll wait to see what website traffic, if any, leads to new followers. I’ll also start to follow others in this domain and see if there’s anything I can contribute…

I haven’t looked into Twitter Ads yet.

Pinterest – I don’t know what this is or how people use it. I’ve simply grabbed the name.

Meeting people in the domain

There are lots of groups that get together to work on public speaking. And they’re local, easy to access.

My intention isn’t to advertise at such group meetings, or to turn up and push my app. Apart from being rude/obnoxious, it simply wouldn’t work.

The idea is to meet some public speakers. What type of events are they speaking at? What are their problems and how do they practice? Do any of them use apps or online resources?

This could be a useful way to learn more about potential user and to network. Horrible word, but interacting with people on this level will might help to build profile/credibility and lead to more effective interaction, online.


The next thing I need to do is get the website going…