While mobile users have quickly taken to mobile technology and adopted it into their lifestyles — so much to the extent where many of us can’t do anything without it — marketers aren’t quite there yet. There are many challenges for mobile marketers as they’re still learning the ropes of this brave new world.

These are the top three challenges mobile marketers are facing today, and solutions that can help tackle them.

1. Hypercompetitive market = high CPI

The app market is swamped with apps. There are roughly a million and a half apps in Google Play, with Apple’s App Store not far behind with approximately 1.4 million. The App Store alone receives 1,170 new app submissions every day. Out of all the categories, the games category is the most competitive, with 366,596 active games available to download on the App Store alone. To put things into perspective, the games category is more than double the size of the business category, which is in second place with 173,737 active apps.

With so many apps available to download, it’s no wonder that the cost per install (CPI) is climbing. Why is this happening? With app stores completely flooded, organic app discovery becomes virtually impossible. That’s why app developers must invest in paid installs via advertising, and with high demand come rising costs.

We can see in Fiksu’s index the trend of increasing CPI costs. Even though there are months in which the cost fluctuates, most months see a significant increase. This means a company can acquire fewer users for the same budget, or will have to increase its budget in order to maintain the same volume of new users. It’s simple math.

The solution: As demand is skyrocketing, we know that prices will continue increasing; this trend probably won’t be changing anytime soon. However, one can use data to make more insightful decisions. If you’re going to be spending your money anyway, you might as well make sure it’s money well spent. Condition your spend with a network by running a performance-driven CPA business model so you only pay for real action, not just an install. If the network hesitates, it may be a sign that they just aren’t good enough and can’t live up to their promise to deliver high-quality users.

Marketers can also minimize risk by measuring LTV and other value-driven in-app actions so they know they’re making an investment with a network that will pay off. Even if you’re working with CPI, value can be measured by tracking post-install activity and connecting it back to the network.

2. Retention

Like any relationship, you can’t just meet someone and expect the relationship to grow and flourish all on its own. In order to form a solid bond between the app and the user, you need to stay in touch and nurture the relationship. Basically, it’s about generating an experience that keeps users coming back for more, and more, and more.

It’s estimated that 20 percent of the people who download any app open it once and never bother with it again. Although install is a crucial step, it’s just one step in the process; it’s impossible to sustain a business off of mere app downloads. According to a study by Appiterate, six of seven reasons people gave for deleting an app were related to its UX.

The solution: While a cohort analysis, a popular feature in mobile analytics, will provide you with a percentage of returning users, in order to fix your product-related problem you need to gain a more complete understanding of your users’ experience within the app. Visual app analytic tools’ core focus is how users interact with your app. Utilize heat maps that track where your users are tapping, pinching, swiping, etc. to give you more insight into the user experience and behavior in app. Make sure you’re monitoring and analyzing users’ actions on an ongoing basis so you can optimize accordingly.

By diving into the user experience firsthand, you can improve the app by identifying specific features that need refining. With a positive user experience, your users will have no reason not to come back and use your app on a regular basis.

Note: There are important advertising-related fixes you can make to measure retention-related in-app events to know who the loyal users are and then connect them back to the networks that acquired them.

3. Linking: a disruptive experience

Many of us have encountered the dreaded redirect link that brings us to an app’s download screen. This may occur even if the app is already installed on the user’s phone. There are three different scenarios:

  1. Link opens mobile web page instead of the installed app
  2. App opening screen opens upon first launch instead of specific landing page
  3. App store opens even if the app is already installed on the device

The solution: Marketers for mobile should use deep links in order to patch the disruption. Deep links have long-term memory. If there is a need to make a user stop and install an app, deep links will continue to direct the user to their specific destination as soon as the app is done installing. Such links also have the ability to carry data about the user into the app, saving the user time (e.g., when there is a need to fill out a form) and further enhancing the user experience.

In addition, the user will be shown a specific landing page thanks to a transfer of attribution data in real time. For example, if I’m looking at an ad for a discount on a New York Hotel, once I’ve clicked on the link, I’ll be brought to the app store to install the app. Once the app opens, I get directed to the specific landing page with discounted NY hotels so I don’t have to go looking for it myself. Deep linking will protect the user experience by ensuring a seamless transition.

Conclusion

Today, the world of mobile marketing is shifting toward a more marketer- and user-friendly environment. Both parties will benefit from streamlined and seamless connectivity as technological roadblocks are lifted by new and improved applications. Using CPA campaigns, cohort analyses, and deep linking, you’ll have a better understanding of where and how you should focus your marketing budget and time. Adhering to good practices while taking advantage of technological solutions will have a night-and-day effect on your marketing efforts — and more importantly, on your results.


Ran Avrahamy

Guest post by Ran Avrahamy, head of marketing for AppsFlyer. Managing a complicated relationship with mobile. (Too) early adopter. Loves being an entrepreneur — hates the word entrepreneur. Before joining AppsFlyer, Ran cofounded Scringo (acquired by Google), empowering native apps with social and communication capabilities, and worked in various marketing and business development roles, helping startups grow.