App marketing more important than creation: Microsoft's Carraro

App marketing more important than creation: Microsoft's Carraro

While making the idea is important, monetisation, marketing, and measurement should top the priority list

While the building phase of app development is important as it produces the idea, the monetisation, marketing, and measurement of an app is more significant and critical to the success of the app, according to Microsoft Australia developer and platform evangelism director, Gianpaolo Carraro.

In his presentation titled The app economy at the Australian Computer Society (ACS) Youth IT Conference (YITcon) 2012, he said that it is quite possible to create a successful app with no technical background, but rather an innovative idea and approach.

This is due to a thriving app marketplace which houses "an app for everything", therefore making the packaging of the app - the monetisation, marketing, and measurement strategy - the differentiator as it has the ability to make it 'pop', or consequently forced it to be washed out in the oceans of offerings.

Carraro outlines four key steps in bringing an app to market. Phase one involves the creation of the app itself. A consideration into major trends is key here. For example, the intergration of location-based services, social elements, augmented reality, and NFC.

Step two is about monetisation. This phase involves considerations into pricing in a price-sensitive market, freemium, in-app purchases (offer it free for download, but charge for bonus features), subscription charges, and advertising. If the app is successful, merchandising becomes an additional option.

Marketing is step three. The app's quality is the highlight here, according to Carraro. Quality must be high, and the user must enjoy their experience. Another integral part is its placement within an app store, particularly in terms of its searchability and the keywords which lead to it.

Additionally, the app must have a viral attribute in that it must be highly shareable, particularly through social mediums, like Facebook and Twitter. Other factors include the icon and name, distribution, and paid placements (ads and sponsorships).

The marketing phase does not occur on its own, Carraro said, and must receive superior attention.

Step four involves the measurement of the app in terms of numbers and feedback. This, of course, involves an analysis of how many times the app has been downloaded, by who, where, and what time, as well as how it is being used.

Once internal metrics are assessed, it is about getting back to the drawing board.

Carraro added that, although it is possible to refine an app, secondary market approach can often be less effective if the initial release receives an overly negative response. At the same time, a turnaround is not impossible.

Carraro also pointed out that, while the app must receive dedication, it can be done without sacrificing existing jobs and processes.

"You can do it on weekends or evenings, and usually without breaking existing contracts," he said.

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