App Promo contests and promotions

App Promo tip #9: Use contests & promotions to win app visibility

In this ninth weekly app promotion tip together with our friends at App Promo, we cover the subject of winning! Specifically, we’re talking about holding contests and promotions.  Whether or not the time of year provides an opportunity to promote your app, or if you choose to create an occasion, using contests or promotions are a great way to draw attention to your apps. Read this article to get promotional ideas, contests tips, and important considerations when awarding prizes.

Leverage the calendar year
You only have to look as far as your calendar to find key marketing opportunities. Promoting your app around events that are relevant to your app niche or purpose is a great way to increase visibility in context to the right audience. Some great, event-based marketing opportunities are:

  • Holidays (Christmas, Valentine’s Day).
  • Festivals (Deepavali, Eid-ul-Fitr).
  • Seasonal milestones (Back to School, Midsummer, Winter).
  • Speaking engagements.
  • Conferences.
  • Industry events.
  • Company anniversaries & milestones.

Promotions during this time can take many forms, but all use the calendar event to form positioning for the market campaign. For Mother’s Day, as an example, you could run a paid media campaign focusing on why Moms use your app. Later on that year, you might run a campaign focused on how this is a must-have app for students during Back to School week.

Identify the event, find true relevance in it as it relates to your product and then run a promotion around it. Some promotion ideas include:

  • Contests.
  • Price changes and discounts.
  • Giveaways.
  • Advertising campaigns.
  • Press releases.
  • Media & blogger outreach

Be mindful of price promotions
Discounting your price, or putting your app on “sale,” is one of those ways to promote your app around a calendar event. But you don’t always need to tie it to a seasonal milestone. Price promotions can take many forms. You can offer your audience a limited offer, free trials, discounts and markdowns or even a giveaway.

It is important that when entering a price promotion you have a plan with clear goals in mind. Before tying in a price change with your contest, analyse the download and usage data, along with the feedback from your users, to see if this is the right thing for your app. If your app is doing well with the pricing model you have established, it may not be the best time to alter the price as part of your promotion. Pricing changes are best used when traffic is low and you are looking to increase new users.

Frequent price changes can signal a weakness or deficiency to your users and competition and can also start to train your audience to wait till there is a sale to purchase so be wary of how many times you go to make a pricing change.

App Promo Tip9 Contests and Promotions 2

The power of contests
There is a reason why contests are the first thing that comes to mind when you start thinking about putting together a promotion for your app. If done right, contests can create a flurry of traffic and downloads due to their time sensitive and often urgent nature. When thinking about running a contest, make sure you have a specific goal in mind. Are you looking for downloads? Activity within the app? Viral sharing? Feedback?

Once you have your goal in mind, it’s time to be creative to come up with the contest model and prizing. Keep these in mind when developing your contest:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Get people engaged.
  • Encourage sharing.
  • Create a sense of urgency.
  • Make it fun and exciting.
  • Keep it legal – know the rules and make sure your users do too.

Ultimately, a contest is only good if people know about it, so part of the contest plan should include how to get the word out. Using a social network like Facebook to run a contest is effective in this way, as interactions with the contest will instantly become available in the participant’s wall, thereby featuring it to their friends.

Awarding prizes
Prizing is a key element in any contest. You will need to gain prizing that is both enticing enough to make people participate while still keeping the prize relevant to your app to ensure that you are attracting the right users. Beyond what the prize is, make sure you understand the legalities around giving it away, especially if the prize is money. Be familiar with contesting regulations in the regions you wish the contest to run in. You can look at the Rules page of the Ericsson Application Awards as an example of the sort of information you’ll need to provide to the public.

Okay Android devs, what kinds of contests and promotions do you have going on right now? Feel free to share what’s worked for you with other developers in the Comments section below.


App Promo is a leading app marketing and strategy firm whose goal is to assist developers and app owners in succeeding in the business of applications. App Promo provides services geared towards increasing discovery, optimising revenue and ensuring better positioning of applications to set them up for success. 

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