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Know Your User: How to Define Target Audience For Your App

Know Your User: How to Define Target Audience For Your App

photo credit: depositphotos.com

Do you want to know a common reason for a business’s demise? CB Insight has analyzed hundreds of stories on failing startups and concluded that 14% of them hadn’t examined their client. This is a pain point for those who develop and market mobile apps. They are often guilty of developing and designing a product without an end user in mind.

Having a great idea for an app isn’t enough. An app should provide real value for a specific group of people. If you take time to define your target audience first, you will save a lot of time and money during app development and promotion stages.

By figuring out a target audience for an app, you can:

  • plan functionality and design around their needs and preferences
  • use the best monetization model
  • develop a precise and effective marketing campaign

How to define your audience?

There are two ways of identifying a group of people you want to target: a general understanding, based on the app’s category, and secondary research. If an app provides a location-based catalogue of pregnancy shops and services in the US, it is safe to assume that all moms-to-be in the US are a main target market. Secondary research is the analysis of information about your industry, category and competitors.

Finding a target audience for a specific niche app is easier than for a general, category app. But even in a broad market there can still be a wide niche (like certain age and gender group) that can later provide the most loyal users. Gaming apps usually concentrate on finding their “whales” or devoted gamers who bring the largest part of revenue.

Developing a marketing strategy for a target audience

When the target market is defined and app is ready for launch it’s time to develop a marketing strategy. Here are three steps for a safe start:

1. Launch a low budget ad campaign

In an ideal world every penny of your marketing budget works to acquire users from a targeted audience. In reality cost per loyal user crossed the $4 border. One can waste a lot of money on marketing efforts without a test campaign. The soft launch allows developers and app creators to acquire a small groups of users, analyze their life-time value (LTV) and define the most valuable group for an app.

Apart from demographic targeting, such as age and gender, there is behavioral targeting that can be more effective. Behavioral targeting help to reach user segments based on their past actions or interests. An app with recipes can be promoted to users who attend cooking classes, follow cooking blogs, or engage with cookbook apps.

2. Find the right time and place to reach your audience

It`s important to understand when and where to promote your app to a target audience. When is the right time? It may be a seasonal trend, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, for retail apps. Maybe you can launch an app for an upcoming sporting or cultural event or start an ad campaign for a kids game right before summer break.

Promotional efforts should concentrate on websites and social channels that target audience visits. You can reach out to opinion leaders in your niche, ask industry blogs for an app review, or even place information about your service in thematic forums and communities.  PR activity may be seen as a time consuming task, yet it allows to reach the potential end users.

MobileSleepDoc Pro is an app that is synced with the FitBit and designed to help identify and resolve sleep issues such as sleep apnea, insomnia and unrestful sleep. It has reached the target audience with the help of PR activities. Marketing strategy, designed and provided by app marketing agency ComboApp, included reviews of the app and its integration with the tracking device by fitness and wellness bloggers. Bloggers shared their positive experience with their readers, thus promoting a brand and an app itself to the target audience.

3. Analyze, customize and scale

The last and the most important part of app marketing for a specific audience is gathering data about your users. By analyzing statistics you are able to customize a marketing strategy and scale when needed.


Eugine is a Content Manager at app marketing agency ComboApp. She has 4 years of experience in marketing and content writing and strong understanding of remarketing, app monetization and social media promotion. Eugine is passionate about providing insight into latest trends of mobile app industry and online advertising.

2 Weekend Favs May Fourteen

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from Flickr.

Image kase3k via Flickr

Good stuff I found this week:
Olark – Very full featured real time chat tool for your website. Gives you the ability to initiate help and sales chats while visitors are on your site.

Enloop – Automatically creates customized business plans are prepared, on-the-fly, complete with all text and financial forecasts.

30 iPhone Apps for Photography – Great list of apps that let you take better pictures, change exposures, apply cool filters and share your iPhone photos.

31 Why Computers Don't Matter Anymore

AppleAn event occurred recently that was widely covered in financial and tech circles, but the significance of which may have been lost on most.

Apple’s market cap rose slightly above Microsoft’s, making it the largest tech company in the world. Now, market cap is based on current stock price and is a lousy measure of things to come and this is by no means a post about good and bad investments, but to me it marks a point in time that clearly points to the path we’re headed for the next decade or so.

Apple, on the verge of extinction in 1996, rose up with laptops, but then bet the farm on hand held devices and applications. Apple now makes the bulk of its revenue from iPods, iPhones and iTunes – in fact, it would be safe to suggest that Apple is not really a computer company. Apple built its store right next to the new freeway off ramp (the mobile freeway that is) and has benefited through this location dramatically.

As computers and even web browsers continue to lose significance by yielding ground to mobile devices and applications Apple is positioned to dominate for years to come. In the application world social networks like Facebook will continue to grow, cloud computing via applications will generate far more revenue than operating systems, software and hardware.

What all of this means is that Google must successfully nail a social strategy or even it’s mobile plays will cut into it search ad revenue. Microsoft may be in big trouble as it clings to shrinking government and enterprise installations too big to move elsewhere.

Small business can and should seize the opportunity to claim low cost operating efficiencies found in the cloud. Marketers must find effective ways to play in social networks. Resistance to mobile tactics such as location ads, text messaging, and mobile applications must erode as they become the preferred method of content and information consumption.

27 The Duct Tape Marketing iPhone App

I couldn’t get the Sirens’ call of the iPhone app out of my head – so, introducing the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99)

For now the main purpose of the app is to provide a more functional way to deliver my audio interviews. The application gives you a good way to search, sort and bookmark over a hundred interviews and features content I’ve never released publicly. I’ll add another interview each week and also feature exclusive “app only” audio content each week. Upcoming segments include Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh, Power Friending author Amber MacCarthy, Open Leadership author Charlene Li, and Constant Contact CEO Gail Goodman.

dtm iphone app iphone app duct tape marketing

I’ve chosen the portable audio format so you can take me in your car, on your run, or on the train. Hope you enjoy and let me know what you would like to hear.

12 Weekend Favs September Thirteen

buildingI’ve added a weekend post routine that I hope you enjoy. Each weekend I write a post that features 3-4 things I read during the week that I found interesting. Generally speaking it won’t involve much analysis and may range widely in topic. (Flickr image included here is also fav image of the week)


Good stuff I ran across this week

  • 100 Ways to Improve Your Blog – this article has some very common sense tips and some things you probably never thought of doing – great read.
  • Doodle – have you ever tried to get 3-4 people together for something? You exchange emails hoping to find an open date, right. With Doodle you can easily set-up a quick calendar and allow everyone to pick times that work and then get something scheduled. It has other uses, but I really like this one.
  • Goojet – this service allows you to create your own mobile web start-up page a bit like iGoogle or Pageflakes, but on your phone. You simply plug-in all your social services and start posting through this interface. PC, Mac and iPhone app available.

Image credit: surtr

3 Weekend Favs for August Twenty-two

home grown tomatoesI’ve added a weekend post routine that I hope you enjoy. Each weekend I write a post that features 3-4 things I read during the week that I found interesting. Generally speaking it won’t involve much analysis and may range widely in topic. (Flickr image included here is also fav image of the week) – Love my home grown tomatoes this time of year.


Good stuff I ran across this week

  • Free hand drawn social media icons – Love the look of these ink doodle icons to use for your blog.
  • Swebapps – build your own iPhone app in about 10 minutes. Some limitations but a seemingly simple and low cost way to build a basic content app.
  • 16 apps – and sticking with the iPhone theme this service allows you to put your twitter of Facebook username and, based on your usage and conversations, it suggests 16 iPhone apps that might be useful. Seems like this kind of Streamfiltering is a trend that might have lots of applications.
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10 Weekend Favs for August Nine

riomaggorieI’ve added a weekend post routine that I hope you enjoy. Each weekend I write a post that features 3-4 things I read during the week that I found interesting. Generally speaking it won’t involve much analysis and may range widely in topic. (Flickr image included here is also fav image of the week)


Good stuff I ran across this week

  • iPrint (iTunes link) – this free iPhone application allows you to wirelessly print photos, for example, from your iPhone directly to most HP photo print all-in-one printers. I have the HP Photosmart 7280 C and it worked quite well (Obviously you need to have the printer set-up for wireless printing and be able to connect to it.)
  • Shedworking – this is a UK website dedicated to people who work, as in office, in shedlike structures. I am so going get this tree office cube set-up someday. Side note: this is an excellent use of a blog by Taylor Garden Building as a way to extend the use of shed structures they build.
  • Trazzler Buzz – this special section of this travel site tracks chatter on twitter about popular travel destinations so you can catch up on the buzz about places to stay, avoid, eat and hang out that might not make it in this year’s travel guide.

Image credit: Goldmund100

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4 Weekend Favs for July Twelve

rocksI’ve added a weekend post routine that I hope you enjoy. Each weekend I write a post that features 3-4 things I read during the week that I found interesting. Generally speaking it won’t involve much analysis and may range widely in topic. (Flickr image included here is also fav image of the week)


Good stuff I ran across this week

  • Aardvark – new service that allows you to ask questions and get answers from either a network of people you know, such as Facebook friends, or other aardvark subscribers. Answers come via IM in about five minutes. Interesting way to get fast information.
  • Audio Boo – not sure what the name’s about, but this is a nice tool for posting quick audio bits to twitter or facebook. You download an iPhone app and then record and upload your audio. You can use a photo from your phone as well. The service then takes your location and other info you give it and creates a post on AudioBoo, but also tweets and updates your Facebook status if you like. Nice way to do audio on the fly. Here’s a sample one I did.
  • Google Squared – this is a tool that’s part of the Google Labs for now, but it hints at their desire to integrate some apps with search to give results that are more intent driven. You put in a search phrase and it gives you results in a spreadsheet format. It’s still early on but I think this approach has some nice potential for market research. Here’s a square for Chest Pain

Image credit: Alberto Mari

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2 Social Search Gaining Steam

yelpSocial search directories, basically search engines that allow members to rate and review listings, are getting more and more popular as people move their Internet surfing mobile.

Getting restaurant reviews by zip code when you’re out with friends or finding a veterinarian when traveling has become a one button task on the newest generation of phones – of course, then just push another button and get a directions, coupons or place a call.

The primary search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN are also pulling reviews from listings on social search directories as a way to add content to their local directories. If you’ve either ignored getting listed or just didn’t know about these types of site, now is the time to invest some time and a small amount of money to make sure you get listed, found and reviewed.

Here are some of the primary candidates for your social search strategy

Each of the above directories has either built or is in the process of building applications to reside on the home screen of iPhones and other smart phones.

These social business directories are getting into the “location aware” act as well. With new phone coming equipped with GPS capabilities, services are being built that can tell where your phone is and deliver services and information based on that.

Yelp just launched their location aware application for iPhone users that pull up business reviews based on your phone’s location. You know, it just might be a good idea to make sure your business is listed and getting some good reviews in the Yelps of the world. This type of business search in only going to get bigger!

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3 Tuned In On the Go

Small business owners are a mobile lot. Whether it’s going from job site to job site or opening up the Chinese market, the new tools available for mobile business owners are pretty amazing.

The following are a few resources you might want to consider if you find that your business takes you to other cities, countries and cultures.

  • Google Translate for the iPhone – on the more tab of Google for iPhone you just type in a word or phrase and pick your language.
  • Handango – entire suite of software tools including maps and guides for cities and subways.
  • Evernote – powerful note taking software that syncs with laptop, mobile phone and online versions. Even allows you to record audio notes and photo notes
  • iPhone and iTouch applications – daily changing list of travel applications including city guides from Frommers, traffic guides, airport status alerts, local restaurant reviews and more
  • RDM+remote desktop for mobile – check files, email, anything on your PC from mobile phone

So, mobile warriors – what tools have you found useful?

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