Every developer should monetize installs with a variety of advertising solutions from in-app ads to pay-per-install programs and in-app purchases. When you’re designing your monetization strategy, however, don’t forget about the one thing that drives your revenue: your customers.

In other words, you need traffic if you want to make any money. As a developer, you probably want to focus on the core product, which is your app. But in order to earn revenue, you also need to think as a marketer. That means you’ll have to design and create a conversion funnel that brings in your audience from the web, through the app store, and from social media.

The first place to start is your web presence:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Every developer needs a website and a web presence. And if you are a developer, you probably understand the basics of SEO: you must match up a core set of keywords with your target audience and optimize your website accordingly. Keywords that appear in page titles, subheadings, in bold, and so on, are more important than keywords that simply appear in the page content.

Rather than rehashing the basics of SEO here, such as indexing, white hat, black hat, keyword density, etc., we’ll give you a step-by-step plan to follow…after you develop a core keyword set.

This core set should not only match the keywords your target audience uses – such as “learn Japanese writing” – but it should also remain consistent throughout your marketing funnel.

  • To start with, research your niche. Make a list of all the competitor apps and niche blogs that are relevant to your specific app. 
  • Then build the keyword profile. Use tools such as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to compile a core list of keywords, and use other SEO tools, such as Ahrefs, to explore your list of niche websites. In a short amount of time you should have a good idea of what keywords you’ll want to include.
  • Implement the keyword profile on your website. This keyword profile should be detailed enough to tell you which keywords are primary – the ones that go in headlines and page titles – which are secondary – the ones that go in subheadings and boldface – and which are tertiary – the ones that go in the content.

Sounds pretty simple, right? And it is. The most difficult part of the entire process is already over. Researching and developing a targeted, accurate keyword list is essential to successful on-site SEO.

As far as off-site SEO goes, that’s up to you. Naturally, the more you can afford to blog, the better, but rare is the developer who has lots of time to spend blogging.

But now that you’ve developed your keyword set, the rest is easy.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

Not familiar with ASO? Don’t worry. It’s just like SEO, except it is implemented inside app stores. Much like Amazon, Netflix, or any other search engine, app stores use their own database query system to retrieve apps based on the keywords a person enters.

Use the same logic that you did for your SEO optimization: use the primary keywords in your app title (be creative and descriptive), while the secondary and tertiary keywords go in the description.

Follow the same logic as with SEO: include keywords as early as possible in sentences, paragraphs, and titles.

Social Media Optimization (SMO)

Assuming you have your own social media marketing plan, you’ll want to optimize that as well. Obviously, social media is its own beast, and requires more upkeep than the other two optimization strategies.

Though it may seem superfluous or extreme, every little bit helps. And social media optimization does have an effect on SEO, since social signals impact search engine rankings.

You may have to do a little extra research, by discovering appropriate hashtags and niche authority figures, but that part should be relatively straightforward. As with your SEO and ASO strategies, SMO simply requires discipline. Include appropriate keywords in Tweets, hashtag religiously, and link back to your web page or app store listing when appropriate.

Your core keyword set, if you did your research properly, should be based on the terms people use in real life to talk about your app’s function. This means people on social media should use the same set of keywords, so you can connect to them by monitoring that keyword list on a regular basis.

As you can see, developing an SEO, ASO, and SMO strategy is not too difficult. The hardest part is researching and developing a keyword list…and that’s not very hard at all. The rest of it requires basic implementation and a little bit of discipline.