Tips on Mobile App Viral Marketing

Huan Liu Co-founder at Vimo Labs Inc.

November 19th, 2013

We are developing a Dance Fitness iPhone App. The product is in beta, and we are ready to launch in 2-3 weeks. So we are now focusing on the marketing plan. Can you share your experience on how to promote a mobile app?

Here are a few things we are planning to do:

1. Produce a good quality video showcasing the product, post it on youtube where people can learn about the product.
2. Contact bloggers, editors from big tech media, such as Techcrunch, Venturebeat, Wired, Wall street journal etc. to hopefully secure some coverage
3. Hosting Dance competitions virtually or in local malls (this is unique to our App, we can score people on their dance performance).
4. Blog, twitter coverage by team members and friends and family

Anything else we could and should do? 

Does anybody has any tips on how to get Apple to notice you and potentially feature you? I imagine this is not possible on day 1, because Apple would not have seen your App yet? But, after we launch, how do we get them to notice us?

Thank you so much for your insights. 

Anthony Zeoli Digital Strategy and WordPress Consultant and Trainer

November 19th, 2013

Those bloggers are not going to pay attention until you have a story to tell. Work on the story and forget about pitching them until you have traction and other people tell them how cool you are. Best regards, Tony Zeoli - sent from my iPhone

Joel Brodie Business Development Executive and Entrepreneur

November 19th, 2013

A very wise app developer told me, if your marketing plan is to featured by apple, come up with a new marketing plan. 

Having said that, Apple does like to feature apps that show off the device, which sounds like your app does.

To get attention of bloggers:

- Make a target list of blogs (app review sites and tech) and list out which writers have written about similar apps/fitness related stuff (e.g, fitbit, fitocracy).   don't just do a pr blast.  write personal emails to people or tweets and base it on the "i notice you wrote about this app, let me tell you about mine..."
- Send them your pitch and give assets that make it very easy to review and post - e.g., good screens with dropbox link, video (s).  Don't send a PDF with all the images embedded since that not helpful to writer
- Include a launch and embargo date and stick to it.  Writers hate it when ask for embargo but then someone breaks it
- If this not work, you can follow up few weeks later with a pitch around a list around the app (top 5 apps to have fun this holidays and lose some holiday weight, include your own app in there, bloggers love lists
-  If you do the videos via mall, tape and throw up on youtube.  if one becomes viral, you're golden.

i own a games review site so feel free to hit me up with private message to contact me directly.  we don't usually write about these types of apps, but now that i wrote out the top 5 fitness app idea, i may actually post that :)


November 19th, 2013

I'm not sure what your marketing budget is, but I've heard good things about Grow Mobile for managing ad spend. They helped a game called High School Story hit top 5 Top Free in the App Store during launch week. Not scammy or bots or anything shady like that. Grow is a start up too, I think YC.

If want to do things on your own, I think the best ad spend for UA is now facebook mobile ads. It's contextual (on device) and you can hit your target audience.

Third, pay attention to your Apple keywords. There's lots of posts about optimizing the character limited field that Apple gives you. Let me know if you can't find them, or want simple feedback. Sometimes, esp during launch, you can get 2-3x sustainable download rate wins. Let me know if you want me to review your keywords for you.

Lastly, the best way to get your app distributed is good ol word of mouth. So listen to your users, engage your early customers, and turn them into your biggest fans.

P.S. I was a mobile PM in a past life. I'd be happy to beta test your app for you if you want. Just ping me and I'll give you my testlifght email. Best of luck!

Alan McKean President at One Touch, LLC

November 19th, 2013

I have a few books on the subject of marketing apps but the one I like most is 'Pitch Perfect' by Erica Sadun and Steve Sande. It emphasizes getting your app reviewed by bloggers. Another that has some good advice is 'iPhone and iPad Apps Marketing' by Jeffrey Hughes.

Jonathan Poston | Medical Marketing Agency

June 2nd, 2015

Here's an article I just wrote on this:5 Tips for Your Mobile App Marketing Cheatsheet
But like @anthony said, there needs to be a story, and moreover a tagline how your app is a game changer..."learn to dance like xyz superstar in 72 hours," learn the 56 steps of NY Salsa in 7 days," "learn the basic 7 dance fitness steps in 15 minutes with this app" etc. etc.

Oliver Cross Founder of Skwag & Portal Product Manager at Gala Coral Group

June 4th, 2015


I launched my "Shoe Swapping App for Women" called "Skwag" a few weeks ago and I would suggest trying to get on, the amount of traffic and media is quite impressive. They are always looking for new ideas.