App Marketing Guide

Drive awareness, downloads, engagement and conversions.

Promoting your apps: organic and paid advertising

When your app is live, you can start converting your sporadic customers into shop regulars simply by using our tips and tricks for successful app promotion. All you need is the right marketing tools that will convince your customers to download your app--and you need to use it over and over.

Why should I promote my app? 

Every customer who downloads your app offers great potential to become a regular. Marketing research shows that retaining regular customers converts more sales in the long run. Obviously, retention should be a great priority!

Of course, promotion comes in the form of advertising. There are two types of advertisements: organic, which does not cost you money, and paid.

Organic advertisement

Tip #1: Define the added value of your app.

The biggest key to advertising your app? Explain exactly why your customers should make the effort to download your app. You need to explain what added value they get out of an app that is simply not offered on your website. An especially efficient way of doing this is to advertise special offers and campaigns that are app-exclusive. The Shopgate feature Deal of the Day is an excellent example of an app-exclusive sales event. Even before you launch your app, include information about upcoming Deals of the Day or any other app-exclusive features you want to offer.

Remember, apps simply add more to the retail experience you offer your customers. Keep reminding them of that.

Tip #2: Promote your app using email marketing and newsletters.

Email marketing may seem old-fashioned as you prepare to blaze a trail in the world of mobile. However, email is anything but obsolete--and it can be especially relevant for app marketing. While you may feel like apps and social media are the biggest features on smartphones, the truth is that 51% of emails are now opened on mobile devices. Chances are, your customers will open your emails on the very devices that allow them to jump directly to your app.

The key to modernizing your email marketing is to keep it mobile-friendly. Here are some ways to keep your email campaigns relevant to your new app:

  • Keep your message clean and concise--exactly what smartphone users want to see as they flip between emails, texts, social media, and other apps.
  • On the day of your app launch, send an email blast that offers a promo code. That incentivizes every stage of the mobile process: promo codes convince users to download the app, open the app, and buy from the app. Promises of future perks like more promo codes also serve your goal of retention.

Another important rule to follow for initial app marketing via email: create a series of emails with a focus on messaging and keeping a cohesive tone. We recommend scheduling four emails over the span of two months.

You should plan to keep up email marketing during the life of your app. A regular newsletter is an excellent way to keep customers informed of new products, upcoming sales events, or to simply wish them well on an upcoming holiday. Shopgate allows you to add a newsletter sign-up form inside your app. Plan to include that in your app.


Tip #3: Use social media channels.

Obviously, any Internet-based business is rendered essentially useless without a social media presence. Social media is one of the most powerful organic marketing tools to have in your belt. We’ve gathered some tips for specific social media channels to maximize the visibility and promotion of your new app.


  • Pin a post advertising the app to the top of your shop’s Facebook page.
  • Include images in Facebook posts to catch customers’ eyes in their text-heavy timelines. Make sure these images are interesting and high-resolution.
  • Feel free to include a promo code to incentivize app downloads.


  • Tweet an advertisement for your app (with a promo code!) and pin it to the top of your profile.
  • Retweet your happy customers if they “mention” you--it’s a form of organic advertising that only takes a click.


  • Instagram prides itself on beauty and style, so images posted here should match that aesthetic. Instagram is unique in that it doesn’t focus on text. Therefore, the most beautiful and creative graphics available should be used on this particular platform.
  • Master your hashtags. Instagram has a feature called “hashtag following,” which allows users to see posts using a particular hashtag without even following extra accounts. Figure out the most popular hashtags that are relevant to your brand and your products, and use them on all of your Instagram posts.
  • Create a unique but recognizable hashtag where users can submit images of the swag they’ve bought from the app. Repost the best pictures, mentioning the users and the app in the captions. This doesn’t only advertise the function of your app--it makes your brand more personal, which is one reason shoppers are turning to mobile.

Tip #4: Promote the app on your website.

Your customers already visit your website. Advertising there should be a no-brainer.


  • Add a pop-up, landing page, or a feature on the order confirmation page to let purchasers know about the app. They’ve obviously seen at least one thing they like about your shop--give them so many more. Feel free to offer a promo code or free shipping on their first app order.
  • There are a couple of obvious places to advertise your app on your desktop site. Your website’s “About” section is one. If your website has a blog, you should be dedicating plenty of content there to your app. Again, don't shy away from offering an incentive such as a promo code or free shipping on their first app order.

Marketing Spotlight: Shopgate merchant KicksUSA dedicated an entire page to advertising their mobile app. It showcases various features of the app, gorgeous screenshots of their products and app pages, and links to download it in the App Store and Google Play.


  • Add a badge with a direct link to the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store.
  • Shopgate automatically generates a smart banner for your mobile website. Mobile smart banners use a fraction of the screen on a mobile website to automatically open up the app when it’s installed or to fall back to an App Store page if not.


Tip #5: Use in-store advertising, package garnish, and other forms of print advertising with QR codes for app downloads.

Remind your customers of the app using simple, old-fashioned paper. Using your shipping packaging, receipts/invoices, fliers, and whatever other paper you use, encourage them to download an app with a QR code. You can also advertise your QR code in public, such as on signs in your brick-and-mortar store that potential customers can easily reach and scan. Bonus: you can also add an automatic coupon to a QR code!

If you offer paper catalogs to your customer, Shopgate offers an app feature called Scan & Buy. It allows customers to take a photo of your catalog page and directly order the products. Using linked catalogs shows your customers that you attempt to offer more convenience and fun while shopping.  


Tip #6: Optimize the discoverability of your app in the app stores.

When your app is uploaded to the App Store, you can start making the most of App Store Optimization.


Tip #7: Update your design from time to time.

Change your app design every now and then to draw the attention of your customers. These design updates are especially worthwhile around the holidays or other special campaigns.

Tip #8: Promote app reviews of your customers.

When your app has a lot of good reviews, this encourages possible customers to download it. Offer a coupon to your purchasing customers in exchange for a post-purchase review.

Paid advertising services

Tip #1: Use Facebook Ads.

Using Facebook Ads, you can draw attention to your app with advertisements on Facebook. Facebook Pixel and Facebook Analytics help you track Facebook customers' behavior so you can address the right target group.


Tip #2: Generate app installations using Google Adwords.

In addition to granting you higher visibility, Google Adwords also allows you to track your mobile shop with Google AdWords.


More information on app promotion

Shopgate offers all of the above features, and more.

Learn more about easy app marketing over at our Marketing Tools page.

Our App Design tutorials also offer valuable information about how to make your app alluring and effortless for your customers, making them want to come back for more.

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