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How Much Does it Cost to Market an App?

From cab booking to healthcare systems, apps play a pivotal role in our daily lives. Because of this presence in our daily life, most people build an app believing that their amazing app idea is enough to make it an immensely popular app.

Certainly, there have been apps that succeeded overnight. But they are far and few. For the rest to be discovered, you need to have a good app marketing strategy and budget.

Why? Because:-

mobile app statistics

So, how much does it cost to market an app? Let’s take a look.

The main challenges through the entire mobile app marketing strategy are:

  • Organic and rapid mobile App discovery
  • Reaching the target users
  • User Engagement and retention
  • Creation of loyal app users
  • Satisfying Conversion and ROI

All these operations involve the question of how much does it cost to market an app. To estimate the cost, we need to consider the essential components that constitute the comprehensive app marketing campaign model. Here is the quick glance at app marketing cost breakdown structure:

  • The Pre-Launch Marketing Components
  • Market Research
  • App beta testing
  • App Store Optimization
  • App PR outreach
  • Influencer Marketing
  • Viral marketing
  • The Cost of Digital App Marketing Assets
  • Post App Marketing Cost

#1. The Pre-Launch Marketing Components

The pre-launch app marketing usually includes the most crucial components such as market research, beta testing, ASO (App Store Optimization), PR and pre-launch media coverage.

The pre-launch phase allows you to anticipate your app’s reach and impact on the users after its launch. Once it launched, they can easily download it from the app/play store

This stage of app marketing revolves around generating interest, excitement and anticipation as well as awareness of the app before it is accessible from the app/play store.

#2. Market Research Costs

Conducting a healthy and in-depth market research is a step that precludes any other action for it lets you know the minutest aspects of the target market.

However, market research is not merely limited to scooping up the facts about your competitors’ success, trending features, user requirements and marketing Technologies and their app marketing cost.

Through this, you can gauge useful customer reviews and expect their behavior throughout the app journey. The viability of your app also gets revealed through effective market research.

It also entails efforts for discovering robust options for social media coverage, viral marketing, good publications and influencers, bloggers and YouTubers. The cost for such thorough research appears between $5000 to $15,000.

#3. Beta Testing

There is a rigorous testing process by developers themselves, which is called alpha testing. Beta testing helps save your mobile app’s reputation when the app is actually being used.

The testing determines the impeccable performance of the app and ensures your app is completely ready for the market and doesn’t contain any pitfall of bugs.

Beta testers also come handy when posting unbiased reviews about app’s look and feel – which is an underlying part of app marketing. It is said that about 100-300 testers can help you realize your app’s working condition before the original launch.

App market research shows that the usual cost estimation for such beta testing hits between $3000 to $5,000.

#4. App Store Optimization (ASO) Cost

The process of App Store Optimization covers all the thoughts and attempts at tuning the mobile app to the rules of discoverability as decided by respective App stores like Google Play Store and Apple App store.

The efforts involved in ASO cleverly deal with optimizing keywords, title, screenshots, video and description to make sure the app is compelling enough to be easily found and downloaded by its potential users.

Since ASO is a tricky subject that needs good level of technical expertise, the in-house app creators must be skilled enough to use the right set of ASO tools whose monthly cost range from $50 to $1000 or more.

If in-house expertise lacks awareness about tools-specific tactics, hiring an app marketing agency would be a great remedy.

#5. PR Activities

Reaching out to PR is still considered effective for mobile app marketing as it is for any product marketing activities. Pitching an app to online publications and being visible through press releases is the integral part of successful app marketing strategy.

Well-planned PR activities is an ideal tool to market  your app towards the right audience at the right time at a reasonable cost.

PR outreach turns out to be a little more time consuming, though, and capitalizes greatly on media relationships. Eventually, it makes the app prominent on leading forums and publications. A good reputed PR agency may charge your company up to $300 per hour.

Read Also : 30 Most Effective Mobile App Ideas For 2020

#6. Influencer Marketing Cost

Mobile app industry can boost its marketing power by tapping into the world of influencer marketing. Online influencers who are actually bloggers and reporters can magnificently endorse the app by developers in the most dignified and honorable way..

Example: If you are planning for a fitness app, you can collaborate with a famous trainer or celebrity with a large number of followers and.

The cost for influencer marketing for connecting an app to the target audience can reach $10,000. The marketing agency may levy up to $15,000 a month – which might strike as a little too expensive for independent developers. The method usually seems affordable for today’s big brands.

#7. Viral marketing

Posting about an upcoming app on Facebook can automatically boost up its reach. It doesn’t involve cost, but some marketers invest in paid ads to make the apps get better reach and usability among the app market.

They try to conduct paid promotional ads via Facebook, Instagram, or other social media sites igniting the app launch and its features. The limitation of viral marketing is that it is not sure that every content gains a place among people.

#8. The Cost of Digital App Marketing Assets

To create an unforgettable online presence with glorious visibility, the mobile app of all genre needs a platform to flourish. This platform is better interpreted as a promotional website and social media accounts for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram

Companies or developers can either partner with a professional web design firms which may cost from $5000 to $25000 or alternatively opt for online web building solutions that charge nearly $20 a month.

In the latter case, you still need a competitive, robust service for creating presentable, vivid graphics and images developed professional for branding visuals.

#9. Post-Launch Marketing Cost Estimation

After launching the app comes the real hard work of getting users to install and take actions within the app. The post-launch user acquisition activities will have brands and marketers spending a significant portion of the overall budget. Mobile app life cycle is kept afloat by getting users to install your app.

a) Cost Per Install

However, the cost estimation for making users install app (CPI) is different for both iOS and Android platform since Android smartphone users are many and have different choices and locations than iPhone users in the app market.

It is an essential pricing model for developers as it helps them to calculate ROI obtained through the investments in In-app purchases. One limitation of CPI is that developers cannot recognize how many people are using your app.

It is usual to expect the CPI for iOS to be $6 and $4 for Android.

b) Cost Per Action

CPA(cost per action)is the crucial part of mobile app marketing campaign as it usually revolves around in-app actions excepted of users such as:

  • Registration and account creation
  • Contents participation
  • In-app purchase
  • Product order or service reservation
  • Filling the surveys
  • Subscription of push message or other services

Mobile only becomes profitable if users make purchase decisions. For this very reason, cost for getting users to take an expected action is quite higher than cost per install.

CPA is considered as an ideal monetization strategy. CPA marketing activities involve free subscription for 30 days, free downloadable contents.

Keeping the app monetization mechanism in perspective, we can deduce that the estimated CPA for iOS app could be approximately $120 and $180 for Android app.

Given the higher cost of CPA, it is most important for brands and uptight developers to retain mobile users and get them to subscribe more often.

Both CPI & CPA can vary depending on the location of users and the platforms they use, Majority of Android users are from Latin America, Europe, and India whereas Asia and the US comprise a great number of iPhone users.

Below are the costs per action of Android and iOS platforms

User Action Android iOS
Install $2.9 $4.4
Registration $6.37 $11.79
In-app purchases $145.63 $132.23
Reserve $38.29 $5.96
Purchase $113.79 $71.02
Subscription $187.29 $129.15


c) Push Notifications Cost

Every app nowadays supports push notification marketing to keep the customer interactions alive and business going. Most effective and ubiquitously embraced, push notification solutions such as Beacons are powerful tools to communicate with existing app users about latest offers, special discounts and features to try.

The personalized messages with relevant content can engage users for a long time, helping you stop them from quitting the app. Due to specially designed APIs, the cost of push notification marketing reposes within $30 to $200 a month.

app cost calculator

Hiring a Specialized App Marketing Agency

To execute a perfect app marketing strategy with all the vital points, taking the help from professional veterans in the field is not a bad idea. Brands and mobile app developers will need to open their budget limit up to $25000 for a single app.

The marketers will take over the job of preparing crucial marketing assets such as micro website, graphics and photos, video creation, and social media channels.

They would also strategize and run organic and paid campaigns to help your app grow. These actions will make sure users will be able to discover your app across all marketing channels.

How to Shape Your App Marketing in 2020?

Marketing an app is not an easy task. We can notice that the spectrum of app categories is getting extensive each day. Successful app marketing depends on diverse factors, it is very important to keenly observe the different factors that affect each app category.

#1. App categories

90% of the children now study on the go via innovative educational apps. You can start validating your idea using discussion forums like Quora. Educational apps are devoted to students, teachers, and parents.

So, making your brand-new app for them has to provide the best courses for students, management systems for teachers, and bridge the gaps between parents & teachers.

#2. Target audience

A well-defined audience can help the whole app to get its successful outreach. In the case of shopping apps, women comprise a major part of the target audience. They love to shop and you can craft app features in accordance.

The whole app interface can be well designed in accordance. In news apps, the target audience is field experts, intellectuals, and common people. The content has to satisfy these people altogether.

#3. Competitor analysis

Creators can find the potential and current competitors, analyze their strengths and weaknesses to craft your app winning over in some features or the whole app. Ecommerce apps are evolving each day.

Analyzing the competitors can help you leverage the perfect technologies of your e-commerce app. This stage will be effective by comparing the various product filters, contents, combo offers, and more.

#4. Advertisements

It is an unavoidable factor affecting the app cost and marketing efforts. We can see many television ads portraying new educational apps amid pandemic. Such learning apps make students relieved from the tensions of study at home all time.

Advertisements on new video conferencing apps are also increasing each day. Many people working from home need great communication as they are forced to avoid physical work. Many ads on video chat apps are visible on TV, Facebook, and many outlets today.

Google ads app campaign can funnel your users directly to your app. Google Ads help your app to get promoted on YouTube, Google Play, Google search, and more.

Read Also : 12 Ways to Boost your App Downloads 2020

Key Takeaway

If you believe in holistic approach to market your mobile app, you will find the app marketing expenses swaying around the tail end at a cost of $10 to $12K per month in the initial stages.

App marketing is a never ending activity, and your marketing spend will also depend on the strategy you choose. With innovative strategies, you would be able to bring down cost significantly and gain maximum ROI in the app market.

app cost calculator

In an increasingly competitive world, marketing your app is essential to engage and retain your app users. While most app creators focus on development as the primary expense, app marketing is a more important cost in the longer run for business to flourish, and would require a steady inflow.

Regardless of industry niche and complexity, investing in promoting your app across major platforms and channels does involve a lot of hustles and creativity. If done with proper planning and execution, it can get you significant exposure for your app.

How to Market an App on Social Media?

Right before your mobile app is launched, you must ponder over how you are going to generate public interest and drive frenzy among prospect users for downloading it.

It is time to try effective ways to attract more users and create a huge drive around your app. However, with more than 5 million mobile apps vying for users’ attention, making your app visible is rather daunting.

Choices are more, options are endless, and hence marketing your app is definitely not that simple and straight. Also, what adds more dismay is knowing that 25% of apps downloaded by users are abandoned after installation.

The thought of social media marketing therefore sounds convincing especially when 50% of folks are likely to discover mobile apps via family, friends and colleagues. The platform afforded by virtual socials is immensely influential and drives great buzz for your digital creation.

On that note, check out these powerful tactics to successfully market your app on social media:

1) The Clever investment in Paid Ads

Paid advertisements on social media help reach more audience and attain strong presence. Sponsored ads especially boosts your marketing momentum and drives more downloads especially when it is difficult to fetch the audience through organic reach across different platforms.



Nowadays social platforms have evolved to display advertisement with app install options. In fact, social media ads are accountable for almost 49% of app downloads. Hence, more visible your app is in your social paid ads, more is the chance you have to convert target users.

For paid ads on social media to be effective, you also need to choose the platform most preferred by your prospect app users. To optimize the marketing budget while also boosting downloads, minute targeting and riveting content are basic essentials.

Read Also : 24 Best Social Media Apps 2021

2) Influencer Marketing for Faster Results

The real effect of influencer marketing is drawn from the fact that social influencers have already mastered the art of persuading their fans and followers and can give you the ready base of receptive audience. Influencers and micro-influencers own deep knowledge about what excites and appeals to their audience/followers.

Hence, as you pair with active influencers on social media, your app is likely to appear conspicuously to the audience already engaged and connected.

Instagram and Twitter have emerged as the most effective channels where recommendations of influencers work miraculously on purchase decisions. In fact, 40% of users active on Twitter have made purchase decisions influenced greatly by influencer’s recommendations.

On the other hand, Bloglovin Global Influencer Survey of 2016 states that 59% of influencers recommend Instagram as the most effective engagement channel. However, it is momentous to discuss app promotion tactics with influencers for exact results.

3) Expect from Reviews and Ratings

The reviews and ratings of a product share direct correlation with brand reputation and user acquisition. Keep a close watch on the best of user reviews that you can be smart enough to share on social platforms to spur the downloading spirit.

People appreciate reviews and 60% of them actually base their critical decisions about downloading the app on its online ratings and reviews. The public words about your app not only help others understand the app’s motive and importance, but it also generates value as a social proof.

Since 40% of mobile app users discover app from the app store, it makes sense to feature outstanding positive views to get users to notice the app. It is therefore crucial to make sure you post your praise received from a third-party beta tester on social media to amplify the app’s visibility.

Apart from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, YouTube also provides a robust video marketing platform where you can find opportunity to host your app on channels like Daily App Show and receive strong response and ratings.

4) Encourage User-Generated Content 

If you are determined to work on delivering value, why not show it by encouraging User-generated content, aka UGC. The idea of value creation among users focuses on illustrating importance and efficacy of your app by means of user experiments with your app. The best way to connect with the future audience is showing them how your app does own potential to improve lives.

UGC works best where ads fail. Nielsen’s market research confirms that 90% of customers consider peer recommendations while 33% listen to ads. Encourage users who have already benefitted from your app to submit the photos and videos demonstrating how the app is practically useful.

You can run a contest, post interactive UGC and feature video tutorials to maximize engagement and create opportunities to acquire new users from existing ones.

5) Realizing the unique potential of various Social Media Platforms

In 2019, with great many innovations and breakthrough capabilities, social media platforms have become far more evolves and advanced than we ever imagined in the embryonic phase of the technology.

Each social platform at present offers unmatched potential and business advantages for luring and interesting more users towards your app.

Facebook For building active Community

Facebook’s rich content-driven platform comes handy for creating dedicated pages that offer a promising scope of building a broad active community.

Also, you can collaborate with many interesting Facebook groups where your app can reach and connect with the target audience. As you feed value and proactively respond to group members on Facebook, you can easily convince them to download.

Make sure you remain active and:

  • Post HQ images, videos and Gif of apps
  • Bring engaging contests and blogs
  • Share giveaways or freebies for trials and installs
  • Feature promotional offers, discounts or vouchers
  • Introduce gifts for referrals

Your active cooperation and comments on Facebook shows your helping spirit and earns appreciation from users, priming them for app downloads.

Instagram for app Elaboration

Instagram aesthetically eradicates what usually scourges today’s brand marketers – the challenges of engagement and app promotion.

Perfect for well-crafted visuals, Instagram lets you present your app features in an elaborate, creative fashion. Here you can post Sneak peeks in form of enthralling visuals like:

  • HQ photos and Gifs
  • How-to videos
  • App screenshots
  • Website or Influencer content
  • Entertaining creatives
  • Contests and gifts

Instagram users feel deeply excited and intrigued by what is not available but is soon to be in near future. Thus, you can unobtrusively foster much hype around your app on the platform.

The use of proper, popular Hashtags in posts done twice or thrice a day makes your Instagram app marketing meaningful.

The key to seizing great number of Instagram followers is making the most out of visual platform with right mix of content and good aesthetics.

Twitter appeals to marketing and customer service

Twitter has risen as the most dynamic and magnetic marketing platform that latches on tweet, retweet, hashtags, videos, impressions and GIFs. Best for interactions, Twitter helps you spread the word faster and engage with more target users.

You can share pictures, blog contents, videos, news and more. It also allows you to run public polls for active feedback session or contests. You can also ask for user’s personal experiences or privately send message via inbox for propagating brand value.

The platform Twitter provides is quite credible and potent for sincere market executives and can be used for customer service. Positive customer service means positive word of mouth which enhances your app’s status.

Leverage the influence of images

Pictures as they say talk louder than words whether it is for blogs, App screenshots or social media posts. Pictures help express what a description text can’t.

Make the post vivid and more influential by using attractive picture of your app. If there are a few users already using it, you can post screenshots of them using it with a supportive CTA like Download the App.

It is also great to create a post with a message showing the countdown of your app as the release date approaches. Pick a different feature or benefit every time you post. This will keep users clung to your app and let them remember it until it is finally released in the app store.

Read Also : 24 Best Video Chat Apps 2021

Your Final Takeaway

Modern digital media marketing savors the idea of crafting most memorable, interesting and relatable content on app features and benefits. Your social media marketing strategy must revolve around acquiring more users and creating authentic value.

Combine your robust marketing strategy with user psychology as you attempt to know what community would love about your app and encourage them to download naturally. Don’t forget to post regularly on social media to maintain strong presence and reach maximum people.