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

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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 synched 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.

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