App Marketing Toolkit: Google Alerts

by GameHouse

As a game or app developer, you no doubt get inundated by the dozens (seemingly hundreds) of app marketing services & SDK providers promising you tools to improve your app monetization, analytics, app promotion and every other service you may possibly need – at a cost, of course. Given the noise in the app service provider market it’s always refreshing to discover a free app marketing tool, and one that is relatively straightforward to set up without doing an update to your app: Google Alerts.

Google Alerts continually search and monitor news stories, blogs, and press releases for keywords or phrases that you determine.  Alerts can even tell you when new web sites pop up with your target terms.  The alerts are mailed to you on a frequency of your choice (immediately, daily, or weekly), or can be set up to be read with a RSS feed reader (see below).  Google Alerts are arguably the best, and the most relevant for those of us optimizing for page rank and organic mobile web traffic.  Simply visit the Google Alerts page and log in to set up your own alerts.

Things you may want to watch with Alerts:

  • Your brand or company name
  • The names of your apps
  • The names of similar / “competitive” apps or companies
  • Your game genre or sub-genre
  • Topics of interest to you, e.g. iOS7, app marketing, App Store SEO, et al

How to use Google Alerts for app marketing & promotion:

  • Press Relations (PR): find out who is talking about your apps, and those from your competitors.  This is helpful for monitoring your PR effectiveness, as well as helping you target the relevant journalists for new app launches or updates.
  • Community, Social Media, and Brand Management: find out who is talking about your apps, and whether the chatter is positive or negative. Alerts can complement your social media monitoring efforts and allow you to engage with customers, bloggers and reviewers. What you learn can even help you define new features for your app!
  • Social Media Content and Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Alerts help you spot content that you can tweet and blog about, and even build links to your app website.  If you have a website to promote your app, regularly publishing content (at least 4x per month) will help you to improve your page rank and organic (free) SEO traffic. Combine your SEO with tools like Apple’s Smart Banners solution to drive app installs from your mobile web properties at no cost.
  • Pricing: Alerts can help you spot competitor app sales which you may want to mimic to capitalize on the increased awareness and new user volume that comes with a sale in iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re suffering from an overloaded inbox, you can also set up alerts to publish to an RSS feed to view them along with your other top news sites from a feed reader such as feedly.  Unfortunately Google no longer directly supports publishing alerts to RSS, however we found this helpful blog article by Alyssa Galella on how to get Google Alerts via RSS.  The steps are slightly cumbersome (not her fault – it’s a workaround necessitated by Google killing their Reader) but we followed her advice and confirmed that the approach works.

If you do not have a huge marketing budget there are still plenty of ways to market your app and be successful, you just need to take a measured approach to identify and implement them. Have you thought of other ways to use Google Alerts for app marketing & promotion? Let us know in the comments…

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