Get more ratings & reviews to make your app popular

App store ratings and reviews are an important factor when it comes to your app visibility and conversions. Of course, they provide users’ feedback and demonstrate how exactly loved the app is. At the same time, many app owners do not realize app reviews and ratings management is really vital.

In this guide, you will see how reviews and ratings can influence the well-being of the app and learn to manage them in order for the app to convert better.

Why app ratings and reviews so important?

The key idea we’d love to share today is that the number of app ratings and reviews actually have a great impact on the visibility and the conversion rate of the app. While keywords and visuals optimization is done to get your app visible in the app stores, app ratings and reviews allow visitors to make a decision: is this app good enough to download and use?

79% of all users check up the app ratings and reviews before downloading an app. This huge percentage is true for both Apple App Store and Google Play.
app ratings
In the both stores, the ratings & reviews data is visible for users already in the search results. This is exactly what makes them an extremely valuable app store ranking factor, crucial for the conversion rate.

Apple lets visitors to rate by stars (5 to 1) and leave more elaborate text comments on their experience with an app. App preview page visitor only gets to see the most popular review, for the rest people need to swipe right.

Google Play has the color bars where green is 5-stars rating and red is 1-star rating. Google shows several most popular reviews on the preview page, and generates comprehensive data for “Review Highlights” so that potential user could understand what are the main things people found good or bad about the app.

Basically, the impact of app store reviews and ratings is so big that an app a 3-star rating converts 50% less than an app rated with 5 stars.
app store optimization
This means if your app has an average rating below 4 stars, all app store optimization efforts for whether organic or paid user acquisition are very much doomed to fail.

How to ask users to rate an app?

All things considered, for your ASO strategy to succeed, you need as many (positive) app store reviews and ratings as possible. The right moment to start collecting it is even before you really launch the app.
app ratings
Yeah. Sounds more tricky than it is. To gather some basic feedback on the app needed, ask your team, friends and family, and of course the first customers to rate it and leave a review. This will provide the app with some good start.

After the first favorable reviews are in, it becomes a question of collecting more of them and tackling the less-favorable ones.

Motivate users to give feedback

One popular way of motivating users rating an app is giving some reward for a 5-star rating or a good review. Despite strictly speaking it’s a gray practice (neither App Store nor Google Play encourages this), it helps to increase the number of ratings by about 40%.

Both App Store and Google Play have very specific rules about contests of any kinds, so check them out thoroughly before doing this. However, you can integrate a “good rating=reward” into social media marketing campaign or offline promotional materials of any kind. The simplest way is to address the clients via the emails they’ve submitted to the company while getting registered for the app — you can get these emails via Reports in the Company panel.

Another good way to ask for extra positive feedback is the social media and the website of the company. People who follow your brand on social media or use the website form the brand community. They are anyway more ready to provide feedback than the accidental visitors of the app preview page.

Provide your social media community with a handy way to quickly rate the app — the number of ratings will boost. You can create a Shared discount code to reward the users who are willing to rate your app — this can be done in Referral programs tab in the Company panel. Encourage people to share their experience with friends — and the effects will be even more impressive.

Manage the feedback

After you launch an app-review & rating collecting campaign, brace yourself. The amount of feedback will grow, both negative and positive. There are a couple of tips for managing the ratings in a meaningful way.

Provide direct customer support

Even before you start gathering the feedback, make sure the customer support can cover the everyday challenges in user experience. Make contacting the support line as easy as possible so that all the complications of a temporary kind could be talked over immediately and would not get to the app store reviews and ratings.

Not only will this help you to avoid negative feedback left on the spur of the moment. It will also contribute to creating a good relationship with the customer community — for communities, just like gardens, love to be taken care of.

Follow app ratings and reviews constantly

Let’s begin with the basics. Asking for feedback and not monitoring the results doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.
Feedback is a source of knowledge. It allows to understand if the business is developing the right way if the services meet customers expectations, and it also gives you tips (completely for free!) about what to do next to make the user experience better.

Reply app store reviews

A paramount thing to understand is this: app reviews are very much like support emails or calls. People who’re happy with your services are sharing they’re happy, and those upset want their problems addressed. The question is: why ignore app ratings and reviews while you’d never ignore a call or email from a customer?

On Google Play and on App Store, owners and developers are able to answer the reviews. This is a good possibility to turn your lemons into lemonade. Look at the picture below.
app review
People love to feel their opinion matters, even when they leave an angry and mean message. So here’s the right way to reply negative reviews: don’t to take it personally, treat it as an improvement suggestion.
app store optimization

Okay, not really. But answering negative reviews calmly and friendly creates a good brand image. New app viewers will see the company being concerned about the quality of user experience, the readiness to help and the respect you have for the customers. Plus, in case the problem is addressed by the brand, you can always ask the angry customer to delete or change the review.

Answering positive comments is also good for the brand — it’s a way to show you really care and appreciate compliments.

App Store allows discarding all the reviews with every new app release. It is basically an emergency button: together with the negative comments, you will lose all the positive ones. Google Play doesn’t have such function anyway.

Wrapping up…

When managing your app reviews and ratings, keep these statistics in mind:
app store optimization
See how conversions change if the reviews become better? This happens because app store ratings and reviews are one of the key app store ranking factors. Gathering as much positive feedback as possible is an important part of ASO strategy.

Do not forget to handle app ratings and reviews well: answer reviews to give users the feeling of being heard, and provide a customer support channel to solve tiny everyday complications.

Taxi is about happiness: how to manage an on-demand business in tough regulational climate

Harith al Maqbali was working as a petroleum engineer in Oman. Things were going just fine — and one day he decided to take up an unconventional hobby. He became involved with a startup providing secure and affordable on-demand transportation in the country. The name of the startup is OTaxi. Virtually everybody knows it in Oman.

“The adventure of a new business was driving me. A startup is about daring to change, and especially a startup dealing with transportation. Taxi is about making people happy, fulfilling their expectations — that seemed to be a cool challenge for me.”
starting a taxi business

How to start a taxi business and make it popular

Finding an ideal technical solution for the app-based business was rather easy. Just a simple online research has lead OTaxi to what they wanted: a white label taxi booking app with a feature set needed to satisfy the customers used to up-to-date tech.

Harith shares: “OTaxi is making people’s life more convenient. Users told us about their experience: for instance, car ownership is not a popular option anymore. People simply don’t want to have parking issues while shopping, and they hate to be caught in a gridlock. OTaxi is there to solve these problems.”

OTaxi relaunched in 2016 as a completely renewed service and the future seemed spectacular. The high quality of services has ensured its popularity. The company has managed to make a clever use of WhatsApp group chats to generate a word of mouth in Muscat and Salalah, the two cities the company operated in. This, in its turn, has provided a plenty of app downloads.

Harith says: “People trust us because the quality is sustainable, the technical solution is reliable and functional, and drivers are well-trained. Our drivers arrive on time, almost never cancel orders, and behave like friends. This is really the only way to provide a service people will love.”

In Oman, where ride-hailing tech is just starting to evolve and become a serious thing, OTaxi was already providing world-class services.


How to deal with local regulatory challenges and get stronger

However, in August 2017 the startup has faced some serious complications. The Ministry of transportation and communication had requested OTaxi to stop operating until it obtains the mandatory license and gets authorized as a taxi company.

The problem was that, unlike other local taxi companies, OTaxi provides a mobile booking app for customers to book all kinds of existing taxis. Customers have more booking options with it (like booking a trip in advance, fairer fees calculation, GPS tracking of an arriving cab) and enjoy shorter waiting time. The company also motivates drivers to do work well: there are special discounts and many other actions for this. The result of being that different from traditional taxi services was the ban to operate.

“There is no specific law on how to organize taxi booking apps. To launch an app working with transportation, any company needs an approval from the Ministry. OTaxi has this approval from the day one. Unfortunately, one of our competitors has filed a case against us because our prices are dangerously nice and we work with many drivers in the area.”

The reaction of OTaxi clients was overwhelming.

Harith shares: “Our customers were so loyal to start a real struggle for us. Many people have expressed their discontent regarding OTaxi ban on social media and in blogs. Social media (for instance, Twitter) have played a crucial role in supporting OTaxi as a national objective to support local companies (Omani SMEs).”

OTaxi has made an effort to comply with all the requirements set by the government in the shortest possible time. At the end of March 2018, the Ministry of transportation and communication has granted OTaxi a permit to operate again.

“Personally, I don’t see any new, friendly legislation coming. Not yet at least. Every time we run a SWOT analysis, the regulatory climate appears as a threat to the business. In order to mitigate this risk, we do our best to nourish a good relationship with the Ministry. At the same time, we invest in promoting OTaxi as a local company that needs legal support and legal facilitations. Plus, now we know how important our work is for the clients — after all, this is what moves us forward.”

The company has changed the business priorities in the meanwhile. It is planning a bigger launch meant to introduce a rebranding. The Ministry of transportation and communication is coming to realize OTaxi can provide outstanding services all across Oman — and this will be a great thing for the whole local infrastructure.
taxi in oman
Despite there’s no clear indication of removing the plaguesome restrictions in the near future, OTaxi looks up to the possibilities of the market.

“In Oman, we still a long way to go in terms of regulations: for instance, partnerships between taxi companies with airports and hotels should be allowed. Yet we foresee a bright future of ride-hailing in Oman.”

Branded vs. non-branded booking apps

At TaxiStartup, we sometimes receive requests for non-branded apps from taxi startups all over the world. They are planning to launch with a non-branded booking solution, and then move on to working with a branded app as soon as they earn “a king’s ransom”.

Our clients ask themselves a reasonable question: why pay for a branded booking app if you can work with a non-branded version just as well? The fact is, branded apps provide your business a way different level of performance. And there are good reasons for it.

Technical reasons to use branded booking app

When designing branded apps, we were driven by an idea of making Uber feature package accessible for all the taxi startups, all over the world. The non-branded app’s feature set is somewhat limited.

Branded apps come with exclusive rights of use. This means, you’re the only owner of the app, no other company has or ever is able to gain the access to the same booking app. Non-branded apps don’t provide any exclusive rights whatsoever. Any taxi company in your location will be able to use the same app, which means your passengers will not see the any difference between your services/cars and those of the competitors.
taxi startup
That is basically the reason why credit card payments are not supported for non-branded apps. Not being able to process credit card payments is an essential limitation of the growth opportunities for your company

Then again, branded apps have more additional features. For example, referral campaigns and the possibility to partner with other companies (hotels, airports, restaurants, which means a whole new revenue source). These can help your business to make a name in the market, while with a non-branded app it’s depressingly easy to stay a no-name nobody recognizes️ Next to this, literally any customisation requests are a way easier to make and more efficient in branded apps.
taxi startup

Marketing reasons to use branded booking app

Probably the most important advantage of a branded app is its marketing effect. Having a recognizable app adds extra points to your company’s visibility in the app stores and in the local market. Strong brand identity expressed via the app helps to speak to the clients in a visual language, and this is a whole hot thing in 2018.

Next to this, it can be pretty hard to promote a non-branded booking app. Even if you succeed in this, at a certain moment you’ll want to move to a branded app and market it. This can be extremely challenging, because customers will know your services, but will need to get used to a completely new branding.

Learning a new behaviour is always tricky for a customer, so switching from a neutral to a branded app only creates unnecessary complications for the business. In case you start promoting a branded app before launch, the image of it will be familiar to people and as a result, they will be more positive about booking the services. In the worst-case scenario, if your service is really popular and you work with the non-branded app, your competitors using the same software can profit from your popularity!

Working with a branded app provides you better feedback-management opportunities, too. Passengers can use “Get in touch” button to speak a support person and communicate their experience.
taxi startup
Same with the app’s ratings in the app stores: with a branded app, people will only rate your services, not those of any other local company. In a branded app, you can provide quick links to your company social media account, which helps forming a loyal customer community.

Financial reasons to use branded booking app

The idea driving our customers to launch with a non-branded app first is, of course, saving money on the initial stage of business development. The issue is, it’s a bad decision. First of all, the service costs for a non-branded app are higher at TaxiStartup. This is done because implementing any features into this non-branded app cost the team more time and effort than doing the same for the branded ones.

But there’s more. Using a branded app is more financially profitable in the long-run, and here’s why.

  • Branded app ensure you get more orders and clients. Because a non-branded ride-hailing app is accessible for all companies in your operation area, using it makes the competition tougher. Passengers ordering services via a branded app can only book the services of a particular company.
  • Credit cards supported in branded apps. We’re providing companies with custom credit card payment solutions, which always attracts more clients and guarantee higher revenues. Customers using branded booking apps have a “Wallet” option so that they can store credit cards data and submit payments by pressing just one button.
  • Driver ratings in branded apps help controlling driver effectivity. Reports on drivers performance and ratings are available in branded apps and are a handy tool for keeping things under control and improve the services quality.

taxi startup
As you can see, launching the services with a non-branded app is not really a good strategy in the long run. In fact, about 80% of our customers who’ve decided to launch with a non-branded app were not able to reach the planned business results after half a year of operating.

The limited functionality and poor recognizability of a non-branded booking app are getting in the way of your business development, and do not even help sparing money for a better launch. Think of it and make the right choice

Hacking mobile app promotion: one little thing nobody knows of

Ever since iOS 11, the whole appearance of your app’s page on the App Store has changed. Space is added on the app product page — the text appearing there is the part of what you fill in into the Description field (the first 170 characters of it). This text is referred to as “Promotional text”.

Here’s what it looks like: Promotional text is placed just under the app promotional video and screenshots.
app ranking
As you see, potential users get to view the Promotional text after they tap on your app icon and scroll further. In the other words, its visibility is rather high. That’s why optimizing it (or at least making it more appealing) is so essential for mobile app promotion.

There is no evidence yet that saturating Promotional text with keywords will guarantee for the app to rank higher. However, because it’s a very visible part of the app’s info, you can optimize it and make it “sell” your app.

Apple themselves recommend using Promotional text for telling potential and existing users about the hot things about your app. A new promotion, a referral, a discount, a new service type? All these updates will be in a right place in Promotional text.

In contrast to the rest of the Description the app owners can only adjust when re-submitting the app, Promotional text can be changed as often as you wish. So there’s always space to announce new, exciting things!

Positive effect on app’s conversions is obvious: even if it’s not helping to rank your app higher for the keywords, it is still eye-catching for the potential users. Plus, it provides you with a nice possibility to announce the extra value of your app — after all, it’s this value that stimulates users to download and use the app

So go compose a beautiful Promotional text! It can really help your App Store optimization.


For some of us, it’s fall, for others, the spring has just started — and it was no reason for our developers to stop creating a whole set of new, cool possibilities! Meet Thunderstorm, release 0.22.1!

Tiny spoiler: unlike the new iPhone, it comes with features you’ve been really waiting for!

Dispatch panel

To start with, from now on you can copy the Actual Drop-off field in the Dispatch panel. Many clients asked us to make it happen — now it’s done.
taxi dispatch

Heat map is legendary! No kidding!

Many of our clients wanted to know which working zones bring the most orders each moment of the day. We’ve made a solution for this — meet the heat map!

The heat map in the Dispatch panel shows how many orders are being created in each area of the company working radius. The density of the color shows how busy certain areas are.

This way you know exactly where the drivers should be to get more orders, every moment of the shift. You can analyse how busy the zones are, compare it, and use heat map data to make data-driven decisions for the future.

The heat map works even if the driver radar is off, and is accessible for full- and limited-access dispatchers.
heatmap analytics
To start enjoying the heat map, switch it on in the Operators settings in the Dispatch panel.

We could have told you this feature is amazing, brilliant, world-changing… But we won’t. We’ll just tell the truth: you can use heat map data analytics to make the right decisions and improve the taxi services you’re providing.
Screenshot at Sep 28 10-39-19
We’ve also made a plenty of enhancements and fixed some bugs. Everything looks and works even more great now

Driver app

Now, speaking of the heat map… It’s also available in the Driver app — because drivers also often want to know what the most “heated” working zones are. They can see it and go exactly where the most orders are created.

To give your drivers access to the heat map, switch it on in the Drivers settings in the Company panel.
taxi dispatch system

taxi dispatch system taxi dispatch system

The pins of other drivers on the map move very smoothly with Thunderstorm. It works good, it looks good.

Passenger app

Frankly speaking, since we’ve completely redesigned the Passenger app in the winter, there’s this strong aspiration to leave it the way it is and just improve minor things.

For instance, in Thunderstorm, we’re introducing the possibility to send SMS to a driver in Trip details. Previously, passengers could only call a driver in case of necessity — the things are simpler now

taxi booking app Screenshot at Sep 28 10-49-23

Also, the drivers on the map move really smoothly and realistically with Thunderstorm. A simple thing, but a pure pleasure to see.

Cancellation fees work flawless — tune it in Company panel!

We’ve improved the cancellation fees logics and made them clearer for everyone.

taxi dispatch system

In the Company panel, you can set two new cancellation fee parameters:

  • the passenger waiting time
  • the driver’s distance from the pick-up point being beyond which is considered as “not arriving”.

taxi booking app
If a passenger cancels the trip because there’s no driver at the pick-up point, the system charges the driver who took the order and hasn’t arrived. If a passenger cancels the trip for no reason or doesn’t show up at the pick-up point, the passenger is charged with a cancellation fee.

All the calculations are carried out according to the parameters set in the Company panel.

Cancellation fee calculations are included in the trip summary and are clearly stated in both Passenger and Driver apps.

taxi dispatch system taxi dispatch system

And more!

  • The apps are now a way more stable: they just know how to handle some situations better!
  • BePaid preauthorization works perfectly for Ukraine now.
  • Mongolian language is available.
  • We’ve fixed all the tiny things that went wrong at odd times. Now your experience with TaxiStartup solution will be smoother than ever. Enjoy!

Drive app installs with Snapchat influencers

In 2018, Snapchat is considered one of the “fairest” social networks. Working as a live-video-streaming channel, it attracts especially young users who are looking for real, trustworthy content.

Due to a very specific format (short videos only available for watching for a rather short timespan), Snapchat stays pretty unsaturated by brands. At the same time, this network has a strong influencers community, powerful native tools for advertising, and a uniquely engaged audience. All in all, Snapchat influencer marketing is a perfect tool for young app-based companies to promote.
snapchat influencers

Learn to know Snapchat audience

The main tool of Snapchat is the frontal camera of a smartphone. Most of the content are the “talking-head” videos — people telling their real-life stories or showing stuff happening to them. Because of this format, Snapchat is a very personal platform where influencers have a lot of… well, influence.

The users of Snapchat are often the people you won’t so easily find on any other social media platform. If you want to target a marketing campaign for young people and drive app installs specifically from them, Snapchat is the ultimate solution.
mobile app promotion
There are three ways of using Snapchat for your mobile app promotion.

  • Snapchat account. Broadcast company’s snaps. Snapchat stories — in case they’ll be entertaining enough and are posted regularly — can help you build a customer community and this way to drive more app installs.
  • Snapchat native tools for ads. Having a company account on Snapchat, you can launch campaigns in order to increase customer engagement. Encouraging people to share their experience with your app is a good way to show potential users how good it really is. Run contests, give promo-codes, connect Snapchat campaigns to real-life campaigns — and the app will get more app installs.
  • Working with Snapchat influencers. Being really experienced community runners, Snapchat influencers can add some context to your app install campaigns. These Snapchatters know exactly what their fans do fancy, and are able to create cool entertaining snaps for your brand right away.

The first two options are inevitable. The third one is definitely worth your attention, especially if company’s target audience is young people.

Arrange working with Snapchat influencers

An average price for Snapchat influencer post is about $40 per 1,000 views. The costs are normally dependent on the number of active views per video per day. Since February 2018, Snapchat influencers have access to their statistics on unique viewers, total time watching, audience demographics — the data you will need to launch and analyze the campaign.

Step 1. Conduct a research on the target audience

Influencers usually work with specific themes: films, fandoms, cooking, pets, you name it. You need to find the influencers who work with themes that matter the most to your potential clients.

Step 2. Plan the campaign

After having found ideal influencers who are matching the company’s interests and views and contacting them, plan a campaign. Set a couple of SMART-goals for the campaign, define the key performance indicators you will work with.

It is a good thing to launch same campaigns with several Snapchat influencers at a time. This helps learning more about your customers, compare different styles and approaches and to create benchmarks for future campaigns.

Step 3. Plan the content well

To be able to use Snapchat influencer marketing to its full power, take care of a fitting format and context. Whatever the commercial will be, it has to snatch the attention of the mainly young audience, ready to swipe further if the content is not matching their expectations.

Solution: on Snapchat, strive for something called “advertainment”, something that sells and entertains at the same time. Give the influencers the freedom to wrap your broadly mapped out content plan into something appealing to their followers — this is the best practice.

Be aware: Snapchat content doesn’t necessarily require extremely professional content. “Real life” videos without too much “makeup” are proven to work better for brands because they look more honest and genuine.

Step 4. Provide clear instructions

An essential part of a successful app install campaign is giving users really clear and easy way to download and start using the app. There absolutely should be:

  • Visual demonstration of the app’s value proposition.
  • Demonstration of some particular handy functions of the app.
  • A strong call-to-action proving the value of downloading the app to the user. It works well to show the call-to-action during the whole snap, not just in the end.
  • Precise instructions of “Swipe to download”.

The thing is while working with millennials — and Snapchat is the ultimate source of millennial clients for your business — you have to make every action as smooth and quick as possible to a potential customer. Instructions and links are important for that.
advertise your app

Wrapping up…

Snapchat is a perfect source of young customers for your app. The format of this social media platform provides that the audience of it is engaged and loyal. Making the snaps from your company account and using Snapchat Ads is one way to advertise your app with Snapchat.

Working with Snapchat influencers is another smart thing to do. Searching for right influencers to represent you and planning measurable goals for app install campaigns are the key-factors of success. Do not miss out one of the hottest mobile app promotion tools in the market and start using Snapchat now it’s hot

Mobile user acquisition for apps explained: increase app installs and not lose your mind

Increasing app installs is something every app owner strives for. Understanding how mobile app lead generation functions is a key to get this done.

69% apps are discovered and downloaded through Search tab. Accordingly, app store optimization (involving text and creatives optimization) is crucial for apps to increase installs.

Yet app store optimization is not the only thing one can do to increase app installs. Increase in app installs is usually a result of whole system of mobile user acquisition activities working harmoniously for an impressive result. We’re going to see what are the necessary elements of a mobile app acquisition system.

Traffic sources for mobile app user acquisition

how to promote an app
Universal App campaigns by Google Ads. An integrative tool powered by Google is extremely cool for optimizing mobile app promotion campaigns and maximize their effect on all Google-powered platforms (Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Google Display Network). On Universal App campaigns, you set textual and visual assets appealing to your potential clients, place your bid, and the rest will be automatically optimized so that users could find the app Nice bonus: you get all the analytics of the ad campaigns and, accordingly, know exactly how much the app installs are growing since you use this lead generation marketing tool.

Search Ads by Apple. Similar to Google, Apple is providing the ads placement service for mobile app marketing campaigns. The platform is integrated with App Store Ads. In order to optimize your Search Ads campaign to a relevant app event (install, sign up, etc.) you will need to use a third-party service like AppsFlyer or Search Ads HQ. With Search Ads, you are able to set the preferable budget, optimize the keywords and prioritize them based on the real App Store data. Just as any other Apple product, Search Ads is a closed ecosystem: it does a lot of things, but nobody gets a glimpse of how it’s done. By now, Search Ads is only available for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Switzerland, UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Spain, and Mexico. Its outreach is growing gradually.

Facebook Ads. With tools such as Custom audience and Lookalike audience, Facebook Ads makes it possible to advertise your booking app to potentially interested people. Accordingly, it’s a great source of new customers. A huge plus of Facebook Ads is that you can start working with it on any budget and then scale. Facebook Analytics is there to track the results of the marketing campaigns You can use any relevant app event (install, sign up, booking etc.) as an optimization goal.

Website search engines optimization (SEO). Optimizing your website content for search engines (say Google or Yahoo) is a good way to gain more app installs. Creating useful content is a part of it: the more exciting content you create, the more engaged your clients will be.

Social media channels presence (Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and whatever else popular in your region). Social media company accounts help to form a loyal customer community, that’s one. But they can also be a source of user acquisition for a relatively low price if you collaborate with the influencers, place ads and links for people to download the app in one tap

Video networks. Youtube, Vimeo, et cetera have a huge potential for app advertising. First of all, video is a hot content type in 2018. Next, it helps your SEO. What’s more, it can get viral — despite it’s really hard to get that far, getting viral can give a real boost to the app conversions. Plus, any video channel has a possibility for paid advertisements.

Mobile networks. Advertising within other apps is one of the cheapest ways to get more installs. The only problem here is that users are not targeted as precisely as with Facebook Ads, for example.

Partnerships for cross-platform promotion. Guest blogging, press releases, comments on forums, customer reviews, partnerships with other businesses. These are the ways to drive more app installs. Especially if you make sure these partnerships are with the companies relevant for your potential customers.

Referral programs. It is a fully-automated marketing engine that encourages existing customers to promote services to potentially interested new users. Your clients become referral holders: they recommend your services to people they know, and those can recommend it further. Result: downloads boost.

Offline promotion. Giveaways, printed materials, branded fleet, guerilla marketing — surprisingly enough, these can bring a plenty of app installs. Make sure you track the exact source of offline promotion. You can do so using promo-codes. This is needed in order to know which lead generation channels do bring the highest ROI.

Seems a lot of work? Well, no sweet without sweat: if you’re still hoping to own a successful mobility app without marketing activities, better reconsider the whole idea.

The main reason taxi companies fail to exist (spoiler: bad marketing)

In the last couple of years, the number of app-based taxi companies is subsequently growing. Yet not all young companies manage to be a success. Why so?

The answer is rather surprising: buttoning up one’s pockets when it comes to marketing drags new businesses down. While everyone wants to know why is Uber so successful, very few are ready to market their services in the same clever way as Uber did. Crazy, right?

Taxi market is rather saturated in 2018, especially when you think of all the on-demand companies emerging. The presence of the market giants such as Uber and Lyft and a high competition level in the branch makes marketing a necessity for every young taxi company.

Besides, more and more consumer behaviour researches state that the new generation of buyers only buy from the brands they trust. Guess what? The level of trust is resulting from how the brand communicates, and this is about marketing.
importance of marketing in business
Turns out, companies ignoring marketing are doomed in the long-run. As a matter of fact, they are often unable to make ends meet after the first 18 months operating. No marketing and poor marketing are on the top list of the most wanted business killers.

At TaxiStartup, we care about our customers’ success. A beautiful technological solution is just a part of it. The real key to success is good marketing.

How bad marketing can influence a taxi business?

First of all, it is marketing that attracts clients to your business. Accordingly, without a good marketing plan, there’s no need for hiring drivers or growing your fleet. Lack of marketing activities makes businesses piteous no-names doomed to vanish in disgrace. Bad marketing, whether done consciously or unconsciously, equals to a very disadvantageous business decision. Marketing investments are investments in the company future.

Bad marketing comes in all shapes and forms. An old ugly logo or app icon, a dying Instagram account, a poorly planned social media influencer campaign, lack of app store optimization for your white label taxi app, you name it. All so easy to happen to anyone, all very dangerous for your brand image and customer acquisition.
why is uber so successful

Why bad marketing happens?

Poor marketing can happen for many reasons. Very often it’s simply because companies think they have enough more urgent challenges and marketing needs can be addressed later. Another reason for bad marketing strategy is the aimlessness of the marketing activities.

The first reason can be traced back to a short-sighted decision making. The second one is probably even more dangerous and usually demonstrates company having low interest in researching the target audience, planning a budget, and adapting to the market needs. And this is the highway to… well, to nowhere.

Marketing activities with no clear objectives, no clear target and no brand language are killing young taxi businesses. Uber (or any other giant company) is celebrating their success because they do know exactly what they’re doing: they target, brand, plan and measure.

No taxi marketing at all

Small and starting businesses tend to see marketing expenses as something luxurious they won’t really need at the early stages. There are many other things to do, and everything requires investments. Marketing budget becomes residual.

Consciously choosing to launch the services with a non-branded app is another poor decision taxi companies make. The logic behind it is clear: trying to save money on launch and invest in branding later. Unfortunately, it’s a wrong assumption, because launching with no brand hurts company recognizability and consequently holds taxi businesses back from promoting their apps.
why is uber so successful
At the later stages, total panic breaks out when it becomes clear the revenue is not growing as well as it was planned. Unfortunately, panic is not your friend when it comes to developing a meaningful strategy, and this is why panic-driven marketing cannot be productive by definition.
taxi marketing
What are the good practices then, if you wish to avoid these widely-made mistakes?

  • Have a marketing plan based on research already before launch.
  • Plan a budget for essential marketing activities.
  • Allow professionals to do the branding, at least for the most visible solutions such as the booking app and website.

“Doing random stuff” taxi marketing strategy

Recognizing how important marketing is for a business is the basics. Data-based planning of the marketing activities is the next step. You’d be surprised to know how many companies just do things and make decisions without any research whatsoever. What exactly does go wrong?

  • Targeting fails. Relying on a guess is not a good way to figure out who your clients are and what they need.
  • Thought-through strategy adjustments become impossible. When instead of analysis one is driven by feelings in their decision making, results are predictably unimpressive.
  • Investing in marketing activities becomes a “spray-and-pray” job. Instead of focusing on the channels that work, one goes on investing a little here and a little there. Frankly speaking, it’s a waste of money.

Here’s the thing: only research at all stages will allow you defining which marketing expenses are really necessary and which can be easily eliminated.

Successful taxi marketing strategy requires a lot of analytical activities carried out — it’s the only way to ensure there will be returns on your marketing investments. Do not believe anyone telling they can do the marketing in a couple of days, without a thorough research, at a low price.

Get your marketing strategy straight

Getting right to the point, researching plus creating a thought out strategy is the only recipe for good marketing. The “random marketing” approach is what makes taxi companies spend money on the nonsense that fails to deliver.
To start shaping a waterproof marketing strategy, use this checklist.

  • Start with mapping out all the marketing activities needed for your business growth.
  • Consider the market specifics and the characteristics of your target audience — this is needed to forecast realistic ROI.
  • Estimate marketing budget.
  • Hire professionals (preferably local) to carry out the plan. Working with a marketing agency helps to cut the costs and spare precious time.
  • Measure and analyse the results of the marketing activities (set KPIs and stick to them).
  • Adjust your marketing strategy based on the analytical data.

Of course, it’s much better to think of this all before the launch. The sooner a company integrates proper planning, researching and measuring, the greater the profit will be. But don’t worry: in case some bad marketing has already happened to your business, there are still chances for salvation. Just stop focusing on finding out why is Uber so successful and work out your own marketing strategy to take over the market

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Use Facebook Analytics and increase your app downloads

Facebook Analytics (also known as software development kit, SDK), is a solution for iOS- and Android-based mobile apps, powered by Facebook itself. The magic of it is that it helps tracking your business development, allows increasing app downloads, staying relevant for your customers and attracting new ones. Facebook Analytics is a free tool, and it is already integrated into your white label solution powered by TaxiStartup.

What is Facebook Analytics for apps?

In 2018, Facebook retains the position of the most actively used social media platform. 1.65 billion people all over the world spend time on Facebook every month. Facebook Analytics was designed in order to help companies see how their customers interact with apps, websites, social media commercials, and chatbots. The tool measures the performance of your apps and makes the analysis of all the relevant data really easy.
facebook data analytics
App users do not have to sign in via Facebook or even to have a Facebook account at all! Facebook Analytics collects all data, and you get it in an aggregated form via the Analytics. Facebook Analytics turns out to be a bonanza for app-based companies eager to understand their target audience better!

Knowing exactly who your clients are and what they (potentially) like is a key to good marketing strategy and a business success. In fact, gathering and aggregating this data can be done in various ways. Facebook Analytics is a very reliable one among them.
mobile app analytics

The Facebook Analytics metrics for perfect mobile app analytics

Facebook SDK is integrated into every TaxiStartup powered branded solution. At the very moment the app goes live, Facebook starts gathering all the relevant data. You navigate through the metrics of Facebook Analytics using the menu on the left side of the dashboard.

“Events” tab shows the particular things users do within your app.
mobile app analytics

You can keep track of the following event types:

  • App install — user installs the app;
  • App launch — user opens the app;
  • Sign up for the app — user gets registered in the app;
  • Booking confirmed — user books the services;
  • Order cancelled — user cancels an order;
  • Trip paid — user proceeds a payment for an order;
  • Card added — user ties up a credit card to their account.

App installs and app launches are key performance indicators for developing a strategy to increase the app downloads, while other app events are necessary to track in order to get a full picture of how the business is developing. Thanks to the Facebook events analytics, you can find out what kind of audience have previously used your app but never came back to it in the last. You can try and win these users back. You can target your referral programs at those who are the most likely to refer your services to other people (users with high order rated percentage).

The “People” tab provides a plenty of information about the apps users (their demographic characteristics, devices they use, the pages they like). But even more important: thanks to this tab one can create Custom Audiences on Facebook Ads to advertise an app to! Custom Audience is a group of people who already know about your services, thus they are the most likely to start using the app. The “People” data from Facebook Analytics can be easily transferred to the Ads Manager so that targeting ads at a certain group of people becomes really a piece of cake.
mobile app analytics

Custom Audience allows creating a Lookalike Audience. Lookalike audiences on Ads are lists of people Facebook makes after analysing who the existing users of your app are. The interests, behavior and demographic characteristics of a Lookalike Audience are resembling to those of your active users, thus these people are very likely to join the brand community.

“Overview” and “Insights” tabs show ready-made tends of what’s recently happening with the audience, which groups of clients need extra attention. “Active users” data shows how many new people came to use your app and if they’re staying with the company long enough to ensure the business growth. The tab also aggregates a lot of information about the existing users: the exact data on their activities, sessions length, age, gender is stored in this tab. This knowledge can be used to analyze who your (potential) target audience is and to plan more marketing activities even if you do not use Facebook Ads.

“People” and “Breakdowns” tabs have a plenty of useful data for those planning to start partnering with other companies. Understanding what the customers care about is the key here.

Analyzing the effects of marketing campaigns becomes easier with “Percentiles” data. It demonstrates the exact number of users who have launched the app a certain number of times (or have committed some other app event). Because you can segment the “Percentiles” data, it’s really easy to see how particular groups of users respond to your marketing activities. You can also use the “Retention” tab data to see whether the campaign succeed to turn this segment into loyal customers if you’ve targeted a marketing campaign at some segment of your audience.

Wrapping up, here are the activities where Facebook Analytics data is extremely useful:

  • Targeting and tuning Facebook Ads.
  • Defining and reaching a relevant target audience.
  • Developing promotion campaigns tasty for the app users.
  • Analyzing the promotion campaigns impact.
  • Finding businesses to partner with.

Working with Facebook Analytics statistics will give your business the boost it needs

What to do to maintain user activity after launch

Your app going live is just the beginning of a fascinating journey into the mobile world. After the business is rolling on the right foot, it’s time to work on a strategy to maintain the activity and expand the customer community. Long story short, your company should develop a fact-based engagement and re-engagement plan. Fact-based, because ideally, all the decision-making needs to rely on the analytics.

Know what you’re measuring

Some companies tend to gather and analyse literally all data, while others prefer to throw things at the wall and see what sticks.
how to promote an app

None of these approaches is clever. You have to know exactly what to measure, otherwise, you’ll sink in useless numbers. The lesson here is: know your key performance indicators for every marketing activity you begin.

The revenue is an important indicator of how well the app is doing. However, it is good to learn what exactly is attracting people and elaborate these features. If users are leaving, finding out at what point people do not come back to the app anymore is a must. Our inbuilt company analytics, Facebook analytics integration and App Store Connect analytics are giving you a plenty of useful KPIs, such as:

  • Number of active users per period;
  • Reasons for orders cancellation;
  • User retention rate;
  • User lifetime value;
  • Referral campaigns engagement, costs and results.

And many more. Concentrate on the metrics that matter at this very stage of the business development and think of the long-term success in the first place.

Never forget to update

Your customers love to know the app is constantly becoming better for them. Not only users tend to delete apps that are never updated, the lack of new releases causes poorer Store distribution results. Plus, new updates give you a possibility to talk to the community and learn what they think.

Go on with customer support

If you’re striving for a real meaningful relationship with the customers, it’s important to be always there for them. Even when they complain, whine and behave ugly. Apple App Store doesn’t allow to answer the users, but on Google Play it’s possible, so do it. A nice, concerned respond can also happen via emails, phone and support line. Take care to personalize your feedback management. As Mark Zuckerberg says, people hate to receive not-targeted messages.
how to promote an app

Avoid being too pushy

SMS-marketing are a great tool to communicate with the customers.
how to promote an app

However, there’s a thin line between being informative and being annoying. All the notifications should be scheduled and planned so that they won’t irritate people. Here, too, take care of enough personalization and target your messages well.

As you see, taxi marketing plan requires a lot of data-driven planning (what a surprise, right?) and creating a unique strategy to let your brand stand strong in the market. Now, do you feel empowered and inspired? We hope so! Do not hesitate to ask any questions

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