As economic uncertainty looms, there’s no denying the impacts it can have on current and planned marketing operations. Budgets are starting to tighten, and strategic decisions need to be made to cut costs where possible. 

But as the mobile marketing space heads into uncertain territory, you don’t have to put a pause on growth. With added pressures, you might find that improving your App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy might just require a deeper look into how you can attract and retain valuable users in different ways.

Most recession-proof strategies usually involve streamlining paid channels and taking advantage of earned media on external marketing channels. However, there are ways to streamline your organic app marketing strategies as well. 

Let’s explore some recession-proof ways to reinvigorate your organic app growth strategy and some key developments you should be aware of heading into 2023.

The economy is changing app marketing…for good?

Just last month, Apple has seen a seismic drop in App Store revenue by 5%. It was the largest drop in revenue they’ve seen since 2015. Google projected similar numbers with a 9% drop in their app store. As more mobile marketers feel the string of lower app revenue, many are left scratching their heads as to what may be causing such a drop.

In addition to inflation altering people’s cost of living, consumer disposable incomes have ultimately contracted across most goods and services in a now post-pandemic market reality. A general shift toward cheaper alternatives or extraneous cost-cutting seems to be dominating consumer spending. Whether that be buying store generic brands, cutting recurring subscriptions, or forgoing in-app purchases.

Pandemic-related consumer behaviors have also made ripples across multiple industries, but more evidently and noticeably within the mobile gaming and entertainment/subscription-based app categories. Before the pandemic, consumers spent a lot of their leisure time indulging in more “out the house” activities – movies, arcades, vacations, and work – just to name a few. 

The pandemic triggered massive demand for at-home entertainment, and in came a surge of popularity for mobile games, streaming apps, and other forms of leisure. This now appears to be dropping off. Uncertainty in itself also carries a burden on the economy. On a social level, talks about a recession breeds fear in consumers, whether overtly or covertly. Consumers will take more time making purchases, consider alternatives and will generally prolong their search for perceived value.

The bullwhip effect of such developments may carry a tail of changes in consumer behaviors we may not see the effects of quite immediately. However, the overarching way to approach these new developments is to hit home value through your organic app marketing strategy. This means taking a deeper look into how consumers are searching, what they care most for, and being able to adapt to that the best way you can.

3 Recession-proof ASO best practices you need to know

While all categories, industries, and company sizes are affected by changing consumer behaviors and economic conditions, ASO helps you adapt to changing conditions more readily. Through frequent updates, research, and iteration, adapting to change won’t have to come at the cost of growth. Here are 3 recession-proof ASO strategies you can enact today to revitalize your growth plan for what’s ahead: 

Put in place a rigorous market research plan

Regardless of category, app developers and mobile marketers should always have a finger on the pulse of what may be affecting their ability to attract and retain users. Whether discoverability, retention or re-engagement is your goal, it’s vital to understand the root cause of sudden changes. Knowing what users care about, search for and resonate with is a great first step. In this economy, you may find that search patterns change and users are looking for different value propositions, features, and more. To understand what will work, understand your users.

Apply messaging that resonates with audiences in metadata and creatives

As consumer trends change, so should your app metadata and creatives. Applying what you learn from your marketing research plan is essential to success. Creating a marketing plan that accounts for user changes regularly and accurately is crucial to your marketing strategy’s ability to adapt. Using the right ASO tools and technology for research allows you to see how search behaviors change in real-time, and all the data intelligence you gather can be tested using A/B testing. This allows you to test your findings and improve your messaging. 

Refine your strategy for discoverability and re-engagement

With paid search and paid marketing techniques, it’s important to balance out what goal is set in place. Perhaps with new economic developments, re-engagement takes center stage to retain and attract current users. Reversely, you might find that improvements in organic discoverability and conversion are the goal. Regardless, it’s vital to understand what methods of mobile marketing help get you there. In-app events, for example, are great ways to re-engage possible lost users, deliver high-value value propositions and address more timely changes you may be seeing. This is also a great way for new users to find you. Now more than ever, it’s vital to learn how and where to deliver value to your users depending on your marketing goal.