TOP-10 Startup Mistakes | Mobio Group

“If we don’t do anything, we definitely won’t fail”. This is true, but for those who are at the initial stage of doing business, just starting to promote their app and do not have a million-dollar advertising budget, every mistake can be fatal. Of course, you can insure your business against entrepreneurial risks, but in any case, it is definitely worth it to foresee the potential wrong steps and to consider the miscalculations of unsuccessful startups. Mobio Group will list the main mistakes that are made when promoting a new app.

1. Market and audience analysis

In order not to lose time and money, it is important for a startup to find out whether the audience that needs to be reached is ready to use the app that the company is promoting. Only after making sure that the offer (USP) has its advantages and there is a need for this product in the market, the startup should target the audience and select personalized content. Careful segmentation of the audience and identifying pain points (triggers) of potential users will indicate, at the initial stage of promotion, the direction of the advertising campaign. Socio-demographic data, the information background, the environment in which the representatives of the target audience live, the mentality of the country in which they live — this is the key in creating targeted design and the selection of effective promotion channels.

Mobio Group Tip: Don’t try to reach the entire audience at once with broad targeting if you have a small budget for advertising campaign, which may not be able to sustain a large number of clicks that don’t lead to an app conversion.

2. Insufficient elaboration of measures to optimize the app

ASO (App Store Optimization) is the foundation of an advertising campaign and implies a continuous process of working with the metadata of the app to increase the number of loyal users and downloads. Proper selection of the semantic core, including keywords not only for the app name but also for the description, results in an increase in the app ranking positions for keyword queries, as well as an increase in organic installs.

Mobio Group tip: It is better to start optimization work with low-frequency queries, these keywords are much cheaper, traffic for such queries grows slowly, but the result is noticeable immediately.

In addition to incorrectly selected keys and “embedding” them in the description, one of the mistakes made by startups in ASO is the lack of information that the amount of metadata can be increased using localization. In addition to increasing the number of search queries, locales will trigger a scaling process for the application.

Mobio Group tip: Localization is not a literal translation, but an adaptation of an app to the linguistic and cultural characteristics of another country. To avoid translation mishaps, it’s better to contact native speakers or agencies with offices in different countries, like Mobio Group, to help gather semantics than to use direct translation.

Poor visual design of the app, poor quality screenshots should not be ignored, even if the number of leads is acceptable at the moment. The budget for quality advertising that will bring possible users to the app will be wasted if the app has a low rating and bad reviews.

Mobio Group tip: Don’t delete negative reviews. A friendly, quick and clear response listing the fixes in response to criticism will be more likely to endear a potential user to the app than a “clean slate” of feedback.

3. Failure to adhere to the overall brand identity

A brandbook (a guidebook for small companies) should include a unified visual style of the advertising campaign and application and the manner of communication with the user. The startup’s recognition and increased customer loyalty is ensured by a unified style, from the logo and fonts to the color scheme and icons.

In addition to image communication with the consumer and the formation of a great brand in the future, at the initial stages of promotion the guideline helps to build your own recognizable line of communication “company-customer”, create a solid status, as well as reduce costs by saving time and money on each marketing project. Breaking integrity within a startup’s visual and communication policies can lead to user confusion, and disjointed messages will be accepted by the customer as advertising for different brands.

Mobio Group tip: Creating and elaborating one creative ecosystem in your own style, including preparing a logo, formats, visualizing creative ideas, scripts for commercials, storyboards, banner options, it is more logical to trust one executive team. Creating a guidebook will greatly facilitate a startup’s promotion tasks, increase the application’s recognition and help to save the advertising budget. For example, in Mobio Group you can order the UA-promotion service and create your own style and draw advertising projects for free.

4. Trying to cover all possible traffic channels

Targeting and contextual advertising platforms and all kinds of app stores provide a large number of effective channels for paid traffic. However, startups with a limited budget should not spread their finances among dozens of traffic sources in the hope of attracting as many users as possible. A low entry threshold will absorb funds without yielding results. 

To obtain high performance at lower costs startup company should allocate 2-3 main sources, focus on them and take into account in the advertising campaign time for self-learning algorithms. Almost all advertising platforms today use automated systems with machine learning algorithms that analyze hundreds of indicators in real time, generating offers for the characteristics of a particular segment and show ads only to the relevant audience.

Mobio Group tip: When looking for a source of profitable traffic, you need to test several hypotheses and stop at the effective ones, choosing one main one and up to 3 auxiliary ones. You shouldn’t trust automated systems completely; analyzing traffic and “manually” turning off low-performing sources will help save the budget and adjust the strategy.

5. Lack of digital-strategy

Without a clearly defined action plan, there is no understanding of the relationship of individual stages of promotion, the findings and results of each previous stage are not used systematically in the development of its other parts. Combining all stages into one strategy with a common specific goal helps to allocate properly the budget and campaign forces, to calculate the terms of achieving the planned figures, to describe in detail the ways of achieving them and evaluate the effectiveness of promotion in general.

Actions within a single digital strategy, implemented step by step, help to avoid mistakes in the analysis of the competitive environment, search for target audiences, choice of tools and traffic channels, and determine the key performance indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the success of an advertising campaign. Startups can make the mistake of choosing irrelevant KPIs and inappropriate metrics (traffic, conversion, effectiveness, repeat visits, pricing, and behavioral) that define the targeting roadmap and promotion channels.

Mobio Group Tip: Our experience with digital strategy for startups shows that you should pay attention to the CLTV/LTV (Customer lifetime value) metric, a measure of the profit a customer brings over the entire lifecycle of the app, at the very beginning of the promotion process. An analysis of this metric allows a startup not only to make a competent advertising budget, but also to calculate the ROI of marketing efforts, segment the target audience, select promotion channels, and predict profit.

6. Miscalculations in the budget of the advertising campaign

Strategic errors in analysis and tactical miscalculations in the allocation of funds can lead to the unsuccessful launch of a startup. Strategic mistakes include incorrect assessment of market needs, illiterate choice of target audience, underestimation of competition and inconsistent actions caused by a lack of a clear digital strategy.

Tactical mistakes include an illiterate approach to budgeting and ill-considered allocation of funds. Tactical mistakes are directly related to economic indicators, which are calculated in advertising with the help of metrics. In order to successfully promote an app from the start and throughout the entire advertising campaign, you should perform end-to-end analytics on metrics and their derivatives (AU, CPA, CPI, CPT, LTV, ROI).

Mobio Group Tip: When calculating your budget, consider the “death valley” stage that most startups do not go through. This is the period of the early-stage promotion life cycle when funds or investments are allocated and spent and revenues do not yet cover current expenses.

7. Ignoring social media

You can get good, high-quality traffic on social media from paid advertising, links in your community posts, and advertising from bloggers. With a digital strategy that includes an analysis of the audience, competitors, and guidelines, social media is guaranteed to be an effective marketing platform with scalable targeting. Social media provides convenient schemes for creating and configuring advertising campaigns, a wide knowledge base of users, extensive tools, high levels of audience engagement and CTR. CPI models with payment only for converted traffic, limiting the upper conversion cost threshold and look-alike machine learning technologies can be successfully used as an advantage of social media.

Mobio Group Tip: Before launching, install a tracking and attribution tool in the app. Mobio Group uses the Appsflyer. It integrates with all advertising platforms, accurately attributes traffic sources, and provides data to build your own dashboards. You can get free organic traffic by publishing useful content, creating your own group on social media or YouTube channels, commenting on forums and blogs.

8. Underestimation of in-app networks

The poorly developed functionality for targeting in-app platforms should not be the reason for rejecting advertising in other mobile applications. In-app platforms are comparable in volume and quality of audience with other sources of traffic due to the constant growth of mobile app downloads and, consequently, potential leads. In-app networks allow you to target by app category, in which your ads will be shown. By running an advertising campaign for their product in competing or similar apps, a startup is guaranteed to get a high-quality audience of real users. Reducing the risks of scammed impressions, clicks, and bots justifies the high CPI rate.

Mobio Group Tip: Only with a quality in-app network one can get the benefits of mobile in-app advertising and reduce the risk of phishing. Mobio Group has developed its own in-app traffic platform Feedwise which helps startup to choose the appropriate traffic sources, automatically cut off illiquid ones, analyze first conversions and target user actions and optimize them for promotion to the top tier of funnel by CPI/CPA, prevent fraud operations (install hijacking) with an anti-fraud system.

9. Focusing only on attracting new users

A startup should focus not only on attracting new customers, but also on returning existing, temporarily inactive ones. The cost of “retention” a user is significantly lower than the cost of “attraction”. A high Retention Rate (RR) indicates that the application retains a large percentage of active clients, the balance between user outflow and retention is optimal, and therefore, the startup is growing.

You should plan your investment in retargeting at the stage of digital strategy formation, taking into account the high return on investment in “retention”. Optimize marketing, support user involvement, store and apply information about customers and their relationship history, help CRM-systems, which through advanced technologies of analysis and data processing select the most valuable users and show them a suitable offer.

Mobio Group Tip: Retargeting is the most effective way to increase mobile app revenue. With a mobile retargeting service, you can not only return your users through content, promotions and new features, but also increase the check of your already paying audience without a significant loss of advertising budget. Mobio Group uses its own system of automated retargeting — an automated system that includes all major traffic sources and completely takes care of user data and audience building based on it.

10. Isolation

Underestimated for startups is communication in professional communities of entrepreneurs, its specialists and investors all over the world. There are many communities where people support each other in creating companies and products, help with promotion or business advice, solve questions, share ideas and expertise with each other, hold consultations, exchange contacts and create new projects, hold webinars and workshops on relevant topics, and look for ideas and investors. For example Google for Startups Campus, Fair Business Club, EU-Startups CLUB and other Startups Houses.

Mobio Group Tip: Any startup can try to win prizes and get investments by entering various competitions. For example, at the Startup World Cup Grand Finale competition in 2021 participants got their prize of $100,000 (see our LinkedIn post). Our CEO (Linkedin) often attends such events and believes that networking is not only useful for business, but also has a positive effect on the individual. “It’s not about finding jobs, investments and projects. It’s about finding the future”.

And Mobio Group can help find the future for your startup. Multi-channel UA, advertisement production, ASO, promotion tactics, analytics and support with Feedwise that’s not all Mobio Group can offer. Our company supports startups and helps with promotion through the Startup program. Write to us newbiz@mobiogroup.com and we will tell you the details of this program.

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Valeria Likhach

Head of Marketing Unit

Valeria Likhach is the Head of Marketing at Mobio Group, with more than seven years of experience. She is a professional marketer and an excellent manager. Thanks to her strong leadership skills, she has built a great team that consistently achieves impressive results.

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