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Audubon Guides App reaches #1 and #2 in iTunes Reference

Audubon Guides (App Launch)

Situation Analysis

Green Mountain Digital (GMD) created the Audubon Guides iPhone apps, a collection of programs for the iPhone that help users identify flora and fauna throughout North America. GMD came to us with a problem: they had a great product, but needed a cost effective way to garner national attention for their apps in Apple’s iTunes Store. This was a significant undertaking considering the store had more than 100,000 apps and is dominated by Apple’s closed marketing system. Additionally, the app needed to be released with a meager $50,000 marketing budget during the high-stakes 4th quarter time period, when many competitors increase their marketing budgets, and media becomes expensive.

Strategy/Methodology

We determined through research that the most cost-efficient marketing strategy would be to segment out the different target audiences. This would allow us to create tailored marketing communications customized for each segment. We identified eight segments in total, including: iPhone users, outdoor recreationists, educators, conservationists and birders. For each market segment, we developed unique messaging and identified online congregation points we could target for each. Since we were operating under a limited budget, we decided to focus our efforts on public relations and online marketing vehicles where we saw that we could get the most return on our marketing dollars.

Execution

Our first priority was to build an aggressive public relations effort. Using our segmentation model, we developed a PR plan to target influential media outlets in print, radio, television, and online media. To achieve this, we created custom press releases, fact sheets, post cards, and informational packets for each app with thematic language that spoke directly to the intended constituency. After mailing the information, we followed up with over 500 phone calls to journalists with pitch proposals. We also followed up with high influence individuals, sending 20,000+ emails to ensure our message was not overlooked.

For the online marketing portion of our plan, we tapped into multiple online advertising venues to maximize product awareness. We used Google AdWords to build a list of over 10,000 keywords, divided into eight campaigns based on our strategic segmentation, further divided into 144 ad groups. We reviewed our efforts on a daily basis to ensure that we were balancing a low cost-per-click (CPC) with a high click-through-rate (CTR), all while staying under our established daily budget targets. Our Facebook marketing effort was similarly segmented into eight campaigns, each with seven to ten multivariate ads that we optimized for efficiency. We created Ad Groups that were targeted by Facebook user’s interests, location, age, and other profile variables that we tested to ensure efficiency.

Because use of the product could only occur on the iPhone, we identified resources that would allow us to advertise exclusively on iPhones, giving us 100% efficiency. Through usage of AdMob and NYTimes Mobile, we created targeted mobile ads that would lead users to a custom mobile landing pages. We also ran banner ads on sites we identified as congregation areas for our target segments. Many of these targeted sites were significantly cheaper and more efficient than broadly buying web impressions, allowing us to speak to a captive audience efficiently.

Results/Evaluation

From paid interactive marketing efforts, we generated more than 86 million impressions and 140,000 clicks to our landing pages. On the PR side, our client estimated that we generated over $934,257 worth of media coverage in only six months. In a sign of the impact of our efforts, a search for the term “Audubon Guides Go Mobile” -- the title of our press release, generated more than 50,000 web results in Google. Our phone campaign and pitch success led us to coverage in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The L.A. Times Tech blog, The Chicago Tribune, Tech Republic, USA Today, iPhone Buzz, CNBC, Technorati, CNET, and many more. Most importantly, though, our paid marketing and PR efforts led to the Audubon Guides apps landing at #1 and #2 in iTune’s app store reference section.