While it’s true that app usage is increasing, more people are also spending more time on the web via mobile devices, and the need for unique domain names prevails. Over the past two years, thousands of new domain names have been created — from .club to .coffee to .news — making originality in naming even more crucial for a brand’s online success.
Creating a great app is challenging enough, but gaining a following for one is even more difficult. As the third season of the HBO series “Silicon Valley” illustrated recently, getting people to download an app and acquiring active users are vastly different things.
Apps face increasing competition in app stores, where a simple search turns up many choices. Consequently, marketing apps to users via mobile platforms has become essential — and that’s where a creative domain name plays an important role.
Here are three reasons why a unique domain name boosts mobile marketing and helps to create a presence outside an app store:
1. An app needs a website. Relying on discovery among the thousands of apps in an app store is wishful thinking, not a marketing strategy.
A website lets you control the app’s story and provides a valuable way to connect with consumers. Websites can host videos and detailed information about the app, as well as link directly to the app on both the Apple and Android app stores and from your social media platforms.
A website also allows you to collect email addresses and build a consumer database; it can fuel Facebook ads or Google AdWords retargeting.
2. Logical shortcuts make sites more mobile-friendly. Making it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for on your website should be a priority, especially as online traffic continues to shift to mobile. Long drop-down menus and infinite scrolling may function sufficiently on a laptop or desktop, but they’re cumbersome features on a touch-screen phone or tablet.
Branded domain extensions provide logical shortcuts that take users directly where they want to go, bypassing the homepage. For example, a .shop or .store extension can take shoppers directly to a brand’s online store.
3. Unique domain names are memorable. In addition to a dedicated website for your app, consider using a memorable domain name to link to your listing in an app store — similar to the way custom company domains can be linked to their brands’ social accounts on Facebook.
If your app is only available for iOS, for example, using an easy-to-remember domain name and linking it directly to your app’s page within the iTunes store is a much better way to send people to your app than expecting them to search for it (and thus see your app in the context of competing apps).
Sometimes referred to as vanity links, these memorable domain names can also be used very effectively with nondigital media, like print, radio, TV, and signage. This not only makes it easier for customers to find your app, but it also helps build brand recognition and awareness.
Apps Don’t Sell Themselves
Google, having recently purchased the rights for $25 million, will soon be releasing the ultimate domain extension for mobile app websites or shortcuts: the .app extension.
To take the unique domain name a step further, some developers have even incorporated their domain into the app’s brand name to stand out among the competition. Activity.Club, a platform-independent fitness app, is a good example.
The practice of using a domain name as part of branding is not new. This was a common practice in the early .com days, and it’s starting to resurface now because marketing your business or app is much simpler when every mention of it is also a direct link to your website.
An amazing app, in and of itself, is not enough — marketing can make or break it. You have to sell your app’s story to compel people who download it to actually use it.
Unique domain names can give your mobile marketing strategies a real boost, so think about a memorable name that will help your app pull ahead of the competition.