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MARKETING YOUR APP · HUGH KIMURA · SEPTEMBER 2013

How To Market Your iOS App With App Promo Codes

App promo codes allow you to give out your iOS mobile app for free to the media. Learn how to use them and the easiest way to get started.

Offering app promo codes to influential people such as reporters and bloggers can be a great way to get your app into the hands of people who can introduce your app to a large audience and get you a lot of downloads.

This post will show you how to get started with using promo codes and the easiest ways to distribute your codes. We will also discuss other uses for promo codes that you may not have thought of.

The Basics Of iOS App Promo Codes

Let's start with the basics of how promo codes work. You can get a maximum of 50 codes per release of your app and each code is valid for 4 weeks (28 days).

Promo codes do not work with in-app purchases. They allow you to give away your paid app for free, or if your app is already free, it will allow you to give reviewers early access to your app between the approval date and the release date, provided that you set your release date in the future.

When a promo code is redeemed, your app will act just like if the user purchased the app and they will have access to all updates and features. However, the user will not be able to rate the app on the App Store. This is the only downside to promo codes, but it makes sense because you would basically be "buying" a positive rating by giving the user a free copy of your app.

To get more promo codes, the Quick Update Trick is an easy way to instantly double the number of promo codes that you have for your app launch. Since you get 50 codes per release of your app, if you release an update soon after your app first gets published, you instantly get another 50 codes to work with. Just remember that the promo codes from the previous release of your app become invalid, so be sure that most or all of those codes have been redeemed before creating a new release with new codes.

Now that we have that background information, let's get into how to create and distribute promo codes. We will also discuss alternative ways that you can use your codes to improve your app and increase your following.

Generating Promo Codes With iTunes Connect

lt="Promo codes in iTunes

If you are interested in learning how to manually generate promo codes by logging into iTunes Connect, it might be worthwhile to see how the process works, the first time. The issue with using this method to get your promo codes is that there is a lot of manual work that needs to be done to distribute and track your codes.

You have to manually create your own link to send to people so that they can click on it to redeem the code. If they are promo code savvy, then you can just send them the code, or send everyone redemption instructions, but it is better to make it as easy as possible.

The link would look like this:

https://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZFinance.woa/wa/freeProductCodeWizard?code=(ADD PROMO CODE HERE)

You might be tempted to use Bitly to shorten that link since it is so long. While that is an option, there are a couple of major issues with that route.

First, you will have to manually create a new Bitly link for all 50 if your links. If you use the Quick Update Trick, then that will be a 100 links that you have to create manually.

Second, checking if your codes have been redeemed is an even more tedious process. Knowing which codes were redeemed is important because if someone has not used their code and it is getting close to expiration, you want to be able to send the code to someone who will use that code. You would have to check them one-by-one and resort to iTunes tricks in order to check all of your promo codes.

Forget that. Here are two ways that you can easily generate, distribute and track your promo codes.

Making It Easy To Generate, Send And Track Promo Codes

Redeem links makes it easy to manage your promo codes for iBooks, iOS and Mac apps. It is free to use and you do not need to enter your iTunes Connect account information.

The website will create a link that you can easily share on social media or in an email. It will also track all of your links to see which ones have been redeemed.

lt="Redeem code now

There is also a Mac app called Tokens that makes the task of creating, sending and tracking iOS promo codes really easy. You can also create promo code links for Mac apps, but not iBooks.

You can try it for free with one app. If you want to use it for more than one app, it costs $29. Why pay for a program when you can just use Redeem links?

Tokens has a more user friendly interface and makes it easy to share your links to email or social media, using the built-in OS X integrations. If you are not sharing iBooks codes, you might like it better, it's just a personal preference.

lt="Tolkens for Mac

Other Uses For Your Codes

Sending app promo codes to influential reporters and bloggers is a great way for your app to get media publicity. But you can also post a few links to your social media accounts to thank your followers and create buzz for your new app.

Also consider holding a contest on social media to boost the number of followers you have. You can give your followers one contest entry for each social media account of yours that they follow and maybe additional entries if they post something positive about your app.

To improve the quality of your app, you can share your promo codes on developer forums to get some feedback. Take some time to check out each forum and see which one would give you the best feedback.

Conclusion

What happens if you run out of promo codes and you do not want to do another update? Simply send an iTunes gift item. It will cost you, but it can be a small price to pay to publicize your app.

If you have a paid app or are just launching a new free app, there is no reason that you shouldn't use promo codes to get the word out about your app. Give it a try and see how it works for you.

Have you had success with using promo codes to market your app? Share your best tip in the comments below.


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Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: September 2013

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