5 Reasons Why Marketing Outside the Shopify App Store is Crucial for 2024 & Beyond

Why marketing inside the Shopify App Store isn’t the be-all and end-all for driving merchants to instal your app (don't believe us? Shopify say so themselves!)

Optimise your Shopify App Store listing. Use keywords. Gather customer reviews. Engage with community forums. We’ve been talking about all of the ways that you can increase Shopify App installs for over 7 years now. (We even wrote this super handy guide on the topic, which you can download here!) 

Having a solid (ongoing) strategy for marketing your app inside the Shopify App Store is non-negotiable. But it’s also just one piece of a much bigger puzzle. Truth is, that solely focusing your marketing efforts inside the Shopify App Store is actually quite risky business.

In this article, we’re sharing 5 reasons marketing your solution outside the Shopify App Store will be crucial in 2024 and beyond.

1: Shopify’s App Store Algorithm Can Change (and Ruin Your Ranking)

Shopify doesn’t disclose exactly how its search and rankings work. Instead, they inform apps of search updates and improvements and share their best practices. But these updates can happen at the drop of a hat (anyone remember the Shopify App Store redesign of December 2022?!). As a result, your existing search ranking can take a massive hit, meaning that you have to work even harder to get eyes on your app listing.

Shopify can also crash without warning, leaving merchants without access to the Shopify App Store. Therefore, it’s essential to have other sources that are consistently driving traffic to help merchants discover what your app has to offer. 

2: You Can’t Showcase Your Full In-App Experience

Chances are, you have an arsenal of amazing content that showcases your in-app experience (and if you don’t, we can help!). Some of which, such as your explainer video and demo store can be showcased on your listing. But a lot of valuable content doesn’t fit into the fixed parameters of your Shopify App Store listing. This means merchants only get a taste of your offering - which in itself may not be enough for them to click the ‘install’ button’.

Outside of the Shopify App Store, you can use content to demonstrate exactly how your app works to potential customers. Video tutorials, case studies, and pre-recorded demos give a more holistic view of your in-app experience and help merchants form a connection with your brand.

3: Ads are Expensive

If you decide to invest some budget into running paid search ads in the Shopify App Store, you should keep these three things in mind:

  • Paid ads don’t show on mobile. However, 79% of Shopify traffic comes from mobile!
  • CPC & CAC is high, as is the competition for keywords, so your budget can easily be swallowed up without the guarantee of app instals.
  • ROI is tricky to track properly, so you can’t properly measure the results of your paid campaigns.

By using clever content marketing rather than paid ads, you can bring merchants on a journey that not only drives better quality conversions, but also helps you properly track the ROI of your Shopify App Store listing.

4: Reviews Can be Removed on the Shopify App Store

Reviews are the lifeblood of any app. So why should they only exist within the boundaries of the Shopify App Store?

Reviews are just as important for merchants to see when they’re in the discovery phase (i.e. when browsing your website or social media platforms) as they are on the app store.

Shopify reserves the right to remove reviews that don’t comply with their policies. While this is obviously a good thing (no-one wants to see fake or misleading reviews), it leaves apps at the mercy of Shopify if any of their reviews are removed incorrectly.

It’s also worth mentioning that if a merchant uninstalls an app, they have just 45 days to leave a review. This limits the potential for apps to receive feedback that can be used to improve their offering.  

5: Shopify Says So!

That’s right…Shopify themselves advocate for marketing your app externally.

In their own words:

Listing your app in the Shopify App Store is just the first step. After your app is live, you can reach merchants through channels outside of the Shopify community to promote your app and build trust with your users.
"Driving traffic to your app from outside of Shopify can help improve your app's ranking on the Shopify App Store. Also, if your app gets a significant amount of outside traffic, then your app can be listed in the Trending apps section on the app store's homepage."

Not all merchants go to the Shopify App Store to search for a solution to their problem

You’re not trying to outsmart Shopify by marketing your app externally.

What you’re actually doing is expanding the ways in which merchants can get to know and love your app - and that can only be a good thing!

So, are you ready to start thinking outside the box Shopify App Store?

Well, we’ve got something for you!

Introducing 'Thinking Outside the Shopify App Store', a brand new virtual Masterclass series 🎉🎊

From email marketing to social media, PR to partnerships and everything in between, we'll be taking a deep dive into all of the ways to market your app OUTSIDE the Shopify App Store.

Episode 1 has already launched but don't worry, there's a replay! We share the reasons WHY you can't rely on the Shopify App Store alone to market your app (some may just surprise you!)

Access the replay for episode 1 here.

Episode 2 is coming soon and will cover the 'what': "External Marketing Strategies Outside of the Shopify App Store".

Alternatively, we have a very popular marketing program built specifically for Shopify app developers.

This program is for:

  • Any stage of Shopify app business (from just an idea to start-up and beyond) 
  • Shopify app developers and founders 
  • Marketing and Growth managers looking to market a Shopify app

You'll learn how to:

  • Get more people seeing your listing versus the competition
  • Increase conversions and instals 
  • Boost retention of customers for a higher recurring income