How to Find and Track Your Mobile App Influencers

When it comes to growing a mobile app, there are three main ways to get discovered without spending the majority of the budget on ads:

  • App Store features
  • In-app search
  • Referrals, sharing

Out of those three, the best chance for a high ROI is through referrals, influencer, and viral marketing. By engaging advocates, influencers, ambassadors, and brand fans, and getting them to help spread the word about a mobile brand, brands have seen unparalleled growth. This article can help you identify each type of influencer and the mobile strategies that can help you create innovative programs through social sharing, along with details for how to track and reward each segment.

1. Types of brand influencers and their motivations

Advocates, influencers, fans, ambassadors, and affiliates: What’s the difference and why should you care?

Industry Influencers: These are individuals with social reach and status, are well regarded by their peers and can help spread your brand. They are not necessarily familiar with your brand, and different standards determine these individuals’ influence. Whether it’s f web-only or celebrity status, influencers can range from semi-celebrities to individuals with a wide social media or blog following and their reach can cross multiple platforms and they increasingly require a paid arrangement to do business. When picking the right influencers, you should look for influencers by keywords they use, social performance of their posts, and audience demographics of their followers. The best ways to find them are actually working with tools that can help you segment your audience and find the right influencer based on followers, medium, type of content etc. Some tools you can use to find them:

  • helps you search through 3M+ influencers based on keywords, social performance, and audience demographics manage campaigns, payments, and influencer relationships
  • BuzzSumo has a tab dedicated just for “influencers” – marketers can use keywords and discover  Twitter handles of users sharing similar keyword-related content.
  • Moz’s Followerwonk: Moz has a tab devoted to influencers – “Search Bios” – showing users with social authority, comparisons, and even unique data visualizations for keywords and Twitter handles.
  • Individual social networks –You can use networks relevant to your users like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn.  You can find influencers by looking at keywords searches and look at the number of followers and the level of engagement for each user.

Brand Advocates: Advocates are the super users and brand fans. They are most likely users of your product, but in some cases, they can be brand fans without actually having used your product. They are brand loyalists who engage with the brand because they truly love it and will usually take action if asked. They may or may not have a sphere of influence themselves.

Brand advocates are fans that actually can drive awareness and new users for your brand.

Fans: Fans are like brand advocates, but they are less likely to take action if asked. If properly engaged and nurtured, fans can turn into brand advocates. “People essentially grow this memory about your brand, about what you do, and they build up kind of… a positive bank account with you,” said Moz founder Rand Fishkin. And that’s exactly what a brand fan has: an affinity for your brand, even if it’s subconscious.

The best way to find fans is to look at your most engaged users. These could be users that use your app every day, but also users that share your app with their friends. You can use in-app analytics platforms like Mixpanel or Localytics to track the engagement of these users and set up automated nurture campaigns or send them in-app messaging to further engage them with your brand.

Brand Ambassadors: Brand ambassadors are influencers hired by brands for long-term relationships. They are different from influencers, who might be used only for a short-term campaign, and they keep building their influence in relation to your brand. They are in effect paid spokespeople or contractors.

The best way to find ambassadors are to look through influencers in your target audience and give them the right incentive to join you. The incentive could be a job, free swag and products, or even a summer internship.

Affiliates and Bloggers: Affiliates and bloggers help promote the brand in online channels. They usually write about a specific topic related to your brand and can be incentivized brand rewarded directly by the sales they produce or the number of new app installs they get that can be measured through trackable marketing links. Use affiliate networks and follow blogs in your specific industry. One way to go about it would be to segment your target audience and find specific bloggers and affiliate for each target persona.

Brand Influencers: These are the individuals out of the groups above that actually are driving new users and new business for your app. They are usually successful at making the case for your brand and they are driving the most new users for your app and product.

The best way to find them is by making sure you use the proper mobile organic tracking in the links they use to share your app or app content. If you are using Branch for your viral tracking, we automatically take all the links a user generates and assign them to your user ID, giving you insights into the actual influencer tracking and every user each of them brought to your app.

2.Tracking influencers on mobile

The best way to track influencer efforts is to make sure they use proper links when they share your app or products in your app. You should track everything from shares, to clicks and installs driven by every influencer  – whether they are fans sharing your app with friends while using it, or users just inviting friends to join in an experience, or industry influencers that are getting paid to promote your product.

The Branch dashboard features a Quick Links section where you can provide customized tracking links for your influencers. The Branch dashboard tracks clicks, installs, opens, retention, and conversions for each link and for each user. 

3. Getting your influencers to share

When it comes to sharing and spreading your brand, the most powerful triggers that can help you spread are deeply rooted into human psychology and emotion. According to research by Jonah Berger in his book Contagious, these 4 triggers can help your app go viral:


  • Social currency
  • Practical value


  • Positive emotions are more likely to drive sharing
  • Active vs. passive emotions – active emotions drive sharing and clicking
  • The Active emotions are:


  • Incentives don’t always drive virality and sharing, and intrinsic motivations many times can get a lot further than extrinsic motivations

Rewarding your influencers

When it comes to rewarding your influencers, depending on what type of brand influencer they are, they usually look for different incentives – the higher the engagement with the brand, and the higher the loyalty to your brand, the less likely effect a financial motivation will have. Ideally, while in the early days of growing your app and brand, you might need to pay money to get big industry influencers or affiliates to promote you. As you grow, you should focus on turning them into fans and advocates, through brand engagement and building loyalty. A great tool we use at Branch is Influitive, that helps you engage and build a community for your existing influencers, fans, or ambassadors and reward them for their efforts.  

Industry Influencers Brand Advocates Brand


Brand Ambassadors Bloggers and affiliates Brand Influencers
Engagement with brand Low High Medium Medium Low High
Social influence High High – low Low High Medium High
Finding them Tools like Buzzsumo, Moz, etc Social media and engagement analytics Engagement analytics – Apptentive, Localytics, Mixpanel Brand fans, students, job posts Affiliate networks, google searches Branch Influencer tab
Best Incentive Money Swag, free products Swag, free products Job title, money, status Revenue share, pay per user acquired, etc. Engagement with the brand
Engage them better Get them to love your product, create hype around your brand Give them access to exclusive products, sneak peaks, etc. Give them free products, show appreciations Let them use the position on LinkedIn, help the grow their network and influence Give them interesting content they can promote and write about Special brand promotions

While influencer marketing might seem hard initially, it can be one of the best ways to grow and engage your mobile users – by building and engaging good brand influencers, you can set up your app for viral growth and get incredible ROI.