When you spend a lot of time and resources developing a mobile app, you always hope that at least a significant number of people will try your product. Unfortunately, convincing people to click the 'install' button can be very difficult. If you have an app that you want the world to use, you can make it happen.
Once you get downloads, you can make real money. All you need is a little effort and the right skills to get your app noticed by the masses. There are many proven ways to increase app downloads. Some are obvious, like paying to advertise on social media. But as a smart product manager or startup founder, you already know these options.
In this article, we'll look at some of the lesser-known but highly effective strategies that have resulted in millions of downloads for top apps. We want to see as many users download and use your app as possible, so we've rounded up 11 powerful strategies to increase app downloads below:
Expand your target audience with app localisation
One of the great opportunities offered by the Apple Store and Google Play Store
is that you can reach users all over the world. However, people won't download apps that they can't understand. Translations can help you reach people in other parts of the world. But if you really want to see the appeal, you need to go further.
Localisation means adapting your entire app to different languages, cultures and locations. This process includes translation, as well as content and design optimisation. It can even cover your listings.
Good localisation can help you gain new users around the world. Just as importantly, people who download your app in these new regions will enjoy a better user experience - leading to more positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Launch a website (or improve your existing one)
As with any online product, your app really should have its own website. This is just the basics of digital marketing. Its main purpose should be discoverability. Your website doesn't need to be fancy, but you do need to focus on SEO (search engine optimisation).
Just as people tend to search for new apps in the app shop, they sometimes do so through Google and other search engines.
Creating a website gives you the opportunity to capture these potential users and present the best features of the app in a completely controlled digital space. On your landing page, be sure to add eye-catching images, teaser videos and strong calls to action linking to your download page.
Get more users with App Store Optimization
Most people discover new applications through Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store
. Being selected as an editor's choice is clearly the best form of promotion here. But it's not something you have complete control over. What you can control is your app listing. App Store Optimization (ASO)
is the process of making your pages as accessible and attractive as possible. In practice, this means adding the best keywords, writing compelling titles, writing compelling app descriptions, and uploading compelling screenshots.
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Many hard-to-download apps are weak in at least one of these areas. If you want to improve your numbers, make sure you research your biggest competitors' listings and do some research to understand what your ideal users are likely to be searching for. It's also important to adapt your listings to each region. For example, each language has its own keywords. A service like ASOWorld
can help you here.
Running a social media presence
Not everyone likes to read blogs. In some cases, sharing content on social media may be a more effective strategy for driving downloads. Take Calm, for example, an app that helps people relax and meditate. The team behind the app regularly shares content on Instagram - from soothing images and advice on managing stress to heartfelt videos from happy users.
People who stumble across these posts may not even be looking for a meditation app. But if the content resonates with them, they may visit Calm's bio link and eventually download the app. Social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer a more direct way to encourage downloads, as you can include links in your posts.
Create a demo video of the app
This is a great way to attract interest, in the same way that a film company would release a trailer for a blockbuster movie to attract consumers. By creating a demo or promotional video for your app, you can help potential users understand your product before they submit it. Your video can highlight the best features, explain more complex functions, and show what the app looks like in action.
This strategy is especially important if your app is on Android. While Apple's App Store only supports screenshot images, the Google Play Store can handle video previews.
Prompt users to leave ratings and reviews
When any potential user stumbles upon your app, there's a good chance they'll take a look at your ratings. The most discerning may even delve into your user reviews to find feedback from other customers. Both of these aspects of your app listing can have a significant impact on your downloads.
In addition, app shops tend to promote apps that offer a good user experience. The best way to improve your ratings and reviews is to ask your existing users. Many apps have pop-up prompts after so many hours of use or after a certain number of opens.
Not only does this ensure that more people leave ratings or reviews, it also means that you are more likely to get feedback from those who have a positive opinion. This 'social proof' is a powerful thing.
There is no form of marketing that can match the power of recommendations. People are more likely to be swayed by their friends than by ads and articles, especially if your app has a social element. While some of your most loyal users may spread the word without prompting, most people need incentive to make the effort. That's why many apps have referral systems that reward users when their friends and family download the same app and create an account. Simply adding this feature can greatly increase your downloads.
Upgrade your brand
With 1.96 million apps on iOS and 3.48 million apps
, there's a good chance your app will face some direct competition. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to make sure your branding is absolutely right. The first thing any potential user will see in the search results is your app icon and app name.
If your download figures are disappointing, it may be because you have a weakness in one or both of these areas. The app icon needs to be eye-catching and colourful, but sleek enough to indicate that it's a quality product. Also, the name needs to explain what the app does. The title line also plays a part in searches, so be sure to add a useful keyword or two.
Leverage app rankings through pricing
As well as search and editorial selection collections, another major area where users discover new apps is in the app rankings. If your app makes it into the top 10
, it will get more positive attention. For paid and freemium apps, reaching these dizzying heights may seem like a remote possibility.
Many developers encourage players to get a large number of downloads in a short period of time by dropping the price for a limited time. In turn, this pushes the app to the top of the charts and exposes more people to the product. Even if you only get $0.99 from all purchases in a week, you may get a greater long-term return due to wider brand awareness.
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Moving to a freemium or paid-for value-added model
With so many free apps available today, it is difficult to convince users to spend money upfront. As a result, many top developers are now adopting a freemium pricing model.
Obviously, making your app free to download can increase your download numbers. But just as importantly, the freemium model can generate good revenue and profits in many app categories.
If you are not ready to let users experience your product for free, there is a third option: pay. This is where users pay a small fee for a 'lite' version of the app, which can be upgraded through in-app purchases or separate downloads.
Use affiliate marketing
Even if you can't get free media coverage, there are other ways to increase your exposure. The idea behind affiliate marketing is that any website that links to your app receives a small commission when a reader downloads or buys your product.
The sum of each click is usually quite small. But bloggers with thousands of readers can make a good monthly income from such schemes. In return, you should get a lot of clicks on your app page.
In short, it is not difficult to increase the number of app downloads. The app market may be more competitive than ever, but every day we see new apps rise to the top and outpace all others in terms of downloads and usage. This process is not impossible and with some effort and creativity you too have the opportunity to make your app's user base surge.