This post was originally published 07/19/19 and has been updated on 12/13/21.
Getting more app downloads is a technique and accomplishment within itself. Nearly 2,000 apps are submitted to the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store on a daily basis, all hoping to be the next big hit.
But sadly, almost 70% of apps will never generate more than 5,000 downloads. Without the right mobile marketing strategy, chances are your app will flop and be forever invisible in the app stores.
Luckily, we’re here to help with an in-depth guide on how to increase mobile app downloads.
In this post, you’ll learn how to get more app installs through app store optimization and other digital marketing strategies that will boost your mobile app installs.
Just follow these 15 steps:
1. Increase App Downloads by Prioritizing ASO – Keywords
There are over five million apps on the app stores right now. And many more million app searches.
Optimizing your app for what people are searching for is one of the best ways to improve your online presence.
“App store optimization is the app store marketing technique and strategy that works on improving the app in order to better follow the app store’s guidelines and improve the ranking on certain keywords for a better search presence and higher organic download numbers. ”
App store optimization (ASO for short) is one of the best ways to put your app in front of app users. Yet, it’s still one of the hardest tasks for app developers and marketers.
The basis of ASO is related to the main keyword or keywords of the app. It requires finding out what users are searching for and then targeting those specific keywords in your app page content to both increase its visibility and encourage users to download it.
Take a look at Calm, one of our past clients. The app helps users meditate, reduce stress and sleep better. They realized what people search for and named their entire app accordingly.
After you’ve settled on your main app store keywords, you’ll need to integrate them throughout your metadata. Make sure that your keywords are present in the:
- App descriptions
- Keyword field
Integrating your main keyword into your Title (you’ve got 50 characters for your App Name in the Google Play Store and 30 characters for your App Title in the App Store, use them all!) will boost your online presence in the app stores, overall ranking and eventually help increase app installs.
Your URL also needs the main keyword integrated. The Google Play Store takes into consideration backlinks toward its apps, which works similarly to SEO. Because of this, integrating your main keyword in the app’s landing page URL will help increase your app rankings.
An app’s description is one of the main methods of describing what the app does for users. It also allows you to cater the content towards the app stores’ algorithms.
Apple’s App Store does not index the description fields. Because of this, focus more on Google Play.
Apple helped marketers a little by simplifying the ASO process through the Keyword Field. You have 100 characters where you can integrate all of the keywords you want to rank for.
Make sure to use all of the characters.
2. Increase App Downloads by Prioritizing ASO – Creatives
The average user takes 3-6 seconds to decide whether they want to download your app. That’s really not long to grab them. That’s why you’ve got to make the biggest impact as quickly as possible, and creatives offer you the best vice to do that. ASO is as much about conversion optimization – encouraging app page visitors to download your app once they’ve reached it – as it is about visibility and discoverability, as focused on above.
Strong creatives often offer you the most bang for your buck because they catch users’ attention in those crucial 3-6 seconds before they may decide to abandon your app page altogether. They’re a great persuasive tool in the conversion optimization funnel.
Creatives can refer to your app icon, app store screenshots or app preview video. The way to determine which app store screenshots to choose with the best chance of converting, or whether an app preview video will benefit your app or hold it back, is through A/B testing.
There are many A/B testing tools to choose from, including SplitMetrics and StoreMaven. They work by running tests of each creative set to segmented groups of your audience and then gathering data on which performed the best.
Just because you think a creative set looks best in your personal opinion doesn’t mean your audience will respond the best to it, and you can’t ignore the data. Data doesn’t lie.
As far as your app icon goes, it’s the very first thing a user will see of your app, so it should absolutely take priority. It should represent your brand and your app’s service while being instantly recognizable and of course engaging.
3. Downloads Improvement Through App Localization
Not everyone speaks English, and the app store knows that. Creating localized versions of your app will boost your mobile app installs significantly.
According to research, localizing your app page’s content can lead to a 767% increase in app downloads. Delivering content and creatives in the language of your target audience, and tweaking messages based on local behaviors and trends will prove itself as effective.
This process works in three ways:
- Users are more likely to download and use apps they understand
- App stores rank your app higher in a particular country if you’ve localized it
- You bring traffic and app users from keywords that are relevant in other languages
Some of today’s mobile marketing experts even say that: “If your app is not translated into English, Spanish and Chinese, you are losing more than half of the planet.”
If you want to do a little more research on how localizing your app can impact your results, you can use multiple ASO tools to find exact search volumes. Examples include Sensor Tower, AppAnnie, AppTweak, App Follow and Google Keyword Planner.
4. App Installs through Mobile Marketing Campaign Strategy
You can’t rely solely on your app optimization in order to achieve success in increasing installs. Especially when, in certain niches, the position can be influenced by burst campaigns, for example.
Pushing your entire marketing budget into ads without having a relevant strategy is not good either. That’s why you need to focus on strategizing with the whole funnel taken into account.
A good mobile marketing strategy can help you hit your key performance indexes (KPIs) in the most cost-effective ways, generating the highest return on investment (ROI) for your business.
Incorporate an app competitor analysis into your mobile marketing campaign strategy to ensure the most conversions and general success based off your competitors successes and downfalls.
So, what are good strategies to get more app installs and how to combine campaigns?
5. Launch A Website (or Blog)
We’re talking about apps here, but that doesn’t mean you don’t also need a website to help your brand. Your app’s reach can go a lot further if you have a related website, especially considering how many people will first search for your brand, or the query your brand can be the answer to, online rather than on the app stores. It’s not worth ignoring all of the potential users you could generate from the search engine visibility.
Just like you should prioritize ASO for your app, you should also prioritize search engine optimization (SEO) when launching and maintaining your website. The SEO orientation should revolve around the content on your app store page and more. Any extra information about your brand and app specifically won’t go amiss. The keywords you should be targeting should relate to the most searched topics and queries relevant to your app’s service. In case you’re wondering, here’s a run down of the difference between ASO and SEO.
6. Social Media
Social Media is one of the most important traffic sources to focus on. Your target demographic likely spends hours on apps and websites like Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook. Being present on social channels is one of the best ways to increase app installs and keep in constant contact with your users.
The best social media channels for your brand depend on your target userbase. You can find out more about which platform is best here.
Make sure to share creative, relevant content and engage with your users. Work on pushing your content through shares and presenting your app’s key features in the content you are pushing.
Take, for example, our past client Calm. The app revolves around meditation and wellness. They create viral video content that helps people calm themselves in less than 60 seconds. This type of content represents the functionality of the app and gets a ton of organic shares by providing great value to users.
Contests are a great way to increase downloads. You can give away features inside your app, for example. The costs are practically free, as you’re only giving away functionalities inside your app.
By engaging your users, you’re also making sure that you listen to their feedback. Keep them happy and solve all their issues in order to avoid high churn rates.
7. Social Media Ads
Running social media ads as part of a burst campaign, remarketing campaign or brand awareness campaign can lead to a huge surge in app downloads. Burst campaigns are specifically aimed at generating a ton of new app downloads as it’s a process of aggressive media buying over a short time period (usually 24 – 48 hours) to expose the app to the largest audience possible, which will then also boost its app store ranking and hopefully organic downloads too.
8. Email Marketing
The email has been around for over 40 years and it’s here to stay. While some people tend to disregard emails in the app marketing industry, we can safely say that emails do increase mobile app installs.
Email marketing campaigns for apps do two things particularly well:
- Increase subscribers before launching an app for a boost in installs
- Inform and remind people about new updates and offers inside your app
If you have yet to launch your app, make sure to create a landing page and start building your email address database. Give them info, create hype and offer them something they can get excited about.
People will gladly give out their email addresses if you can hype the benefits of your app and promise them value.
Really important: If you’re going to use emails in your app marketing campaigns, make sure that all of your emails are mobile optimized and tailored to the user’s OS and mobile devices. That’s where most people access their emails these days, especially when they’re not work related.
9. Sites like Reddit, Digg, Quora, and Medium
Similar to social media, sites like Reddit and Quora have created their own digital microbiomes. People use these websites as their everyday sources of information and content. And because most of them talk about problems or needs that your app can solve, it’s best to be present on them.
If you’ve created a spendings tracker, join the personal finance subreddit. If you’re helping people sleep better, go to Quora and guide everyone that is feeling exhausted or can’t sleep.
Websites that allow people to communicate and discuss relevant topics are a gold mine that enable an ASO agency to organically grow the number of backlinks, mentions and referral installs for an app.
Still, make sure you help and add value, instead of just promoting your app. Reddit users are especially well known for burning and bashing any kind of blatant promoting. They are there to enjoy their time and learn, not watch ads. So, don’t turn your content into ads.
Educate, inform, help and enjoy being there.
10. SMS Marketing
SMS is a strange phenomenon. The use of SMS between people has fallen drastically (thanks to messenger apps). Yet, SMS marketing is flourishing, as people are more prone to open the few messages they get through SMS.
If you’re in Europe, be cautious about who and how you’re sending your SMS messages. GDPR is extremely important and people tend to be really annoyed by companies that blatantly invade their privacy.
While users will tend to ignore a spam email, they will take action against a spam SMS.
11. Content Marketing
Be it video, text or audio, nothing beats content marketing. By creating high-quality content for your users, you’re subtly promoting your app within relevant pieces of information that they’ll enjoy. It’s a great way to increase brand awareness and brand exposure, two important elements of mobile marketing.
If your app was created to help restaurant owners or food distributors, blog posts about the HoReCa industry will engage your visitors.
For example, if you’re promoting an app that revolves around physical exercises and nutrition, creating workout video guides or articles about eating healthier is the way to go. Even if you’re not directly promoting your app, the brand awareness and exposure generated from your content is beneficial in itself. It also shows that you’re an expert and trusted source in the field in which your app is operating.
12. App Directory Sites
Nothing is as direct as this method. Get your app reviewed by tech bloggers. Also, post your app on all of the app directory sites you can find.
Timecamp created an awesome list with over one hundred websites that you can contact. Check them out here.
You got an app that needs increased downloads?
Our ASO and mobile marketing specialists are here to help you achieve success.
13. Word of Mouth is Still Relevant
Nothing converts better than a friend.
Word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing methods for any conversion. When a friend introduces you to an app they use, any doubt you may have had is instantly eliminated.
The trust you have in your friend is transferred to the app. You won’t rely on reviews anymore and you probably won’t bother reading any descriptions. Your friend will tell you all you need to know.
This is why multiplayer games get so many downloads. People need friends to play with, so they convince their peers to download the game.
It’s really important to make your users happy so that they tell other people about your app. Also, incentivize them. If they receive a gift or bonus, they will be more likely to make sure that another person installs your app.
Revolut, for example, asks users to share their app in exchange for premium features. Most food delivery apps offer coupons for every new user brought to the app, and Uber gives both your and your friend a discount off your next ride.
14. Stay on Top of the Latest Industry Updates and Trends
It’s no secret that the mobile marketing world is constantly evolving. Between the competing big shots – namely Apple, Google, Facebook, etc. – who are constantly trying to rule the market, and increasing focus on privacy the further we move into the digital era, it’s a dynamic landscape out there.
In 2020 Apple announced its intention to introduce its ATT framework and require all apps to request user permission for IDFA tracking, which sent the entire industry into a frenzy. This recently came into effect in 2021 with the release of iOS 14.6. That’s just one of the most recent drastic examples that changed the game forever.
It’s essential that you’re not left behind when it comes to responding to any hurdles along the way. Changes pertaining to privacy need to be high priority especially, because breaking the rules (even if unintentionally) can lead to expensive lawsuits.
A little less dramatically, they can simply mean the difference between a favorable app store ranking or being penalized by the app store algorithms for breaking the rules. Or the difference between best practice and bad practice.
As for trends, if you keep your eye on what’s hot and what’s not then you can ensure you’re at the top of your app marketing game. There are always new trends, whether that’s in ASO or Paid User Acquisition or beyond. For example, the recent explosion of user generated, short-form video thanks to TikTok and Instagram Reels has led to a shift in marketing videos and app ads too. Some brands can see a lot better results from displaying user generated “TikTok” style videos in their ads right now. Check out our TikTok marketing article for more info.
Also, the social media algorithms are constantly changing, so it’s worth keeping on top of those updates to maximize their potential.
15. Measure, Tweak and Improve
Marketing is a process in which you measure, learn, experiment and improve. Clearly define what your KPIs are, and define your strategy and path to get there.
After that, start measuring everything that is relevant:
- How many users get to your app page?
- What is the conversion rate? (CVR)
- How much does an installation cost? (CPI)
- What is the ROI of your marketing campaign?
By measuring everything, you know what works and what doesn’t. After you know where you stand, you can start experimenting.
Change up your app store screenshots, improve your copy, better define your Facebook ad audiences. Make changes and see how things evolve. Even a one percent increase can help if you’re looking to pass the one million downloads mark.
Increase App Downloads – FAQs
There are 4 important steps that can help increase your app downloads:
1. App Store Optimizion
3. Mobile Marketing Campaigns
Building a strategy to improve your app installs should combine a few marketing techniques. You need to increase your app store visibility and encourage users to download your app. Your strategy will depend on your particular app, but all strategies follow the same structure: optimization, localization, campaigns and measurement for continuous improvement.
There are a few different campaign types that can help improve app installs, e.g. social media, email marketing, content marketing, SMS marketing, relevant websites etc. The best type of campaign is different for every app and you might have to measure the results to understand better where to put your budget.
If you’re looking for an awesome mobile marketing agency to help you increase your app downloads and installs, feel free to message us.
Moburst is an award-winning company doing mobile advertising and App store optimization.
Here is some more information in case you’d like to read more about what is App Store Optimization.