How To Grow Your App Downloads Exponentially


Getting app downloads for mobile apps is a challenge that even big companies face. They hire experts for improving their downloads through mobile advertising. Yet some of them fail to meet their goals. But the question is why?


There could be several reasons why your app marketing doesn’t bear fruit. Here are some common problems encountered by many app developers after publishing their apps:


  • You do not emphasize the USP properly
  • You concentrate on the wrong marketing channels
  • You haven’t optimized your visibility on App Store
  • You are targeting the wrong users
  • You do not follow a long-term marketing strategy
  • You do not monitor and analyse your efforts


So, what should you do? Instead of spending just more money into app advertising, better spend it for the right channels to promote your app. You need to maximize your reach to the right target audience and make sure you follow your marketing goals. Then analyze your results and further optimize. Sounds easy – but isn’t always.


Let’s look at the lifecycle of an app to make sure you can maintain and improve the quality and quantity of app downloads. Here are some download-increasing tactics to perform to grow your app installs.


Do Market Research In An Early Stage

You are developing an app that you think is good but, are you sure about  that? You must have read this in 100s articles and posts that people thought their product was great but people didn’t buy it. Big companies know the importance of market research because there is a lot at stake. If you are indie developer you should also understand its importance.


You must answer these questions at the least :

  1. Who is your target audience? Are they really out there?
  2. How can your target audience benefit from your app?


The great thing about doing market research at an initial app development stage is that you can precisely align your app for a specific need of your target audience. App marketing or not – a useful app with a clear USP is the foundation for a great user base. Furthermore, knowing your target audience and observing competitors and market trends, will help you optimizing your app marketing.


Stay focused on who your app is for and try to communicate your unique selling point with every marketing message. Only if your users understand what your app is for and that it meets their needs, they will download and install it.


Use The Power Of App Store Optimization


It’s almost impossible to not come across the term app store optimization in context of app marketing strategies. App store optimization, short ASO follows the goal of increasing organic downloads. Many app developers think, that ASO is a long term strategy that is not very effective in the beginning. Well, it’s not true entirely.


After launch, you have the chance to rank in the top new apps. Make sure you get there. Increasing app downloads quickly is important for that but having an optimized app store page is also a must.


So, what should you do to improve ASO? Understanding the power of keywords in meta data is very underrated. And the power of design even more. Imagine you have spent months into developing a new app, then you upload it to Apple App Store or Google Play but no one downloads it. If this is the case, you have failed to do ASO from the very beginning.


This is what you should concentrate for app store optimization:

  • Develop a keyword strategy – Think of which words potential customers could use in order to find an app that meets their needs.
  • A significant number of people use the app store search function – so optimize your app page meta data in order to get found by as many users as possible.
  • Attract potential users with an outstanding app icon and high-quality visuals on your app page.
  • Give information about features and app content in your description, screenshots and make use of an app preview video to convince visitors.


People usually only need 5 seconds to decide, whether to download an app or not. What they are attracted by the most, are the screenshots and app icon. Then the title, slogan and description of the app. App ratings and user reviews, however, are similar driving install decisions. Uploading high-quality screenshots, that attract the app’s target audience is extremely important. Does it end there? No, people should understand what your app does just by looking at the screenshots. Write clear messages in every screenshot. All the screenshots should be in-app. Here’s an example :

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What’s the prerequisite for downloads? – Attraction. There are many barriers on the way to a new app download. One is to leave a positive first impression. So beside increasing your app search ranking, you should keep your app icon and title in mind. Keep your icon simple, yet meaningful. No matter how good your app is, if it doesn’t look good in the listing, people won’t explore your app page.


Localize your app – Translate your meta data, screenshots and app


Most apps are created in English language. Most publishers want their app to be global unless it’s a business, shopping and other apps that is related to one or few countries. However, there are only 5% of people in the world that speak english as mother language. 25% of the people have some understanding but only 5% use it everyday. Can you improve your download worldwide with that 5% number? – The answer is: No.


Many app developers try to grow in their home country or U.S. first and plan to capture international markets later on. This approach is just natural and it’s ok in some cases. However, offering your app for various markets can dramatically increase your downloads.


The way you add your meta data, screenshots and name in english, you can add more languages in the same manner. People with their setting in the languages you uploaded your data in, see it in their language. Translating your app in other language is somewhat of a task, but if you can increase the ROI with that, you should do it. It sounds daunting and it is.


Hiring a native speaker for translating the app description, screenshot copy, keywords and app title would be the best choice. It can help you not only improve downloads over 10X but also gives advantage over your competitors. Furthermore, localization of your keyword field lets you rank for a wider range of possible search term combinations. And a higher findability in app stores will push your download rate.


Push Your Downloads Further With Targeted Advertising


Paid advertising has worked for most of the apps that opt for it. You get downloads, if you have an app that is helpful you get engagement. The question always has been about targeting and cost of acquisition. Doing app marketing, your main goal is to be present in front of your target audience and to reach as many potential users as possible. Having the right ad for the right audience pays off twice. Once your ad addresses the needs of a specific targeted user, the chance to get a conversion through click increases significantly. On most advertising platforms this would mean you can lower your costs and increase conversion by targeting the right audience.



Nevertheless, advertising has to be learned. Use targeting and keywords carefully, start small, analyze and then go big. Do not start with a big audience but test how you can split your target audience into specific customer types to address them more successful.


Here are some questions you should keep in mind before advertising your app:

  • Which audience I can find on which kind of platform?
  • What are the main reasons people download my app?
  • How can I attract my target audience best?
  • What goal in terms of CTR and CVR do I wanna reach?
  • What’s my ROI – Does advertising pay actually off for me?


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There are different platforms suitable for advertising apps. Some commonly used ones for app advertising are Search Ads, Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Which one to chose depends on your target audience, kind of app, budget and strategy. There are some arguments that plead for the use of app install ads. For example, if you want to boost your downloads for a specific period of time or want to advertise a certain update, you should use App Install Ads. Even though app advertising can increase app downloads, it won’t work without doing the previous steps. In an early stage it might help you getting enough paid users in order to get featured in the app store, which in turn will bring you further organic downloads.

Engage Users And Make Them Recommend Your App


Most people uninstall an app within 7 days after download. So, why is it so hard to keep people engaged? People uninstall because they are no longer in need of the app. But that’s not what marketing is about. It’s about creating a need. Once you onboard a user engage him with great content. Find the reason of their downloads and improve on it. That’s why you do market research so you stay competitive in the long run.


With that said, despite optimizing your app page visuals and keywords, rating and reviews are powerful install driving factors. They are both important for convincing app page visitors and increase the algorithm-based app store ranking. Therefore, focus on getting high-quality (real!) app reviews. Very few people will review your app if you don’t ask them for it. Ask for a review not only for a 5 star starting.


The more reviews you get, the better your conversion on your app store page will be. Unfortunately, people tend to rather comment on bad apps than to praise well-developed ones. This is why you should regularly check your reviews and comment also on negative ones. By communicating with your users you often can resolve problems and misunderstandings. After that do not forget about asking users to revise their rating after an issue, they complained, was solved. You must use these review to improve your app. So you can turn those negative reviews into positive ones.


Use Analytic Tools to Monitor Your Efforts


You are making constant changes to your app store page and you are improving your app for better performance and features. Also you are handling complaints and improve your ratings. This means you are making effort and probably your app downloads are already increasing. One of the most important thing to do now is to analyze how it is going.


It is important to know how you can compete and go beyond. Unfortunately Google and Apple don’t provide enough data. So, there are many third party tools that help you with competitor research, app store optimization, revenue analysis etc.


One such tool, publishers and app marketers should use is AppRadar. It is an online app marketing software that focuses on helping you with your app store optimization process.

Mixpanel is also very useful to monitor your app marketing funnel. It helps you in understanding not only engagement but also helps you sending personalized emails and push notifications.


Combine Those Strategies To Grow Your App Downloads

As by regularly optimizing your app page, you stand out amongst your competitors and increase downloads. But all in all, a good thing needs time. I know it’s a lot to digest but there is a lot you can do to grow your app downloads. Start with a proper market research to target the right users, develop an app store optimization strategy, retention strategy and advertise your app to push downloads even further. There are a lot marketing strategies possible but you should start with this ones though. All in all, always keep focused on your goals and consider these tips, so your app downloads will grow steady.

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

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