How to Get More App Downloads: 30 Proven Tactics

Statista reports that Google Play Store alone currently lists more than 2100 000 apps.

As an app developer, you may think creating the app is the hard part. However, it’s actually the marketing that is the hardest and most time-consuming aspect of getting app store downloads.

This guide provides 50 proven tactics on how to get more app downloads from your marketing efforts:

Get the foundations right

Let’s start by saying that before you do any mobile app marketing, you have to take the time to do the planning. Get the foundations wrong and you’ll end up spending more and wasting time.

Be warned that going through the foundational checkpoints may demand a tweaking or even a reworking of your app because if the app does not add value, it will impact the number of app downloads.

Competitor analysis

Table With Competitor Analysis

Image Credit: Yalantis

There are so many apps vying for attention that you’re bound to have heavy competition on app stores.

Your aim is to know who your competition is, what they’re doing and how you get more users.

List your top 5 competing apps, their prices, monetization models, ranking, pros and cons, and reviews.

Take note of their mistakes or where they could improve and amend your own app to make it better. Then think about what makes your app’s identity stand out amongst your competitors.

Be clear about what your app does

Screenshot of an Apps Landing Page

Many app developers assume that potential users understand the lingo used in that particular industry, but this is not the case.

Be sure to use the words your audience uses, and not the words you use.

Tip! Do a search on Amazon of your niche and observe carefully the reviews around the products in your niche. In this way, you will see the kind of words your audience is using to describe their needs and what’s important to them.

Understand your unique value proposition

Music App


Because your app is undoubtedly one of many on the market vying to increase app downloads, focus on what makes your app unique.

Competitor research will help provide this information if you don’t yet know what it is.

Armed with this knowledge, capitalize on your app’s unique value throughout any marketing messaging.

Build an app persona

App Persona Screenshot

App persona example by Keepitusable

To get more app downloads, it is essential to build an app persona based on your audience.

This is important because an app aimed at the 30-50 year old demographic for instance, requires a far different approach to an app that is targeted exclusively at millennials.

App store optimization

App Store Optimization Screenshot

Leanplum demonstrates the most important elements for app store optimization. 

According to Apple, 65% of apps are found by users from a direct search on the Apple App Store, so to get more downloads, it makes sense to focus first on optimizing the page where your app is housed.

In fact, App Store Optimization (ASO) has an even greater impact than Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on Google search results.

ASO is what increases your app ranking in the marketplace where all your competitors also sit. The higher your page is on the app store rankings, the more your app will be found by new and existing users who are looking for the solutions it provides.

Here is a detailed guide on App Store Optimization.

Choose your app’s category wisely

App Store Collections


Your app must be situated in the right category, but if it’s possible, try allocating it to a less competitive category in order to rank higher, but do be sure to keep the category relevant to your app.

Create an attractive app icon

App Icons

Users spend on average, seven seconds on the app store listing page, so it makes sense that if your app icon is the first thing someone sees in the app store, it’s a critical success factor.

Make sure your app’s color palette is eye-catching and relevant to what your app does.

Pay attention to above the fold

App Impression Frame App Store vs. Google Play

Since people spend only about seven seconds on any app store page, they want to see what your app can offer them within those few seconds.

Once they land on your app page, if it’s not immediately visible how your app can benefit them, they are likely to click away. This is where your app description comes in handy.

The very top part of your page is the most important. Make it count.

Storemaven has resources to help.

Use a compelling app name

Screenshot of the Most App Area in Google Play Store

Screenshot of the most important area for an app offered in Google Play Store.

Your app title is the most important aspect of app store optimization because it’s the very first thing a user sees, together with the app icon. If it doesn’t immediately grab attention, your app stands less chance of being downloaded.

The app title is your opportunity to encourage users to click to discover more. For best results, include a researched keyword, which is very important for your app to be found in search results in the app store.

Tip! Conduct proper keyword research and brainstorm long and short tail keywords.

Offer your app in other languages

Statista reports that the number of mobile phone users in 2017 in the US was approximately 237.72 million, while the number of mobile phone users worldwide was 4.93 billion.

Therefore if you’re wondering how to get more app downloads, make it available to more app users.

By localizing your app and offering it in other languages, it goes without saying that you’ll make more sales because your app will be available to more people.

App creator Appinstitute makes it easy for small business owners to incorporate multiple languages to extend their reach.

Invest in detailed, professional screenshots

Snapchat's Screenshots on Apple's App Store

Snapchat’s screenshots on Apple’s app store.

App screenshots are vital because they show users what they can expect. When you’ve hooked app users sufficiently, they will almost always look at the screenshots to get a better idea of how the app can benefit them and whether it makes sense to them.

Add 2 – 3 screenshots that demonstrate the app’s best features in action.

Be smart about app pricing

In a world of free mobile app downloads, if you charge for yours you’re not likely to get more downloads than your competitors.

When you first launch the app, your goal should be to get as many app installs and positive reviews as possible.

In this way, you can check out app analytics and make improvements based on user reviews and stats.

It makes sense to first increase downloads and then figure out a business model. Offer the core of your app free and once it’s proven useful, users may want to upgrade to premium.

Once users see the value the app brings, monetize it with premium features.

Having said that, the free version may not work well with certain apps. For example, those who are way above competitors, or have a clear and strong value proposition.

Charge a little extra so that you can run an app promotion at a reduced price and not feel the pinch.

Learn more about app pricing models and strategies.

If you plan to charge for your app, hook users by offering a “try before buying” option. You’re more likely to get more app downloads done this way instead of charging upfront.

It also gives users the opportunity to decide if your app is what they are looking for.

In addition, to increase usage and loyalty, keep adding functionality based on audience needs.

Social media marketing

Build a following on social media

App Video on Facebook Screenshot

The Calm app provides value through their Facebook posts to more than 1 million followers. 

Treat your app as a business and boost your online presence.

Of course, choose which social media channels because your target users are not likely to be on all of them.

Make your posts relevant and meaningful, always adding value, never just promoting.

Remember, for each social media platform, keep your brand tone consistent.

Social media platforms where apps tend to get the most attention are:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Youtube
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • FourSquare

Engage and respond. Get help to build a social media following for getting app downloads.

Create a YouTube channelfor your app users

If you plan on using videos in your marketing strategies, create a YouTube channel and optimize the titles and the descriptions of the videos with the keywords related to your app’s category. Add links in the description to get more app downloads.

Don’t limit yourself to just making videos about your app, but rather offer help and solutions to issues related to your app.

Run a competition

Shypar Apps Contest on Facebook

Shypar app’s contest on Facebook.

Social media competitions are a great way to not only increase your followers but also promote your app.

When done correctly, they can lead to a significant increase to get more downloads.

Some ideas are “Pin to Win” or “Tweet to Win”, or give promo codes to unlock certain premium features in apps for free. Always remember that contests must offer value.

Instant Encore arms you with tips on how to run a contest to get more app downloads.

Set up a Facebook page

Depending on the category of your app, and what it offers, you may want to think about starting social network pages.

There are a few reasons why a Facebook page can be useful:

  • Sharing valuable resources and information that lead to getting more app downloads
  • Learning more about your target audience.

Running your own page around the app’s core function builds credibility.

Partner with social media influencers

Influencer Partnership With an App

Example of a social media influencer partnership for a giveaway.

Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular. In case you don’t know, influencers are users with a large following on their social media accounts.

This marketing tool is easier said than done. However, if you get the technique right, it will pay off massively, resulting in getting app downloads like you wouldn’t be able to with your own efforts.

The key is finding a win-win scenario to offer a partnership with someone who has already built credibility and trust with an audience on their social media account.

Ratings and reviews

Encourage user reviews

App Rating and Reviews

An app review is a source of credibility and honesty.

This is because reviews are a genuine look at a product or service by people who are most trusted: those who don’t stand to gain anything and therefore, reviews are considered honest.

In addition, your app’s ranking in search results is also significantly influenced by ratings.

And so the aim is to get as many ratings and reviews as possible and to do this, you have to proactively ask for them.

Don’t be a nag, but give a pop-up after the user has had a few positive interactions with your app.

If your app has a variety of positive reviews, it will likely create more downloads for your app.

Although it is important to generate positive reviews, it is equally important to respond to negative reviews.

Use these negative reviews as learning opportunities to find out how to improve your app.

Learn the art of responding to poor reviews.

Request reviews from app bloggers

Request reviews from well-established app bloggers, and include the preview video to help them understand how it works.

Now, how do you get an app blogger to want to review your app?

First go through their blog to make sure your app fits the spec of the kind of apps they usually review, then make sure they haven’t yet reviewed your app.

Check that they don’t have a relationship with a competitor, and then check on their site for contact details.

Make it easy for them to say yes when you approach them. Find ways of offering them some kind of benefit to review your app, perhaps a free premium version of your app.

Use your website as a central hub

Build a website

If you’re serious about making your mobile app into a business, you will need a website to act as your business’ “central hub”.

Your website is where you will offer guides like blog posts, and your website is also where search engines will send traffic to when you update it with regular content – be sure to take note of #32 of this article.

Maintained correctly, your website will attract traffic that you can use to market to.

Every website page should aim to get the reader to take one specific action, and if you want to get more app downloads, include a call to action that leads to your app download page.

This is specifically effective when you publish regular blog posts with topics that are relevant to the solutions your app offers

Set up a landing page

App Landing Page

A landing page is different to a website in that while a website is for informational purposes, a landing page is a targeted page with an aim to achieve one specific goal.

In the case of the above example, for instance, the aim is to get the user to click on the download buttons.

Since mobile websites are the number one source of app installs, make sure the landing page is geared for mobile.

A landing page is usually used to direct traffic to it from ads or for pre-launches, or email marketing promotions.

Use your website to get more traffic

Types of Content Marketing to Drive App Traffic

Image Credit: OverthinkGroup

Use your website to draw traffic from search engines to get more mobile app downloads. The only catch is that you have to regularly add content, and quality content, so that search engine algorithms pick up your site and consider it valuable enough to display in search results.

Create a content strategy around pillars of topics – these topics must be your core solutions and make sure content is written well and provides value to those you are trying to attract.

Upload content at least three times a month, but if you are in a highly competitive niche, you may need to up that amount, so find out what your competitors are doing before you design your content strategy.

Bear in mind that it may take up to 3 months to start seeing results, but this is the best way to get traffic to your site without paying for advertising.

Email for marketing

Set up an email strategy

Email vs. Social Media, Engagement Chart

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to promote your app and get more app downloads over time.

You can see from the image that email is still more effective than social media marketing.

But email marketing does require technique, because as with all effective online marketing, emails also, for the most part, need to add value and not only be all about app promotion.

So for instance, if your app tracks daily exercise, your email strategy needs to focus on things like exercise tips, a diet with exercise, how to start running, and so on, all depending on your target audience and their needs.

Alternatively, you could try cold emailing.Some industries have amazing results with cold emailing, and if your app fits into one of them, using software like Leadfuze to find email addresses, you can get more app downloads.

As with most marketing ideas, the technique is essential to making it work and your focus has to be on subject headers and email copy.

Find out more about cold email formulas that work.

Pay for advertising

Make use of Google Ads

App Advert on Google

Spending money on this type of advertising is faster than waiting for traffic organically (traffic to your website that comes from SEO).

Neil Patel provides a step-by-step guide to devising effective Google Ads to get more app downloads.

Create awareness about your app

List your app on app directories

App Directories Screenshot

Listing your app on directories can lead to getting more app downloads, raising your brand awareness, valuable links for SEO and opportunities for feedback.

Best of all, it doesn’t take long or much effort.

Here are 100 sites to get you started, courtesy of AppSamurai.

Build credibility

Host a webinar

Webinar Chart

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we interact with people around the world. In the current climate, there is no better way to reach a huge amount of people and gain credibility (plus promote your app) than with a webinar.

Webinars are one of the most effective marketing methods and reap tremendous rewards when done properly.

As with most of these marketing tactics, make sure you have a marketing plan and use these best webinar practices. Check out Growth Marketing Pro’s list of top webinar software options to get started.

Compile a complete press kit

Media List

One could say that the most effective marketing methods are also the most overlooked when marketing a new app.

PR initiatives and reaching out to influencers, publications, tech bloggers, etc. to secure backlinks are on that list.

Depending on your audience, contact the local or international press, publications, influential YouTubers, podcasters and ask them to review your app and send honest feedback.

Increase loyalty

Connect with the app users you already have

Increasing App Loyalty With Push Notifications

Reach out to your power users via email to ask for advice for improvements. You could also create some kind of a loyalty program to keep them coming back to your app.

Send news or useful information that is based on their needs and make use of push notifications.

Fix app issues fast

App Technical Issue

It is of utmost importance to fix any technical issues with your app as soon as you find out about them, and analytics helps you to keep a tab of them.

You may also want to offer a few users incentives to let you know when something happens so that you can work on it immediately. This will retain your users and ensure they speak well of your app, which is the number one method of advertising any business.

Use an app building platform that makes it all easier

App Builder Success Plan

Finally. And perhaps this one should have been right at the top of this article…

Make your life easier by using the right app builder that includes all the functionality you need.

AppInstitute caters specifically to the small business owner of just about any industry, and offers all you need to get more app downloads; it even includes a 30-day app success plan to get you started to your first 1000 app downloads.

Trying to create more downloads for your app can be challenging.

However, after reading this guide you should have a better idea of how to get more app downloads and rank higher in an app store search.

Start Building Your App for Free

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