After spending endless hours creating an app, one would hope that promoting it is the easiest part.
It isn’t. There are literally millions of apps out there. Apple’s App Store alone has more than 4 million apps.
Therefore, unless you’ve created something truly unique, chances are there are hundreds or even thousands of apps similar to yours. So, how exactly are you supposed to stand out in such a saturated industry?
In this article, I’m going to share with you nine proven tips that can boost your app downloads. Let’s jump right in.
1. Design a tempting app icon.
App icons are usually the first thing that captures a user’s attention when going through the app store. It’s only after the icon has worked its magic that the user will go on to read more about the app and the user reviews.
Therefore, your app can only get more downloads if the icon is impressive enough to capture the user’s attention.
You should also know that icons usually give users the first impression of your app. That impression must be overwhelmingly positive. Therefore, you need an attractive app icon design. Not only that, but the design should also represent the purpose of the application. Users should have an idea of what the app is about within moments of seeing the icon.
That said, you shouldn’t go overboard with the design. Don’t make it too flashy or complex otherwise; it will leave users confused. Simple designs work best. WhatsApp, Netflix, Facebook are good examples of this.
The good news here is you can A/B test different app icons to identify one that generates the most clicks.
2. Carefully name and describe your app.
Ideally, you want to come up with an app name that can help you build a brand. That way, you’ll have more people coming to the app store and searching for your application by its name.
How do you come up with a great app name? Well, you’ll need to brainstorm some ideas with your colleagues. You can go through the app features, goal of the app, type of audience it targets, etc., and identify several potential names from there.
You also need to conduct extensive market research. Figure out what your target market loves and see if you can get a name or two.
Check out similar apps as well. What naming trend are you seeing?
Once you come up with several ideas, craft a short and super memorable name. Confirm the name is not already in use before publishing your app.
As you describe your app, keep a sharp eye on SEO.
With the name out of the way, move to the description and get started with app store optimization (ASO). ASO is basically search engine optimization (SEO) but for apps instead of websites.
The idea is to write a keyword-optimized description to help your app surface towards the top search results.
That’s not an invitation to stuff keywords every chance you get, though. You could get penalized for that. Do your keyword research carefully, identify the top phrases, and use them wisely in your description.
Remember that you can always adjust your app description to boost your position on the app store search results, but you shouldn’t do the same with your app title. Once you pick a title for your app, stick to it.
Lastly, provide some social proof in the form of reviews. Reviews should give interested users the extra nudge to download your app. Check out this description:
The description above is for Forest, one of the top-ranking productivity apps. Going through the description, you can notice the excellent use of multiple keywords. From “beat procrastination,” “boost productivity,” “top paid productivity app,” “stay focused,” to “time management,” these are the buzzwords anyone searching for a productivity app would be interested in.
They also mention that more than 40 million people use the app. That’s social proof right there, and there are plenty of reviews when you scroll down.
3. Make your keywords specific.
Always aim to make your keywords as specific as possible. This will help you attract the right audience, which means you’re likely to see a boost in installs.
Moreover, your keyword research strategy may need to change to accommodate long-tail keywords related to your app. For instance, instead of using “fitness” alone to describe your workout app, you can use keywords like “fitness app for women,” “fitness app for beginners,” etc.
Or in the case of the Forest app above, you can see they are targeting keywords like “top paid productivity app.”
Users searching for apps with long-tail keywords are highly likely to download an application. However, make sure all the keywords used are relevant to your app. For example, you may find a feature-related keyword with high search volume but if your application does not support the feature, leave out that keyword.
That’s because even though the keyword may attract lots of traffic and even downloads, if users feel duped once they use your app, they will most probably uninstall it. Even worse, they can leave negative reviews, which will eventually hurt your app.
4. Use social media.
Social media is one of the most effective and affordable ways to promote your app. It’s actually free unless you’re interested in running some ads. However, you can only get meaningful results if you have a solid strategy in place.
First, you must find out the social networks popular with your target audience. That should help you create a targeted strategy for optimal results. It should also save you from making costly investments on platforms that your customers don’t even use.
OK, but which platforms will work?
Generally speaking, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are ideal for pretty much every niche. However, you may want to branch out to LinkedIn if you want to attract professionals.
Pinterest may also be worth considering if a significant portion of your target audience is women and millennials who love visual content. The platform’s metrics speak for themselves.
Once you figure out the platforms of interest, create a marketing strategy for each platform. For example, you’ll need to craft shorter and interesting tweets if you are using Twitter. Maybe even add an image or meme to make the tweets more engaging.
Meanwhile, Instagram and Pinterest are about getting your visuals right. Text is secondary.
When creating your social media content, consider the purpose of your app and your target audience. The content should reflect the brand identity of your app. So, if you have a casual app and audience, create casual social media content. If you are targeting a professional audience on LinkedIn, use a slightly more professional tone.
Lastly, engage your audience. Don’t use social media just to promote the app. Interact with your audience, too.
The guys at Candy Crush Saga are always interacting with their audience on social media. Use a similar approach. You can even go as far as hosting giveaways.
5. Effectively market your app.
To increase app downloads as quickly as possible, you have to spread out your marketing efforts. For example, instead of relying on organic social media clicks alone, you can also run paid ads.
Platforms such as Facebook let you run a highly targeted campaign to ensure your ads reach the right audience. This can easily increase downloads and the overall return on investment (ROI) of your campaign.
You could also leverage influencer marketing to spread the name of your app. The strategy works incredibly well in almost all industries. The trick, however, is finding the right influencers. You need influencers that appeal to your specific target audience. You also want influencers who align with your brand goals and values.
Content marketing is another option. The idea here is to build a blog within the niche of your app. You can then leverage SEO to improve the ranking of your website. That should drive relevant traffic to your website. You can then include call-to-action buttons that direct the traffic from your content to the app store, where visitors can download your application.
If you choose to do content marketing, consider collecting emails or phone numbers from your visitors. You can then use SMS or email marketing to promote your app further.
6. Use attractive photos and videos.
Photos and videos provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the incredible things your app can do. Don’t sleep on this opportunity.
Share quality images showing the user interface of your application. You should also flaunt the top features of your app with high-resolution screenshots. Create a super engaging video showing your application in action. That’s what top apps such as Slack do.
7. Encourage user feedback.
As mentioned earlier, user reviews provide social proof, which helps in convincing potential users to download your app. Reviews are critical for converting those impressions into actual downloads.
In addition, applications with the most positive reviews tend to perform better on the search results.
Actively encourage your users to leave reviews for your app. You can even provide incentives such as bonus points, coupon codes, etc., to attract more reviews.
I should caution you against buying fake reviews. This is not just unethical, but it can also get your app suspended from the store.
7. Create ingenious promotions.
If you’re promoting a paid app, consider creating discount promotions. The simple strategy can increase app downloads significantly.
8. Keep the user in mind.
Lastly, you can increase app downloads by putting your users first. Focus on delivering the best user experience and the numbers will surely improve.
Satisfied users will leave stellar reviews. The reviews will attract even more users. To top it off, satisfied users will keep using your app, which means you’ll see a lower uninstallation rate.
Therefore, listen to your users and refine your application accordingly to enhance their experience. You can also use analytics tools like Google Analytics to monitor user behavior and identify elements that need improvement.
The Bottom Line
Promoting a new app is challenging but not impossible. In this article, I shared nine tips that have worked incredibly well for other publishers.
First, you need to design a simple but attention-grabbing icon. Next, give your app a memorable name and a keyword-rich description. Make sure the keywords are wisely used, specific, and relevant to your app and audience. You also want to use quality visuals showing how your app works and some user reviews to social-proof your app. After that, promote your application effectively on social media and other channels. Finally, keep the users in mind when making your updates.
That’s how to promote and increase app downloads. Good luck!