How To Increase Mobile App Downloads Complete Guide (2018)

How To Increase Mobile App Downloads Complete Guide (2018)

28th May 2018

Getting more downloads for your app will be always a priority for any app developer. In this post, we will discuss how to increase mobile app downloads with best marketing strategies out there.

You may have designed a lovely app that people will love to use for their needs.  Your app design, icon, and functionality work flawlessly on many platforms you choose to run on. That’s a great start.  Success won’t come immediately after your app launch but it can if you choose a less competitive niche and there is great market demand for your app.

The real challenge comes when you realize you’ve uploaded your app to the major app store and waiting for app downloads. Creating your app wasn’t really a challenge. You’re a geek when it comes to coding (and your program coding uniqueness leads you to implement an awesome app that helps your target prospects solve/ meet their needs) but promoting your app and gaining loyal customers (if you intend to sell) is the most battling field where most developers struggle to overcome.

But the escape isn’t secret at all. It’s just knowing your app target audience and devising a marketing/ promotion strategies that help boost their reach and create awareness about your app and its usefulness.

Your enthusiasm to promote your mobile app entails paying attention to all the details we’ll discuss in this article. It’s long but delightedly reading to the end will enlighten you to drive ahead and apply the same tactics we ourselves have found effective if you seriously want to increase mobile app downloads of your choice.

Shift from inactive mobile app downloads to a robust, active user app downloads. When you get active mobile app downloads, you’ll begin to devise some approaches to make real money through your app. Why? Because earning money involves increasing mobile app downloads. And to make this successful, you’ll need to strategically focus your creativity on attracting real customers to downloads the app and provide them with real user app experiences.

How to Increase App Downloads?

There is already a tremendous amount of competition on major app stores like Apple app store and Google app store. Convincing users to downloads your app is extremely challenging only if your promotion approach isn’t effective. Great developers know when and how to boost their mobile app downloads. You too can implement the same with our proven techniques provided through this post.

Before we dive into how to increase mobile app downloads strategies, let’s first have a clear introduction to how mobile app store works.


Mobile App Store

An app store (sometimes called app marketplace) is an online store offering software distribution for a specific software platform where users can browse through available different app categories, and downloads and install the app they need. App store offers other functionality like each app information including app purchases, ratings & reviews, and security scans etc.

There are conditions that each app developer must meet before adding their app on such app stores (called approval process). The main goal is to inspect the app for compliance with certain guidelines and to protect the user against malicious software downloads.

There are many app stores available for different mobile OS platforms. The three major ones include App Store for iOS, Google Play for Android, and Microsoft Store for Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, and Xbox One.

From Statista Sept. 2016 report, the number of apps available has already exceeded 2.4 million (3.3M as of 2017) with the store generating more than 6 billion U.S dollars in revenue (as of 2015).


increase downloads

Source: Statista

Apple Store for iOS reports over 140 billion app downloads with over 650,000 (2.2M from recent statistics for iPad and iPhone combined) available app to downloads according to Apple CEO Tim Cook.


Source: Statista

You can find the information on other mobile app stores via this Wikipedia page but keep reading for the important part of how to increase mobile app downloads.

So you get the idea. There is already a stiff app market competition from these app stores. Many apps are added each day to the app store. For example, Apple Store gets over 1000 apps added every day according to an ibtimes report. These data depicts that there is so much to benefit from having a mobile app for your business especially when the era of smartphone technology is blooming.

  1.  Improve Your App Store Optimization (ASO)

If you’re a blogger or know some site search engine optimization (SEO) approaches to ranking a webpage higher on SERPs. How about App Store Optimization (ASO)? The two has some similar strategies but ASO has a greater impact on your app listing that SEO on SERPs. ASO is specifically optimized to boost the visibility of your app in the App Store (marketplace).

Effective use of ASO strategies (increase mobile app downloads) to rank higher in an app store’s search visibility attracts more potential customers to downloads your app. There is an article primary written for ASO from this site. It’s a very important topic and it’s important to understand its techniques in order to rank your app visibility (in app store search) high with your app focus keywords. The main goal here is to increase mobile app downloads you’re promoting.

There are hundreds of mobile apps similar to yours already available in the app store and effectively understanding the concepts of ASO to increase your app’s search ranking is the first step of promoting your app downloads. People are constantly using app store searchers to find an app replacement with better feature and functionality than what they already have. The use of keywords and Meta descriptions is part of the ASO goal for optimal app visibility and downloads.

Here are some of the ASO main factors you must pay attention to increase mobile app downloads:

  • Title: optimize your app title with relevant keywords in it. Your name app should be eye catchy (impressive) with a global meaning of the app functionality. This works with ASO search engine just like web page search engines like Google. It uses your title through its sophisticated algorithms to fetch the results entered by the user. Titles should be descriptive, short with keyword optimization in mind. You may also want to localize your app title to various countries with different languages.
  • Keywords: users search engines terms are what contribute to keywords. Make sure your app title, descriptions and other necessary parts consists of your primary relevant keywords in order to rank higher (better visibility). Keywords help monitor your app competitors in order to compare how you’re performing with your keywords against your competitors.
  • App Description: this is part of the fields required by Metadata. Make sure you put the important info at the “above fold” part of the app description. People will read this to learn if the app describes what they need (description of what the app does for them). Fit relevant app keywords inside the description but don’t go overboard. You can also talk about your app features concisely and in detail. Here is an example of an “above the fold” description of an app.


mobile app downloads increase


  • Ratings & reviews: this is another important aspect to consider in ASO. Though it’s difficult to control there are great ways to incentivize happy users to rate and review your app. Mobile app stores rank higher apps with higher positive ratings hence increased app downloads.
  • Images & screenshots: people love to see the real usage of your app with actual images or screenshots. Make sure you add the relevant screenshot of your app important parts in action. They’ll appreciate and take a step to test it for themselves.

As you progress optimizing your mobile app with ASO strategies, keep in mind that ASO takes time. It needs to be monitored and constantly tweaked over time. Some developers have little or no keywords research at all during their app submission which can lead to difficulty being visible in app searches. CEO of MobileDevHQ (Tune), Ian Sefferman interviewed by Kissmetrics had something special on how not investing quality time in ASO can affect many app dev customers:

“ASO is having dramatic effects on our client apps. For those who put the time in to understand, iterate, and test, we’ve seen many apps increase their downloads by a factor of 2x-10x, and an increase of revenue by a similar, or bigger, rate due to the increase in engagement of users earned by ASO. ASO is not a simple process, and you might not see the impact overnight, but if you’re willing to invest in it, the outcome can be incredibly worthwhile.”


As a developer, you can use some great tools like AppTweak for free ASO insights, data, and tools you need to increase mobile app downloads, Google Keyword Planner, or Apple Search Ads for keyword inspirations and some free resources. With AppTweak tool, you’ll get actionable ASO report, search ad intelligence, meta-analysis, app ranking, competition analysis among other important tools to get your app more downloads.


app download strategy


App Annie, Sensor Tower, Keyword Tool and Tune among other tools are also another place to get specific keyword data you’re looking for.


  1. Building Your Online Presence

Your online presence help create concrete awareness of your app (brand). This technique works well for driving a lot of traffic to your app store app downloads address.  This strategy is the best way to increase mobile app downloads. You market your app through various online channels like social media, landing pages, and blogs. We’ll focus on how you can increase mobile app downloads more effectively by building a strong, optimized online presence

   a)Create a unique app website or a landing page

The goal here is to create an online presence where you offer all the app features, documentation, pricing, guide or help related services to your mobile app. You don’t need to be a master of web development to create a stunning site or a landing page.

There is great free CMS software like WordPress where it offers excellent themes based on your niche category. WordPress is the world popular and leading CMS platform where most publishers and e-commerce site use to accomplish their online businesses. Just select a theme of your choice (free or paid) like appai or softa and begin adding highly optimized content and link building to your site for SEO and user experience.

Begin your search with ThemeForest’s WordPress technology and software themes search and buy the best that perfectly fits your app needs. If you don’t get one, or need a professional web developer to get things done for you, consider that the expert of your choice understand very well about ASO and all the SEO strategies that need to be done to make sure your website ranks higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) for your mobile app focus keywords.

Website SEO best practices entail performing on-page and off-page SEO techniques (white hat approaches) while paying attention to user experience. You don’t need to get off your brand test and looks. Be consistent with your app colors and icon design. The primary goal of your site architecture and optimization is to increase mobile app downloads by creating a strong awareness and marketing strategy that get your site visible in search engines and app store searches.


increase downloads


On-page SEO involves the following tips:

  • Use your mobile app focus keyword in headings and title tags including HTML tags (H1-H6);
  • Use short, detailed and informative paragraphs for better user readability- these increases dwell time which is a factor Google uses to rank pages.
  • Optimize meta description with your mobile app keywords
  • Use your focus keyword in your page URL
  • Include images and other infographics on your page. Make sure you add the keywords in the “ALT” tags for search engines to understand your images well.
  • Add videos as well to boost user interaction with your content. People love videos just like infographics more than content. Videos also improve your online customer retention.
  • And other factors you’ll find from online sources.

Definitely, your mobile app website doesn’t need to contain much of the content. Since you want to optimize your app, focus on the best strategies that lead your app downloads. Add a blog section to write on important articles to help boost your app popularity while giving the very best solutions your app offers. This technique varies from one app to another. Some apps don’t need content at all especially game app but a landing page works fines. A website or a landing page help you spread useful content and provide a platform where visitors can learn more about your app. Just make sure its design is creative and personal. Make it user-friendly and above all mobile friendly. Doing this will boost your search engine visibility and engage your app users to get solutions to their problems.


b)Social media promotion for app downloads

Social media communities are becoming the best media for online content marketing, promotion and brand recognition.  A lot of your mobile app target prospects are already on social media. Not all platform works really well for your app promotion.  Choose your platform wisely and effectively engage your prospects with valuable information about your app.

LinkedIn works fine if your app is tailored for business relations.  Instagram and Pinterest work pretty well for fashion related apps. Facebook suite all the niche industry just like twitter. With your platform selected, engage your community with relevant content that’s tailored to increase mobile app downloads. Remember the strategy here is to choose the best platform to leverage the power of social media and stand out from your competitors.

Social communities need to engage in an effective approach. The rule of 80/20 proves to work well for app promotions where 80% of your user engagement should be delivering entertaining and informative content and 20% should be for CTAs.

Use infographics and videos clips to get your message out. People love visual content than text-based articles. They’re more likely to take action (CTA) for your app downloads.

   c)Press releases

Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group once said that “A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front page ad.” And this strategy is dearly effective for increasing mobile app downloads. How do you expect to get your mobile app downloads if it’s not visible to them? It’s just like a story, journalist help to push the publication through the press release for the audience to get the information/news.

Before the launch of your app, it’s important to cater some PR team to roll out press release some months earlier prior to your app launch (can be launch as a beta version). This form of the campaign can help generate a lot of signups before your app official launch date.

Reach out to the influential bloggers and journalists in your app niche (category) to review your app. find the right journalist especially from different publications as your target audience may not be a fan for a certain publication media but can get the information about your app from another publisher. This applies to reviewers. Get those who understand your app niche for example if your mobile app is an iOS game, reach out to iOS game reviewers. By using this strategy, you’re sure you’ve created a working strategy to increase mobile app downloads than before.


  1. Make Your Mobile App Free at Launch

Another effective strategy to increase mobile app downloads is to make your mobile app free at launch is you intend to sell the app to your target audience. This strategy can be called “free trial” for a given period of time before you enroll a subscription or one-time purchase of the app. This phenomenon increases your mobile app downloads which if the app satisfies their needs, they’ll be happy to be your forever customers.

What if your app has already been available from the app store for a time and looking for a way to increase mobile app downloads? The same pint works. Make it free for a time and reach out to the press release to create a publication or do some in-app promotion to drive traffic to downloads your app. Making your mobile app free at launch comes with two benefits;

  • It drastically increases your chances of getting more downloads.
  • It encourages people to use your app more and help generate positive reviews which boost your app ranking and visibility.


  1. Ask Your Users to Rate & Review your Mobile App

In order to increase mobile app downloads, your app needs to have substantially great positive reviews. Ratings and reviews benefit both the user and the app store algorithms when it comes to ranking and motivation for user downloads.

Users will be tempted to downloads and install your app if it has good reviews from many reviewers. In most cases, users tend to rely on other users rating of the product before making a final purchase. The more the app has many reviews and better ratings, the more the users are likely to try the app. Bad reviews scare away your app downloads and more likely you can’t convert much from your app.

As a developer, always focus on how to effectively deliver the best user experience with your app in order to attract 5-star reviews and increase mobile app downloads. Mobile app store relies heavily on users experience of your app through their ratings and reviews to decide (favour) if to rank your app higher in app store search engines against your competitors or bury it from search visibility at the bottom.

Most successful apps developers have an effective friendly technique to encourage users to positively rate and review your app. They trigger this by the use of push notifications at the right time (after some app sessions) in order to avoid user annoyance and increase user engagement and inspiration to rate your app.

more downloads for the app

Source: Yoni Heisler

And the negative reviews? It’s obvious. The problem lies with your app. Without best user experience, your app can’t generate the best conversion you expected. Take time to read and pay attention to user reviews and fix what they tell you. Heed to their complaints and make your app the best in your niche and stay close to user’s needs. Your app success relies on your users. They can either build it or destroy it.


app download strategy


Consider adding your app address – like email and phone number for easy reach on your app store. They’ll be more than happy to contact you for solutions to their problems.


  1. CPI (Cost-Per-Install) Campaign

This is the most commonly used technique to increase mobile app downloads. Its where mobile App marketers run digital ads (advertisement) across the media with a target to drive traffic to their app installs. These apps owners pay a fixed rate for every successful app install.

The approach is cost-effective for all parties involved since the app makers only have to pay when their app is installed. The more target users download your app, the more you’ll pay for it as long as your CPI campaign is still active.

As opposed to free online app campaign, CPI comes with a lot of benefits since you’re sure your app is installed rather than driving traffic to your app with no guarantee users install it when using free social media or blog campaign. With clean app installs, CPI helps increase your mobile app ranking as more clean installs occur. The more installs your app gets, the more it rises a step further on the store charts.

The budget for CPI depends on the number of downloads. For example, using the below formula, if you want to know the daily budget you can spend for your CPI, you’ll multiply the number of daily downloads by cost per install.

Downloads * Cost Per Install = Total Daily Budget

That’s it. No hard math there.

However, the cost per install varies greatly depending on your app target location, platform, and app category. The average cost per install for Android-based apps is around $0.53 and around $1.24 for iOS.

There are many app install platform you can choose to run your campaign. Twitter and Facebook are becoming more popular because it has large visibility due to its number of users using the platform. These two platforms also carry very low CPI rate as compared to other networks. For example, Facebook CPI runs approx. 40% less than that of Twitter and offers other great details to run your ad more effectively with clear analysis. You’ll get details user information like demographic data including things like ethnic affinity, income/net worth, generation, preferred political party and life events just to name a few.

There are very many other platforms target various app categories and you can choose the best that suits your needs. Here is a list of the top app install networks you can begin to learn more information about each one of them. Use sites like appdexterity, NativeX and more from the above list.


To conclude, CPI is a great technique to increase mobile app downloads. You can target your preferred niche audience who uses the same app category like yours (with interest) and encourage them to install yours.


  1. Create Clean, Enticing App Icon & a Professional Real-Life Screenshots and Descriptions

Images speak louder than words. When you’re launching your app or applying some updates, select the screenshots (images) that fully represent what your does. It’s not only images, add descriptive images to let users understand in detail hat your app does from your images. The images should cover the major aspects of your app and of high- quality. Doing so increase mobile app downloads.


get more downloads


Also, the design of the app icon has a direct correlation on how users download your app just like screenshots. Design an app icon that’s appealing and attractive to the eye like you would with your app website or a landing page. Here are some example of great app icons.



The mobile app description is another strategy that increases mobile app downloads. When creating a description, keep your users in your mind. Understand them and add a description of how your app will satisfy/fulfill their needs. Come up with precise objectives or the benefit of the app and add it to your description. When doing so, there is one thing to keep in mind- the keywords.

Keywords are used by app store search engine to understand what your app is all about. Users easily download an app that contains their search terms in it. We explain this from the first point on how to increase mobile app downloads with ASO. Integrate your main app focus keywords in the app description so that search engines can find your app easily. Based on your app category, determine which keywords garner the most search results and incorporate them into your description, title or any other app text fields that are relevant to include a keyword.

As for the name of your app name, give it a name that’s unique and appropriate. Obviously, we can’t all come up with perfect names but make an effort to make it the best, short, sweet easy to spell memorable and that reflect what your app does. Don’t make users scroll past your app when looking for something to fit their needs.


  1. Regular Updates

Make your app active at all times. This involves revisiting your app backend to improve its user experience and performance while updating some possible few errors and adding major features that improve the overall user experience (usability).


increase mobile downloads


Updates may occur during the major critical bugs but make it once a month to update on other minor updates like performance, usability and other minimal user experience. As an app developer, constantly add new features, create improvements and fix some bugs to provide a better user experience for your users. Take an example of Google products. They constantly update their apps whenever there is an issue or bugs that need to be adhered to.

Google pays attention to what their users are critiquing about their apps. They pay attention and make adjustments to the app architecture and performance in accordance with users’ suggestions. This technique of constant regular updates gives users the best experience they need resulting in app better reviews and ratings. The overall ranking of the app is improved and its popularity is improved.


  1. Add excellent app videos alongside your images.

Videos are the best mobile app download strategy. You expect increase in your mobile app downloads with a simple video strategy. Making a great video for your mobile app is a must. Users love to watch app videos more than images and descriptions before making a final downloads decision.

This strategy comes with some advantages like showcasing visually all that your app does in front of the user.  It also boosts your app rankings to some extent since the video depicts how worthy your app is to the user.

If you don’t have the tools to create an awesome video, I’d advise you to hire a professional agency or a video editing and a voice talent from a freelancer. If you aren’t sure on how to begin with them, there a dedicated app video editors like experts from Apptamin.  Furthermore, to make your video even greater, add subtitles for a local language you’re targeting. You can also have it translated into other common languages.


app promotion strategy


As you edit the video, add excellent app features and explain it in detail. Never leave any important feature uncaptured. By adding a video to your app store, you increase mobile app downloads by a higher percentage while boosting its app store ranking and visibility via better ratings and reviews.


  1. Offer Limited Discounts

Like you would offer your app free at launch, you can also increase mobile app downloads if you offer your app for free or half the price for a period of time. This strategy works even more effective if coupled with CPI campaign.

With limited offers, you can take a step further to marketize it through your online presence (as discussed in detailed beforementioned). Promote your discounted price via your app social network, press release and your personal blog and landing page.


  1. Create an In-App Referral

Obviously, there is a lot of power in a word of mouth. People progressed because of communication. When you incorporate an in-app referral into your mobile app, you increase a chance of your app being downloaded.

There are many benefits that come with in-app recommendations but it all comes to how worthy your app can be to your users (is it worth sharing?). If your answer is yes, go ahead and target the right users with the right strategy. Look for those users who love to use your app more often and make them convince their friends to try your mobile app.

Here is a complete step process on how you can begin a powerful mobile app referral program to increase mobile app downloads.

  • Look for the right users according to the analytics inside your mobile app.
  • Do you have some high-value users? The ones who spend their resources on your app? Look for them and have something nice for an in-app referral.
  • How about those active users on social networks who use your app? Target them also.

Having come up with a group of users who interact with your app in some ways, it’s time to strategically come up with a way to promote your app referral.

      a)Create a shiny invite button to increase mobile app downloads

This strategy is common in most of the mobile apps. The button should be visible through the classic method (a call to action approach). With a call to action share button, users will be compelled to click and share the downloads link with their friends. Be it on social networks or phone contacts.


Image source: Rererralsaasquatch

     b)Interstitial Messages

And it should not be too annoying or disturbing. Interstitial Messages prompt make users aware of your in-app referral and increase mobile app downloads if done in a user-friendly approach.

    c)Use creative Push Notifications

This acts as an announcement to your mobile app users. The app triggers push notifications to their mobile device notifications tap.  Strategically applying this to your app lovers will make them share the app with their friends thus increasing mobile app downloads.

    d)Add Social Sharing To Increase app downloads

The social sharing button you choose should be the very top commonly used platforms. Your app social sharing button convinces your app users to share your app with all the friends they have in their social circles.

With all these In-App Referral techniques, you’re sure you’ll increase mobile app downloads more than before while creating strong backlinks and visibility which is a signal to app store search engine ranking factor. Lea I forget, don’t make a big mistake of not following up on your referral leads and tracking analytics to see how your in-app referral program works.


  1. Use an “app of the day” service

This is another opportunity to get featured on an “app of the day” site promotion. You can use site app of the day offers users with one paid app for free per day. This feature is a great way to boost exposure to your app and get more downloads and reviews. It helps app developers improve app discovery.

App of the day is part of the app store strategy to make it easy for users to find the app to try and increase mobile app downloads for app developers. It also helps to foster notable newcomers who may not have the marketing resources to promote their mobile apps through paid advertising and other cash-intensive user acquisition strategies discussed above.

The good thing about this strategy helps both the developer and app store to generate more revenue. From statistical data analyzed by apptopia, promoting your app of the day on weekday’s increases more downloads than weekends especially for game apps. Another benefit of this technique is that it boosts your app ranking and visibility.


app marketing techniques


Need to have a new start to increase your mobile app downloads? The path to successful downloads over time lies within the beforementioned strategies. Leverage them with other techniques you found actionable for your app in order to increase mobile app downloads. That brings us to the end of our super complete guide to increase mobile app downloads. Feel free to share this article on your social circles. We also encourage comments.

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