How to Increase App Downloads: 10 Effective Strategies to Follow

October 21, 2022

How to Increase App Downloads 10 Effective Strategies to Follow

You’ve done it! You’ve successfully created an app—congratulations! Now, on to the next challenge: get app downloads.

This is where a lot of app developers get stuck. It’s not a piece of cake to get your app noticed and downloaded by users, especially with millions of other apps in the App Store or Google Play. And, you know what? 88% of mobile time is spent on apps.

But don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll discuss 10 effective strategies that can help you increase app downloads.

Start with App Store Optimization (ASO)

ASO is like the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) of apps. But instead of optimizing for search engines, you’re optimizing for app stores.

Basically, when you prioritize app store optimization, it is what boosts your app’s visibility in the marketplace. The higher its rank, the more users can find your app when they search.

And when a user discovers your app, ASO also influences whether they decide to download it.

With app store optimization, you get higher chances of reaching more users. Forester has found in a study that 63% of all app discoveries on iOS and 58% on Android are made through the app store search page.

So, how can you optimize your app for app stores? Here are some tips:

Use relevant and high-quality keywords

Some developers make the mistake of stuffing keywords into their titles and descriptions. That won’t help. App stores hate it, and users can see through it.

What works is a title that reflects what your app does or its main feature, like “Food Delivery Made Easy” or “All-in-One Photo Editor.”

When you’ve done enough keyword research, incorporate them into your app title and app description. That way, you can get high app store rankings.

Keep up with the app store algorithm

The Apple App Store and Google Play Store each have their unique ranking algorithms. So, to conquer the search results, you better adapt your ASO strategy for each platform and outsmart those algorithms.

Note these differences:

  • Apple includes a keyword field, whereas Google does not.
  • Google considers keywords in the long description to be a ranking factor, whereas Apple does not.
  • Backlinks from high authority sites can contribute to a higher ranking in the Google Play Store but do not impact the Apple App Store.

To rank well on different platforms, understanding how they prioritize key terms is crucial. For instance, Google Play Store focuses on an app’s title and icon, so it should be descriptive.

On the other hand, the Apple App Store allows more creativity in the title since the subtitles and screenshots provide additional information for click-throughs.

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Come Up with a Catchy Name and Description

Following the ASO strategy, another way to get those app downloads is to have a catchy name.

Your app’s name is usually the first impression potential users will see. It should be catchy and one-of-a-kind so you don’t get lost among other apps out there.

Another thing to remember is once you’ve got a great title, stick with it. Unlike other aspects of your ASO, you can’t keep changing it.

When it comes to app stores, you’ve got a 225-character limit, but here’s the thing: you only need around 25. That’s what shows up in search results, so make sure to use those characters wisely.

While you wish the perfect name to come naturally, there are timeless tricks for brainstorming your app’s name:

  • Avoid using names that are already in use to prevent legal issues
  • Opt for a short, easy-to-spell, and memorable name
  • Make sure it reflects what your app offers so app users don’t overlook it when searching for a solution to their needs

Once you’ve got your app name down, the next step is to create a compelling app description.

This section of your app page allows you to “wow” your users. Seize the opportunity by conveying the purpose of your app with crystal clarity and delightfully showcasing its major benefits.

More than that, this is where you need to be super strategic about ASO. Think of it like the meta description tag for a website, except it’s not searchable on the app store.

So, while you don’t have to cram it with keywords, it’s still important to be strategic. By highlighting key info, benefits, features, and social proof and throwing in a call-to-action, you can have a big impact on your ASO.

And if you don’t have the skills to whip up a killer app description, no worries. Just go ahead and hire a copywriter.

Design an Attractive App Icon

Similar to your app name, having an eye-catching app icon can help increase app downloads.

When potential users see your app icon, it should pique their interest and curiosity. After all, it’s a visual representation of what your app offers.

This is why it is important to pay attention to its design.

A well-designed app icon accurately represents your app’s main features or purpose. Striking a balance between being flashy and simple is key. To achieve that, use the power of color psychology. Different colors can evoke different emotions and attract certain types of users.

For example, red is associated with excitement and can catch the attention of impulse buyers, while blue signifies trust and reliability, perfect for health or finance-related apps.

Aside from color, make sure your app icons are optimized for different sizes and devices. It should still be easily recognizable even when scaled down on smaller screens.

Don’t forget that your app icon is like the face of your app brand. So, don’t be stingy with the design—make sure to create one that pops and resonates with potential users.

Encourage Users to Rate and Review Your App

potential users quote

Have you ever downloaded a one-star-rated app? Probably not.

And you should expect that from users who see your app’s rating and reviews on the app store.

When potential users see high ratings and positive reviews, it creates a sense of trust and credibility. It shows that your app is worth their time and effort to download.

You might be tempted to fabricate user reviews as a shortcut to make your app discoverable. But avoid doing so, as it violates app store policies and can get your app suspended.

Instead, encourage your users to leave a review after using your app for some time. You can do this through:

  • In-app pop-ups to rate and review
  • Partnering with trusted influencers, such as YouTube vloggers or critics
  • Offering rewards or incentives in exchange for a review

Engaging with negative and positive user reviews also shows potential users that you genuinely value their opinions and are open to feedback. Plus, it helps establish your credibility and can lead to more app downloads.

Of course, it’s important to note that negative reviews are bound to happen, no matter how much you try to avoid them. The key is to minimize them as much as possible and handle them gracefully.

Display Eye-Catching Screenshots and Videos

Along with positive reviews and ratings, visual elements like screenshots and videos are important in convincing potential users to download your app.

These previews serve as a glimpse of what your app offers and can make or break someone’s decision to download it. So, don’t just settle for any old screenshot or video.

Instead, take some time to create visually appealing and informative images and demo videos that accurately showcase the features of your app. Strong visuals can grab their attention and boost click-throughs.

It’s all about making your app store page look appealing. Having a good mix of high-quality screenshots and videos is important to get users to click that download button.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the necessary tools—you can always enlist the expertise of a professional agency or seek out mobile-specific video editors.

And here’s a pro tip: consider adding subtitles and translating your app into multiple languages. You’ll unlock the key to boosting your download rate by reaching out to a wider audience.

Remember to Localize Your App

Localization is a powerful strategy to skyrocket your mobile app downloads.

Localization (or l10n for short) can actually boost your search traffic by 47% and give your conversions a sweet 20% boost.

But what is localization, exactly?

App localization is like giving your app a universal passport, allowing it to connect with users from different languages, cultures, and corners of the world. So, as long as you optimize your app to their language and culture, you’ll be able to reach even more users.

Start with:

  • Translating the content of your app
  • Conduct keyword research for each locale to inform your ASO strategy
  • Adapting to different date and time formats, currency symbols, and measurement units

But it’s not as simple as translating your app content into another language. You need to consider cultural differences in UI/UX design, payment methods, and other features that may vary between countries.

Moreover, localization is a continuous process. As your app expands its reach to local users, you should also be open to adapting it to new languages and cultures.

Promote Your App Through Social Media

Social media platforms never fail to connect people with each other. And when it comes to promoting your app, you can’t afford to miss out on this opportunity.

A strong mobile app marketing strategy involves leveraging social media to get your app in front of potential users.

To promote your app through social media, here are some tactics you can try:

  • Run paid ads targeted toward specific demographics and interests
  • Post regularly about your app, its features, and updates on your social media pages
  • Host contests or giveaways to engage with users

Let’s take the example of Calm, an app that helps people relax and meditate. The team behind the app regularly shares content on Instagram—from calming images and stress management tips to heartfelt videos from happy users.

Populating social media channels with quality content can spark interest and drive traffic to your app store page. Plus, it’s a great way to interact with potential users and address any questions or concerns they may have.

Consider Offering a Freemium Plan

Users tend to be hesitant when it comes to spending money on apps, especially if they’re not familiar with your brand.

To overcome this barrier, consider offering a freemium pricing model for your app. A freemium model allows users to download and use basic features of your app for free but charges for premium or advanced features.

A free app with optional in-app purchases can attract more users, leading to better app store visibility.

However, it’s important to strike a balance between the free and paid features of your app. Too many limitations or too few features may discourage potential users from trying out your app altogether.

You can also offer a temporary free trial of your premium features to entice users and give them a taste of what they’ll get if they upgrade.

[Also read: 9 App Monetization Strategies That Work]

Implement a Referral Program

Nothing beats the power of referrals when it comes to marketing. People are naturally more influenced by their friends than by ads and articles. This is especially true if your app has a social aspect.

While some of your existing users may naturally spread the word, most people need a little nudge to make the effort. That’s why many apps have a referral system, and you should, too.

When crafting a referral program, make sure to entice users with rewards they can’t resist. Let your local culture be the guiding light in determining what truly tickles their fancy.

Think beyond the usual discounts and freebies – why not treat them to VIP access to local events? It’s the kind of experience that can make your referral program stand out from the rest.

Build a Website or Improve Your Existing One

Like any online product, your app should have its own website.

On the landing page, add attention-grabbing images, a demo video, and a strong call to action linking to the download page. Not only does this provide users with more information about your app, but it also offers insights into how your app works and can be used for content marketing, targeting new markets.

If you already have a website, make sure it’s optimized for mobile devices and easily navigable. A clunky or confusing website can deter potential users from downloading your app.

Also, consider adding a “Press” or “Media” page on your website to showcase positive reviews and articles about your app. This not only boosts credibility but also gives journalists and bloggers easy access to information about your app for potential coverage.

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About the author: Andrea Jacinto - Content Writer

A content writer with a strong SEO background, Andrea has been working with digital marketers from different fields to create optimized articles which are informative, digestible, and fun to read. Now, she's writing for StarTechUP to deliver the latest developments in tech to readers around the world. View on Linkedin