29 Proven Ways to Increase Your App Downloads and Outrank Competitors

Ioana Cozma
May 14, 2024
March 14, 2023
If you’re like most mobile app marketers, you want to know how to increase app downloads fast. Just like with any recipe for success (or delicious food), the secret is using the right ingredients.

And though we can bake a mean paella, that’s not the recipe we’ll discuss today.

Instead, we’ll show you how to increase app download rates through ingredients like increased visibility, traffic, and recommendations.

We’ll take you through 29 actionable tactics you can implement today, focusing on four dimensions: optimization, marketing, social media, and partnerships.

Let’s begin:

TL;DR

  • Boosting app downloads involves strategic optimization, marketing, social media, and partnerships.
  • Optimize your app store presence through ASO and keyword optimization.
  • Utilize limited-time price drops to drive quick bursts of downloads.
  • Regularly update your app with new features and bug fixes for user satisfaction.
  • Offer free trials to give users a taste of your app’s value.
  • Incorporate gamification elements to engage and encourage user interaction.
  • Invest in app localization to cater to a global audience.
  • Create a website, use popups, and produce app demo videos for marketing.
  • Write press releases and participate in podcasts to gain exposure.
  • Attend relevant events and conferences to promote your app.
  • Collaborate with influencers and affiliates for increased visibility.
  • Partner with other apps and local businesses for cross-promotion.
  • Leverage user-generated content and viral challenges for social media engagement.
  • Host giveaways and incentivize social sharing to generate buzz.
  • Use paid advertising to boost visibility and conversions.
  • Analyze and measure your strategies to optimize for success.

For a steady increase in app downloads, combine these tactics while staying true to your brand and target audience.

Remember, inBeat can assist you in crafting a comprehensive mobile app promotion strategy tailored to your app’s success.

Optimization

Optimize your app for users and the app store to increase app downloads. Here are six amazing tactics below:

1. App Store Optimization

App store optimization (ASO) is about optimizing your app for the app store – not search engines – to increase app store rankings.

The main difference between ASO vs. SEO is that you optimize your app for different platforms.

In the case of ASO, you optimize your app for the app store algorithm to increase app store visibility.

The elements to optimize include:

  • App’s title
  • App description
  • App store keywords
  • Icon
  • Screenshots

One of our clients, financing app Mogo.ca optimizes its app store with iPhone screenshots and relevant keywords, like “credit score, ” “carbon footprint, ” and “Canada”:

Mogo iPhone screenshots
Mogo relevant keywords

2. Drop the Price

The strategy of limited-price drops accelerates downloads within a short period. Discounts are widely used in burst campaigns because they accelerate app installs fast.

After all, 92% of shoppers are always looking for the best deal. And just 5.2% of app users make in-app purchases.

That’s why this tactic propels your app to the top of the app charts, thus gaining more organic visibility and installs.

The Babel app offers several discounts for new users:

Babel app discounts

3. Release Regular App Updates

App updates include:

  • New features
  • Bug fixes
  • Security improvements

Fixing your app’s technical errors improves user experience considerably. More importantly, app users have likely reported bugs and security problems in the first place. And when you take their feedback into account, they become loyal.

Bumble in-feed ad

That’s when they start recommending your app to others.

Basically, regular app updates work for both customer retention and customer acquisition.

4. Offer a Free Trial

Many times people install apps that don’t fit their needs or interests. That’s when they stop using the app or uninstall it.

A free trial can solve these problems because it gives people a taste of what your software can do. A 7-day or 14-day trial period allows app users to:

  • Install your app without fear of losing subscription money.
  • Try all app features and have fewer purchasing regrets afterward.

As such, you:

  • Increase download rate and retention rates
  • Decrease bounce rate
  • Decrease negative reviews from app users who believe they’ve been tricked into buying an app subscription
Bumble in-feed ad

5. Include Gamification

Gamification elements encourage users to:

  • Stay active.
  • Share the app with their friends.

So, you’re increasing app visibility, downloads, and the number of active users.

Geeky but essential side note: Gamification is based on a dopamine influx triggered by new achievements within the app. So when building this strategy, follow the steps below:

  1. Build objectives for your challenges.
  2. Challenges can include quests for gaming apps or quizzes.
  3. Include a progress display to streamline user journeys and give them a full view of their achievements.
  4. Add user rewards for each milestone, working towards higher badges for harder levels.
  5. Build sharing loops so people can share their in-app achievements with friends on social media channels. This creates desire and brings more visibility to your app.

Here’s a quick example featuring Duolingo’s rewards for different streaks:

Duolingo’s rewards for different streaks

Pro tips:

  • Add value to keep users interested, but don’t make the rewards too hard to obtain.
  • Pick gamification elements that fit your app. If rewards and leaderboards don’t fit the bill, choose other ideas.
  • Streamline user experience instead of building complicated gamification loops.

6. Invest in App Localization

The App Store and Google Play Store make your app visible on a global scale. But those potential app users won’t download your app unless they understand it.

App localization increases the number of conversions and active users because it adapts your app to:

  • Multiple languages
  • Different cultures
  • Geographical locations

App localizations focus on:

  • Translation
  • Content optimization
  • Design optimization
  • Listing

The results are multifold:

  • Enhanced user experience
  • More referral traffic
  • More positive user reviews

As a result, your app ranking increases considerably, thus getting even more downloads.

Airbnb completely personalizes its app for different languages, down to the screenshots.

Here’s the Spanish version:

Airbnb app Spanish version

The English version:

Airbnb app English version

Marketing Activities

Here’s how to increase app downloads through solid marketing efforts:

7. Create a Website

Building a website to promote your app:

  • Reduces bounce rate: Your website provides information about app features so people know what to expect before downloading it.
  • Increases conversion rate: A content marketing strategy that includes persuasive copy and building social proof around your app encourages app downloads. Using Copy AI or alternatives to Copy AI can help you create quality content that converts and boosts your app downloads.
  • Improves search engine visibility: Your website ideally follows SEO principles, such as relevant keywords, solid link structure, and site architecture. All these elements help your website dominate SERPs, accelerating your visibility and organic traffic.

8. Use Popups

Website popups are proven to increase online presence and conversions. In fact, popups can increase the conversion rate by 35%.

And they’re very affordable and easy to create in WordPress.

Bumble in-feed ad

Pro tip: Use popups with measure because you don’t want to annoy potential app users.

9. Create an App Demo Video

An app demo video:

  • Moves app users through the sales funnel faster: Demo videos convince potential customers that your app can satisfy their needs, thus reducing their pre-purchase hesitation.
  • Decreases bounce rates: A clear how-to demo video helps app users deal with a steep learning curve. As a result, more people will use your app instead of deleting it.
  • Increases organic traffic: Share this video on social media to create desire and spark conversations about your app. As more people talk about it, your organic traffic will increase considerably – and so will your downloads.

10. Write Press Releases

Write and distribute press releases about the app to gain more exposure. The secret lies in focusing on a unique selling proposition.

And that USP has to follow a customer-centric approach.

Emphasize how your app brings value to potential app users, and more media outlets will pick up your press release. As a result:

  • You get more organic traffic in the short term
  • You increase domain authority in the long run because more quality outlets link back to your app’s website

That’s how to increase app downloads in short to medium and long runs.

11. Record or Participate in a Podcast

This tactic:

  • Builds your expertise and thus creates more social proof for your app.
  • Increases your website’s domain authority thanks to quality backlinks.
  • Increases organic visibility and organic search traffic.
  • Builds desire for your app.

These elements lead to highly qualified leads and a steady increase in app downloads. That’s because people who discover your app know exactly what they’re in for; that’s what makes them highly qualified leads.

So, you’re more likely to increase the number of active users in a steady manner and for the long haul.

CEO of Booking.com constantly takes part in podcasts to bring more attention to his app:

Glenn Fogel podcast interview

12. Submit the App to Popular App Review Sites

Positive app reviews increase app downloads because:

  • You can convince more people. Over 99% of shoppers read user reviews before purchasing or downloading something from the internet.
  • You increase app visibility in search engines through backlinks, relevant keywords, and organic traffic.

These app review websites:

  • Create social proof
  • Dispell people’s weariness or questions before downloading your app
  • Help app users to remain active through tips and how-tos
  • Improve your search engine optimization efforts
  • Increase organic visibility as you gain access to a new market (i.e., that website’s visitors)
Slack review in PC Mag

13. Participate in Online Communities

Join online communities relevant to the app and:

  • Engage with users to create awareness of your app’s functionality
  • Discuss your app’s features to help people in the consideration stage
  • Keep your app top-of-mind
  • Create desire

Pro tip: Make sure your interactions within this community are meaningful and valuable for group members. The last thing you want is to alienate your potential user base through spammy content.

14. Collect App Store Reviews

User reviews create social proof, thus making more people want to download your app. Besides, user reviews offer specific insights about your app that are sometimes more persuasive than branded content.

To collect these reviews, use:

  • Email marketing
  • In-app popups

Then collect and curate this UGC, posting it on your website and other social channels.

15. Attend Conferences and Events

Of course, these events should be related to the app’s niche. The point is to:

  • Network
  • Promote your app to potential users and partners

This type of promotion brings you more qualified leads and a steadier stream of downloads in the long run.

16. Host a Webinar or Workshop

This tactic brings value to your target audience at all sales funnel stages.

A webinar can work wonders in the awareness stage if you focus on solving people’s needs without mentioning your app too much. A workshop teaching people to use your app features to solve problems is best for consideration stages.

And in the post-purchase loyalty stage, consider an event to showcase new app features.

17. Apply for Awards

Awards build your authority and create social proof that your app is valuable. As such, you can increase the number of app downloads considerably.

And these app users will be more likely to stay active, thus decreasing your bounce rate.

App awards

Get the most out of your campaigns with inBeat’smobile app marketing agency in the UK

Partnerships

Let’s see how to increase app downloads with partnerships:

18. Referral Programs

Offer incentives for users to refer friends and family to download the app. This tactic:

  • Is affordable.
  • Increases referral traffic.
  • Gets you qualified leads because active app users know how to convince their loved ones.
  • Decreases bounce rates because these new users know what to expect.
  • For gaming apps, new users will probably play or share achievements with the friends who recommended this app.
Payoneer referral program

19. Influencer Marketing

Mobile app micro-influencer marketing increases organic visibility and traffic. These content creators are persuasive and alleviate people’s fears before downloading the app.

Besides, influencers are aces at creating desire on social media.

That means you get access to a larger audience more likely to download and use your app.

Influencer marketing

20. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing includes influencers, educators, employees, and more. These diverse people give you access to a wider audience so you can convince various segments.

Affiliate marketing is also affordable and is a long-term strategy to increase visibility and downloads.

It benefits both your business and your affiliate partners and it’s a common marketing/sales strategy in many industries, such as thecall center softwareindustry.

Pro tip:Use gamification to keep your affiliates interested in promoting your app.

21. Collaborate with a Mobile Marketing Agency

A mobile marketing agency like inBeat can create the right strategy to increase app downloads from research to vertical scaling and campaign monitoring. After an in-depth audit, we pick the right tools that fit your app profile and marketing goals.

For example, inBeat can promote your mobile app with paid ads, influencer marketing, UGC marketing, and TikTok marketing.

This saves you a lot of time and resources.

Pro tip: A good mobile marketing agency has plenty of in-house secrets you might not have access to otherwise.

Our in-depth knowledge of TikTok ads helped Nielsen IQ reduce ad fatigue, slash CPAs by 75% and drive over 100, 000 downloads per month:

Bumble in-feed ad

22. Partner with Other Apps

Partner with apps in the same niche that aren’t your direct competitors. This tactic allows you to cross-promote each other and thus gain access to a broader target audience.

That means more visibility and social proof as you’re endorsing each other.

Besides, getting endorsements from another app increases your credibility.

And all this extra content helps increase your ranking on search result pages because you get more independent external links coming your way.

23. Collaborate with Local Businesses

Local businesses can:

  • Increase your exposure
  • Improve your authority and credibility because you get multiple third-party reviews

Businesses can:

  • Endorse your app.
  • Offer rewards to people who download your app.
  • Offer exclusive discounts and perks to customers who use your app within their store/venue.

Social Media

Social media is a goldmine when it comes to increasing your app downloads. We’ll analyze the main tactics below:

24. Sponsor User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) increases social proof and creates desire. You can either:

  • Create a UGC campaign on social media: Collect and curate content from real app users. Offer prizes to entice more people to post about your app.
  • Build a paid UGC campaign: Sponsor content creators to create UGC about your app. The advantage is getting more professional-looking content that follows your brief.

For our Bumble UGC campaign, the curiosity-raising premise “come to my first date with me” slashed their CPIs considerably:

Bumble in-feed ad

Insider tip: Our 3-hook technique also contributed to these results and other user-generated content examples that move the needle.

25. Create a Viral Challenge

Viral challenges increase app exposure because more people will participate and share with friends. This tactic works well if your goal is to:

  • Promote a new app
  • Increase engagement and brand loyalty, thus outranking competitors
  • Bring your app back to the limelight

26. Host a Giveaway

Giveaways encourage downloads because they generate buzz. The news of your giveaway spreads fast, thus making your app more visible to more people.

Pro tip: Ask people to share your post/app as a requirement to participate in the giveaway.

27. Offer Incentives for Social Sharing

Social sharing increases organic visibility and creates more conversations about your app.

People who share your app will likely receive questions from their social media friends. Answering those questions brings you more qualified leads who are:

  • More likely to remain active users
  • Less likely to uninstall your app

Pro tip: Offer exclusive in-app features or discounts to motivate social sharing.

28. Paid Advertising

Paid ads can increase your paid traffic and visibility, putting your app at the top of search results on Google. Besides, paid advertising done right can increase your conversion rates considerably.

Of course, you need the most persuasive mobile app ad creatives and tools for the job.

Here’s a Facebook ad from Chat GPT, using video to showcase the app features. This tactic works well, especially for new apps that want to increase their market fast:

Facebook ad from Chat GPT

Pro tip: The ad also promises $1, 000 in in-app credit to get more downloads.

29. Analyze and Measure

To ensure a successful campaign, analyze and measure your results. The goal is to zero in on the best-performing strategies to increase app downloads and optimize your campaign.

Mobile attribution platforms help you with that.

But you should also:

  • Set your KPIs from the beginning of your campaign.
  • Add UTM codes to track who’s sharing your campaign.
  • Use discount codes to track where your conversions come from; this is especially important within micro-influencer campaigns

How to Increase App Downloads Steadily

Increasing your app downloads in the short term can boost your revenue considerably. But you need a long-term strategy to achieve a steady flux of downloads.

That strategy entails app store optimization, website building, social media marketing, and effective partnerships.

Ensure these marketing efforts fit your brand voice, values, and target audience. But also make sure they help you stand out from your competition.

inBeat can help you on all those fronts. Schedule a free call, and we’ll set up your strategy in no time.

Want more examples of successfulmobile app marketing campaigns? Check out case studies of ourBrazilian mobile app marketing agency!

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