How to Increase App Downloads: 8 Easy Strategies

David Morneau

By David Morneau
14 min READ | Dec 4 2022

Table of contents

Increasing your app downloads is just like convincing your toddler to try a new dish they’ve never tasted before.

You need to understand their requirements, craft a message that resonates with them, and, above all, make sure the experience is as enjoyable as possible.

It’s never enough to create something and wait for people to like it.

Luckily, you’re on the right page.

This guide teaches you how to increase app downloads in eight steps.

We’ll take you through the science, explain actionable steps and provide compelling examples.

Keep reading below.

TL;DR: Top Strategies to Increase App Downloads

App Store Optimization (ASO):

  • Proper categorization and keyword-rich title.
  • Quality app icon and compelling visuals.
  • Positive reviews and ratings.

User Engagement and Retention:

  • Offer high-quality, user-friendly experience.
  • Regular updates and improvements based on QR Code feedback.

Leverage Social Media:

  • Build a social media presence on platforms where your target audience is active.
  • Engage with followers to create a community around your app.
  • Collaborate with influencers to reach a wider audience.

Ad Campaigns:

  • Use ad agencies, ad exchanges, or other intermediaries to identify best strategies for your app.
  • Choose the right platform (e.g., TikTok or YouTube) based on app complexity and audience.

Offer Incentives:

  • Provide vouchers, points, discounts, or freebies to encourage downloads.
  • Consider a freemium approach, offering basic features for free with in-app purchases for advanced functionalities.


Use Feedback Loops:

  • Collect user insights to improve app features and experience.

Seek Expertise:

  • Consider professional agencies like inBeat for tailored strategies.

1. Optimize Your App Store Listing

Research shows that 63% of iOS and 58% of Android app discovery is done through app store searches.

Therefore, optimizing your app store listing is essential because most users will find your app either on Google or Apple Play Stores.

Now, imagine these stores like menus.

You want your app to be the most delicious-looking offer on those menus.

And that’s what app store optimization does; it increases app store visibility, downloads, and retention rates.

Much like in a real restaurant, you need your app to have the best:

  • Name (title): Your app titles should be short, catchy, and descriptive. Potential customers should understand what your app can do for them just by glancing at the title. Besides, you should pick a unique title that helps your mobile application differentiate itself from the competitors.
  • Keywords: Using the right keywords can help you rank 3% higher. However, don’t stuff your app description with random keywords just to rank higher because the app stores can suspend you for spamming. Instead, incorporate them naturally as you focus on how your app can cater to people’s needs.
  • Description: This description will convince people that your app is worth downloading, so make the best arguments, highlighting how your app can help those people. To increase downloads, include a compelling Call to Action (CTA).
  • Photos: Visuals increase engagement rates and create social proof. For example, app screenshots show potential users how your app will look on their smartphones. Besides, research shows that videos have higher conversion rates than photos. Take advantage of that and post tutorials or UGC videos to convince more prospects of your app’s benefits.

Pro tip: You can’t optimize your app store without grasping how your customers and competitors think and behave.

Your app marketing strategy should rely on thorough research.

So, figure out:

  • Your customers’ language and cultural idiosyncrasies (e.g. if they are Spanish, it helps to know their history)
  • Their preferences and needs (including payment method)
  • Local regulations
  • Who your main competitors are for your audience, and what they are doing to stand out

The CNN app offers an interesting example here:

  • The icon is CNN’s logo.
  • The title is straightforward: “CNN Breaking US & World News.”
  • The red and white colors are specific to the brand.
  • The screenshots show people how the CNN app would look on their phones. These screenshots also use specific news and personalities from CNN.
  • The description is packed with keywords but still stays relevant (e.g., “breaking news story,” “reporting from across the world,” “updated and informed”).
CNN's mobile app

2. Create Appealing Visuals

Creating appealing visuals is an essential step in the process because:

  • It makes your app look native.
  • It tells prospects what your app is about.

The visuals you will have to optimize include the following:

  • Icon
  • Screenshots
  • App graphics
  • Videos

Side note: Your icon is particularly important because it helps create the first impression, and it’s how users recognize your app.

Besides, research suggests that icon design affects the rate of app downloads.

To get these visuals right, follow the steps below:

  • Go through app development checklist and use the colors, shapes, and symbols that influence your target audience. Make sure these visuals represent your brand’s personality and voice.
  • Leverage local culture. Use the images or symbols that your audience connects to. Also, don’t be insensitive to their pet peeves.
  • Be simple and attention-grabbing. You’re not creating modern art that makes people wonder what’s really behind your visuals. You need your visuals to convey straightforward, persuasive messages that help you stand out from your competitors.
  • Be consistent. Consistency helps people recognize and remember your brand. Besides, consistent messaging elicits trust. So, ensure your images stay in line with the rest of your messages, values, and entire brand personality.

Here’s how Slack uses visuals on Google Play Store:

Slack's Play Store presence

Notice how, above each image, they’ve highlighted a specific benefit for users. Then the app store screenshots below reinforce that benefit, showcasing what people will get from using this app.

3. Leverage the Power of User Testimonials and Reviews

Statistics show that user testimonials and user reviews convince 90% of shoppers.

They work because:

  • Social proof creates desire. People generally don’t want to be left out of anything. So if they see your app is making waves, they’ll want to be like their peers.
  • Wary customers need to see some proof that your app can actually cater to their needs. If they also have to pay for an app subscription, they must ensure that the investment is worth it.
  • Positive reviews build app SEO. Good reviews help you rank higher in your app store and on search engines. As a result, more people will see your app and download it. And that’s how you increase your organic traffic, ranking even higher on the app store.

Let’s discuss an interesting example: is a Catholic prayer app that leverages the power of reviews to create desire and dim controversy.

Unlike a regular meditation app, this prayer app has one poignant problem to overcome:

Catholic prayers and rituals are more rigorous.

Even slightly falling outside these lines can lead to uninstalls and backlash in the community.

That’s why Hallow has to build social proof and alleviate people’s worries.

Hallow mobile app

Here’s how to increase mobile app downloads through user testimonials:

  1. Repurpose this user-generated content. You can post reviews and positive comments on social media, marketing e-mails, or your app’s website. And if you need more help sourcing that content, inBeat can connect you with the top 1% of influencers that create authentic, engaging UGC.
  2. Don’t ignore negative reviews. Respond politely and strive to solve the problems they mention. That way, you can build more engagement and prove that your customer service is top-notch.

Here’s how Rocket Money deals with negative comments on their Google Play Store:

Rocket Money app review

4. Use Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is an excellent way to promote your app, and there are several ways to go about it.

Whether you want to build an Android app or iOS app, social media marketing is an excellent way to promote your app, and there are several ways to go about it.

Consider leveraging tools like Synup Social to streamline your social media efforts, ensuring effective promotion and engagement for your mobile application.

Of course, it’s worth equipping yourself to deal with the potential increase in engagement beforehand, too. The last thing you want is to cause a bottleneck in your customer service pipeline, so be sure to draw up a detailed plan for managing an uptick in activity. If you’ve got the budget, shared inbox software will help keep things organized, but provided you plan ahead, you should be just fine!

Create a Social Media Presence

Figure out the social platforms that your audience is using, and start building your presence there.

Post relevant, informative content that builds your credibility.

At the same time, focus on building engagement by interacting with your followers.

Respond and build up on their comments to truly create a community.

That way, these people are more likely to download your app:

  • They can see your app is relevant and useful.
  • They can be part of a community using that app.

Here’s a neat example: Shaina is a fitness trainer who has developed a fitness app.

A quick glance at her Instagram profile shows you how she regularly posts relevant content (free workouts) that people can copy.

Shaina Marie's app

But there’s an even more important thing to note.

Analyze how Shaina responds to the comments, personalizing her replies and asking questions.

Remember: That’s how you, too, can create long-term loyalty and engagement with your followers.

Shaina Marie instagram profile

Use Influencers

Influencers can help promote your app and increase downloads because:

  • They know what your audience wants. Therefore, they can better showcase how your app helps your audience with those needs. Experts agree that influencers can also help you adjust your communication and even your app’s features to cater to your audience’s needs even more.
  • They have credibility. Reliable content creators have built that credibility through relevant posts and genuine contact with their audience. You can capitalize on that relationship by having a local influencer try your app. Then, their recommendation is perceived as more valuable than a random review, especially if your influencer can produce an in-depth tutorial about using that app.

inBeat Agency regularly uses micro-influencer marketing to boost app downloads.

After identifying your target persona and USP through competitor research, we cast influencers and edit content, testing multiple A/B variations on the social platforms.

One of the mobile applications we used influencers for is, a finance and budgeting app targeting Gen Z.

We worked with several influencers on various platforms, such as M3hr, trusting them to translate this fintech app’s benefits in Gen Z language:

M3hr tiktok profile post

5. Do Not Forget About ASO

App store optimization (ASO) helps your app stand out from the crowd in the app store; app store optimization helps your app rank higher on search engines.

What does this tell us?

You must build an online presence to increase discoverability and drive organic traffic.

There are a few ways to go about this, but you should mainly create a website, blog, and social media presence.

Here’s how to optimize them:

  • Post relevant content. Your aim is to build credibility and expertise to increase app installs. Besides, those people will come back to your website/social channels for new information. They can also recommend your blog posts and app to their peers, thus increasing organic traffic. And if organic traffic increases, search engines will rank your app higher, increasing discoverability.
  • Use the right keywords in the title, meta tags, and subtitles. Give crawlers all the information they need to index your app website’s content. If these crawlers understand what your app is about, they can rank it appropriately and make it easier to discover.
  • Use visuals. Just like with app store optimization, visuals help app SEO. One reason is that imagery helps crawlers with indexing. Another is that relevant images can create more engagement, increase organic traffic and get more user downloads. All those factors suggest to search engines that your app is relevant and, therefore, worthy of being ranked higher.

Team Viewer is another mobile app that inBeat has worked with, and they are also rocking the SEO part of their business.

One look at their website shows you a clean design, fast speed, and good organization.

You can also notice eye-catching titles, long-tail keywords, customer reviews, and images.

TeamViewer app

6. Localize Your App and Listing

Another way to increase app downloads is localizing your app.

Mobile app localization entails adapting it to a local specific market.

The benefits include:

  • Your app looks native to those users. Therefore, those people will perceive your mobile app as more relevant to them.
  • You can adapt to local legal requirements better.
  • You can reach different markets with specific content, thus increasing engagement and download rates.

There are three steps to consider here:

6.1. Localize Your App Store Listing

We already discussed the importance of app store optimization in the first section.

Well, use those principles to adapt your app to a local market.

Let’s say you have a food delivery app.

Localizing the keywords might boost its download rates by 700%. These keywords might include:

  • Restaurants and supermarkets nearby
  • Specific foods that locals eat or refuse to eat
  • Particular landmarks
  • Local events and customs

6.2. Localize Your App Content

Make sure your app’s user interface has the local:

  • Language
  • Time format
  • Units of measurement
  • Currency
  • Payment method

Pro tip: Consider local customs and culture to ensure your app’s content isn’t culturally offensive.

Tinder does a good job of localizing its app.

After all, people ideally want to date other local individuals instead of matching with someone across the globe.

But Tinder did make one mistake.

Compare the images below:

Tinder in French
Tinder in Spanish

Notice that the French and Spanish Tinder versions have the same pictures and names.

It would have been better to post photos of locals or at least use local names.

Quinn, Butch, and Lauren don’t sound either too French or too Spanish.

Remember: Some nationalities are partial to mobile applications that use their language even though they can understand English.

7. Run an Ad Campaign

If you want to boost downloads, consider running an ad campaign.

The main purpose is to build awareness and recognition in a new market.

As you build up your audience’s interest in your app, more people will download it.

Besides, a paid ad campaign will help you access more customer bases faster than building organic traffic through social media, for example.

Pro tip: An ad agency can help you determine the best strategy according to your goals, audience, app features, and more.

For example, studies show that Gen Z has started using TikTok as a search engine.

However, YouTube remains this generation’s favorite social media channel.

Suppose your app is complex and can contain sensitive information.

In that case, it’s better to use YouTube to popularize it through a longer, more informative ad.

It’s what we had to consider for NielsenIQ’s inbox decluttering app.

However, we settled on UGC ads for TikTok.

The appealing, trustworthy influencers we worked with produced relevant, funny, and on-point content: app

The results speak for themselves, with over 100,000 app downloads and paid media CPA slashed by 75%.

8. Offer Incentives

Incentives help more people make up their minds and download your app if you can offer them an instant win now.

This strategy works best for more expensive apps or for an undecided market.

After increasing your download rates through incentives, ensure your app’s features and content can keep your target users hooked.

Otherwise, you will face a massive number of uninstalls down the line.

Incentives that work include:

  • Vouchers
  • Points
  • Discounts
  • Freebies and prizes for referral programs
  • VIP events

Pro tip: Consider creating a free version of your app so prospective users can see how that application works.

Once they fall in love with it, they’ll want to access premium features that lead to a more comprehensive use.

For example, The Walking Dead: Season 1 uses a freemium approach, offering a free install but with in-app purchases.

Walking Dead mobile app

How to Increase Your App Downloads

The most important factor for increasing app downloads is creating an effective marketing plan.

  • A clear App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy ensures your app is properly categorized and its title contains relevant keywords.
  • Focus on user retention and engagement.
  • Leverage your existing user base by launching campaigns encouraging them to promote the app and leave positive reviews.
  • Invest in paid advertising campaigns and utilize influencers to reach a wider audience.
  • You can even create a QR code for app downloads and implement them at various places, such as sharing them on your social media accounts, websites, or even on print materials.

Pro tip: Keep app users engaged and satisfied.

You can enhance app experience through effective customer service, regular updates, and ongoing promotions such as discounts or in-app events.

Remember to also create a feedback loop to collect user insights and use them to develop new features.

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