10 Underrated Tactics to Get More App Installs

By Billy Attar | October 19th, 2014

If you are marketing an app, it pays to take a step back once in a while and reflect upon the acquisition tactics you may have missed to drive more app installs. You are probably already doing all the right things: optimizing your app store page, building a community, tracking your advertising campaigns, being active in social media and so on. What you might have missed, however, are some of the more underrated and ignored tactics to generate users for your app. So here it is: a list of 10 underrated ways to get more app installs. Enjoy!

10 Ways to Get More App Installs

1. Integrate with a popular app

Piggybacking is always good for a bump in users. Integrate with a well-known app and use its popularity to help yours. Integrating with an app or service people care about makes it much easier to get attention for your app. If the integration is really useful, you can offer something of value to anyone who uses, follows or reports on the app/service you’ve integrated with. For instance, 23 apps got free publicity simply for integrating with Apple’s HealthKit. Integrations also help your keywords. If you can get approval from Apple to use a search term that includes the more famous app’s name, your app will get exposed to many of the users searching for the well known app. In the example pictured below, many apps are piggybacking on the keyword “Google calendar” after integrating the API.

app installs go

2. Create a YouTube video

When you think social media marketing for apps, the focus is usually Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. YouTube is a social-search hybrid that offers two really great benefits for app developers:

  1. Big SEO opportunities
  2. A great preview of your app

There’s a lot to write about SEO for YouTube, so I won’t go in-depth here, but know this: YouTube is the 3rd most popular website in the world (according to Alexa) and the 2nd most popular search engine. A video optimized for YouTube’s search can get hundred’s of thousands of views without ever going viral. A good video with the right keywords can expose your app to thousands of viewers looking for what your app provides and should also lead to lots of downloads. If search YouTube for “how to watch live streams on android,” you see that the first four entries are promoting apps and each one has tens of thousands of views. It’s an easy and cheap way to expose your app to people who are likely to want it.

app installs youtube

3. Launch in an easier country

Where is it easier for your app to stand out – Canada or USA? Smaller markets have less competition so you’re more likely to rank higher in their app stores. Of course, this means that you need to set up your app store page to display more than one language.

app installs top charts IR IS

In the example above, the US top 10 most popular iOS apps are dominated by the big names, while Ireland’s #2 and #10 are relatively small in comparison, and #9 is a local company.

4. Get listed in third party app stores

This is a similar idea to launching in smaller countries – list your app in an alternative app store (a store other than Apple’s or Google Play) and face less competition. You also get to access an audience that may not be using the more popular app stores. Some of the bigger 3rd party app stores are:

5. Start sending emails

Pretty much all online marketers use email marketing. It’s one of the best ways to nurture somewhat interested people into becoming customers. Email simply works. In fact, click through rates for the mobile industry average over 3%, which is a solid number compared to click through rates for mobile ads. In addition to good click through rates, email marketing offers some other benefits:

  • Mailing lists are easy to segment and target
  • It’s a cheap way to communicate with potential users
  • It’s easy to test messaging
  • Mobile optimized emails are easy to create
  • You can use deep links in your emails to direct people to your app store page or to a specific page in your app

6. Run a contest

According to Buffer, 35% of Facebook fans liked a brand in order to take part in a contest, and photo contests receive 5.5x more comments than regular posts. So, creating a contest is a great way to drive interest in your app. A popular marketing tactic to get maximum exposure is to create a contest or giveaway where people get more entries if they share a tweet or post something on their wall about your app. Magzene’s “tweet to enter” campaign has gotten them almost 1,600 retweets.

7. Change your colors

Design is a big part of your app’s success, that’s nothing new. But have you taken into account the psychological aspects of your app, icon and app store page’s design? For instance, red is strong and masculine, yellow is emotional, black is glamorous and violet is spiritual. Your icon might look great, but is it provoking the right feelings?

8. Start a retargeting campaign

This is a relatively new way of advertising – targeting people who have been to your site or even to someone else’s site. Retargeting has a CTR 10x better than regular ads, so this should be a weapon in your app marketing arsenal. A unique way to use retargeting (h/t Neil Patel) is to negotiate with another site to add your retargeting pixel to their (mobile) site. Basically, you would take the retargeting pixel you receive from your ad network and add it to the other site. When someone visits that site on a mobile phone, it would trigger the mobile retargeting ads that will follow them as they browse online. Imagine a photography app retargeting ads to everyone who visited a mobile photography forum (they do exist!)? This is a great way to advertise to a highly targeted and relevant segment.

9. A/B test your web site before conducting ASO

A/B testing is pretty tough to do for mobile apps since you can’t run tests on your app store page and changing your app icon is a process. You can, however, A/B test your website. It’s simple, there are plenty of landing page platforms that work well with mobile and most include A/B testing capabilities. You can test your designs and app descriptions to see which combination has the highest conversion rate. Then you can use the knowledge of what images and text convert best and optimize your app store page. Here are the steps:

  1. Create your landing page, A/B testing different icon designs
  2. Send traffic to your landing page with an AdWords campaign
  3. Evaluate the results and pick a winner
  4. Repeat, testing your app description, screenshots and anything else you feel is important

10. Ask for feedback

People like to offer friendly advice, so you might as well ask for it. Go into forums visited by your target segments and ask the forum users what they think of your app. This is a good way to introduce your app to potential users without seeming like a self-promoter. Hopefully this has given you a few new ideas to promote your app and increase downloads. If you’ve tried these tactics yourself or have other overlooked tactics, we’d love to hear about them. Finally, keep in mind that an effective mobile strategy needs to be one that goes where your users are and connects with the right message.

Billy Attar

Missing person