User Acquisition 101: 7 Advanced Tips to Boost your App Installs

Let me guess! You’ve built a killer mobile app! It is a one-of-a-kind, completely functional, useful app that addresses a genuine customer pain point. You totally believe your app has a place in the market and is sure to impress the masses.

Now, all that’s left to do is sit back and watch your app grow organically and sit at the top of the app charts, right?

No!

One of the biggest challenges you face when developing a mobile app is actually the part after you’ve created it. Your Launch and Promotion Strategy is absolutely essential to ensuring your app is a success.

Getting app downloads and installs is not easy!

According to the Sensor Tower Store Intelligence Report, the global consumer spending on the App Store and the Google Play Store totaled $18.2 billion during Q3 of 2018. This marks a 22.7% increase over the $14.8 billion that was spent across both stores during Q3 of 2017.

At the same time, Apple has expanded its commanding lead in app monetisation over Google, with the App Store earning nearly 94% more than Google Play during Q3 of 2018, the widest revenue disparity since at least 2014 between the two platforms.

In order to make your app successful, you need to get creative with your user acquisition and retention strategies. You really need to think out-of-the-box to improve your app’s discoverability across app stores and set the foundation for higher app installs.

Here are 7 tips that you can embed into your mobile marketing strategy to increase app installs:

Tip #1: Name your App Creatively

Don’t name your app just for the sake of it. A memorable name can entice those who land on your app store page to download it. Your app must be easy to remember and create instant brand recall. Think of all the successful apps that have become embedded in our daily lives.

For instance, Uber – people don’t say “Book a Cab”, they often say “Book an Uber”. So the name should be unique and appropriate to the app’s purpose for it to remain top-of-mind.

Follow these steps while conceptualising a name:

  • Don’t ever use names that already exist – Search extensively before you decide on a name and hit publish
  • Your app name should be short, easy to spell, and memorable. Don’t get carried away with being unique and end up giving a complex name which users can’t pronounce
  • Choose a name that defines your app’s value proposition that prompts potential users to at least explore your app store page for more details

Tip #2: Create a Unique App Icon

In today’s crowded marketplace, apps get lost if they don’t have a unique icon. Most apps these days follow a pattern where the app icons are very identical and users end up confusing themselves with the app they download, resulting in an uninstall.

That's the last thing you would want when you’re starting with your app business. Choose an app icon that differentiates you not only from all the icons but from your competition too. Make it easy to recognise and recall.

Here are a few ideas to make your app icon unique:

  • Create a persona for your app and make that as your app icon
  • Create an app icon that defines what solution it provides or the problem it solves
  • Most app icons use the first letter of their app name and create a definite form
  • Avoid using images and text, these don’t create an instant impact

App Icons

Tip #3: Get your App Store Optimisation (ASO) Strategy Right

ASO helps in improving your app’s discoverability and visibility across app stores by optimising various aspects that define it for a user.

Key factors that play a vital role in discoverability are app title, description, keywords, screenshots, videos, ratings and reviews.

In many ways, it is similar to SEO and plays an important role in your app growth strategy – irrespective of the budget you have allocated for user acquisition.

Follow these pointers to get your ASO strategy right:

  • Choose an app title that ensures higher brand recall
  • Choose a mix of relevant keywords in your app title and sub-title that reflect your app category and actual function
  • Optimise your app description – crisply highlight the problem your app addresses and focus on the features
  • A/B test your app screenshots
  • Localisation is an important aspect of personalisation. Localise your app listing if it caters only to a specific geographic audience
  • Highlight the most recent app version. Regular updates bring back users to your app, building greater confidence in potential users

Tip #4: Reach Out to your Target Audience on Social Media

Social media is one of the cheapest and most effective marketing and promotional channels for new apps. It is the perfect medium to build a personality for your app and establish its key usage.

Before you decide on which social networks to use to build your app’s persona, you need to decide where to start from. This means the app’s tone and social media voice must be in sync with your app’s personality.

When posting on social media, use that voice consistently. Don’t ever bore your fans with bland business language. Try to keep it cool, trendy, and quirky. Make your voice professional only if your app is targeted towards professionals.

It’s very important to focus more on engagement in the early stages of marketing, it becomes easier for the audience to get familiar with the product and start engaging with it regularly.

The social media platforms where apps usually get the most attention from are the following:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit

Just be cautious, as each social media platform has its own terms of service with regards to contests, giveaways, and advertising. Make sure you don’t end up violating them while you are drawing attention to and building loyalty for your app.

Tip #5: Get your Users to Rate and Review your App

According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Survey, users tend to trust word-of-mouth recommendations, such as reviews and app ratings over other forms of advertising. Reviews and ratings play a prominent role in boosting your app downloads. Positive reviews and higher ratings help your app to move up the app store listings.

App Reviews

Few ways to get your reviews and ratings started:

  • Use in-app achievements as an indicator for user engagement
  • Prompt to rate and review your app using push notifications and in-app notifications when they are most engaged
  • Timing the prompt is crucial. Use send time optimization to personalise the prompt and delivery to each user resulting in more reviews and ratings.
  • Tackle negative reviews and extract the important information that can help in improving your app
  • Incentivise users to review your app

Tip #6: Invest in Referral Marketing

What do the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, DropBox, Airbnb, Uber and Slack have in common?

Referral marketing has turned out to be one of the most important channels for driving incredibly high app downloads for all these apps.

Also known as word-of-mouth marketing, its objective is to encourage app installs based on suggestions from trusted acquaintances or recommendations from influence.

Uber’s referral marketing program became so popular that today most ride sharing apps are duplicating this tactic, be it Ola, Lyft, or GoJek. Uber follows a two-sided referral program – one for their drivers and the other for their users.

However, their major focus was the driver’s referral program since they were their loyal partners. Drivers were offered $5 for every new rider they got on board.

Tip #7: Convert Website Users into App Users

It is important for you to have a dedicated website. Micro-sites have been a trend for most apps, since they are the first point of contact for any user that comes from searching on a search engine. SEO continues to remain the most relevant form of marketing for app marketers.

Targeting the right set of keywords, can actually help you reach these users in a space that still remains uncluttered, unlike the app stores. By using web push notifications, you can nudge website visitors to download your app.

With smart deep links placed strategically in these notification banners, you can lead the respective visitors to the respective app stores.

Convert Website Visitors

Going Beyond App Downloads

No matter how good your app promotion strategies are, if you don’t put users at the center of it, they will hardly stick to your app. With increasing competition amongst apps, you need to understand and act according to your users’ needs and behavior. Once you have achieved your initial set of desired downloads your focus needs to shift to retention. Here are a couple of tips that can help you in retaining your users and further boosting app installs:

Smart Tip #1: Create an Effective User Onboarding Flow

It takes a few moments for a user to decide whether to retain your app or uninstall it. A user’s first interaction with your app can be a make or break moment.

Successful user onboarding is critical to your app’s success and to deliver new users’ first Aha! Moment. The faster the user understands the function of your app and the simpler it is to use, the sooner you will meet your goal: for example, getting a user to sign-up, get them to view a video, or make a first-time purchase.

User Onboarding

Customise and personalise user onboarding and introduce them to your app’s ability to invite friends. You can further get users to act on your referral program by using gamification, discounts on in-app purchases, free tokens, etc.

Smart Tip #2: Analyse your Users’ In-App Behaviour

In order to boost your app downloads, the one thing you need to persistently do, is to analyse how your users are interacting with your app. It is important to understand your users and what motivates them before coming up with ideas to market to them.

This will not only help you understand your users’ in-app actions but also what they spend most of their time on. Analysing your app also helps you to understand why your users drop off and eventually churn. Monitor your users’ journey closely and measure the most important engagement metrics to engage them better and prevent from churning.

Final Thoughts

Having more downloads for your app is not always the easiest thing to accomplish and is not the only thing you need. If you make use of these tips, you’ll see a significant boost in app downloads and app store rankings.

Always remember to keep your user persona in mind when you try out these strategies. One size doesn’t fit all. What strategy works for generic app users might not work as well for your target users – so use these tips while keeping their best interests at heart.

To learn just how you can analyse your users’ in-app behavior and supplement your user onboarding with an effective mobile marketing strategy, get in touch, today!

Vijay Mandeep


Vijay Mandeep is a data-driven B2B Saas marketer with a vested interest in startups. He’s passionate about growth hacking, content marketing, and everything social media for B2B SaaS. He works as Senior Growth Marketer at Smartech.

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