How to Increase Mobile App Downloads

by Ben Baltins. 1 Comment


Developing an app that is specifically targeted to your audience and enhances users’ interaction with your brand is really only half the battle. An issue that many brands have encountered is App Discoverability. The question marketers should be asking themselves is ‘how can I encourage my audience to download this great app in the first place?’– After all, what’s the point of having your star player sitting on the bench?

Below I’ve outlined a step-by-step process for thinking about this question with the aim of increasing the discoverability of your app and hence downloads.

Who are my Users and Where do they Hang Out?

In reality you should have a pretty firm idea of who your target audience is already, I mean, you’ve just gone to the trouble of designing an app for them, right? What you need to do next really depends on your key touch points with your audience. Keeping in mind that people willing to download your app are probably engaged with you brand at that very moment.

Now, the options available to you depends on the nature of these contact points.


One of the things mobile does superbly is offline to online push. Below are a couple of suggestions which you should think about doing to drive this relationship.

QR Codes

QR codes are essentially bar codes that can be scanned by mobile devices (using the inbuilt camera) which navigate the user to a vast array of online content i.e. an invitation to download your app. Think brochures, posters, point-of-sale, snail mail etc. All you’re really doing is improving the engagement traditional mediums provide, and with such a vast amount of people using smartphones, what’ve you got to lose?


Bluetooth can push rich digital content such as apps, games, videos and special offers directly to consumers’ mobile devices in a specific location.

What this boils down to is that your target audience can find your mobile content in a targeted and relevant environment which should equate to high levels of uptake and interaction.

The best parts of Bluetooth/proximity marketing are:

  • Relevance
  • Opt-in
  •  Location based
  • Targeted
  • Measurable
  • Low cost

One thing to be mindful of, however, is that you don’t want to be ‘too pushy’. Think about user experience, would you be happy to receive a notification on your phone to download an app in ALL situations?


Whilst not as flashy as some of our other options, SMS is still an effective and low-cost means of reaching a large number of mobile consumers.

Below are some benefits of SMS:

  • Highly targeted
  • Time relevant
  • Huge reach
  • Higher click-through-rates
  • Low cost

SMS can however be a little intrusive so you should be careful around the frequency of push through this medium. You will also need to ensure that any communications via SMS needs to take into account the Spam Act 2003.


This is probably the easiest avenue for you to encourage downloads of your app because essentially your prospects are only a click away. Again, it’s key to focus on the main online contact points you have with your audience and don’t forget to take into account the inherent differences with each type when you consider on how best to engage.


This is probably the perfect location to advertise your app; your audience is already interacting with you via mobile but by offering them the app, you’re actually offering them a better user experience and encouraging loyalty. You can get creative with how you do this, perhaps a mobile landing page? Maybe a banner ad or even a simple link? You could always try all three…


A 2011 Google study found that 82% of smartphone users check and send email on their device. You’ve already managed to capture their email, they want to hear from you, why not offer them your app? For a bit more push include the link/banner in your company’s email signature for a prolonged app discoverability technique. Like with SMS/MMS communications, you also need to ensure compliance with the Spam Act 2003.

Incentivised App Platforms

Incentivised app platforms like Tapjoy encourage app downloads in exchange for virtual currency which can be used to enhance the performance of other apps and games. They’re also based on a recommendation system a lot like the model pioneered by Amazon.

This type of app promotion is generally favoured by game developers and we probably wouldn’t recommend this strategy for branded apps designed around developing customer loyalty.

Social Media

Your social media followers are essentially a database of your biggest brand advocates. Chances are they’re accessing social media via their mobile devices so you should promote your app offering through this channel.

With Facebook set to improve their mobile advertising options in the coming months, the opportunities via Facebook should sky rocket.

One Response to How to Increase Mobile App Downloads

  1. AppMyWorld says:

    These are all great ideas for increasing app discoverability.  It's really a confounding issue that both developers and consumers struggle with.
    At AppMyWorld ( we have a solution for app discoverability also.  We aggregate professional iOS review scores from around the web into an AppScore so users can quickly and easily tell which apps or games the best for any need they have.  We think it's a good solution.
    What about you guys?  Is a service like this worthwhile?  Really interested to hear what others have to say.

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