10 App Store Marketing Tips that Will Boost Your Downloads

Whether you’re looking to market an app on the Play Store or Apple’s App Store, there are a number of things you can do to rapidly boost the number of downloads your app is receiving.

App Store Marketing is an extremely important part of launching any app, because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how good your app is, if nobody knows about it then it's not much use.

The good news is however, that there are a number of prescribed formulas you can use to begin boosting the number of downloads your apps sees each month.

In this article we’ll walk you through an array of app store marketing techniques you can use to blow your competition out of the water. From app store optimisation (often referred to as App Store SEO), to off-site promotional exercises, to product development; soon your app will be receiving more downloads and gaining more attention with the use of our top tips.

#1. Select the most appropriate category for your app

Selecting an appropriate app category is one of the simplest ways to ensure your app will appear in front of an audience who are much more likely to download it. However, it’s amazing how many app marketers fail to select the right category for their apps because they fail to take the time to read what the intended audience of each category is.

If you’re looking to list your app on Apple’s App Store, Apple has a really great page on their site which provides a clear-cut breakdown of each app category, and lets you compare each category side-by-side.

As show below, there are a number of app categories to choose from, so you want to ensure you choose the right category for your app. This can be the difference between your app getting thousands of views online and next to none.

iOS App Store Categories

As an example, we’re going to compare the “Magazines & Newspapers” and “News” categories. Without researching your app categories, this is one of the category alternatives where you could find yourself incorrectly listing your app, so take the time to run a side-by-side check on a few app categories to make sure the category description matches your app functionality.

iOS App Category Comparison

#2. Primary app imagery is everything is app store marketing

By nature, app users are highly visual people and will decide within seconds whether to click to find out more about your app based on the imagery that accompanies your listing.

Apps with bright, clear, communicative images that provide obvious value to your user base is what you should be looking to achieve. If you review the the trending apps in the Google Play or App Store this is almost always the case.

As shown below the quality of the trending app imagery on the Google Play Store is really high. If you’re not familiar with graphic design, these sorts of graphics are something that a designer can produce relatively quickly, so don't worry if this seems overwhelming, use these examples as the standard you should aspire to.

When looking to produce your primary app image, we recommend reviewing your app in full to craft that one all important app image that will really sell your listing. This is your opportunity to get really creative. We also recommend browsing the other apps in your category, because comparing your app to apps which are not in your category may point you in the wrong direction.

iOS App Category Comparison

#3. Early-stage reviews can make or break your app

One of the unfortunate truths about app store marketing is that when you release your app you need to ensure that you’re receiving a regular influx of positive app reviews if you’re going to reach a wider audience.

The reason this is so important is because app users won’t download apps with poor reviews, so you need to start strongly.

To ensure your app reviews start off with a bang, we recommend:

With this is mind, rarely is early stage success of apps a coincidence, app store marketing success usually strongly correlates with a well coordinated app marketing strategy. After all, nobody wants to download an app that only has two reviews (i.e. one from you and one from your buddy), so you’re going to have to get creative if you’re going to break into the mainstream.

#4. Regularly update your app

Just like search marketing, app stores love to see new updates happening across their ecosystem, and will actually reward you for doing so.

Each app store has an algorithm, and if you’re lucky will highlight your app on a given day simply for updating your app with a new version, or by receiving a certain number of installs from your user base.

Apps such as those in the airline and banking industries often receive a great deal of attention online because they have large user bases, are updated regularly, and are cross-promoted keeping their user bases growing. If an app store algorithm can see that your app is being constantly developed and receiving strong up-take, this is a quality signal and one that you’re likely to be rewarded for.

App Store Recent Updates

#5. Pay to play app store marketing

It wasn’t going to be long before app stores allowed developers with a marketing budget to promote their apps to targeted users. Recently Apple released a new service called “Search Ads” which lets you do exactly that, and is a fantastic tool you can use to build your audience.

As shown below, I entered a search for “hotel apps” on my iPhone and was presented with an advertisement from a hotels website. This ad was relevant to my search, provided a high quality option, and appeared at position #1 in my research result making this an easy choice for me to at least click on the ad to decide if I want to download the app.

Search Ads are essentially what digital marketers have been doing on social media and Google for years, but are now available within the App Store. This is an awesome opportunity for you to build your download count, albeit at a cost, but this could be the difference between word getting out about your app or not.

Apple - Search Ads example

#6. Always include multiple images in your app listing

As mentioned previously, you need to provide strong imagery on your app listing if you’re going to see strong click throughs. This of course extends to the page where your users can download your app and read more about your product.

Whether you’re listing your app on an iOS or Android based store, each of the app stores provide you with the ability to include multiple images, and usually in an easy to use slideshow your visitors can scroll through on their device.

As shown below on the Google Play Store, I've navigated to the Qantas app which is a great example of this. At the time of writing this article, I counted 17 app images on the Qantas app listing page. Each of the images were clear, colourful and provided me with an indication of the sort of functionality I was going to receive by downloading this app.

When producing images for your app listing, the goal should be to include enough high quality images that your users don’t have to read through your app description to determine what your app is about. App descriptions are highly valuable, and we'll discuss this later, but what will really sell your app is the product imagery you include.

Qantas Google Play Store App

#7. Remember your off-site SEO

What many app developers don't realise is that search engine marketing is a major component of running a successful app marketing campaign. How you ask? Well, when you upload your app description, this doesn’t only show when you search on your mobile device, it also gets indexed in Google exposing you to a massive separate user base.

For example, the below screenshot shows an app preview listing for Uber on iOS. This app preview is identical to the app description on the Uber app download page and provides you with an opportunity to include the odd keyword and build links to your app listing page so that potential users who search for an app like yours on Google will locate yours first.

Search marketing for apps is often an after thought for app developers, but can be an incredibly powerful tool when promoting your app. Both the Play Store and App Stores offer off-device app preview listings that you can link to, promote on your website and build a search marketing campaigns around. So when filling out your next app description, make sure it’s detailed and makes use of the full character limit available on your app store.

App Store Preview page

#8. Build a brochure website to support your app

One of the limitations of app store marketing is that you’re constrained by the layout of the app store. To get around this, we recommend developing a standalone website or webpage on your site summarising your app features.

Many app developers around the world do this particularly well. Take Dominos Pizza for example, they have a dedicated “Technology” section on their site which provides extra detail on each of their apps. As a leader in app technology within their industry, Dominos have been able to use app marketing to grow their business dramatically over the past few years with no stop in growth in sight.

When building your app website or summary page, we recommend providing a detailed summary of your app, strong imagery, and a link to your app download page to begin building awareness of your app outside of the app stores. This will allow native iOS and Android users to either download your app directly from their devices by clicking your app download link, or by searching for your app once they discover it via Google.

Dominos app summary

#9. Contact the app store vendor directly

Want to promote your app? Why not contact your app vendor directly?

Did you know you can reach out to Apple directly when logged in with your developer ID at AppStore.com/Promote?

Apple and Google are always looking for great apps to promote on their featured app sections, with Apple even providing you with a guide on how to get listed by their editors.

The app store ecosystems are huge, and if you’re looking to promote your app successfully, why not go straight to the source rather than waiting for them to come to you.

Featured app listings can happen because you meet the criteria of app store algorithms, however you can also get your app listed in these coveted locations by simply asking and following the criteria set out by the app stores themselves. Remember, in this instance you’re not fighting every app out there for one of these positions, only the apps in your category, so you actually have a shot at getting listed if you take the time to reach our to your app vendor.

#10. Release your app on a Tuesday or a Wednesday for optimal visibility

It’s a little know fact that app stores post curated lists of new apps every Thursday, so if you’re going to avoid getting lost in the massive array of apps uploaded to the app stores each week, you’re actually better off uploading your app closer to this date and remaining at the top of newly added app lists to try and get noticed and hopefully featured.

It’s not the end of the world if you don’t manage to get featured in the first couple of days of release of your app, but it does make it more difficult if you don't because you’ll likely have to wait an entire week to get another look in at which time any number of great apps may come along and bump you down the pecking order.

To increase your chances of getting your app featured, ensure you have a high download and review count in the first couple of days of your app listing for the best possible chance of getting noticed.

Featured iOS Apps

Conclusion

App store marketing is a real niche with a number of quirks and guidelines you need to follow to really get your app out there to the masses.

However, if you follow the above tips and tricks you’ll be well on your way to increasing the overall visibility of your app and the number of downloads you receive.

If you’re looking to build an app for iOS or Android, feel free to get in touch with our app development team for a confidential discussion about how we can assist you to develop your app and market it across the Google Play and Apple App stores.