With over two million apps (2.8 on Google Play and 2.2 on Apple App Store as of March 2017, according to Statista), it’s a hard task to stand out and get found by prospective users. It’s brutal competition and there’s nothing more draining than working so hard on a fantastic product, only for returns — low downloads and low ROI — not to match the effort put into it. Having an app with very few downloads is the same as opening a shop with no customers coming through the door. It’s demoralizing. This article details possible ways to increase mobile app downloads and retain acquired customers by keeping them engaged.
How to increase app downloads
Whether it’s been a while since you’ve released your mobile app or you’re just starting out, getting users is an unending loop as far as your continued existence or success is concerned. Despite this obvious fact, a lot of app developers still find it difficult for many reasons, among which there are numerous assumptions and notions. That’s why this section will begin with highlighting some of these mistakes.
Tip 1: App Store Optimization (ASO)
As highlighted above, 40% of all app discovery happens in app stores. ASO is a way of optimizing your Google Play Store or Apple App Store presence such that you’re easy to find by users who search for specific keywords related to the features of your application. Your app title, keyword use, app icon have to be tight and on point. Other factors such as organic reviews and ratings are also important. ASO takes time and effort, yet it’s one of the most important standard ways to get traction to your app — whether new or old.
Tip 2: Search Engine Optimization
One in four apps is found via search engines, particularly Google. It’s, therefore, imperative to build a web presence that links to your application. For example, you can make a landing page for it or a microsite that has a blog (although optional). That said, building the landing page or microsite is the beginning of the work, greater effort lies in driving traffic to them. There are three core ways to achieve this:
- Mixing well-researched keywords with latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords. While keywords themselves point search engines in your directions, sometimes they are not clear enough. LSI keywords are synonyms to your main keywords that provide context and more nuance for search engines. For example, let’s say a user makes a query for ‘Apple’; it takes context for the search engine to understand whether your website is about Apple the product or Apple the fruit.
- Get backlinks from high authority websites in your domain. It is a way of making online advertising noise that your website is relevant. You can do this by researching your competitors that rank well for the keyword(s) you want to rank for too and using tools to decipher which websites are linked to them.
- Produce quality content that drives engagement. Keeping users on your page shows Google that your website provides relevant information that pertains to their queries. The more relevant the content is, the lesser the bounce rate on your website.
Tip 3: Using influencers
In every industry or niche, there are people whose words carry significant weight; people who shape opinions and perception of products and companies. They are called influencers — bloggers or some popular users of social media apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Of course, you need to do a lot of research to ensure your app suites their audience. This strategy is like word of mouth, just that this has the potential to be one mouth to a thousand other ears.
Tip 4: Put your app on other app stores
The more options you have, the merrier. There are a lot of other platforms where people can discover your app, why not give them a try. There’s Amazon Appstore, AppsLib, SlideMe, GetJar, and many others. People have preferences, that can change anytime; one day they prefer searching for free app downloads on Google Play, and the next day, they’re on AppBrain.
Tip 5: Participate in app awards
If you know your onions, participating in app awards is a good way to get exposure, free press and reviews, which will ultimately lead to more downloads. The caveat, however, is that this would only work if your app meets the most stringent standards in terms of quality and user experience. Firstly, this will help the award organizers take you seriously, and secondly, reduce user churn rate once your application is downloaded. Popular app awards include Appy Awards, The Webby Awards, and Appsters Awards.
What to do to re-engage your old app users
Usually (although no empirical evidence), users abandon an app for two primary reasons; they find it useless or they discover top applications with greater incentives.
Ways to retain and engage your users include:
- In-app advertising messages that guide your users through your app experience;
- Rich personalized push and geopush notifications on the home screen;
- Onboarding process at the first launch of the app. This can include highlighting the best features of the application and stating clearly what makes the product stand out;
- Simple and seamless startup process. Make signup easy by asking for the least information possible.