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    6 min read

    Demystifying How to Increase App Downloads

    By Derek

    How to get users to download your app? This is a rather straightforward question, right? However, the answer is far from simple. First, you need to know why users are looking for an app. The most common answer is so they can solve an existing problem. So, what motivates users to download apps? Motivation is the keyword here. This is the driving force that leads to a user to want to download a specific app, in this case, the mobile app you have to offer.

    get users to download an app

    There’s More Than Motivation

    So, how do you convince someone to download an app? If you scratch the surface of this question, you will realize it needs a broader look, which complicates the answer. If you think of how we go about our everyday lives, you’ll realize we use multiple apps. Businesses from across industries already have countless applications, with scores in the pipeline. The question is, if scores of apps already exist in any particular industry, what will motivate users to download a new app?


    It is likely you will go with one of the more common answers, which is that your new app is better than existing ones. The truth is that this is the era of the mobile app, and pretty much everyone who makes apps for a living knows how to make one that works well. This means that simply being better than others might not deliver the desired results.


    Ultimately, it is not about the problem that an app will solve for a user or about the quality of an app; it’s about both factors and more.


    The quality of an app is no longer the only factor that determines its success. There are other aspects such as the audience you are targeting, what it needs, what it desires, the problems it faces, its peer pressure, and the marketing strategies you employ. This means that simply developing a mobile app will do little to no good if you do not consider other important elements.


    Little Things Matter

    Different motivating factors drive users to download new applications, and it’s possible to break these down into a few simple categories.

    • Users have a problem they think an app can solve
    • Users are bored and are looking for something interesting
    • A friend or a peer recommended an app
    • Users have apps that no longer meet their needs


    In many cases, people think app downloads depend purely on problem-solving. According to a study published on the Research Gate website:

    • 58% of web users download apps for entertainment
    • 51% download apps to carry out specific tasks
    • 36% do it because of recommendations
    • 35% do it out of sheer curiosity

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    The Power of Recommendation

    As you can see, there are scores of users who download apps based on recommendations from other people. People can be motivated to install a particular app because someone told them it is good or because they came across an advertisement. Different studies suggest that friends are the most convincing when it comes to recommendations.


    There is great power in word-of-mouth publicity, which, not surprisingly, is among the top reasons why most people will avoid your app if it has negative reviews. The next time you see a negative review, think about this statement.


    Despite the fact that many people try to get rid of ads, it is evident that a fair number of people download apps as a result of advertisements, which means you should not ignore advertising. You can significantly increase your app’s downloads by advertising to a target audience with a focus on demographics, devices used, and other metrics. You just need to make sure the ad is interesting and appealing.


    When it comes to in-app ads, consider these numbers collated by Business of Apps:

    • 5% of mobile app users download apps based on recommendations by in-app ads
    • 6% of smartphone users have clicked on in-app ads and made purchases
    • 8% of mobile app users think in-app ads are useful
    • 7% of mobile app users feel they are informative

    how to convince someone to download an app

    Apps Can Solve Problems

    Before word-of-mouth comes the fact that apps can solve problems. According to the study published on the Research Gate website, while boredom along with the need to seek entertainment is the biggest motivating factor, users need to be able to perform the task they intend to in a seamless manner. It comes as no surprise then, that users will be quick to abandon an app that does not solve problems as effectively as others on the market. If there is a difficulty in solving problems, a user will most probably download a competitor’s app.


    A significant number of app downloads take place when users on the go face problems. This comprises what one might refer to as a hungry audience (because these users are looking for something that’s new to or not in the market yet). This means when users download such an app, they might not use it all the time, and they might even delete it after it solves their problem. This makes problem-solving a common motivating factor when it comes to app downloads.


    Understanding Motivations and Reasons

    Increasing conversion rates, improving engagement, and building brand loyalty are daunting tasks, but necessary. If you don’t know why people are using your app, nothing might make sense. Bear in mind that in today’s tech-driven world, apps are part of almost everything we do. Besides, the use of apps has overtaken the use of mobile websites when it comes to smartphone users. According to data collated by App My Site:

    • Smartphone users spend 88% of their time on apps and just 12% on mobile websites
    • Smartphone users spend more than five hours per day on apps
    • Around 75% of millennials feel their smartphones serve no purpose without apps
    • By 2025, more than 75% of internet users will use only smartphones to get online


    Remember, any situation that starts with “I want to” will most likely end up with users opening an app and finding what they want. This could be finding their way to a business location, booking a movie ticket, or ordering food. It is your responsibility to determine what they want and make sure the process of finding your solution is easy.

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    Marketing Strategies to Increase App Downloads

    Data indicates that as of January 2024 indicates that 8.93 million mobile apps have seen the light of day and the total number of app downloads stands at a staggering 255 billion. While the Google Play Store is home to 3.55 million Android apps, Apple’s App Store has 1.64 million apps. With there being stiff competition across the board, wondering how to convince someone to download an app is only fair.


    If you plan to launch an app or have already launched one and it has received a lackluster response, there are things you can do to increase the likelihood of success. Bear in mind it’s important not to be discouraged, and you may start by implementing these marketing strategies to increase app downloads.


    Focus on Your App’s Icon

    When users find your app on an app store, the first thing they get to see is the icon, so the one you go with plays an important role in your app’s success. Given that users get multiple options from which to choose, your app’s icon should be unique, eye-catching, and easy to recognize. The design should ideally offer some insight into its core functionality, providing a clue of what users may expect.


    It’s important for you to keep the design simple and refrain from making it flashy. Given the size of the icon, steer clear of using text. Choosing vibrant colors can help attract attention. A/B testing of different versions can help you pick the best of the lot. If you have trouble designing the icon on your own, get a good digital marketing firm to do it for you.

    how to get users to download your app

    Pay Attention to App Store Optimization

    App store optimization (ASO) refers to optimizing your app so users may find it easily when they carry out relevant searches on app stores. According to Apple, more than 70% of App Store users turn to search for discovering apps. It also adds that around 65% of downloads take place immediately after a search. By implementing the right ASO strategies, you increase the likelihood of your app appearing at the top spot in relevant search results.


    The most important aspect of optimizing your app store listing is to identify the right keywords to target based on factors like relevancy, volume, and difficulty. Then, you use the keywords you select in an appropriate manner, without going overboard.


    Data released by Alchemer indicates that 90% of consumers account for star ratings when they evaluate new apps, and 79% go through star ratings/reviews before they download an app. As a result, ask your app’s users for ratings and reviews, and you may do this via in-app notifications or emails. While good ratings/reviews work in improving your ASO, they also help build credibility.


    Consider App Localization

    A great benefit of the digital landscape is you may reach audiences from the world over. However, as great as your app might be, it’s a given that people typically download apps in languages they can understand. While translation can help, you need to localize your app in different ways for optimum results.


    When it comes to localizing your app, you need to consider languages, locations, and cultures. The process will involve translating the text, and you also need to pay attention to design and content optimization.


    Turn to Content Marketing

    Content marketing increases website traffic and it can have the desired effect with app downloads as well. No matter which industry or sector you belong to, effective content marketing can work wonders in drawing attention to your app. The content you create can come in different forms such as:

    • Videos on YouTube
    • Blog posts
    • Social media posts
    • Podcasts
    • Emails
    • Infographics

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    Bear in mind that relevant and useful content tends to resonate with users. By adding an elevator pitch to promote your app in the content you provide, you increase the likelihood of its download. Besides, when you keep publishing content at regular intervals, it has a positive effect on search engine optimization (SEO).


    Embrace Social Media

    According to Statista, of the 5.3 billion internet users worldwide, 4.95 billion use social media. It comes as no surprise, then, that businesses and marketers have taken to social media all guns blazing. However, before you decide to jump on the social media bandwagon to promote your app, you need to determine which ones might work best for you.


    The platforms that continue to garner the most traction include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Once you identify the right platforms, follow a few simple steps to increase the possibility of success:

    • Determine your brand’s voice and use it consistently
    • Work on building a strong community
    • Focus on engaging with users
    • Partner with influencers
    • Promote user-generated content
    • Provide relevant tips
    • Optimize all your content for search
    • Runs contests
    • Provide giveaways
    • Adhere to all the guidelines of the platform


    When promoting your app on social media, make sure you don’t post only about your app because users will get bored quickly. Instead, work on creating conversations and engaging with your audience. Reply to all comments, and respond to negative comments with tact.



    To get users to download an app, you need to find out what might motivate someone to download it in the first place. Understanding why users might download an app will give you an indication of what to include in your app for more downloads. In addition, even though it’s possible to increase app downloads for free, know that you will have to devote considerable time to the process and you also need to know the tricks of the trade.


    If you don’t have the required technical expertise and are still wondering how to increase app downloads, you should consider partnering with a professional digital marketing agency that specializes in custom app development. This way, while you will end up getting a highly functional app, you can also rest easy knowing that you’ve put your marketing woes to rest.

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