Corinne is the Social Media and Content Lead at BLEND. She is dedicated to keeping global business professionals up to date on all things localization, translation, language and culture.
The app development process is far from simple. Once you’ve nailed down a great idea, there’s a lot to do before you can start thinking about design, development, and deployment. Even then, there’s no guarantee that your app will actually be a success. Thousands of new apps are released on Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store every month. Currently, there are more than 17.5 million apps available for download on the App Store alone.
Sadly, only a fraction of apps that are released prove to be lucrative. According to some estimates, as few as 0.5% of apps end up making money. That’s not to say the other 99.5% aren’t worth downloading. The fact is, many of those apps and games gathering virtual dust simply fail to gain momentum. The good news is that there are many strategies you can use to give your app downloads a significant boost.
This should go without saying, but you’d be amazed at how many app developers fail to undertake research and understand local users. Once you’ve identified your target markets, you need to determine what your customers actually want from an app. What languages are local users speaking? What mobile app features are most sought-after? If your app isn’t particularly unique, make sure you’ve identified your key competitors. You’ll also need to get a handle on cultural nuances, region-specific regulations, and local currencies. Your findings will inform all localization and development efforts.
Now that you have a clear picture of your target audience, you can start thinking about design. To increase app downloads, you’ll need to ensure your digital product looks and feels authentic to potential users. Your app icon is arguably the most powerful piece of branding. This is the first thing that would-be users will see, long before they’ve registered your app title or read your app description. When designing an app icon, make sure it’s visually appealing to local audiences. Use colors and symbols that are going to resonate with certain demographics, while avoiding anything that might cause offense. Ideally, you should keep your design simple. While you’ll probably need to adapt it for different markets, you need to think about global brand consistency.
If you want to increase app downloads, you’ll need to make sure it’s discoverable in the App Store or Google Play Store. Therefore, you’ll need to carry out some keyword research before putting together your app description.
If you’re not thinking about App Store optimization, you’re not giving your mobile apps the best start in life. App Store listing rankings depend on a multitude of different factors, including descriptions, keywords, positive reviews, and ratings. However, successful optimization involves more than this. At a minimum, you’ll want to create a captivating app title, an engaging description, and include plenty of useful screenshots. If you want to target multiple markets, your optimization efforts also need to be localized, especially where keyword research is concerned.
A great app should be intuitive and easy to use. However, not everyone’s a digital native. Use demo videos to introduce less experienced users to the full potential of your app. While demo videos are only supported on platforms like the Google Play Store, you can still upload your visual content to your social media platforms and website landing pages.
It’s not just App Store and Google Play Store descriptions that need to be localized. If your app is going to be functional for as wide an audience as possible, app interfaces will need to be localized. As well as text translations, you’ll need to rethink things like time and date formatting conventions, standards of measurement, and more. If you’re monetizing your app, you’ll also need to support region-specific payment methods.
While it makes sense to prioritize localizing your app icon for new markets, you’ll also need to consider your other image assets. Things like in-app graphics and screenshots can help an app feel more familiar to non-English speakers. The more you invest in creating locally appealing content, the more immersive an experience you create for users. This typically leads to increased app installs and more positive reviews.
App users trust the options of other app users. A good rating can be the final push for an indecisive user to choose your app over another one. More cautious users are likely to delve into user reviews to get a better idea of app features and performance. Many app marketplaces also tend to prioritize apps that have more user reviews. Struggling to get users to leave reviews of your app? Don’t be afraid to prompt them. You can build in pop-up prompts during the development stage. These can appear as many times as you want them to.
Many apps are offered for free, with developers making their money from in-app advertisements. With so many free apps on the market, it can be hard to convince users to choose your app over hundreds of others. Adopting a freemium model is one way to increase your app download statistics. You can monetize your product by offering in-app purchases. Alternatively, there’s the “paymium” model. Here, you offer a taster of the full features of your app for a reduced fee. If users respond well to your product, they can choose to upgrade to the full version by making an in purchase or downloading a separate version altogether.
Most companies that operate online have made use of affiliate marketing programs before. The concept is simple. Any website or blog owner that links to your app earns a modest commission if a reader follows that link and decides to download your app. By reaching out to blogs with large readerships, you can bring in thousands of potential users in a relatively short period.
Creating a killer app is all well and good, but you’ll also need to invest time and resources into building a website to help promote it. An app website will boost online presence and discoverability. You don’t have to go overboard here. A simple landing page is often more than enough to capture what your app is all about. What’s more, some users prefer to search for new apps to download, rather than sift through the App Store or Google Play Store. Any app website or landing page should be considered a calling card for your product. Use your online presence to showcase its best features with high-quality imagery and demo videos. You’ll also want to provide download links.
If your app’s growth is stalling, investing in paid user acquisition is something to think about. The cost of a paid user acquisition campaign varies, but you can help ensure a better return on investment by turning to your market research findings. By delving back into your research, it’s easy to determine which channels you should be using for paid user acquisition. Is your target demographic more at home on Facebook than on other social media platforms? Using Facebook ads will probably prove cost-effective. If potential users are more likely to use Instagram, concentrate your efforts and money here instead.
You might struggle to engage potential users with email marketing. However, being active on social media is more likely to pay off. Along with an app website, social media channels provide you with an extra platform for showcasing your app and its features. As well as highlighting the USPs of your app, you should invest in additional content for a general audience. If your social content resonates with users, there’s a good chance they’ll download your app, even if they weren’t actively looking to download one.
Deep linking is often brought into play once you’ve actually acquired app users. If an app has already been downloaded, clicking on a deep link ad will open up the app on a user’s device and take them to a predetermined page. If someone hasn’t installed the app, following the same link will take them to a download page. Deep link ads are particularly effective when they’re combined with personalized ads.
The more high-value content you create, the more assets you’ll have for mobile app marketing campaigns. Think about adding regular blog posts to your app website. If you’re active on YouTube, create useful tutorials and demo videos. Think creatively when producing content. Spinning rich content from a simple arcade game can be a challenge, but you have endless topic ideas to explore if you’ve developed a lifestyle app.
Are you only now cottoning on to the potential of social media? If so, you probably don’t have a sizable online following. Growing follower numbers organically can be time-consuming, but you can give your social platforms a shot in the arm by unlocking the potential of influencer marketing. What’s more, you don’t have to spend a fortune on partnering with high-profile influencers. Even those with a modest following can help you increase app downloads. Reach out to influencers that are putting out content that aligns with your app.
If you have more money to play with, an omnichannel promotional campaign is an effective way of increasing app downloads. A true omnichannel campaign leverages websites, social media platforms, email marketing, and more. It can even include offline channels such as print media and press events.
Generating buzz around your app is far easier if you engage the press. Nowadays, there are many different press avenues you can explore to drum up interest in your app. Whether you’re reaching out to app review websites or want to engage a broader demographic, there are many activities you can explore to get coverage.
A media or press kit is essentially a collection of promotional materials about your app. Once assembled, a media kit can be sent out to news outlets, bloggers, and any other destination you think might be useful for drawing attention to your app. Along with a description of your app itself, a media kit should include a bit of background about app development and what sets your product apart from the competition. If you’ve already released your app, think about including some download statistics and testimonials from existing users. More importantly, provide a download link to the app itself. If you’re launching a premium app, consider offering unrestricted access in exchange for coverage.
Many industries use press releases to share news and updates with media outlets. A captivating press release is a surefire way of generating buzz around your app. Try and keep a press release to a single page if you want to increase the odds of getting it read. Focus on what your app does, when it will be released, and what unique features make it so special. You’ll also need to outline availability and where users can download it.
Provided you can afford one and can guarantee decent attendance, hosting a launch party for your app is something to think about. However, a successful app launch party isn’t guaranteed. Firstly, ask yourself whether or not your current brand has the clout to bring in the crowds. A sparsely-attended launch party might do your brand image more harm than good. If you’re happy to go ahead, think carefully when selecting an event venue. Make sure it’s unique while tying in nicely to your app and what it’s about. You’ll also need to consider your invite list. Obviously, you’ll want to welcome industry insiders, the press, and high-profile names. However, it’s also worth extending invitations to everyday consumers who represent your target market.
A great press release and media kit will only go so far. If you want your app marketing campaign to maintain momentum, you’ll need to consistently engage with the press. Make sure you’re responding to any requests for an interview. If requests are few and far between, reach out to news outlets. You can even turn to online platforms like Reddit. An Ask Me Anything event can bring significant exposure and let you engage directly with the people you’re marketing an app to.
App users are surprisingly diligent when it comes to deciding on what to download. Many turn to search engines to find an app that’s right for them. Having your app placed in a high-ranking listicle is a good way of getting your product noticed. You may need to be proactive here, so think about offering free access to a premium version of your app to major listicle websites.
If you have an existing user base, capitalize on it to secure new downloads. Introducing a referral program and providing incentives for recommendations can yield big returns relatively quickly. If you have developed a gaming app, incentives can take the form of free in-app currency. If you’ve developed a lifestyle app, think about offering discounts or free gifts to select users who successfully refer a friend.
Many users encounter apps for the first time when they’re promoted to the top of download charts. However, to reach these heights, you’ll need to secure a significant amount of downloads first. To increase the odds of your app charting, think about relaxing those premium prices for a full download. Slashing the cost of your app temporarily might put a short-term dent in revenues, but it’s a small price to pay for the increased attention your app will receive. Once your app is charting and people are talking about it, you can slowly introduce your old pricing tiers.
If you want to boost app referrals and increase downloads, integrating social features is a must. They’re a staple of gaming apps, but even lifestyle and entertainment apps can benefit from social features. If your app doesn’t currently have any social functionality, the good news is you don’t have to go back to the drawing board. These features tend to be fairly easy to incorporate.
If your app isn’t being updated regularly, user experience is bound to suffer. Problematic bugs and constant crashes are a guaranteed way of turning users off and sending them elsewhere. Constant updates will not only root out and resolve these issues, but they’ll also result in improved performance and enhanced security. Even if your app is running smoothly, look at what users are saying about your app. Actively responding to user feedback with sought-after changes will increase user satisfaction.
Just because you’re securing more downloads than ever before, doesn’t mean the optimization process is over. It’s vital that you continue to measure performance and user interaction if you want to maintain engagement levels. Is the app being used as intended? Did you plan on eventually monetizing your app, only to find yourself encountering stumbling blocks? By tracking things like user retention and install rates, you can tailor your next campaigns to improve user experience.
If the biggest obstacle to app success is that you haven’t yet localized it for international markets, it’s time to bring in the services of the experts. At BLEND, we can help adapt your app content and marketing materials for multiple territories. Whether you’re looking for support in localizing app features during the development stage or need advice on repurposing marketing collateral for international expansion, our experienced team of professional linguists is on hand. Why not get in touch today to see what we can do for you?