Whether you are a mobile app expert or just getting started in the app game, there are proven strategies you can start implementing today that will bring you more downloads to your mobile app or game.
It's no secret that more downloads means more money (even for free mobile apps), and if you really have a good set-up with additional game purchases, social sharing of your app for more points/coins/demo time, you know that every new download of your app could mean 2, 5, 10 or more downloads in the near future.
You've seen the mobile apps that get picked up out of no where, and they go on to reach 100,000 downloads, then 500,000 downloads, then a million downloads and further.
It's a snowball effect that everyone loves, but also something that many mobile app developers and companies struggle with.
So what is the "secret sauce" for getting your mobile app to go viral, giving you an exponential growth of downloads that you can monetize?
How To Increase Your Mobile App Downloads
#1 - The 3 Cs: Catchy, Captivating, Complete
This is something that many fail to do, and it starts with step number one. The name of your mobile app must be catchy. You don't have to spend a whole lot of time on this, but make sure your app name is something that can be remembered, including the main thumbnail image of your app that every person sees before downloading.
Next, your app or game must be captivating. This means when you actually get a download, you want that person to open up your app immediately after downloading. And once you have them inside, your goal is to keep them there as long as you can without them getting bored too easily.
It is proven the longer someone stays inside a single app, the better chance the app has at making a sale from an ad click or view, in-game purchases to occur, and social sharing as we'll get to later.
The last C is complete, your app must be complete. It doesn't matter how many ads you show, or even how cool your game sounds or is - If your app is not complete, people won't stay around long enough for you to make a penny.
#2 - Social Sharing Incentives
Every popular app and game you see has one thing in common (pretty much almost every time): incentives - specifically social sharing incentives.
You see, you don't even need any monetization set up, or any in-app purchases or even a "full version" yet - if you have social sharing incentives that gives your users a better experience, you are sure to make your app go viral and get you many more downloads.
This is the snowball effect I was talking about earlier.
If you are even just a beginner app developer, you can figure out how to add social sharing buttons and incentives into your app. And if you are just the idea guy or the fire-starter, you won't have to pay a developer (or your developer) to add this in.
The basis of this strategy is this: You create your game or app, and put in on the mobile market. It is catchy, captivating and complete. You also have a social sharing incentive the 2nd time someone opens your app. It says something like "share this on twitter/facebook/google and receive XX amount of points, coins, credits, demo time, added feature(s), etc.". You have to make the incentive enticing enough for your user to think, "Heck yeah I'll share this app, I already think it's awesome and now I'm getting something EXTRA for FREE!".
To them it's free, but to you it's another 10, 20, 100 or more people that will download your app, click on your ads, buy your in-app extras, and further share your app with more future downloaders.
Especially in the start, it's more important to focus on getting your app up the charts in terms of downloads - once you have a nice system set up, you can then focus your time and energy on in-app purchases, full versions, ads, and more.
#3 - Free VS Paid Advertising
The final and most popular way to get more mobile app downloads is to advertise it. And don't skip over this because you think advertising doesn't work or won't pay off in the end in terms of your time or money.
If you have a catchy captivating complete app, and have social sharing incentives set up for viral sharing and downloading, then both free and paid advertising will pay off.
Let's start with free advertising for those of you on a budget. Just do a quick search for "free mobile app advertising" and similar key phrases, and you'll find companies, services, and groups of app creators that provide app promotion similar to link exchanging for websites or solo ad swaps for email marketers.
Some services are very advanced now so that every person you refer to someone else's app, you will get the exact amount of people from other apps coming to yours. You can also of course advertise your app for free on places like YouTube, Facebook, Google+, Free Ad Sites, Landing Pages and your own websites, press releases, 3rd party site content, and more.
As for paid advertising, if you have a chunk of money you are willing to spend on advertising and are willing to wait up to a month or more before you reap the returns, I'd say go for it immediately.
But don't go for the very first mobile app ad company you find. Do your due diligence and research, you'll find a variety of companies that offer very different and specific forms of advertising.
In my opinion, if you are focused on app downloads more than anything (which you should be), then you should use mobile advertising companies that only charge you when someone downloads your app (versus other companies that charge per 1,000 views or per click of your ad).
When you pay only when someone downloads your app through their advertising platform (usually someone downloading your app as an incentive from another game), then you know upfront how much you are paying per download.
When you can know that each download of your app costs you $0.20 or $0.50 or even $1.00 or more, and you have a complete catchy app that keeps people coming back, and have social sharing incentives that get people to share your app (for free), you are sure to expand that initial per-download cost to a per-10-downloads cost, as well as continued monthly revenue from your app users who click on your ads and use your in-app purchases (or any other monetization strategies you implement).
Final Thoughts And Where To Start Right Now
Get your app completely set up. Use it, let your friends use it, make sure it's something that people are sure to use over and over again, and an app they will tell their friends about.
Get that social sharing incentive into your app. Remind your users more than once, and add new features in the future specifically for an added incentive for social sharing in your app.
Finally, talk about your app, share it freely everywhere you can, and spend money on the RIGHT type of advertising, and expand your per-download cost so that you are always getting a positive return on your advertising investments.
Sometimes it seems hard when their are a million things to do in order to get an app just on the app store. My advice is to hire someone to do all the work you are unwilling or unable to do, and work your tail off on the rest. There's a lot that us idea-creative-go-getter-type people can do, and that includes getting more mobile app downloads.