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Following up on our last two jumpstart posts, what would you do to jumpstart mobile app installs?

  • LS

    Larry Sequino

    about 6 years ago #

    There's a number of things you can do:

    Incentivized Installs-

    This is the quickest and easiest thing to if all you want to do is get a head start on acquiring users. Essentially, other apps and services are offer users the chance to install your app for some sort of reward.

    The advantage here is that you'll be able to acquire a large number of installs at a low cost, but the drawback is that most of the users are low quality. The hope is that you get yourself to a point on a chart where you start to acquire high quality organic installs.

    Depending on your target audience this can have varying results. If you're targeting a very competitive demographic with extremely high CPIs, this strategy is probably far more attractive.

    Here's a list of incentivized install providers: http://www.quora.com/Who-are-all-the-providers-of-incentivized-installs

    Cross Promotion-

    If you have access to some existing community or successful app, Cross Promotion is an incredibly effective way to jumpstart your app. It's easy to quickly drive users that are already passionate about you or what you do to a new app you're working on.

    The one caveat I'd say here, is make sure you do it intelligently, you don't want to accidentally cannibalize one app's success for another. If you've got a way to target engaged users that maybe aren't converting or monetizing, that's a good group to start with.

    Grassroots Marketing-

    If you want a chance at being a viral hit, you'll have to put in some sweat building a story and a community. Start by identifying why you're interesting. What's cool about what you or what you're doing? Be able to tell that story in a way that engages others, then frame your app in it.

    Participate in viral communities like Product Hunt, Reddit, or Hacker News. Learn what resonates with them and pitch your story in that light. Reach out to journalists and pitch your story to them. Don't just say "Here's a cool app I've got." Make it easy for them by telling them the cool story they can write about that just happens to feature your app.

    Additionally, if you want to be featured on the iOS App Store specifically, you can pitch your story directly to appstorepromotion@apple.com or appstoremarketing@apple.com.

    For any of the grassroots options, I'd recommend starting your campaign around 6 months from launch. Give people some time to get familiar with you and your product and stoke the flames until launch.

    Targeting a Niche-

    Another interesting technique I've seen is targeting a specific niche. This can reduce your cost-per-install significantly and make it easier to gain WOM traction, but it requires an app the appeals to a clear niche.

    Some good examples of this:
    - Indie game developers that go after specific niches of Core Gamers on Facebook. Fiercely targeting this cheaper group of users and optimizing to get the best results.

    - Yik Yak did a brilliant job of this by setting up their communities around college campuses. It allowed them to easily target one campus at a time and define a clear community to spread via Word of Mouth.

    - An interesting effect of the Teespring T-Shirt ads that target specific niches via first and last name (and sometimes location) is that people often shared those ads because of how eerily well-targeted they are. Free Facebook marketing.

    App Design Notes-

    I think incentivized invite codes are cool, but if you really want your app to drive word of mouth (For reasons beyond simply being fantastic) then it needs features that are inherently social. I didn't install Lyft because some friend gave me an invite code. I installed it because one night my friend and I needed to get back from a party in SF, so he called a Lyft and it was such an awesome experience that I installed Lyft immediately after returning to LA. Getting rides to and from bars or parties often involves a group of friends all traveling together.

    Asynchronous Multiplayer games like Draw Something, QuizUp, or Trivia Crack are also great examples. They spread like wildfire because they require two people to play and people want to play with their friends.

    Non-game examples of apps this person-to-person model to spread include:
    - Venmo
    - Snapchat
    - Yo

    Effect of Review Strength on ASO for iOS-
    @morgan already covered this topic quite a bit, but I wanted to emphasize one point:

    The best thing that I've ever done to improve ASO on iOS is to drive a high number of good reviews for an app. A high volume of good reviews can cause you to skyrocket up the charts for specific terms.

    Find a time in your app when you can tell a user is truly engaged or just had a really great experience, then ask them to leave you a rating. I once helped an app go from Mid-30s to Top 3 for a competitive search term thanks to the implementation of a "Rate Us" popup.

    iRate is a good open source option for iOS: https://github.com/nicklockwood/iRate

    I'm obviously assuming that you already have a great app with an engaging First Time User Experience that won't leak users (http://andrewchen.co/you-dont-need-a-growth-hacker/), but I hope the suggestions above prove helpful.

    In my own practice I've gotten apps to the top of the charts with the help of cross promotion and incentivized installs, driven apps up the charts with the ASO/Rate Us trick mentioned above, and once had an app get a full Apple Feature and #2 Top Free ranking on the iPad App Store thanks to a crazy media storm created because we partnered with a celebrity endorsement of our app (a long, long time before Kim Kardashian).

    Good luck!

    • MB

      Morgan Brown

      about 6 years ago #

      This is gold. Thanks for sharing!

    • DM

      David Miller

      about 6 years ago #

      Uh, I think I'm saving this bit. Great post man!!

    • KS

      Kamil Szybalski

      almost 6 years ago #

      I would just add that on the review portion, I would highly recommend integrating feedback/rating in the ways that Circa did it, i.e. make feedback/reviews part of the user experience, instead of that annoying modal, place a native banner asking the user if they are enjoying your app, if yes, then ask if they want to rate, if no, ask if they want to send feedback. I've seen amazing success using this method, it's all psychological and a win/win for both ratings and product feedback.

    • DI

      David Iwanow

      about 6 years ago #

      nice points

    • AM

      Andrew Michael

      about 6 years ago #

      Thanks for sharing, awesome insight!

    • PP

      Pablo Pera

      about 6 years ago #

      Be very careful with incentivized installs: those are very low quality users (low engagement, high uninstall rate). The app store algorithm may not like that.

    • RB

      Rania Benman

      almost 6 years ago #

      This is rich. Thanks for sharing, Larry.

    • FD

      Florian Dumont

      over 5 years ago #

      If you are thinking about doing some paid user acquisition, I just posted a pretty relevant article about Revenue Recycling. It helps fund that initial period where you are getting revenue, a positive ROI, and are pushing up t he ranks, but the app stores haven't paid you yet: https://growthhackers.com/articles/revenue-recycling-what-is-it-and-why-is-it-important

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    about 6 years ago #

    Hands down you need a great product first. WOM is probably more important on mobile than in any other context. As @nilanp said in one of his decks "Every app on your phone has an insanely high NPS". See his deck here: https://growthhackers.com/slides/slides-nps-driven-growth-by-nilan-peiris/

    That's especially true of regularly used apps.

    If you don't have 4+ stars for reviews in your app the rest won't matter.

    From the organic side I think it's a few things:

    - App Store Optimization:

    a) Making sure you're totally visible. I would use http://www.Mobileaction.co/ to see how visible you are

    b) Making sure you're optimizing properly. Check this cheatsheet that @adrien shared in one of his decks http://bit.ly/asocheatsheet

    c) This quick deck by AppCodes is also really helpful on ASO: http://www.slideshare.net/kolinko/appcodes-app-store-marketing-toolbox-11535165

    d) have great reviews. Circa does this well: https://medium.com/circa/the-right-way-to-ask-users-to-review-your-app-9a32fd604fca

    @bayram's company App in the Air did some masterful work on reviews too. Watch his whole talk here: https://vimeo.com/110856034

    Then you need to drive some download volume, which on the organic side includes:

    Word of mouth
    Mobile SEO
    Leveraging inflection points

    Obviously lots more to talk about, and I didn't even mention paid ads, but that's a start. @ivankirgin, @mada299 and others will have more to say than me.

  • GB

    Greg Buckner

    about 6 years ago #

    We've had a lot of success with Facebook App Install ads. Great for targeted acquisition when you need to seed a community with your ideal customer. $1.20-$3.00 per install.

    Good way to easily test prototypes/concepts - just throw $100-200 at Facebook and see what happens.

  • MF

    mack flavelle

    about 6 years ago #

    Lots of comments about Word of Mouth referrals here.

    We built a feature specifically called Word of Mouth (creative right?!?) that makes WoM easy to build into any app.

    The idea is that even if you have committed evangelists, you should make it easy for them to share their passion.

    My favourite quote about it is here:

    Apptly tapped into Tapstream’s word-of-mouth tool, which acts as a referral reward system, to drum up acquisition using Zombify’s existing user base. The app saw more than 540,000 installs during Halloween, roughly 14% of which came through Tapstream’s word of mouth. Users acquired through WOM, which were earned rather than paid for on a CPI basis through an ad network, netted approximately $100,000 in profits for Apptly.

    - http://adexchanger.com/mobile/hungry-for-flesh-ahem-for-engaged-app-users/

    mack at tapstream dot com if anybody has questions they want answered offline, or happy to dive in here.

  • NP

    Nilan Peiris

    about 6 years ago #

    Thanks for the credit @morgan I'm actually very intersted if anyone optimises their app development process for WoM growth. I.e. split tests features / measure the viral WoM co-eff and develops non-hacky features (i.e. product wow type features) -that drive growth

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      about 6 years ago #

      This would be a great AskGH @nilanp . Based on our phone call a couple months ago, I know one guy who does this :)

      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        about 6 years ago #

        @nilanp I went ahead and posted your question as an AskGH. Great question for which I gave you credit...

        • NP

          Nilan Peiris

          almost 6 years ago #

          Hey dude - very kind comments - hope all is well. Still trying to figure this out... very surprised and hope someone else has

  • LP

    Laxman Papineni

    about 6 years ago #

    Other than building a kick-ass app that instantly gets WOM, you also have to give users the better options to share/invite friends. It could be a reward based referral (like Uber/Lyft), or could be a no-reward based referral.

    But you've to keep an eye on the whole share/invite cycle to optimize the campaigns and make most out of it.

    You can't beat your users recommending your app and inviting friends and family.

  • RS

    Robin Schwartz

    almost 6 years ago #

    There's no one solution for making it happen, because you are going to have to make some adjustments based on your business and target audience, but here are a few proven ideas that may help you grow traffic to your app.

    App Review Sites
    Pitch your app to app review sites and they can generate a lot of buzz if they mention it in a review.

    Social Media
    One-way messages in the appropriate forums on Facebook are good, but tying your message into active conversations is a great way to go. Create a cool icon that shows up with your posts and immerse yourself in the conversation.

    Twitter is great for connecting with those who are part of your target audience. Twitter / Search should be your best friend.

    Content Marketing
    By utilizing content such as a blog post, e-book, white paper, or case study that steers your intended audience to your site, with a clear call to action that communicates how your app can help them, you can generate a lot of downloads. Implement as many sharing capabilities as you possibly can. Showing catchy videos with real people using your app or using real life situations will help you connect with your intended target more organically and will increase your video content’s virality. The power of video not only tells, but also SHOWS.

    Getting press is by far the best way to generate a lot of noise for your app. When you’re able to tell a story about how your app came about, writers and their audiences will love it. An app is a product, so it only makes sense to use this strategy. With people sometimes lost in the world of apps, make yours stand out with a great story. The story should be entertaining and find a practical spot in people’s lives and hearts.

    Speaking Opportunities
    Identify conferences to share your knowledge and establish yourself as an authority in your space. Find out if there are any speaking opportunities in your particular market and present yourself and your app.

    Encourage reviews
    By getting your app’s users to review your app, you stand to increase the number of downloads; people are always looking for social proof. Don't be afraid to ask family and friends to help you with this task. Highlight these reviews on your app page, and perhaps have them scroll across the page above the fold.

    App of the Day Services
    Try to get your app featured on one of these services since they could provide a huge boost to your app downloads. These are highly trafficked sites that can help you get your app in front of a lot of potential users. It also helps build a loyal fan base. These services are well-respected and held in high regard among app users.

    For more information on the subject:

  • AJ

    Alexandre Jubien

    about 6 years ago #

    If the app is content based or has content attractive enough for sharing, then deep linking has to be considered for sure!!! All details on the growth hack and viral loop here: http://www.apptamin.com/blog/mobile-deep-linking/
    I think we had probably 8 to 10 millions of installs of Deezer app thx to this (probably 15MM for Spotify) - and much much retention too.
    Hope it helps!

  • AJ

    Alexandre Jubien

    about 6 years ago #

    If the app is content based or has content attractive enough to be shared, then I strongly suggest to invest in deep linking! All details here on the growth hack and viral loop: http://apptamin.com/blog/mobile-deep-linking/
    In addition, it's a great retention tool. I think it provided from 8 to 10 millions of the 35 millions downloads of Deezer app. Probably 15 millions downloads for Spotify. And much much retention.

    Hope it helps!

  • CW

    Claire Watt

    about 6 years ago #

    Thanks for sharing - some very useful tips!

  • RP

    Raelisah Patricia

    almost 6 years ago #

    Optimize social profiles for search engines.
    CPI Campaigns via different advertisers. Tapjoy.com , Leadbolt.com or even specialized app discovery services such as MagicSolver.com who are offering this service.
    If we are using mobile app ads on facebook, it helps to browse for new mobile users and find people on particular device.
    Run some reward based activities or contest on the social media to increase app downloads. Offer some discounts occasionally for limited period.

  • AJ

    Alexandre Jubien

    almost 6 years ago #

    If the app is content based or has content attractive enough to be shared, then I strongly suggest to invest in deep linking! All details here on the growth hack and viral loop: http://apptamin.com/blog/mobile-deep-linking/
    Many comments here on WoM, IMHO social media is just a digital transposition of WoM and deep linking just removes friction to get to what is shared.
    In addition, it's a great retention tool. I think it provided from 8 to 10 millions of the 35 millions downloads of Deezer app. Probably 15 millions downloads for Spotify. And much much retention.

  • AM

    Ahmed Medien

    almost 6 years ago #

    I truly love GH. I was just pondering on this today. I work as a two-hatted marketer and business developer at a mobile marketplace in the UAE and I'm always on the look out for new strategies to jumpstart our downloads. We've actually written about this lately if y'all would like to take a look. http://bit.ly/1KMVEWZ

    Our main strategies right now are ASO (we've clone apps in few markets in both app stores and also in few languages/niche verticals). We also convert people from marketplace like Facebook groups. We have two gateway verticals (car sales and real estate to get a massive flow of users that we try to convince to use our other apps and buy fast moving goods).

  • KS

    Kirill Sofronov

    almost 6 years ago #

    Great question! Also due to the fact how wrong it is. The main problem of mobile is its retention rates are literally killing many companies which are focusing on mobile first. Jumpstart mobile app installs by fixing post-install metrics and improving virality!

  • MA

    Misbah Ashraf

    almost 6 years ago #

    This is awesome :)

  • PM

    Phill Moorman

    over 5 years ago #

    Hey Everette,

    You can use Twitter's Installed App Category Targeting with their ads to target people who have installed similar apps to yours (so you know they're somewhat interested already). Additionally you can filter your App Installs Campaign by gender, device, language, and geo-location to help hone in on your target.

    Here's Twitters FAQs / Guide on Installed App Targeting: https://business.twitter.com/help/installed-app-category-targeting

  • JK

    John Kimbrey

    about 4 years ago #

    This is incentive traffic.
    Incentive traffic is usually purchased by publishers of games or apps that are intended for a mass audience (entertainment, social networks, messengers, weather, reading apps). When app in the top apps list, it is important to hold leading positions for a few days in order to attract the maximum number of organic installs. - Applead: https://applead.net/en/setup