If you’re reading this post, it probably means that you are about to launch a new mobile app — maybe your first one? It could also mean that you have an awesome app idea and you’re wondering how much work you will need to put in, in order to succeed. Maybe you’re just curious …

No matter your reason, continue reading to discover a few effective mobile app promotion strategies that will help increase app downloads.

With the tremendous amount of competition on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store (over two million apps and counting), convincing users to download a new app is extremely challenging. Even more so if the budget is tight. Hopefully, there are some ways free (or very cheap) that can help you out!

Find below our top five free ways to boost your app downloads effectively.

1. Improve Your App Store Optimization (ASO)

First and foremost, we could not start this list without mentioning App Store Optimization (ASO) and its benefits. ASO is the process of improving a mobile app’s visibility in the store by optimizing each metadata element (app title, description, keywords, screenshots, etc.) according to the store and trends’ best practices.

The point is to make the app more visible in the charts and to increase its discoverability. By doing so, app users are more likely to find the app in the store, and consequently, the number of downloads will increase naturally.

Although ASO is becoming more and more popular, it remains unused by many app developers and marketers. It is time, more than ever, to take advantage of this extremely cost-effective technique to increase app downloads.

Similar to SEO, there are many online ASO tutorials that teach the best practices for beginners. You can download here the ultimate ASO Cheat Sheet PDF for free.

It is also possible to use some free resources to get keywords inspiration, like the Google Keyword Planner or Apple Search Ads Recommended and Related Keywords.  

Of course, you can also use some ASO tools like AppTweak, providing insights for free and a seven-day free trial, enabling you to use all available features for free, including the Keyword Tool during an entire week. This could be a great start for you!


Image: AppTweak Keyword Tool

2. Start Building Your Online Presence

You want more app downloads? Start by increasing your brand awareness. Push your app everywhere you can on the web.

First, create a unique website or a landing page for your app. Don’t worry; there’s no need to master web development. You can use free software like WordPress, which makes it very easy to create your own website. Ideally, you’d only have to pay for a brandable domain name and a hosting space (about $10).

Building a website or a landing page will help you spread useful content about your app. Having a central point where visitors can learn more about your app is essential.

Make sure that your design is creative and personal; you want it to vehicle your app’s identity. Use your app’s color palette and specific fonts. Basically, make sure to follow your visual identity. If you don’t have any, it’s time to define one.

Try using your website and/or landing page’s URL wherever you can, in all your communications. Some examples are emails, signatures, and more.  

Along with your website, you can also create a specific blog, which would be part of your website/landing page. The point is to offer some news about your app, like new available features, a new design, etc. You can also create some valuable and shareable content that circles around your app’s universe.

For example, if you have a travel app, you can provide interesting content on places to see over the world or a practical guide to being the perfect backpacker. Kayak’s blog does a great job by providing tips and trends about various destinations. The point is to feed your community with relevant content that eventually will be shared across the web via social media.


Image: Kayak’s blog

Speaking of which, it is also essential to build your social presence. Make sure to have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, a Google+ and a LinkedIn profile, an Instagram and a Pinterest account, etc. The more the better. They are all free!

However, it is important to keep each channel updated, so don’t use too many channels if you don’t have time to handle them all.

Social media management demands a lot of work, especially if you want it to be effective. It is about finding a different strategy for each platform and, most importantly, about finding unique ways to stand out from your competitors.

Again, the point is to benefit from word-of-mouth and from virality to get your app known. Make sure to encourage users to share your content. Always make sure to use your website/blog URLs or your app’s page URL (using deep linking) in all your communications.

Ubereats Facebook Page is a great example of how to leverage the power of social media.

Getting more visitors, followers, and engagement on your web channels will definitely increase your app downloads.



Image: Ubereats Facebook Page


3. Make Your App Free at Launch

Another great strategy to get more downloads is to make your app free at launch. This can sound pretty easy but it will drastically increase your chances of getting more downloads.

If it was already live on the store as paid, make it free for a few days or weeks. This will inevitably stir curiosity and drive more downloads.

If your app is free but offers paid in-apps, make your IAPs free for a little while. This will increase your number of downloads and encourage people to use your app more. Engagement rate will increase and the App Store/Play Store will reward you by boosting your app rankings.

Your app will therefore be more visible and therefore you’ll see your app installs increase.

4. Ask Your Users to Rate & Review your App

Another great way to drive more downloads is by getting more positive reviews. Indeed, not only the algorithms will boost your app rankings but users will be more tempted to download your app if it has a good reputation.

App users rely on other app users’ opinions before downloading an app. If you have bad reviews or a low number of reviews and ratings, you can be sure that your conversion rate will be very low.

Plus, both the App Store and the Play Store algorithms take reviews and ratings into account in order to rank apps. In the case of multiple negative ratings, an app can be strongly penalized in terms of rankings. On the opposite, if the app shows a lot of positive reviews and ratings, it will be favored and push to the top of the search results.

An effective technique to encourage users to rate and review your app positively is to use push notifications at the right time. We usually recommend prompting users after five or 10 sessions in the app. Find here five effective push notifications strategies to increase engagement and ask for reviews.


Image: Yoni Heisler

Obviously, you can avoid negative reviews and ratings by providing the best experience possible to your users. Start by correcting bugs as quickly as possible. Also, make sure to provide your users with a point of contact to reach out in case they have complaints. An email address or a help form on the app itself will do.

5. Put Your App in the Spotlight!

Last but not least, it is essential to try getting other people to mention or talk about your app. This will reinforce your brand awareness and reputation, which will inevitably bring you more downloads.

Going to the media is a great technique to drive attention. The first thing you should do is to build a complete press kit including some visual and written materials (download URL, app icon, screenshots, boilerplate, PDF presentation, etc.). Make your assets as attractive and engaging as possible.

The next step will be to send a great press release to all tech journalists and influencers that you can find. Try reaching out by email and don’t forget about your subject line: make it unique!

The point is to convince them talking about your app. If your app is not live yet, give them access to your beta version. Describe and explain why your app is one of a kind and why they should cover it over an article. Make sure to show off your best features and functionalities.


Image: Stocksnap

You can also reach out to bloggers who could find your app interesting for their audience. For example, if your app is a fitness app, make sure to reach out to famous health influencers and bloggers. Use a creative and unique pitch. Try building a strong relationship with them. Hopefully, they will love your app and will showcase it in their next articles/videos. Influencer marketing is getting more and more popular due to its successful results.

Finally, you can also try to get your app reviewed on various specific websites. Make sure to check this list of 200 app review websites for iOS and Android apps.


No matter how great and well-designed your app is, if you don’t put enough effort into promoting it, no one will ever download it.

With today’s increasing competition, it is crucial to find innovative app promotion strategies which should be integrated in a powerful mix.

Although everything is always easier with money, you’ve seen that there are some free ways (find here some more) that can help you raise your app’s awareness and hopefully increase your downloads.

And last, make sure that while you grow your app, you don’t let retention fall by the wayside. Read Leanplum’s post to discover some kickass strategies for improving app retention.