Failing to Boost App Downloads? It’s Time to Tweak Your Strategy


Whether you’re planning an app launch or those conversions are slowing to a crawl, the tips in this guide will help you get the downloads you need.

You’ve completed some serious market research. The production and prototyping couldn’t have gone better. Finally, you have a groundbreaking app you’re sure will prove popular. At least, that’s what you thought. Sure, there was a fair bit of fanfare when you launched, but now downloads have plateaued. This is what you’re up against:
  • Google Play: Over 3 million apps are available for download, and about 70,000 apps are released every month.
  • Apple Store: More than 2 million apps are available for download, and about 32,000 apps are released every month.
(Sources: Statista, MindSea)
It’s no wonder the average conversion rates for Apple App Store and Google Play (US) sit around the 30% mark (2021). And, of course, this fluctuates dramatically across the categories. That kind of CVR isn’t going to sustain a business—unless you can get more eyes on your product. Are you desperate for new (or established but still savvy) ways to boost app downloads for your product or your client’s? Below are some of the Viral Octopus experts’ favorite ways to encourage that all-important “GET” or “Install” click.

How ASOed Are You?

One of the important places to start when it comes to getting more downloads for your app is ASO (App Store Optimization). Just like SEO (Search Engine Optimization), ASO is a way to ensure you’re ranking well in the various app marketplaces. However, it goes a step further in optimizing the app information page to ensure that once someone clicks on that icon, they also download the app.

ASO Factors

Factors to review when creating a new app listing (or when auditing the ASO of an existing app listing) include:
  • Social proof: How popular is your app?
  • Retention: How often is your app uninstalled?
  • Positive reviews: Do you have a lot of good reviews?
  • Country/Region: Is your app available (and doing well) in many regions?
  • App starts: How many times do people open your app?
  • Keyword relevance: Have you included keywords in your listing?
  • Backlinks: How many websites link to your app listing?
  • Revenue: Are you generating a good amount of income?
Note that the number of App downloads also affects ranking, but we didn’t add that to this list since this guide deals with increasing downloads.

ASO Tools

And you don’t have to do this alone. Take advantage of the many ASO tools on the market. Some of our favorites include:
  • Keywords: Mobile Action, Apptweak
  • User research: App Radar, Apptopia
  • Rankings: Sensor Tower, Apteligent
  • ASO all-rounder: App Annie
  • A/B testing: SplitMetrics
A Question for Our Readers: Do you want a comprehensive ASO guide? Send us a message to let us know via the chat function at the bottom right of the screen. If we get enough demand, we’ll pool the knowledge of our Viral Octopus ASO experts and put one together!

Embrace Off-App Store Promotion

Focusing on the app stores for downloads makes sense. But if they’re not working for you, maybe it’s time to cast your net a little wider. Think about building a website for your app, à la the popular math learning app Montessorium. You will benefit from the SEO potential (including content marketing), and you can branch out into landing pages, pop-ups, and list sign-ups. If your company already has a website, apply these same strategies to that. Are you an agency wondering, “Customers who want to increase app downloads should use which campaign type?” Perhaps you’re an in-house marketer confused about how to optimize your Facebook or Instagram ads for the greatest success? When it comes to advertising on social media, Facebook (followed closely by Instagram) still reigns supreme. So it makes sense they’re also great platforms to sink a bit of app ad money into. If you’re already maxed out in these areas, other strategies to explore include traditional advertising, PR, search ads, and influencer marketing.

It’s Wise to Localize

Okay, so that header sounds like an anti-crime PSA. And well, it sort of is. With China, Japan, and the USA leading the charts (by far) regarding app revenue generation (with Taiwan, South Korea, the UK next in line), you’re robbing yourself of downloads and the money they bring in if you don’t tap into those markets. How to boost app downloads? Localize your app! There are three core reasons why this is an important step. First, users are more likely to interact with an app that uses a language they can understand. Second, you’ll have more keywords to play with. And third, localized listings rank higher in the country or region they’re localized for.

Icon Design Matters… a Lot

A 2019 Finnish study of gaming app icons found that consumers preferred aesthetically pleasing app icons conveying good quality. Obvious? Perhaps. But they also found study participants were more likely to click on icons that they perceived as “unique, realistic and stimulating.” If you have customers who want to increase app downloads, you’ll do well to take a good long look at their current app icons with these app icon design best practices in mind:
  • Use only a suggestion of your company’s logo: Slack, Hubspot
  • Use bold or contrasting colors: MOZE, Habit Tracker
  • Keep it clean and straightforward: Twitter, Skype
  • Make it unique: Medium, Headspace
  • Tell a (visual) story: Google Maps, ASICS Runkeeper
A small yet essential reminder: adhere to the app icon dimensions. That’s 36×36, 48×48, 72×72, or 96×96 pixels for Android devices (depending on the device) or 1024×1024 pixels for iOS.

It’s Not Always Easy, But You Can Boost App Downloads

This isn’t a one-shot sort of thing. Downloads rates don’t have to plummet once your launch buzz dies down.
If you want to number among the most successful apps in your niche, you’ll need to constantly and consistently work to boost app downloads. Run regular audits on your ASO, make sure your icon is as eye-catching (and on-brand) as possible, and keep an eye out for any opportunity to share your app with new audiences. And if you’re not getting the CVR you expected from advertising your app on Facebook or Instagram, Viral Octopus can help. Book our Facebook Ads for Mobile Apps gig, and your personalized team of Viral Octopus experts will get you more precisely targeted downloads and subscriptions, decrease your cost per install or conversion, and optimize your user acquisition strategy. All for just $994 a month. Let’s evolve together!

Love this article?

Get stories just like it, delivered to your inbox. Singing up you are going to have FREE access to the Viral Octopus private community, tools and perks
Choose your topics | Optout Anytime
LinkedIn Ad Management Made Easy – Our Quick Start Guide to Advertising on LinkedIn
By ViralOctopus
Learn more
Start Setting Better Goals for Better Results – OKRs vs. SMART Goals
By ViralOctopus
Learn more
How to Support Your Event or Product Launch Using Facebook Ads: A Beginner’s Guide
By ViralOctopus
Learn more