The whole idea of ‘getting more downloads’ can seem like an intimidating and even insurmountable task. Every app developer has no doubt considered this question at some point – unfortunately, nagging considerations such as time and cost-effectiveness are never far behind.
The truth is, while ‘getting more downloads’ might be your big, hairy goal, you can actually break this down into a manageable series of small and simple steps to help you get there. What if we told you there were 10 easy – and inexpensive – ways to get more app downloads right now?
Here’s our guide to getting more app downloads for under $1000 (or £650 for our UK readers!)
1. Localise your app’s description and content in the App/Play Store
You know how important it is to write a great description for your app in the App Store/Play Store. What you mightn’t have considered is whether non-English speaking users will be able to organically find and understand your app from the information you provide. Even if your app isn’t localised, it’s a good idea to ensure your description is – if nothing else, this will ensure you attract as many eyeballs as possible. Translation is probably more affordable than you think – you’re looking at around 25c (15p) per word, which means a healthy 250 word description would cost just $62.50 (£37.50.) Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and Korean are all big winners here. Think of all those people who can’t find your app right now, but could if you localised your description…
Similarly, you should ensure that the content displayed in your screenshots is localised. For example, if you use maps in screenshots, make sure you’re displaying a map of the relevant country. Your screenshots will probably have a placeholder account – ensure that you use the correct location-specific names. These small details will make all the difference!
Cost: $62.50 (£37.50)
2. Use dynamic photography of your app in action – not just screenshots
Screenshots are the tried and tested way of demonstrating your app’s functionality. But by using cool photos of people actually using your app, you can create a real point of difference. This approach allows you to add a lifestyle-angle to your visuals…instead of showing basic screenshots of your app, you get to contextualise its use. Where would people use your app? Indoors or outdoors? At work or at home? At day or night? With others, or by themselves? As you can see, you can make a number of powerful statements about your app and its lifestyle implications – which could carry a much greater impact on potential buyers than mere screenshots.
3. Create a simple explainer video
A simple ‘how to’ video, no longer than 2 minutes, can really supercharge your results. Creating a great explainer video allows you to neatly summarise the key features and benefits of your app, in an engaging and accessible way. The simple fact is that your potential buyers are unlikely to read mountains of text – they’re much more likely to watch and digest an explainer video. Not only are videos great at selling your product, they can also cut your support queries – and they’re great for SEO. What’s more, as well as being able to add your video to Google Play for prospective customers, you can add it to YouTube – which is the web’s second-largest search engine, and a great way for people to find out about your app.
Cost: $595/£375 (Updated pricing research here)
4. Localise your explainer video
Once you’ve produced your video in English to target your primary market, you have a couple of options to target other, non-English speaking users. If budget isn’t an issue, you could re-record the voiceover in another language. Or, if you’re watching your wallet, you could simply use YouTube’s annotation features to add subtitles in any number of languages. This simple, easy process will only cost you the price of the translations – around $35 (£21) for 140 words. It will help to broaden the appeal of your video –bringing your message to more and more potential new customers! Some of the many benefits of video localisation include strong SEO, an increased likelihood of bloggers from different countries writing about your app and – most obviously – more people watching your video!
5. Be SEO Smart
‘SEO’ can often sound complicated and scary to the uninitiated…the good news is that, since most apps are made by developers and not SEO-savvy marketers, even the simplest of techniques can give you a real head-start on your competitors. SEO is all about making it easy for your target audience to find you. As a basic starting point, do your app title and description include the important keywords your audience will be searching for? You can use the Google Keywords tool to do some research into popular keyword searches, then plan your approach accordingly. If you’re just starting out, it may be a good idea to identify less competitive keywords and build up the strength of your app from these. Once you have some buzz behind you, you can switch this around to rank for the more competitive keywords. SEO is well worth further research, as it is the bedrock of many success stories!
6. Limited discounts
If you’re willing to offer your app for free, at half-price, or simply with a percentage off the price for a limited period of time, the results can be two-fold. Firstly, you’re more likely to convert people who find your app. Secondly, you can utilise services such as AppGratis and AppTurbo who advertise free or discounted apps to their database. This can be a really useful tool in spreading the word about your app!
7. Make your Google Play Store cover image
This is a really basic step but one that can really create an immediate impression. They say first impressions are everything, and that’s certainly the case on the Google Play Store. A cover image represents the first and most prominent content your potential viewers see. Put yourself into your potential user’s mind and focus on what he or she would like to see. Create something unique and interesting and this can really make a great impact on your numbers. It’s better if you don’t use your logo or screenshots here – you’re really looking for the user to scroll down to see these! For around $200 (£130) you can commission some really fantastic professional artwork to make a great first impression on your audience.
8. Make some noise about your app!
There are a number of ways to spread the word about your app. We’d suggest you start by drafting a press release which you can submit to the most popular websites. You can also personally approach some of the many blogs and publications, which are keen to check out and review the latest apps. The more exposure the better!
9. Get Social!
Social Media is a great resource to spread the word about your app – and, best of all, you don’t have to spend a penny! You can ask your supporters, friends, family and existing customers to spread the word on social sites, and insert well-placed ads and calls-to-action within the app and on your website. This may provide only a tiny boost, but you’re not going to say no to free traffic!
10. Incentivise others to spread the word via Facebook/RT promos
If you’re struggling to get people to spread the word about your app on social media, promotions and contests are a GREAT way to incentivise this! You can use really low value incentives – a t-shirt, perhaps, or a $25 gift card – or you can go all-out and give away something like an iPad. It’s simple enough to run something like this on Twitter – simply draft your message, encourage people to RT to enter, and select the winner at random. Or you can use a service like GroSocial to build a third-party app which sits on your Facebook page and can really help to grow your following. GroSocial offers a free 30 day trial, meaning you can pick up 3 months of subscription to their Professional package for just under $60 (£40) – bargain!
Cost: $25/£20 for your prize. $60/£40 for 3 months GroSocial subscription.
So, as you can see, there are a number of great ways to start driving your downloads, and you needn’t break the bank to do it! Many of the steps on our list would cost you nothing at all, so why not give them a shot and see what happens? Make sure you let us know how you get on – good luck!