11 Strategies to Encourage Mobile App Downloads

Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council explain the tactics they’ve used to encourage customer downloads of their branded mobile apps.
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
March 4, 2021
Updated: July 13, 2021
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
March 4, 2021
Updated: July 13, 2021
mobile-app-downloads
Top row, from left: Tony Scherba, Zac Johnson, Andrew Schrage, John Turner. Middle row, from left: Syed Balkhi, Matthew Capala, Daisy Jing, Shaun Conrad. Bottom row, from left: Cody Candee, Stephanie Wells, Samuel Thimothy.

In todays mobile-first world, businesses can get tremendous value from developing and promoting branded mobile apps. Its a great way to reach customers where they are, providing them with an exciting new way to engage with your brand.

The problem, however, is that app fatigue may discourage consumers from downloading your newly launched mobile app. They may think, Why should I download another app on my phone when I can just go to the companys website?

To show your customers that your app is valuable and worth downloading, consider these 11 tried-and-true strategies from the members of the Young Entrepreneur Council who have successfully encouraged consumers to use their companies mobile apps.

1. Focus on the User Experience

So many people discredit word-of-mouth because you cant track it. Even during a pandemic, though, people still talk and recommend products to each other constantly. If you build a compelling user experience that delivers value for people and gets them what they came for in a compelling and simple way, they will tell their family, friends and co-workers about it. —Tony Scherba, Yeti

2. Offer a Video Tutorial

Video walkthroughs and tutorials are key. Reading an article or seeing a few screenshots is one thing, but watching someone walk through the features and benefits of using an app is quite another. You can deliver this video through your site content, mailing list and, of course, social media. The easier you make it for your audience to consume your app, the more they will engage with it. —Zac Johnson, Blogger

3. Give Your App an Appropriate Title

One tactic to get customers to download your new mobile app is to title it appropriately. You can go one of two routes. Either name the app in a way that clearly states what it does/the problem it solves or give it a creative name, but add something to the title (think relevant keywords that indicate purpose) so your customer knows what they’re getting when they download it. —Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

4. Offer Incentives

You can get more people to download your application by offering an incentive. For instance, you could let users know that they will get a generous discount the first time they sign in. Similarly, you could offer exclusive content benefits that are not available without the app. In other words, you need to give someone a reason to take action if you want to see your downloads increase over time. —John Turner, SeedProd LLC

5. Make It Easier to Use Than a Website

One reason users will be keen to use an app is if it makes accessing information easier than a website. Market your app by telling users they just have to enter a PIN or use their fingerprint to access the content. Make it easier for them to carry out specific activities as well. If your app is user-friendly and works well, your audience will download it willingly. —Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

6. Use Google Ads

Display ads can easily be used to bring customers and new visitors to your app. You are able to leverage existing analytics and keywords to simply expand your reach with an app. Even better, you’re not really reinventing anything if you’re already running Google Ads. —Matthew Capala, Alphametic

7. Keep Directing People to Your App

Every time you post online, direct people to visit your app. When they swipe up on Stories, link to opening the app or downloading it if they haven’t yet done so. Finally, every time you recommend something, make sure the items you suggest aren’t available everywhere. Instead, always direct customers to the app, leaving them with no choice but to install it. —Daisy Jing, Banish

8. Encourage Users to Leave Reviews

Ranking in search is just as important for your app as it is for your website. If people can’t find it, they won’t download it. One key to increasing your app’s visibility in the app store is positive ratings. Both the value and number of your reviews affect its position in the search results. Encourage your users to leave positive reviews with contests, incentives and discounts. —Shaun Conrad, Guitar Repair Bench

9. Develop Features That Are Only Available on the App

We have certain features that are only available in our mobile app. Customers discover us on the web and some even make a booking there. But to view their booking, see where to go and access other features, they need the app. This increased functionality is a very effective way to get increased app downloads from existing customers. —Cody Candee, Bounce

10. Promote Your App on Social Media

A great way to encourage customers to download your mobile app is to promote it on social media. With more than four billion social media users worldwide, you can target your audience and post content that entices them to download your app. This will increase user engagement and help you reach your mobile marketing goals quicker. —Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

11. Make It Easy for Users to Make Referrals

Referrals did the trick for us. We first used conventional marketing strategies like paid search and social campaigns to gain the first jump in download numbers. But these numbers significantly increased when we made referrals easy for our app users. We did this using email and in-app messaging. This was effective because our app solved a real problem for our users. Sharing was easy afterward. —Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

More from YEC Members15 Ways Business Owners Can Make the Most of Social Media

Expert Contributors

Built In’s expert contributor network publishes thoughtful, solutions-oriented stories written by innovative tech professionals. It is the tech industry’s definitive destination for sharing compelling, first-person accounts of problem-solving on the road to innovation.

Learn More

Great Companies Need Great People. That's Where We Come In.

Recruit With Us