How To Get More App Installs


Kevin Urrutia


Mobile Apps


May 05, 2024

If you have been searching for strategies to get more app installs or downloads for some time, you’ve probably noticed that most articles offer only some general advice like: “use SEO” or “get more active on Social Media.”

But what you’re probably looking for are actionable tips you can implement and see some results, right?

So, my goal for this article is pretty simple: to offer concrete, practical ways to get more app installs. There is no general advice, only real-life examples you can adapt for your business.

  • Here’s an overview of what you’ll discover in this article:
  • How to get more app downloads if you’re starting;
  • How to get your app almost viral;
  • How to turn every existing customer into a salesperson promoting the app for you;
  • How to use Facebook’s advanced targeting strategies to drive more app installs;
  • How to use reviews to increase your conversion rate.;

Ready? Let’s dive right into it.

1. If you’re starting, use the “list post” guest blogging strategy

On many blogs out there, you’ll find this advice when it comes to app install tactics: “start a blog,” “blog frequently about your app.”

We focus on direct response and customer acquisition in e-commerce, lead gen, and mobile. When it comes to results and leads, we speak your language.

The problem with this strategy is that blogging doesn’t equal traffic.


Because there are millions of blogs out there, Google has to rank them based on its authority. And this authority usually means having a lot of backlinks with leads (this means having other powerful websites link to your website).

So, the point is, if you want traffic from search engines, you need to have a well-optimized website.

Depending on your niche, it could take a lot of hard work to rank for a particular keyword.

So, what can you do, right?

Well, the simplest way is to piggyback on other websites’ authority and traffic.

Let’s say you have an app for taking notes. You can go to Google, type in “best apps for taking notes” + “list,” and check the articles on the top 3-5 positions with a list article.

Then, check each app and see how your app is better than those.

And the last step, of course, is to pitch the blog owner to include your app in the article.

But as you probably suspect, we’re not the only people who thought of this tactic. So, since the blog owner’s inbox is probably full of pitches, you need an email to stand out from the crowd.

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Below is an email I successfully used to reach people I haven’t met before, including for this guest post (thank you, Kevin!) and some great feedback from blog owners.

Hello Kevin,

Nobody likes cold emails, do they?

So, to make this a little less awkward, here’s a photo of me holding a banner with your website name on it.

Now that I hope we have broken the ice just a little bit, here’s why I am bothering you.

I want to contribute to a guest post on your blog.

But because you probably get a lot of crappy emails who want to write a copy-pasted article from another blog, just for the sake of a link, here are the top 5 reasons why I think my post would bring value to you:

You must copy this intro and add the top 3-5 reasons why your app should be in that article.

2. Once your app gets some visibility, use review articles to convince more and more people to install it

Ok, this tactic won’t work from day 1.

But, after you create some buzz and people start hearing about your app from different sources, this tactic can help convince them to install it.

How does it work?

It’s pretty simple. Let’s say you are a user searching for an app for taking notes.

You probably first Google something like: “best app for taking notes.”

From that list, you’ve probably chosen two or three that sparked your interest, but you don’t want to go through all the hassle of trying all three and then having to uninstall the ones you don’t like, right?

So, what’s the next obvious step? Reviews and comparisons, right?

Here’s an example of how many people are comparing Evernote to Google Keep:

Now, all you have to do is:

  1. Find the top blogs that are making comparisons in your niche: [similar app] + review or [similar app one vs. similar app 2]
  2. Offer them free use of your app in exchange for an honest and in-depth on their blog.

You can even adapt the same pitch from above to get their attention and increase your chances of success.

3. Get almost viral adoption by integrating your app with complementary apps

Using this tactic, you, you another app’s traffic to get installs at 0 acquisition costs.

For example, by integrating Slack with Zappier, every Zappier user can quickly discover Slack.

Or, if you want a pure mobile app integration, here’s how JetBlue integrates with Lyft to drive more app installs for literally zero costs.

Or this Google Maps and Uber mobile app integration

What do all these integrations have in common, and why are they so successful?

One thing: they all provide value to their partner.

Take the last example. By integrating with Uber and Lyft, Google maps add more value to their users by not only offering the next logical step a user might take (which is finding a way to reach his destination) but also offering diverse solutions someone can choose from.

4. Get viral by turning every existing customer into a salesperson for your app

The trick here is to offer a strong incentive to both the one who refers and the referred person (but that’s not limited to stimuli, as we’ll see in a second).

One of the most famous examples is Dropbox. When one person who has Dropbox refers to another, they both get a 500MB increase.

Another great example is Evernote which has both an online and offline virality leverage.

In the online world, when you refer a friend, you earn points to redeem Evernote Premium. When your friends get started, they’ll get one month of Premium too.

And in the offline world, they’ve turned one of their biggest problems into an advantage that can help them attract more users.

The problem was that if you were in a meeting and taking notes on your Evernote, the people around could think that you were ignoring them or being rude, and you chat on Facebook with your friends.

So they came up with the following idea:

This helps Evernote interestingly present its app while making people curious enough to check it.

Remember: if you want to turn every existing user into a sales agent, you have to offer a compelling incentive to both parties involved.

5. Use Facebook’s advanced targeting features to reach people similar to your existing users

The simplest, obvious way is to use Facebook’s App Installs objective, preferably with a FREE trial as an incentive to download it (if it’s not a free app).

This is a unique feature of your ad in front of your ideal client; when he clicks the ad, he’ll be redirected to install your app.

Well, this works well, but if you want to scale things and dramatically increase your conversion rates, here’s a better strategy.

Once you have an existing user base (a.k.a, you have their emails), you can use Facebook to find more people similar to your current customers.

It’s called Lookalike audience, and here’s how simple it is to implement it.

First, you create a usual campaign with App Installs as the objective.

Then, you create a custom audience.

You select App Activity as a source.

And here you have a few useful options. You can create a custom audience that contains only the most active users in the past X days (I recommend this option because it works like crazy).

Another helpful option is to build an audience from your top purchasers.

And then, create a Lookalike audience starting from this custom one.

Here you can leave all the options as they are pre-populated.

After that, the rest of the ad creation process is the same as usual: you upload your image and fill in the text you want.

Before you begin implementing any of these strategies…

Each of the strategies mentioned above works best only if you clearly define who is your ideal client.

Once you know precisely what problems your app solve for him, what his objectives are for not installing your app, and what other apps he compares your app with, then you can create compelling messages and also find even more creative ways to target your users and get them to install your app.

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