How To Get More App Installs


Kevin Urrutia


Mobile Apps


January 23, 2022

If you were searching for some time for strategies to get more app installs or downloads 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 some actionable tips that you can actually implement and see some results, right?

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

  • Here’s an overview of what you’ll discover in this article:
  • How to get more app downloads if you’re just starting out;
  • 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.

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

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

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


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

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

Which depending on your niche, it could take a lot of hard work to rank for a certain keyword.

So, what can you do, right?

Well, the simplest way is to piggyback on other website’s 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 that have 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 used successfully to reach out to people I haven’t met before, including for this guest post (thank you, Kevin!) and which got 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 broke the ice just a little bit, here’s why I am bothering you.

I would like to contribute with a guest post on your blog.

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

All you have to do is 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 you convince them to install it.

How does it work?

It’s pretty simple. Let’s say you are a user who is 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 sparkled 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 doing comparisons in your niche: [similar app] + review or [similar app 1 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 basically use another app’s traffic to get installs at 0 acquisition costs.

For example, by integrating Slack with Zappier, every Zappier user can easily 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 they’re so successful?

One thing: they all provide value to their partner.

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

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

The trick here is to offer a strong incentive to both the one who refers and to the referred person (but that’s not limited to incentives, 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 who has both an online and an 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 you were taking notes on your Evernote, the people around could think that you’re ignoring them or that you’re being rude and you actually chat on Facebook with your friends.

So they came with the following idea:

This helps Evernote present their app in an interesting way while making people curious enough to check the app.

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

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

The simplest way and the most 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 special feature that puts your ad in front of your ideal client and when he clicks the ad, he’ll be redirected to install your app.

Well, this works pretty well, but if you want to scale things and also 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 existing customers.

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

First, you create a usual campaign which has App Installs as 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 totally recommend you this option because it works like crazy).

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

And then to create the 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 you 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 exactly what problems does your app solve for him, what are his objectives for not installing your app, what other apps does he compare your app with, then you can create truly powerful messages and also find even more creative ways to target your users and get them to install your app.

Patrik Bindea is a growth hacking marketer and the owner of, where he helps dentists get more patients. He obsessively tests everything until he finds those details that turn strategies, concepts, and words into sales. 
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