With nearly two million apps in the App Store it can be a challenge to get your app noticed as a developer. The App Store has been around for over a decade and is constantly changing and improving. Developers don’t need to spend an arm and leg to grow their numbers, they just need to take advantage of some simple strategies.
After spending months, even years, designing and creating an app you’re finally ready to share it with everyone. Since the world is already filled with thousands of apps, you need to do something to attract attention. Here are some simple strategies to help so you don’t have to go it alone.
1. Brand Your App
First, like anything else, you need to dress to impress. Making a good first impression can make or break you. Put time and effort into your brand and image. Your app icon says everything about you and your identity. It should be a clear and straightforward representation of your app.
Think of some of your favorite brands, they all have a “wow” factor to them. The best brands pay attention to the nitty-gritty details like font, color, and logo. Making a good first impression will help you stand out from the competition.
2. Quality Screenshots
Now that you have your fancy app looking its best, it’s time to pair it with appropriate screenshots. Don’t get lazy with this part. Not everyone wants to read a book about what your app can do so show them what it can do. Take some time to put together quality screenshots, previews, and intro videos.
You’ve heard the old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words,” well, the same applies to app screenshots. Show off what your app will look like on users’ screens while it’s running. This is usually the first thing people are going to see so be sure to focus on the most important features.
It is still important to write a compelling app description that communicates what your app has to offer. Just be sure your screenshots are up to snuff.
3. App Store Optimization
Another way to increase your downloads is through App Store Optimization (ASO). Think of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but instead of optimizing website searches you’ll be optimizing mobile app searches. Basically this is a way to improve your app’s visibility in the App Store to get more downloads and increase app conversion rates.
Keep in mind that no matter how great your app icon looks people won’t be able to download it if they can’t find it. Make your app discoverable to your target audience and users.
When most people think of ASO, they attribute it only to high rankings within the App Store search results but ASO can also increase your click-through rate. The most common ASO tactics include keyword optimization, search and paid ads, category rankings, and featured apps. App Store search is the most common way users discover new apps. The higher an app ranks within search results, the more exposure it will get.
Most people only look at the top 10-15 apps, so the higher ranking an app is the more downloads it’s going to get.
Don’t forget about your global audience. By making your app and keywords available in other languages, not just English, you can get users across the world to discover your app.
In case you weren’t aware, Apple is available in 175 regions and 40 languages. With Apple’s powerful tools and technologies, it’s easy to prepare your apps to support multiple regions and languages. Things like Xcode, Foundation APIs, Auto Layout, and Unicode make localizing your app a breeze.
If you want to localize the content within your app you might need to do a little more in-depth translating but it might be worth your time.
5. Paid-to-Free Campaign
This one is a favorite and perhaps the most powerful. For those of you wondering what exactly is a paid-to-free campaign, it’s AppsGoneFree. It’s all about making a paid app free for a period of time and driving hundreds, possibly thousands of downloads within that time. AppsGoneFree also features apps that are willing to give away an in-app purchase to users for free for a couple of days.
Now that your app has gained some traction it will move up in the top charts, gaining even more visibility and hopefully driving additional revenue for the days or weeks to follow. A bonus with the paid-to-free campaign is your app will be in the hands of lots of new users. These new users can spread the word about your app to their friends and family.
Hopefully, some of them are kind enough to leave you a rating and positive review. Reviews and comments play a crucial role and can affect whether someone downloads your app or not and how your app ranks in search results.
There are a few requirements that developers must meet in order to get featured:
- It must have a three-star average rating (with a minimum of five total ratings) in the US App Store at the time it goes free.
- The app cannot contain ads.
- The app must not have been free numerous times (3+) over the last six months.
- If you are promoting a free in-app purchase, it must unlock or add substantial value to the app. It cannot simply be consumables like coins, lives, etc.
- If you are promoting a free subscription, it has to be in addition to what is normally offered as a free trial. For example, if your app normally has a free trial of seven days, extending it to one month for our users would qualify. The minimum requirement is one month free and it can only be featured once every six months.
If you’re a developer wanting to submit an app for a paid-to-free campaign, simply send a request to [email protected] with the subject “AppsGoneFree.” Please include the name of the app, a link to it in the App Store, when and for how long you intend to offer the app for free, and anything else you would like to share. We will take it from there.
Increasing app downloads will take a little effort but it doesn’t have to break the bank or consume your every moment. Don’t be afraid to make changes, see how things unfold, and adjust accordingly. The most important thing is to keep your target audience’s interest a top priority.
Let us know if you found this post helpful, and of course please share these useful strategies with your friends and fellow developers.