5 Simple, Low-Budget Growth Hacks to Increase App Downloads User acquisition doesn't have to be complicated or expensive.

By Steve Young

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Are you looking for simple strategies that can lead to thousands -- if not millions -- of downloads? Are you looking for out-of-the-box app marketing ideas to help your app get discovered? Getting downloads for your app is a tough task. But here are five simple growth hacks to help you increase downloads for your app.

Related: How Much Does it Cost to Create an App?

1. Offer an 'exclusive' to gain some PR.

I thought that the strategy having to do with exclusivity had lost its magic. However, reporters from The Next Web and TechCrunch have indicated that the strategy still does, in fact, get their attention.

What does an exclusive strategy entail? You give a big website the first right to publish your announcement. If its editor agrees, you cannot pitch other websites until after the first one posts the article. Big websites love getting an exclusive, because that means that they will be the first to write about your news. This also leads to the other big websites linking back to them as the source.

Using this exclusive strategy has allowed us to secure coverage for our customers on TechCrunch, Social Times, iMore,TouchArca de, Daily Dot and more.

2. Share your app via a text message.

Max Page, founder of Lifter, recommends using text messages to allow users to share things they are creating in your app. This one-to-one recommendation from a trusted source creates higher click-to-install rates. Unlike social media, shares will not get lost in a stream of other updates.

Related: 5 Tips for Getting Media to 'Swipe Right' on Your Press Release

In Lifter, people can create workouts and tap, to instantly text that workout to a friend. "We have personal trainers using it now to share workouts with their clients," says Page.

Moreover, Branch Metrics reports that SMS has an 18 percent click-to-install rate -- the second best-performing channel behind Facebook.

3. Localize your app.

"In order to open the app to the world, and check the demand for our app globally, we translated the description of our app to 30 languages," says Nadav Trenter Moser, co-founder of SALT App. That app has grown to 180,000 organic installs in one year with a zero marketing cost.

Localizing your app can significantly raise the chances that people will find your app. After determining your top countries and languages, you can decide whether translating the in-app content is worth the ROI.

4. Get app store reviews for app updates.

With Apple resetting your app's reviews upon a new release, Ian Small, CEO of Audiobooks.com, suggests prompting your most engaged customers to review your app whenever an update is live. "They're likely to provide positive feedback, which will drive up your app's rating and contribute to higher ranking in the app store [and thus, so more download]," says Small.

This simple strategy helped AudioBooks.com generate a 40 percent increase in its daily downloads and climb from number 10 to number 6 in the "Books" category.

5. Target competitors' keywords.

Brandon Brown, co-founder of Grin, says that his company "generated 2,000,000 downloads within the first 12 months through targeting competitor app names as keywords."

Related: 5 Ways Competition Can Help Your App Succeed

This straightforward App Store Optimization strategy of focusing on competitor app names with high traffic and low difficulty allowed Grin to quickly generate traction and climb the ranks in its app niche. Brown said that, "In order for this to work, your app must have a strong app-store conversion rate and high retention."


User acquisition doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. Using the strategies outlined above, you will be able to gain traction for your app in no time.

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Steve Young

App Marketing Specialist and Founder of Appmasters.co

Steve P. Young is an app marketing consultant and founder of AppMasters.co. He helps clients get featured by Apple, increase downloads using App Store Optimization and drive cost effective influencer marketing campaigns.

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