Simple ways to drive more app downloads

Having worked with a couple of apps in the past including Static and Buffer (my current role), I have seen that seemingly tiny and insignificant tweaks to your app listing can make a huge impact on downloads.

The chart below shows the number of apps available in leading app stores as of July 2015. As you can see there are LOADS! This makes it clear that standing out in the crowd is an increasingly difficult challenge for app marketers (especially if you are bootstrapping or on a tight budget).

app chart

Create an engaging App icon 

It might seem obvious but it’s surprising how many developers overlook this.

Today I experimented with this on an app I’m working on as a fun hobby and am excited to see if this has any impact on downloads. As you can see below, the text on the ninja’s headband is very small once you scale it down in size so it felt good to remove completely. I also felt that the icon wasn’t dynamic enough so I added a bit more colour by making the star stand out a bit more and making the eyes more prominent.

Here are the small tweaks I made to the icon design. It’s too early to tell if this will generate more downloads but I will update this as time goes on 🙂

beforeafterApp name: Another seemingly simple one.

My game was previously called “I am 360” which didn’t feel ideal. Because of the ninja icon I decided to call it ‘360 Ninja’ instead to make it sound a bit more fun. I’m not sure if this will work and only time will tell! So far a couple of reviews have mentioned Ninjas though which is encouraging 🙂


App screenshot images – Another key area to try and reel downloads in is the ‘screenshots’ section. Some developers choose to upload a couple of screenshots of the app in action which is great. That being said, all the top performing apps really make the most of this screen real estate to showcase features dynamically and onboard the user before they have even downloaded the app!

I love the way that Uber do this 🙂 It’s a super simple walkthrough and takes the user on a journey right from the landing page!

walkthroughLocalisation – This one feels like a no brainer! If your app is listed in 20 countries then it makes sense to localise the copy and promote your offering in each native language. If I am in London and want to buy a tube of Korean toothpaste, the last thing I want to do is brush my teeth with athletes foot cream later that evening! Localisation is super important!

This weekend I am going to go through each country listing on my developer account and translate the basic copy using Google translate. It might not be perfect but will at least give prospective users the gist 🙂 This includes copy on the images too!

These are super super basic things and I have so much to learn about this. If you are just setting out on your app journey then I hope this helped 🙂



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