How to Make Your Mobile App Popular

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Is there a formula for making apps go viral? There doesn't seem to be, but there's a jumbled mix of persistence, app design, smart marketing, and a "wow" factor that can help your mobile app become popular.

Even though the average person checks their phone 344 times each day and spends most of their on-screen time on apps, it is still very hard for apps to go viral. As a developer, think about how to make your app popular right from the design stage.

This guide covers all the ingredients of that special soup that helps apps take off. From creating awareness for your app, capturing interest, and growing your user base, we will give you a few ideas about how to create an effective but affordable user acquisition strategy.

#1. The "Wow" Factor: Provide Unique Value

Tiktok went viral because it allowed people to create and share video shorts that were highly addictive. FaceApp blew up because its AI-powered engine allowed people to make faces appear older or younger. 

For most of the other apps out there with many millions of downloads, there is a distinct feature that provides value to the users. Whether that's utility (such as Shazam), or plain fun (Angry Birds), that's the factor that makes people use your app and want to tell their friends about it.

Sometimes, the "wow" factor boils down to simple things such as an intuitive, bug-free user experience. Where competition is tough, an easier registration process could make all the difference in popularity.

While your app is still in beta, it helps to have early users give feedback and write reviews to help you work out kinks and bugs. These insights will help you fine-tune the app's utility to user needs.

#2. Smart Marketing: Gain Visibility and Growth

Even great apps have to be discovered first. Once your app is live, implement an aggressive strategy that puts it in front of as many eyeballs as you can. Social media campaigns and paid ads are great for this, but it will cost you some money.

Leverage App Store Optimization (ASO)

One way to gain awareness in the over-saturated mobile app market is to use App-Store optimization (ASO).

ASO is the SEO of the mobile app world. To leverage ASO, start with a descriptive and memorable name for your app. In your app store description, use specific keywords and feature screenshots, or a video instruction summarizing main app highlights.

Your app's name should be easy to remember. For instance, if you are marketing your budget tracker app, it should include the keywords 'budget tracker.' Remember, not many users check the description of an app if you did not optimize the name for what the users were searching for.

In addition, your app description should include important information such as update descriptions and teaser videos. 

Build an Online Presence

Now that you have optimized your mobile app for the app store, you'll need to create an online presence for it. 

Why? Credibility. 

People want to know that your app is legitimate and that you are serious about it as a business. You can achieve this by:

  • Featuring your app prominently on your website, not as an afterthought, but as the star of the show.
  • Using social media to reach paid and organic audiences, as well as potential consumers.
  • Use influencers to promote your app, as the influencer marketing business is expected to grow to $16.4 billion by 2022. You need to partner with an influencer working in the same field as your app for this to work. Utilizing a beauty influencer to promote your budgeting software might bring in a few customers, but it's not as effective as using a finance influencer.

Research and Targeting

Now that you've designed an app that's simple to use and valuable, make sure it answers a specific problem that a targeted group of customers is having.

For example, if your research indicates that people like to use a budgeting app that allows them to customize their budget tracker, monitor their savings and debt repayments, create an app that does just that. When you concentrate on the needs of your users, the rest will fall into place with time.

For example, users who download your app and discover that it offers more than budget tracking will mark it as helpful software that should be kept. They may even share your app with their friends or coworkers, boosting its likelihood of going viral.

Leverage the Power of Sharing

Apps grow best through direct recommendations from friends, colleagues, and people on social media. Recommendations mean a great deal and are the main ingredient in the viral app soup.

Since your app is (hopefully) already exciting to use and makes users want to recommend it to others, you should make it easy and provide incentives for them to do that.

  • Build sharing and invites directly in to the app
  • Offer rewards for users who have more referrals
  • Add features that allow users to send invites directly to other users
  • Gamify the app, for example, have a feature that lets compete against friends
  • Create online communities such as social media where people can talk about the app

#3. Ensure Your Mobile App Is Secure

Security is one of the most important aspects of app development. An unprotected mobile application poses a real threat because we keep and work on critical data on our phones, such as payments, banking details, access keys, health, and personal information.

Cybersecurity is one of the biggest fears of mobile users today. People are suspicious of new apps, and rightly so. Take time to gain all necessary certification and approval to boost confidence among users.

Some of the common security features you can implement include encrypting critical data such as cache, API connectivity, and local database encryption.

Build an Effective App Promotional Strategy

The possibilities of app advertising are limitless, but it takes effort to put together an effective app that users will actually find useful and one that will get featured in app stores. 

As you design and promote your app, make sure you understand your target audience. It would be a waste of effort to design a budgeting app that does not allow the user to save data that has been entered. Keep in mind that the quality of your app's user experience will impact how many users will download and use it.

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