By Alex Samuely - Contributing blogger, Mobile Commerce Daily
Every marketer with a mobile app wants to add a few zeros to the number of total user downloads. However, capturing higher spots within the Google Play and Apple App Stores may prove to be an elusive task for some brands – unless they follow the three cardinal rules of convincing customers to relinquish their prime smartphone real estate in favor of yet another app. Driving app downloads is not an unachievable task if a marketer’s mobile budget is slimmer than desired. It can be accomplished by following several steps that leverage an already-existing social media audience and offer real utility to target users.
Few individuals can resist an enticing welcome incentive accompanying an app download. This can take the form of an exclusive mobile coupon for a free item – a strategy used by many quick service restaurant chains – or a discount code usable on a future purchase. In the case of Chick-fil-A, the restaurant brand was able to nab the highest spot in the App Store – despite late entry into the mobile app market – by giving each new user a coupon for a complimentary chicken sandwich. For a limited time, individuals could take advantage of the offer for in-store or mobile purchases, a strategy that significantly paid off for the chain.
Other competitors, such as McDonald’s, have also fueled app downloads by offering new users a free menu item, regardless if they are loyalty members or not. Few people can turn down a free product with no purchase necessary, making this practice a must-have for any marketer in the food and beverage or retail industries.
The next item on the checklist places a focus on promoting the app to a preexisting social media following. A brand’s arsenal of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest followers is already somewhat interested with its latest business happenings, making those channels an ideal kickoff point for organic promotion. Have a highly engaged Instagram audience? Offer those followers a sneak peek of the mobile app several days before making the launch announcement.
Another option is to run a promotional social media contest with a designated campaign hashtag. The most effective way to leverage this strategy, however, is to combine it with the previous one. If social media fans are the first to find out about a new mobile app featuring a hefty welcome incentive or coupon, half the battle is already won.
The final download-driving cincher is exclusivity. Brands attempting to incite app installs should reward users with sneak peeks for upcoming collections, and – if possible – offer app-only flash sales and discounts. Retailers such as Gilt and Rue La La have cultivated strong mobile followings thanks to their daily flash sales, proving that the anticipation of waiting for fresh inventory is enough to convince consumers to rope off some smartphone real estate for a new app. Additionally, new customers who have not yet downloaded a specific brand’s app may be persuaded to do so with the promise of a first glimpse at a highly-anticipated product line. Better yet – if they find the continually refreshed content engaging enough, they may decide to stick around even after the initial novelty has worn off.
Ultimately, marketers looking to ramp up their app installs must undertake an individualistic approach to implementing these three downloading-driving tactics. Some may need to place a greater weight on one strategy, based on audience response or budget constraints, while others might find the best value in leveraging an equal combination of all three. As long as the overarching theme of rewarding and incentivizing the user with exclusivity and relevant content is kept top-of-mind, marketers are likely to watch their app download numbers jump higher and higher.
Ready to start driving app downloads for your brand?
Author: Alex Samuely
Alex is a New York-based tech writer with experience in analyzing social media campaigns and mobile strategy. She currently writes for Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily, where she covers brand-oriented news spanning the retail, travel, and food and beverage industries. In her spare time, Alex is an avid traveler, reader, and creative writer.