How to Get Your App Discovered and Downloaded
Even after all the time you’ve spent developing your app, your pride and joy, all that effort will be for nothing unless you do some important additional work: getting end-users to discover and download your app.
This last step may be as much work as it took to build the app itself. With iOS and Android each swiftly approaching 1 million apps, getting yours noticed is no easy task. Here are some suggestions for making your app stand out and building a sticky userbase. Some ideas may seem obvious, but they’ll get you results.
1. Spend time on beta testing
Having people test your app before its release is well worth the time. Beta testers will give you realistic feedback about what users will experience and what needs to be fixed or changed before the app rolls out. Due to the glut of apps on the market, if your software crashes or doesn’t perform as intended, a user likely will delete your app without a second thought.
In addition to saving your app from a potential embarrassing death, sometimes beta testers also offer fresh ideas for improvement. This could mean streamlining the app by cutting unnecessary features, adding a feature that would make sense, or even repackaging the purpose for your app altogether. After all, Flickr started as a photo-sharing add-on for an online game’s chat room until someone realized its true potential.
And the more eyes, the better—when it comes to beta testing, you want the largest, most diverse trial audience possible. With any luck, some in the pool of testers will be eager to talk up your great app to their buddies, driving more people to check it out once it’s live.
2. Offer frequent updates
Analytics show that about a quarter of apps downloaded are opened once and then never again. This illustrates a couple of points: that first impressions really are the most important, and that you can’t measure an app’s success by downloads alone. (What good is a high number of downloads if users aren’t engaged enough to return?)
One way to keep users coming back is with frequent updates. Most developers hate how much Angry Birds is pointed to as a benchmark for app success, but it’s a fact that Angry Birds coming out with new versions—some tied in with movies or holidays—kept the game fresh instead of letting it become a flash in the pan.
Rolling out frequent updates to your app may remind users it’s there and cause them to rediscover it or lead them to open your app out of curiosity about new features. (Some developers even purposefully leave out a couple of good features from the first version of their apps to get users to download an updated version later.)
3. Take advantage of discovery services
Due to the difficult nature of getting an app into the spotlight, there are now companies exploring the complex experience of app discovery. Many of these services are designed for users in order to connect them with apps they’ll enjoy, but there’s no reason developers can’t take advantage of these resources as well. Look into how to get your app on users’ radar through social circles, recommendations from similar apps, and engagement and interaction.