How to get a five-star app rating and five-digit downloads

1. Four Quarters vs. Ten Dime 
At BIGEYE, we would rather have four quarters than ten dimes. In other words, seek out quality app users — even if that means your adoption and download rate will be slower at first — because happy users leave positive reviews, share your content, and become unofficial brand ambassadors for your app. And the higher your app rating, the better your App Store ranking will be. Quality downloads, rather than quantity, are the fundamental building block of long-term app success. That means, if you’re tempted to purchase downloads on one of the many get-followers-fast websites or spam your entire email distribution list with app updates: stop right now and reread this paragraph.

2. Think Like Goldilocks

To get your app in front of quality users, you need to focus your optimization efforts. The key is that your search terms can’t be too broad (or you risk competing with too many other apps), and they can’t be too narrow (or you risk putting yourself in such a small niche that no one will find you) … they need to be juuuust right. Like Goldilocks. Partner with an agency to build a solid keyword strategy, then tag and place your terms three to five times anywhere and everywhere that is appropriate. This is true for search engine optimization around your app, YouTube content showcasing your app, your App Store description, and submission details. The clearer you are on who your audience is and why they might search for and use your app, the more successful these efforts will be.

3. Start With a Whisper (Launch)

If you have a new app, consider rolling out your platform with a whisper launch to quietly introduce curated users (think: family, friends, VIP customers, and select demographics) to your app to get early and actionable feedback, build ratings, and establish credibility before you start mass-promoting your app. If you go live with a big splash and immediately get a string of poor ratings and unhappy users, your app will be dead in the water before it has the chance to hit double digit downloads. By starting with a whisper launch, you can tweak bugs and unexpected behavior before it reaches the broader public. This can also serve as a unique way to engage desirable customer segments and make them feel special by giving them the opportunity to engage in an exclusive partnership with your brand and provide feedback before anyone else.

4. Fast Follow with a Bang

Once you’re confident that your app is ready for mass distribution, consider a Cost Per Install (CPI) burst campaign to quickly drive traffic to your app. The sudden influx of installations will help boost your ranking in Google Play and the Apple App Store, which will create a self-renewing stream of new users. The average app user does not scroll beyond the first 10-20 app results, and almost no one scrolls beyond the first 50, so your goal should be to incrementally and continuously increase rank within your keyword category (which is why those keywords really are so important). You can supplement these efforts with retargeting ad campaigns that announce your app to existing customers to increase effectiveness and reach.

5. Say it With a Video

Your customers don’t know what they don’t know. If you are launching a new app, the best way to encourage downloads and adoption is to make sure your customers understand what that app can do for them and why it’s valuable. Video is one of the easiest and most effective ways to do this. Create a YouTube video showcasing your app’s best features and functionality, then promote it across your website, social media channels, and via email. This is an inexpensive way to promote your app and can result in thousands of views and potential downloads if optimized and distributed appropriately. Leverage your agency partner to nail your video content and outreach strategy for maximum results.

If you are about to launch a new app, click here to learn more about some of the techniques and campaigns that have been successful for our other clients, or contact us today for a free consultation on how you can increase your download and user rate quickly and effectively. We will work with your organization to understand your demographic and brand proposition to create a tailored roll-out and optimization plan that is both budget-friendly and highly effective.

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