How to reach 1 million app downloads - 10 quick hacks

By Laxman Papineni
May 26, 2015, Updated on : Thu Apr 08 2021 09:02:44 GMT+0000
How to reach 1 million app downloads - 10 quick hacks
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One million app downloads! That’s where the party begins for app developers. But the task in question isn’t easy to achieve. I’ve seen a lot of app developers who’ve spent enormous amount of marketing dollars on worthless tactics (in order to achieve this mark) but have failed miserably.

Chasing every metric to increase your app downloads is neither justified nor conducive. Here’s a quick list of hacks (that deliver and matter) to make you reach your one million mark in no time.

Brilliant UI

If your app cannot entice your user, it won’t do much for you as well. Your consumers have matured over the years and therefore are ready to wait, than invest their time in a shoddy app. This leads us to two things-- first, the UI should be responsive across devices and, secondly, should be able to delight the customer in the first go.


A developer’s job here is to either gain expertise and produce a brilliant app or seek assistance from renowned names in the industry.

Recommended read- 30 Recent Inspirational UI Examples in Mobile Device Screens

Crash Free App

No one likes a buggy app. Period. The utmost priority for a developer is to ensure a smooth app for its users. For the same reasons it is always advised to test the app in beta. There are numerous platforms and some of them are listed below:

  1. Betalist
  2. Erli Bird
  3. BetaTalks
  4. BetaBound

There are numerous other options that are available for the developers and one should choose the right platform even if it requires an investment. Poor or fewer reviews may lead to limited fixes to your app, making the complete task futile.

Recommended read- 10 Places To Find Beta Testers For Free

User Ratings on Playstore

Apart from being buggy, as mentioned above, there may be umpteen reasons for users to rate your app poorly. The task is to keep yourself abreast about everything related to your app and continually support your customers. In my experience, customer ‘appiness’ is quite underrated, and, therefore, it needs to be embedded in the core value of the team. Nailing user ratings on playstore requires a clear strategy and should not have a run of the mill approach. Developers who fiddle with the user experience are shown the door by today’s evolved users.

Recommended read- The right way to ask users to review your app


In-App Referrals

A lot has been said about word-of-mouth/referral marketing and it’s high time that app developers/marketers take notice of this tactic. Cab industry worldwide has been at the forefront of using In-app referrals and your app can too!

But there’s more than what meets the eye and a lot of developers face challenges while implementing one, since it requires time and money. The best approach here is to opt for a plug-and-play approach, that solves all this instantly, just like AppVirality.

AppVirality’s solution helps app developers by incorporating this feature from deep within the app and is already powering major Indian e-commerce apps in categories that include shopping, mobile recharge, travel, telecom etc.

Please The Press

The presence of press is always debatable, however, if your app is reviewed by a prestigious platform/reporter it sure adds some value to your app’s popularity and initial growth. With millions of readers up their alley, a positive feedback from the press can give the initial spurt that is required to make an app shine on the playstore. Developers should also look out for specific platforms promoted by the Press. For example, YS supports a platform called ‘App-Friday’, where they feature recently launched apps.


Recommended read- How to Get Press Coverage for Your App Like a Boss

Launching On The Right Platform

Let’s face it. A press release will give you that initial mileage, but what happens post that is what determines the longevity of your app, in the mind of your userbase. Marketing and PR with big budget always remains an option but one must realise the ‘real press’ in today’s time comes through your users and the app community.

I’ve always been of the opinion to showcase an app/product on a platform where it makes sense. A platform that has active users who are really interested in your product. That’s why I am a big advocate of a platform like Product Hunt. Not only will your product get the right kind of visibility, feedback from users will also help you to improve your product and scale well.


Recommended read : How a $2.99 recipe app became a Top 2 Paid App in the App Store

Growth Hacking In App Share Intent

The simplest yet the most ignored aspect of increasing app downloads lies in the In-app share intent. Most apps have no control over default share intent, which is a major roadblock when it comes to recommending an app via social media channels through your phone. Most users have to scroll through unnecessary icons to reach out the platform of their choice. Imagine this happening with millions of users who want to suggest your app to other!


Recommended Read: In-App Share Intent: The One Mobile Growth Hack You Aren’t Using

Invest Into Content

Every business today swears by the name of content and its benefits and app business is not an exception to the rule. Confused about how content can increase app downloads? There are numerous ways:

  1. App developers should invest into developing an exceptional microsite along with a blogger outreach program. The result of both these strategies leads to quality content being generated and would increase word-of-mouth.
  2. Blogs, microsites, third party reviews (through blogger outreach program) are one of the few ways of creating buzz. However, video content is something that is naturally popular with users. Videos Increase People’s Understanding Of Your Product Or Service by 74%.

Up Your Social Game

The best way to increase reach of your app is through social media since it harbors your users. Social media platforms can be used not only to share specific content about your app but also to impart customer service and handle responses/feedback about your app.

As opposed to conventional marketing methods, social media space is quite dynamic and, therefore, app developers should up their social game to gain customer loyalty. Another bright idea is to integrate social media with the app, thereby increasing its chance of share by users!

Stir Up A Discount

Lastly, if you are offering an app with a price tag, then a sign-up discount is a great way to entice your current and new users. It will also keep new users from abandoning the app.

There you have it! The 10 quick hacks that actually matter and will help you reach that 1 million mark in no time.

Do share your feedback in the comments below.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)