How our app got 50,000 downloads in a month without any marketing budget


Driving awareness and downloads for your mobile app is an extremely difficult task, more so when you are bootstrapped or on a tight budget. Getting the initial mileage is the toughest when moving from 100 installs (usually by friends and relatives) seems impossible and you don’t know what to do next!

Social media and search marketing campaigns are the buzzword these days and one must leverage these highly effective mediums to get eyeballs for their brand.

I am sharing how our social media and search marketing campaigns worked for us and boosted our app’s awareness, initiated downloads, and how you can do it too.

We launched the go-to-market version of our app Testify on the Google Play Store in the month of April, and ended up with 50,000 downloads on May 20.

Here is the list of things we did and how you can also leverage these methods:

Create relatable content in the form of images, videos, texts and distribute on social media

We created an album of images on the occasion of Mother’s Day, which had screenshots of conversation with mom. It was shared by 3-4 people at once and then it started picking up and even before we could realise, it had 8,922 shares within one week, and the best part is that this was achieved with a zero budget. After this, several Facebook pages with more than one million reach shared this campaign, giving this campaign a cumulative reach of around 20 million. After this, every post on the page started getting organic reach and clicks, which gave mileage to the app’s download. 

Stay active and consistent on all social media platforms

We stay pretty active on online platforms including Vine, Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter. Different kinds of audience stay active on different kinds of platforms. We were primarily looking for video creators and digital content viewers. So we knew we could find our target audience here. Several posts of ours go viral on Vine frequently, resulting in many Vine celebs signing up on our app and utilising our video editing tools for making better Vine videos. Again, this is also on zero budget.

Tie-ups with bloggers, influencers and active social media users

We went ahead and did tie-ups with multiple bloggers of the same niche/the ones who cater to a similar community, for a ripple effect within that community. For example, we did tie-ups with multiple Delhi-based food bloggers, so that a majority of Delhi’s audience has a curiosity towards the app and goes downloads it. And it worked! We also worked with some bloggers based out of Madrid/Barcelona and Sydney to target those geographies. This campaign is also really affordable if you do your negotiation right.

Do not underestimate the power of organic search within the Google Play Store

There are several theories about how Google Play Store search algorithm works and how you can crack it. Broadly, it is a combination of number of downloads per day, reviews, rate of downloads, rate of uninstalls and rate of crash reports.

Wherever you go, you will hear different advice on how you can achieve better ranking on the Google Play Store. However, there is no fixed formula and everyone has to devise their own way.

We ensured that we had consistent traffic and downloads per day, maintained positive reviews (which also includes personally asking everyone we meet to check out our app and give a review) and deep-linking within the app to get more positive reviews on the Play Store.

Our app now stays under Top 50 in the Media & Video category and frequently appears in the Top 10 of trending section in Media & Video category. It also appears in the Top 15 under the search keyword 'video editor'.

Invite, invite, invite

We have given users a lot of deep links within the app from where they are prompted to share their videos to other social media platforms and also to invite their friends in different ways. You have to modify your product such that you can embed 'invites' features without being obstructive.

When we launched the app, we were totally confused about what next. Therefore, I have shared with you all what we have experienced in our initial journey of getting the first 50,000 users for our app.. We still have a very long way to go and I hope we are able to find our way from 50,000 to 50 million soon. I hope you can achiever the same for your startup as well.

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


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