How to promote an app? Summing up our 2020 experience

The algorithms of Google Play and the App Store are regularly changing. Some of these changes are clear, so we can track and analyze them. But the others are visible only on your customer’s experience. Therefore, we are monitoring individual cases of promotion and adapting our marketing strategies. We have noticed common mistakes that are typical for 5 out of 10 of our customers. For you to avoid them, we want to summarize our experience during the past 10-12 months. We’re going to give you clear guidelines about step-by-step promotion so that you can use it as an effective marketing plan. You’ll get answers to the questions that concern you. We’ll figure out how to identify your app niche, how to analyze the data of your competitors, and use them to your advantage. We’ll show you the ways to plan your promotion reasonably, not to waste your money and get profitable results. Finally, we’ll consider the process of promotion and highlight the issues which influence its effectiveness. All of this info is useful to conduct a seamless campaign. Keep reading to keep up the latest updates in mobile marketing and get practical tips about how to promote an app.

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How to advertise mobile app by competitors?

We have written about the importance of selecting keywords to advertise mobile app numerous times. However, it’s probably the most significant step, and you have to pay particular attention to it. To understand which keywords you need, analyze the product that you have created. Get a clear idea about the following issues:

  • What are the main functions of my app? 
  • What problems does it solve?
  • What category is it related to? 
  • What tech features does it have?

Having answered these questions, you’ll get the core. The core is the bunch of most meaningful words that describe your app. It could be race, dating, billing, etc. Then, create word combinations with these words to extend your keyword cloud. You can use noun+noun, noun+adjective, noun+verb, noun+adverb phrases like off-road race, dating near me, billing app offline free. The more precise the keyword is, the easier it is to promote. Try to create a large keyword cloud to have something to choose from. Popular niche at Google Play may require from 400 to 600 keywords for application. Not all of the search inputs will be useful for promotion, so you should check their relevance. It could be a long process because you have to do it manually. Enter your keywords in the search field and analyze the search results. If the apps are similar to yours and offer the same functionality, your keyword is appropriate. By doing that, you can also use the autosuggestions in the search and get some more ideas for keywords. 

That is how we used to work with keywords earlier. It is an effective method. However, sometimes it isn’t enough. Pick up your competitors’ keywords. If you run out of ideas for your keyword cloud, it’s time to search for similar apps and analyze them. Firstly, it’ll help you to understand what you need to improve. But more critical marketing insight is that you find words and phrases that bring conversion. If an app is optimized, it has keywords in its title, subtitle, and description. Moreover, professional ASO specialists use keywords in motivated reviews. Find apps with the most impressions in your niche and read through their descriptions and reviews. Pick up the phrases that could be relevant for you and add them to your keyword cloud. Omit brand names in your texts as the algorithm may ban your app. Nevertheless, you can add them to your incentive reviews. Having finished collecting keywords yourself, use free keyword analysis tools that will give you some more ideas.

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Use My Keywords section to find the keywords in the index and their current ranks.

Prelaunch mobile app optimization. Saving money and time for promotion

In the previous paragraph, we have mentioned ASO or app store optimization. Whether you want to index your app or boost its rank, you need to ASO it before the promotion – that significantly improves the effectiveness. Note that you have to do it before the product release and the marketing campaign. ASO is about improving several parts of your app: keyword cloud, title, icon, full & short description, and screenshots. Let’s consider all of these aspects.

We have already got the idea of how to make keyword research and create a keyword cloud. It’s time to take advantage of them. Use keywords in your title, description, and keywords field (for App Store). Let’s say you promote a new casino app. Firstly, you need to get into the search results. Choose keywords with lower difficulty to index your app. Such phrases consist of several words like “free casino card games”. However, this search input will help you with the promotion of “free casino”, which you can add to your title. For iOS apps, you should also add low score keywords to the keywords field. Keep in mind that you can enter only 100 symbols here, so use only commas between words without intervals.

Our next point is the description. It plays an essential role for Android applications, so it has to be optimized and unique. You can use the same principles for the App Store, but the algorithm doesn’t pay so much attention to it. You have probably noticed the way your competitors create their descriptions by looking for their keywords. Be precise, highlight its features and advantages. Write some paragraphs with clear structure and call-to-action. Then, add 5 to 10 keywords in a natural way – they don’t have to hit the eye of a reader. Finally, check your text in the Natural Language API tool. The score should be 8.0 or higher in the relevant category to succeed with the promotion.

The icon is the first thing that catches the eye of a potential user. Make it appealing and display your app’s features. The same is about the screenshots. We recommend using captures i. e. texts with keywords on them to improve your app’s rank. Take care to make such optimization before launching a promotion. No matter if it’s a new app or an existing one, you can adapt our tips for your case and make it work for you.

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We found out the most effective app promotion strategy

If your app is optimized, you have relevant keywords to work with, we finally got around to the promotion itself. We’ll explain how to promote an appwith incentive installs in a few words. You need competitive keywords to launch a campaign. Choose the most relevant with a low difficulty if you need to get to the index. If you’re already in the search results, use keywords with the average score. Firstly, you need to do a screening to estimate the required number of installs per each keyword. Make an order with 4-5 keywords and about 10-15 installs per each one and monitor your rank dynamic. What happens when you place an order? Incentive users perform a simple task: they enter the keyword in the search field, find your app, download it, and make some in-app actions. The algorithm counts such a user’s behavior as an install and recalculates your rank. However, it doesn’t happen immediately – it may take a couple of days. So, there is a tendency that an app’s position drops in the first days of promotion. But after that, the growth compensates for the losses and improves the rank.

So, what about the number of installs? If your app isn’t indexed or the position is low, you can’t order an enormous amount of motivated installs. The algorithm will consider it suspicious, and you can lose the rank you already have or even get out of the index. Thus, buy up to 20 installs per day till you get to the top 20. Having reached the top 20 by a particular keyword, you should start a separate campaign for it and increase the number of installs 1.5 times every two days. Some of the keywords are easier to promote, and they have a quick tempo of growth with an average number of installs. In turn, the others may need more installs to boost the rank. Therefore, you should regularly track your changes and adjust your campaign. 

A common mistake of developers is looking for a sure-fire solution. They use brand names or popular search inputs that aren’t related to their app and wonder why they aren’t effective. Keep in mind that promotion by keywords won’t bring you instant results. You can’t order 1000 installs and wait till your app is in the top 3. Your marketing strategy should be performed sonalized, consist of relevant keywords, and a reasonable number of installs. It takes more time, but the final result will bring you organic traffic in the long run.

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How to check how many downloads an app has when promoted

Having launched a campaign with incentive installs, you need to check how many of them are delivered. You can use multiple analytical tools for that, but not at the same time. The thing is that all platforms use different formulas, and the data won’t be consistent if you use some of them. To have a clear picture of the exact number of impressions and installs, monitor it in the console. It depicts the most precise and up-to-date info. Users of can track the changes and each keyword’s dynamic in their cabinet as well.

How to understand how many installs are from incentive users and real customers? Have a look at your console, e. g. you have 67 downloads per day, and you know that you’ve ordered 30 incentive installs. 67 installs in total mean 30 brought by motivated users and 37 by organic traffic. 

As soon as you’ve got a top position, your aim is to keep it. For that, you should follow a simple rule. Wait for a couple of days after the end of the promotion and analyze the keywords you’ve pushed. Group them into several types: a) words and phrases that need further promotion; b) keywords that don’t lose the rank due to the organic traffic flow; c) keywords that need continual installs to stay at the top. Create a small campaign with 10-15 installs per day for the last category not to lose the attained level.

Summing up

All in all, we’ve worked through the main points of app marketing. We’ll put it in a nutshell for better understanding. Follow these rules to succeed with your keywords promotion:

  • Pick up the relevant keywords. They should display your app’s features. Identify the core and expand it using noun+noun, noun+adjective, noun+verb, or noun+adverb combinations. If you need to index your app, promote phrases with low difficulty. They consist of 4-5 words and will be useful at the early stage. For further promotion, choose keywords with an average score. Enlarge your keyword cloud regularly.
  • Optimize your app before the promotion. Create appealing visuals, add competitive keywords to your title, short and full description. Don’t overuse them as your text has to look natural and coherent. You can consult an ASO manager that will prepare keywords research for you as well.
  • Don’t try to get immediate results. Increase the number of installs gradually after you get to the top 20. Don’t focus on popular search inputs. Not all of them are relevant for your app.
  • Use 1 or 2 analytical tools not to get confused. Analyze the data in the developer’s console and adjust your campaign based on it. You can also track it on the platform that provides you installs.

If you’re a user of, you can enjoy a full package of functionality. Order motivated installs, rates, and reviews, use keyword suggestions, and analyze your rank’s dynamic on a single platform. A cherry on the top is the free consultation of a personal manager: we are always here for you to provide a personalized experience. Contact our support team to find out how to promote your app effectively.

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