Last Updated on
July 27, 2023

App Promotion and User Acquisition

Published in

Congratulations! You’ve done the hard work to develop an app, test it, launch it, and get it published in the app stores.

But the job’s not totally done. You still need to get users for your app. This will not necessarily happen automatically. If you don’t optimize your app store listing properly, and you’re not proactive in getting your first downloads, your app might languish and struggle to get any visibility.

This article will look at some of the best ways to get out there and promote your app and start acquiring your first users.

Quick Summary:
  • App Store Optimization is the most straightforward way to generate new users.
  • There are a few key elements to good ASO, including a conversion-optimized title and description, engaging screenshots, good use of keywords and a high number of positive reviews.
  • After optimizing your app store listing, look to leverage existing traffic channels such as your website and customer list to get more downloads for your app.

App Store Optimization

The iOS App Store and Google Play Store can be extremely powerful and lucrative acquisition channels, if you get App Store Optimization (ASO) right.

To maximize your visibility and downloads from the app stores, your app listing needs to be optimized to appear high up for relevant searches, as well as to get people to download your app when they view your listing.

This is the first thing you should focus on as part of your user acquisition strategy. The ability to tap into the existing audience of smartphone users of the app stores makes this an extremely high-ROI play.

Here’s a quick run through a few key points you need to know about App Store Optimization. You can dive deeper into the best practices to follow in our full guide, The Practical Guide to App Store Optimization (ASO).

Title & App Description

Your app listing’s copy is the first place to start. This is important for a few reasons - for getting people to click on your app listing from search results, for converting viewers into downloads, and for SEO.

Titles should be unique, descriptive, and contain your most important keyword(s). Apple gives you more characters to work with than Google, so your Play Store title in particular needs to be short and sharp.

Your app description is another place to add important keywords related to your app. But it’s also vital that you describe your app clearly here and explain to the reader why they should download it.


We mentioned keywords already. It’s vital for App Store Optimization to find the right keywords and insert them in the right places.

Keywords are how people find your app in the search results. When someone searches for something related to your app, you want it to show up, which means you need to mention that search term somewhere in your app listing copy.

You’ll want to take some time to do keyword research and find the best keywords to prioritize. You’re looking for search terms that:

  • Have a lot of search volume (more opportunities for your app to show up)
  • Have relatively low competition (fewer competing apps targeting the same keyword)
  • Are relevant to your app

The best keywords are those that describe exactly what your app does or the problem it solves, have a lot of people searching for them, and not many entrenched competitors.

Put these most important keywords in your title, followed by putting them prominently in your app description. 

However, avoid keyword-stuffing, or putting keywords in your copy that don’t read well. This will just result in your listing being penalized or rejected, or if it gets through, it will hurt your conversion rate.

Find a balance between including the right keywords and writing copy that’s descriptive, engaging and conversion-optimized.


Screenshots are another extremely important part of your app store listing.

Most of us take a very short time to decide whether we want to download an app after landing on the listing. The first thing (and often the only thing) we look at is the app’s screenshots.

These need to stand out, and give the user a reason to download. Best practice is to show some images of your app in action, with text that describes a few key value points.

See examples of great e-commerce app screenshots from H&M:


And Rainbow Shops:

There are also certain requirements you need to follow for your screenshots, such as making them the right size, and ensuring that app screenshots are accurate and not obstructed or covered up.

App Icon

Your app icon design is another thing that makes a huge difference. When people view your app from the search results or category listing, it’s just the name and icon they see.

Your icon should be eye-catching and engaging, representative of your app and your brand, not too similar to other apps, and follow the app store’s standards and requirements.


Reviews are another extremely important part of App Store Optimization. They help you gain more visibility, as well as helping to boost conversions by showing potential users your app is worth downloading.

Do all you can to encourage honest, positive reviews. You can do this by adding automatic ratings prompts in-app, as well as reaching out directly to app users to ask them to share their feedback in a review.

The most important thing when it comes to getting reviews (particularly positive reviews) is to build and ship a high-quality app that people like using. There’s no way to fake this if your app is boring or sub-standard.

Getting Featured on the App Stores

The pinnacle of App Store Optimization is if you’re able to get your app in the App Store/Play Store’s featured/top sections. This gives you a huge boost to visibility and downloads, as well as social proof.

While there isn’t a 100% certain way to get your app featured, you can follow some best practices to increase your chances.

Apple gives tips on getting your app featured in the App Store. They look to feature apps that:

  • Have a great UI and UX.
  • Are innovative and/or unique.
  • Are accessible to a broad range of users.
  • Make use of high-quality and relevant localizations, with culturally appropriate content and support for multiple languages.
  • Have a compelling App Store product page (e.g. screenshots, app previews and descriptions, and have good ratings/reviews).

There are not really any tricks to it, other than creating a great app that users love. Extra points if your app does something that’s innovative and unique.

The Google Play Store also offers guidance on how to get apps featured/promoted. Though there may be differences in the wording, the core concept is the same as with the iOS App Store. Just produce an app that delivers a ton of value, has a delightful user experience, high technical quality, and is private, safe and secure.

Additional Ways to Get New App Users

Alongside App Store Optimization, there are a number of additional strategies you can look at when it comes to getting new app users. Let’s touch on a few of these now.

Existing Customers

If you’ve already got a customer list, look to these people first. Assuming you have an email list of past customers, you can send a broadcast announcing your app launch and offering an incentive (such as an app-specific discount) for people to download.

These people can not only be a great way to get your first app downloads, but you can also reach out to them to provide reviews, which are hugely important when first getting your app listing off the ground.

Your Website

Assuming you’re already getting traffic to your website, this is another great way to get app downloads.

The absolute bare minimum you should do is to add the app store badges to your site footer - the way VERO MODA does:

You’ll get a few people clicking through from here to download the app, and as a bonus it’s a display of social proof that should boost web conversions.

Yet you should further utilize your website traffic to get downloads. Put popups on your site announcing the app release, and offer app-specific coupons, promotions and product lines.

Also add smart app banners to your site that prompt mobile visitors to download the app.

[Image from Apple Developer documentation]

You can expect to get more lifetime value out of someone that downloads your app, so take every opportunity you can to try and convert existing customers or potential shoppers into app users.

Social Media

If you’re doing social media marketing, you should definitely utilize this channel as well to promote your app.

Do the same kind of things you would do on the website - start with announcing that you have an app, and consider offering an incentive for people to download it if you really want to supercharge downloads.

Paid Ads

Paid ads, on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, as well as Google, are another reliable way to get users.

With paid ads you’re likely going to be advertising to people who are new to your brand, so you’ll most likely need to offer a good incentive for people to click through from your ads and get the app.

Advertising product lines or promotions only available in the app can be a great way to encourage people to download (make sure you accentuate the fact that the app is free as well). 

This strategy can be pricey, but if you know what you’re doing with paid ads and feel that there’s a lot of upside to getting app users, it can be worth doing.


Finally, consider influencer marketing to get app users.

Influencer marketing means partnering with influencers - people with an audience, usually on social media - to promote your product/service/brand. Influencers usually have an engaged fanbase, who will pay attention when the influencer recommends something.

In this case, you’d pay influencers a flat fee or a fee per click/download in exchange for them to promote your app to their audience. The important thing is finding the right influencers - those with an active following, and whose audience overlaps with yours.

If you can find these influencers, partnering with them can be an amazing way to boost sales, or in this case, get app users.

Final Thoughts

For all the effort and expense you put into building your app, you need to also put thought into how to get people to download it. All your work can be for nothing if you can’t get any users.

We can go much more in-depth into how to market and promote your app (and we will later). But here are the most basic points you need to know.

  • Optimize your app listing for app store SEO by finding the right keywords to target, and including these in your listing copy.
  • Boost your chances of getting downloads from the app store with high-quality screenshots, and an eye-catching app icon, as well as an engaging title and a descriptive and engaging app description.
  • Utilize your existing audience to get app downloads, such as your email list, website and social media audience.
  • If you want to go a step further, run paid ads or partner with influencers to promote your app.

The best thing is that your efforts will compound. The more downloads you get, the better it is for your app store SEO, and the higher the chance your app will get featured (which can deliver a big boost in downloads).

It’s also vital to have a high-quality app to promote. You can have the best promotional methods, but they can all be for nothing if your app is poor, uninteresting, slow, unresponsive or buggy.

That’s why you should use MobiLoud to convert your e-commerce store into an app. We’ll take what makes your website great, add some small but meaningful touches to give it a native app feel, and submit it to the app stores for you.

From here, you just need to get the word out. Once you start getting the momentum of your first few users, you’ll see just how powerful an app can be for your e-commerce business.

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