Want to know a secret?
If you’re an indie game developer, there are only four viable ways to get app downloads. These proven strategies are the secret to gaining visibility in the App Store to boost your mobile app downloads and revenue. By just applying one of these methods to your game’s marketing strategy, you’ll seriously improve your chances for app success.
Ready to learn? Let’s get started!
#1 – Have Apple Help You Out
One way to get app downloads and get noticed is to get your game featured by Apple. In our previous post titled How to Get Featured by Apple, I walk you through the whole process step-by-step. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s definitely a must-read.
Getting your game featured is a combination of strategy and a bit of pure luck. However, there are several things that you can do to push the odds in your favor to catch Apple’s editorial team’s attention. The first is to make sure that your app is an iOS worthy based game.
So, what’s exactly is an iOS worthy game? It’s a game that’s not only great but also made for the platform. These are the games with the latest iOS features or integrations along with the current style or trend that Apple seems to be loving at the moment.
To make an Apple feature worthy game, you need to study the App Store. Studying the App Store gives you an advantage in multiple ways. If you make it a habit of doing it regularly, you’ll always know what type of games they’re interested in featuring. It can also help you come up with hyper casual game ideas more easily or game ideas in general on the fly. When you’re analyzing the App Store pay attention to the featured games’ art style, gameplay, and features. Search for patterns or standout trends and try to add those elements to your own game design.
Generating Buzz to Get App Downloads
Once you have a killer game, start reaching out to get press and generate some buzz. Contact game reviewers, journalists, bloggers, and influencers to promote your game. You can actually use the press coverage as social proof in your pitch to help you get featured by Apple.
And if you’re making an Android-based game, you can check out our Top 5 Tips for Getting Featured on Google Play. A lot of our Buildbox customers have had their game featured. In fact, you can check most of their games out in our All-Stars Showcase Gallery. It’s a great place to find inspiration too.
#2 – Do Your ASO (App Store Optimization)
Over the years, there’s been plenty of heated debates over the effectiveness of ASO or App Store Optimization. However, despite the controversy, it can still help get app downloads and aide in your app discoverability. App Store Optimization or ASO for short is the technique of optimizing your game’s keywords and content to help increase its visibility in the App Store search results.
Six different factors that play a role in optimizing your App Store: game title, keywords, description, app icon, screenshots, and reviews. Your title, keywords, and description should all have your target search terms when you’re doing ASO. Keyword research tools like Onelook, Keywordtool.io, Sensor Tower, and Mobile Action are great options. You can check out our complete guide on Finding ASO Keywords to learn how to optimize your game step-by-step for the best results.
#3 – Get Published!
Working with a publisher is also a good way to guarantee you get downloads for your game. Publishers handle all the marketing and promotion for your app. They do the hard stuff (marketing) in exchange for a percentage of the profits. If you’re open to working with a publisher, you can gain a lot of app downloads that you normally wouldn’t otherwise.
When selecting a publisher to submit to, remember they’re all different. Each publisher has a unique strategy for getting downloads for your game and requirements and policies that can also vary. So, always do your research. You can usually find helpful information on their website’s FAQ section, or you can email their support team with questions. It’s wise to browse indie game development forums to get insight from other developers which companies are best to work with as well. A little bit of research can go a long way when you’re narrowing down your list of potential publishers to contact.
It’s also critical to make sure you have a game that’s publisher ready. There are five important features publishers want in your game: unique gameplay, amazing graphics, intuitive experience, viral potential, and high replay value. Making sure that your game has the style and main ‘wow factors’ that publishers are looking for will improve your chances of getting signed.
#4 – Using Ad Campaigns
Experimenting with different Ad campaigns can also help you get app downloads. There are dozens of ad networks that you can use for cross-promotional marketing and paid installs. Paid installs are app downloads that you receive from active promotions from an ad campaign that encourages users to download an app in exchange for coins or some type of reward. You can use Facebook or Twitter App Install Ads. There are also options for Google App Campaigns and most social platforms. Major ad networks like ChartBoost, AppLovin, Leadbolt, and InMobi have paid app install features.