15 Tips to Boost App Downloads in New Markets

Developing an app is one task, but getting users to try it out can be a challenge. See 15 actionable tips to help you boost app downloads in a new market.


With over 3 million apps available for download on the Google Play Store and more than 2 million on the Apple App Store, users are spoiled by choices.

For apps looking to break into new markets, in terms of global expansion, mobile app marketing can be intimidating. Common challenges of global app expansion include improving app discovery, reaching an audience in different languages, and navigating other cultural differences during app localization.

Fortunately, it’s a challenging but achievable mission. This article will share 15 highly actionable tips on how to boost app downloads, especially in new markets with multilingual audiences.

15 Ways to Boost App Downloads in New Markets

Don’t be stuck figuring out how to get your app to more users with these ways to boost your app downloads:

1. Localize your app for new markets

While English is one of the most spoken languages in the world, it is far from the only major language. A pivotal step to targeting a global audience is localizing for other languages and cultures. App localization means more than providing literal word-for-word translations. It involves adapting your app to suit the language and culture of a new region.

App localization can also include:

  • Adjusting features like currency settings and support for right-to-left languages.
  • Adapting image choices. Some US-acceptable images could be distasteful to other cultures.
  • Tweaking legal details (GDPR issues in the EU) and including other unique value propositions to local users
  • Balancing the tone and formality when writing for specific cultural audiences, like those in the Asia-Pacific region

Much like other kinds of personalization in marketing, localization appeals to your users and makes them feel seen and valued. And it works. By localizing its app and website, e-Commerce giant ASOS has grown by 149% in the last five years!

2. Collaborate with Translators and Language Experts

Effective translation plays a significant role in app localization. To increase app downloads in new markets, you’ll need to translate the microcopy for the user interface and optimize your app for app stores in different regions (more on app store optimization soon!).

Translation is a delicate task requiring more than encyclopedic knowledge of language and grammar. The best translators also understand cultural norms and nuances and will likely be able to provide more information to strengthen your app’s marketing strategy.

Additionally, translating apps demands that you integrate translation with design. Smartling’s Visual Context feature is an example of a powerful tool that allows translators to see how their text works with design.

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Plus, Smartling works with only the best translators—who understand the culture of the languages they translate.

3. Design an eye-catching app icon

Don’t underestimate the power of an eye-catching app icon. It may be the difference between a new customer and a missed opportunity. One case study showed that changing the mobile app icon increased downloads by as much as 34%. How can you make your icon more appealing? Keep these three principles in mind:

  • Uniqueness: Especially within the same niche, app icon designs tend to be frustratingly similar. Here’s a look at some top-ranking productivity apps.

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Notice how many of them use the same tick? Find ways to make your app design unique, making it easier to recognize.

  • Scalability: Many apps will be used on multiple platforms and devices, so app icons will need to be viewed in various sizes. How does yours hold up when it is shrunk or blown up? Do important details become illegible in smaller sizes, or does chaotic design become more evident in larger sizes?

  • Brand consistency: Ultimately, your icon should include your brand colors and complement the overall design of your application. Also, your icon colors should work against a wide range of backdrop colors to ensure that your app maintains visibility regardless of the background colors.

When entering a new market, deciding on your app icon means more than choosing a pretty picture or brand symbol. Ensure that it does not include images or symbols that may be offensive in certain cultures. For example, the “OK” sign is acceptable in the U.S., but it has “insulting connotations” in Brazil.

4. Invest in app store optimization (ASO)

Although not exactly the same, the best way to understand ASO is to think of it like search engine optimization (SEO).

Like SEO, ASO can be an invaluable user acquisition channel. One in three users says they discover new apps using traditional app discovery methods (searching the app store, using app store recommendations, etc.). Essentially, when users search for a term, ASO can help increase the chances of your app popping up in the app store search results.

The Google Play Store and Apple App Store have unique requirements for apps, but the steps for optimizing your app for more visibility are similar for both stores. Here are a few things that impacts the ASO, regardless of the platform you’re using:

  • Keyword usage: Appropriate keyword insertion can increase your app’s visibility. Do research on your target audience and see which keywords they’re searching, then incorporate those keywords naturally into your app title (or name), subtitle, and app description. The image below shows how the meditation app Headspace does this.

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[Note the “Mindful Meditation” addition to the app name, as well as a related subtitle.]

  • Conversion and retention rate: The number of downloads and customer retention will signal to the app stores that your app is relevant and worth being at the top of search results. So make sure your app is intuitive, user-friendly, and useful. Retaining your customers will help organically boost app downloads.

  • App ratings and reviews: Like conversion rates and retention rates, high app ratings and rave reviews can also help your app to rank better.

Skilled translators who understand the cultures and local nuances can help you identify best keywords for your multilingual audience. Learn more about SEO localization here.

5. Run A/B tests for your app store listings

It can be difficult to pinpoint what icons, app titles, preview screenshots, or other app listing elements will resonate best with the audience in your new locale. This is when A/B testing comes in handy.

A/B testing involves segmenting your audience and showing different elements of your app to each segment, and evaluating each option’s efficacy by comparing the number of downloads generated.

A/B testing can be beneficial when you’re unsure what appeals to a new market. Be sure to include it as part of your strategy for entering a new market.

6. Advertise your app on your website

Regardless of the product, websites are one of the top marketing channels brands should prioritize. If you have a website (and you should), advertise your mobile app on the site. You can use everything from a landing page to (reasonable) pop-ups.

Many companies have found pop-ups useful for advertising their mobile apps to new and returning customers alike. For example, Israel Post saw a 700% increase in app downloads when it started using pop-ups on its site.

Remember to keep your pop-ups well-timed, with a visible exit button, and targeted (i.e. not showing for audiences who’ve already clicked on it or downloaded the app). And, of course, if you’re entering a new market, your website should be localized among other to-dos for globalization.

7. Create appealing app previews

People shopping for apps use previews to see whether the user interface or user experience will be a good fit for them. For this reason, many users rely on app previews, whether they’re demos or screenshots.

While screenshots work fine, also consider using videos, graphics, and other fun elements instead. Notice how the Forest productivity app uses graphics to share product information and testimonials in their app preview.

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The great thing about using videos is that on some app stores, like the Apple App Store, app previews autoplay for viewers. This increases overall engagement and the likelihood of getting your app downloaded. To appeal to your new market, be sure to translate your video previews or even shoot new video content relevant to your target market.

8. Explore influencer marketing

Influencer marketing taps into the power of word-of-mouth referrals—and it works! It’s estimated that, on average, brands can earn as much as $5.78 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing.

To get started, you can reach out to influencers in your industry or those whose audience might benefit from using your app.

Not sure how to choose the right influencer? There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but research shows that nano-influencers (those with a following of 1K-5K) tend to have the highest engagement.

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Source: Shopify Blog

And try choosing influencers in the new locale you’re entering. You can run surveys to ask new customers which influencers they follow on social media and use audience research tools or influencer search engines to find relevant influencers in your industry.

9. Practice mobile app deep linking

You know when you click a web link (say, to listen to a podcast), and it takes you straight to the podcast in your Apple Podcast app? That’s mobile app deep linking. Depending on what your app does, deep linking can improve your app’s user-friendliness.

Look for opportunities to link to your mobile app from blog posts, email newsletters, ads, search engine results, social media posts, other relevant content, and even other apps! This can improve customer retention and raise your app rankings. It can also draw in some new users as well.

10. Remove the fee barrier

Statistics show that people in some countries like Japan, Australia, and the US are more likely to spend on apps than those in other countries. Make it easier for potential users in your new market to try out your app by removing upfront fees or finding a different monetization method for your app. If some of your app’s services are paid, mark the app as including “in-app purchases.” That way, users already see the value of the app before they get asked to pay.

11. Share your app on social media

Besides Instagram and TikTok (which do well with influencers), social media platforms like Pinterest and Reddit are also worthwhile platforms to share your apps.

For example, with over 430 million users and a unique “App Install Pins” feature, Pinterest can be just what your app needs to take off.

This feature allows businesses to promote apps that users can download and install with one click without leaving Pinterest. If you have an ad budget, this is worth trying out and watching how it performs.

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Note how online scheduling tool Acuity uses Pinterest Ads - Source

Reddit also boasts over 430 million followers with a unique unduplicated audience (individuals not on any other social media platforms), 71% of which are not on Pinterest. With Reddit, starting conversations about your apps in different subreddits can produce impressive results.

Make the most out of social media shares by also localizing your social media accounts. This increases app awareness for the right audience.

12. Email marketing

Your email newsletters and promotional emails are an excellent channel for marketing your mobile app.

Zeeshan Akhtar, head of marketing at Mailmodo, suggests that marketers “include some of the app features right in the email and let users get a feel of the app to help them decide if they want to download the app. For example, if you have a word games app, send a mini version of the game in your email which your user can play in their inbox itself. It'll help you make your value proposition clear, and convince your users to download the app more easily.”

Sharing previews in customers’ inboxes can also showcase the work you’ve done to localize your app. This makes your product doubly enticing to those in the new market. Make sure that your information collection methods are GDPR-compliant.

13. Encourage reviews and ratings

Another way to benefit from word-of-mouth marketing is through positive reviews and ratings! Remind customers to review the app, especially if they’ve been enjoying it. You can use push notifications or app pop-ups.

Favorable reviews boost your ASO and increase your app’s credibility. Translate reviews into your audience’s native languages so that new customers can also feel more confident about downloading your app.

You should also remember to resolve negative reviews. Internet trolls often can’t be placated, but if you find constructive criticism or easily resolvable issues, consider reaching out in reply to disgruntled customers and seeing how you can fix things.

Replying in the reviewer’s native language may seem like a no-brainer, but many businesses overlook this step. It can improve your ratings, and your pleasant customer service may convince new users to try your app.

14. SMS marketing

It turns out that 54% of customers would love to receive promotions via text messages. Send messages to allow interested customers to try out your app. You can use personalized offers and promos to build relationships with customers and boost downloads. Review territory data protection laws to ensure that your SMS marketing efforts are GDPR-compliant.

15. Set up a referral system

Everyone loves a good freebie. Setting up referrals and app download promotions can be a great way to get more app downloads. Marelle Ellen, CMO of the influencer app Promoty, says they “created a referral system that brought in thousands of users and was completely free for the company!”

In late 2020, Promoty expanded to five markets simultaneously: the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Lithuania. After capturing leads using a pre-launch landing page on the Promoty site, the company offered every invited influencer 20% of their commission fee for inviting another influencer to download the app.

Ellen says Promoty had over 5000 influencers joining the app in a week with zero marketing budget. Consider incentivizing brand advocacy for current customers and using a referral system to drive more downloads.

Conquer new app markets with help from Smartling

Boosting app downloads is no small task. There are many ways to get the ball rolling, but the key steps for entering new markets are app localization and translation, which Smartling was made for.

With top-class translators and an unrivaled cloud-based translation app, Smartling helps you break into new markets whether you need translation services for your app or website. Automate translation, get up-to-date analytics about the translation quality, and manage content more efficiently with Smartling.

Learn more about Smartling’s translation services.