App Discovery Methods – What You Need to Know

If you plan to market your app, you need to understand where your app downloads are going to be coming from and learn to focus your efforts on strategies that can get your app discovered by a large audience. As the app marketing industry has expanded, many new app discovery methods have proven to be useful to marketers, but there are some that stand out more than others.

Below we’ve listed some of the best app discovery methods available, and explained how you can make the most out of them.

App Store Organic Search


Despite various marketer’s efforts, the biggest app discovery method is still the app store search engine. The largest portion of smartphone users find new apps by searching for them on their app store of choice, and through the power of App Store optimisation, you could be found by hundreds to thousands of new smartphone users every month.

There are many factors that play a part in App Store search rankings, but the three main factors that will help you to get yourself seen in search results are download count, user ratings and keywords. If you’re marketing a new app, it’s likely that you won’t have many downloads, and in turn, this will mean you’ll have a very little pool of user reviews and ratings. This means the only real tool you have at your disposal to increase your chance of being seen in app store search results are keywords.

Just like with SEO, choosing the right keywords and placing them correctly can be a little overwhelming for a business developing their first app, but there are plenty of services out there that can provide great App Store optimisation procedures to help you get seen easier.

App Store Top Lists

App store also ranks apps based on their popularity and many users utilise these lists to find interesting new apps. For each category there are top free, top paid and top grossing apps, however, the top free ones get the most of the traffic. To get into these lists the app had to be downloaded a certain amount of time; in the UK to get into the top 10 overall you need daily approximately 26,000 downloads in the iTunes store. To generate these downloads one can advertise the app, see below.

Word of Mouth and Social Networking

The second best app discovery method is simply through word of mouth. Whether it’s in person, on the phone, or via social networking or an instant messaging service, a lot of app users will feel excited to share any brand new apps that grab their attention.

Apps like Flappy Birds and 2048 sky-rocketed to worldwide popularity thanks to word of mouth, and whilst your app may not be as lucky as either of these two games, it’s always worth encouraging your current app user base to share their experiences on your app with their friends.

A great way to do this is to integrate social media into your application. If your app is a mobile game, you could encourage users to share their progress on their Facebook, Twitter or Google+ pages, or if it is an informational or utility app, you could give incentives such as in-app purchase discounts or free access to paid features for sharing with their friends.

This method does work in some instances, but it can also feel a little forced. If you really want people to start talking about your app, you need to create an experience that is going to get people talking.


Once you’ve worked on App Store optimisation, advertising your application can be a decent and effective way to get new downloads. To advertise for the app means in most cases a purely performance-based Cost per Install campaign for the app developer; you get exactly for you pay for in a risk-free way. If you get offered CPC or even CPM turn the offer down. In general for generating downloads, you can differentiate between incentivised and non-incentivised downloads. The first ones are cheaper and are often used to improve the visibility of the app in the store by getting into the top list rankings. From a high ranking position quality, organic downloads will be generated. The non-incentivised install is used more to get high quality and monetising users for the app. Sources are mobile ad networks, social media (Facebook, Twitter), search (Google) and app discovery platforms (basically third party apps with a huge reach promoting the app).

The cost vary from country to country and the platform of the app (currently iOS is a bit more expensive than Android).

To promote the app via ads tend to be the scariest option for any businesses developing a mobile app for the first time, but there are lots of resources available to help lead you onto the right track. If you plan to advertise your app, we’d suggest reading through our blog section to learn more about mobile marketing and advertising.

Hopefully, you’ve now gotten a better understanding of the various methods available for getting your app discovered by new smartphone users. Creating a profitable smartphone app requires a lot of know-how and a lot more luck, but if you try your hardest to get seen, you may one day get seen by just the right people, and this could potentially sky-rocket your app to success.

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