As an app marketer or developer, you want to be able to reach out to your target audience in as many ways as possible to acquire users. One of the tactics definitely being running paid campaigns. But in the age of ad blockers, just how many of these advertisements are working for you?

Ad blocking is estimated to grow by whooping 34% this year to nearly 70 million internet users in the US.


According to a report by the marketing company, Tune, about 24.6% of mobile users have some kind of ad blocking application or internet browser installed. And the number only seems to be growing by the day!


The simple fact that smartphone and internet users seek an uninterrupted experience, has triggered a debate on how ad blocking is going to continue rising. This is a major concern for publishers who rely on ads to generate revenue and app developers who rely on them for faster user acquisition.

Considering that ad blocker installs are actually going to continue rising, we decided to list down a few hacks we think apps can use to grow. While you may continue running a few advertisements if you have the budget for it, but these growth hacks are definitely worth a try!

1. The ‘paid to free’ technique

Known to drive hundreds of installs, this technique focuses on offering a paid aspect of the app for free over a defined duration of time. This could be a paid app being offered for free or a unique feature in it that the users can experience without having to pay.

But this growth hack works the best if you can get some publicity for your offer. You could either run a campaign on social media to promote it or submit the offer on app directories/forums that have a majority of your target audience active on them.

Another aspect to keep in mind is, that your limited time offer must be non-consumable in nature. It shouldn’t be something that gets over with use.

For instance, if you have a racing game, you could open up a paid track for a week. Users that convert on this offer should have unhindered access to this track even after the offer duration is over. A very popular example is Exploding Kittens.


Exploding Kittens released DLC free for limited time

2. Focusing on app store optimization

Your app store optimization efforts shouldn’t just be restricted to writing an app description with relevant keywords. While the description plays an important role in your ranking, there are other overlooked aspects like app reviews and in-app purchases that can also boost your growth.

What your users drop as a review is also indexed by search engines, to help rank the apps in the market better. Try inspiring your users by pre-typing some of these and requesting them to share the same. It will help you see a drastic increase in downloads.

But the first and foremost thing to do here, is to identify the keywords you want your app to be associated with. It is important to remain contextual, but also as important to take into consideration how your target audience has been reaching you.



3. Leverage word-of-mouth marketing

With ‘in-your-face’ advertisements becoming practically obsolete, it is time to roll back to the age old, proven effective, marketing tactic – word-of-mouth.

Word-of-mouth marketing tactic focuses on acquiring quality users. It encourages existing app users to invite their friends and family to join the app – if they, themselves are happy using it. This tactic is known to boost the marketing efforts and downloads by a whooping 54%.

Using GetSocial Smart Invites, marketers can integrate such referral campaigns into the application. This technique ensures that the user experience remains unhindered and increases the probability of getting a recommendation. (read more about how to use Smart Invites for organic growth)

For example, you see a user completing 10 levels of your game with regular engagement. This data shows that the user has been satisfied with his experience so far and is more likely to recommend your app. So before he moves on to the 11th level, you could target him with a personalized in-app message that encourages him to invite his friends.


Offering something in lieu for his effort and rewarding your active users can really boost the effectiveness of this campaign!

4. Get your app featured on the store or by an influencer

There are hundreds of apps being added to the app store on a daily basis. There could be a lot many of them targeting the same keywords as you. This could result in getting lost in the volume if your app isn’t optimized all too well yet.

This is where getting an app store feature comes handy. You could directly pitch your app to app store managers on iOS and Android, with its unique selling proposition and why you think it should be featured. Alternatively, you can seek out these managers on platforms like LinkedIn to create a message that is suited for their interests.

Another hack that is extremely effective in growth is reaching out to influencers or popular app reviewers. Offering them something in lieu of an in-detail review of your app on their high traffic website gives your acquisition the necessary boost.

5. Localise your app for users

Here’s another growth hack that isn’t used by most app developers and marketers. Most of them are under the impression that smartphone users only use English to search for what they want. But the truth is, users prefer using their native language for searches most of the time.

Reality check – there are 28 regions in the app store; with each country having its own store.

Understand your target audience a little more than just the general demographics – look into what languages they use to communicate with another across digital platforms. Identify the language a majority of them are using and localise your app accordingly into as many.

While this may take time to execute and implement, this hack is bound to get you results. Start by translating words in your app name and keywords. Eventually you can further optimize for the different stores by translating the description, screenshots and then the in-app content.

Over to you

There are a number of growth hacks and tips to grow your mobile app. But it is important that you start with the user data you have and make the most out of it before you move ahead to acquire more market using paid campaigns.

What other growth hacks do you think an app should use today?

Also read: Growth Hacking: Leveraging The Mobile Growth Stack With GetSocial