Make Your Own App

6 Psychological Hacks to Boost App Downloads

With more than 2 million apps on Play Store and Apple App Store, getting your app noticed in the app market is becoming trickier. With more competition vying for users’ attention than ever before, what can marketers do to cut through the app clutter and boost the downloads? Harnessing the power of user psychology is one way to do it. Understanding user psychology is essential to building, marketing and monetizing apps and can go a long way in making an app successful.


Here are 6 psychological hacks to help you dramatically drive more app downloads.

1. The More Visible Your Brand is, the More Saleable it is

Be Present Where it Matters


There are a multitude of avenues through which users discover your app. Make sure to have a strong foothold on the key platforms. The more robust presence your app has, on web, mobile and social platforms, the better are its chances of getting noticed among the targeted audience and eventually downloaded. Have a website or, at least a microsite for your app. Make vines and videos. Reach out to press. Pitch to app reviewing and app listing sites. Start a blog. Send e-mailers to prospects. Create a page on Facebook, Pinterest or whichever social channels work for your business.


Better yet, advertise your app on various platforms. Targeted app install ads work best to drive up downloads. However, if you lack the budget, go for cross platform ads, link exchange programs and free classified ads. 

2. 90% of the Information Our Brain Processes is Visual

Colours, Icons, and Screenshots Make All the Difference


Retail App MakerThe average consumer attention span is as less as 8 seconds. This cuts down even further when the user is scanning through the store searching for an app. What do you think the user does exactly in this rather brief interval – Read the app description? No. He just looks at the icon, screenshots, images and colours and makes the decision whether to download your app or not.


Colours trigger certain areas of the brain that are also responsible for making a purchase decision. Marketing giants have been leveraging this deceptively simple psychological fact over the years. Blue reflects stability and used extensively by the world’s leading financial institutions, red evokes appetite and works great for restaurant and recipe apps, black is kind of imperial and used by high end retailers. Using the right colour in the icon can make a big difference to the number of download. Also, the best icons are fuss-free and reflect the functionality of an app, almost instantly. While creating screenshots, capture the best snapshots of your app in action and always use high quality images.

3. While Downloading an App, Brain’s Emotional Centre is in Charge

Make an Emotional Connect with App Title and Description


Multiple studies have shown that the decision to download an app is an emotional one. The logic part comes much later. When users are downloading a fashion retail app, they are actually downloading the promise of ‘looking great’. If you can make that promise, you’ll make a place in their heart and on their mobile screen. And that’s your cue for writing the app title and app description.


App Store Optimisation is paramount to get the title and description right. Unique titles are more likely to be remembered. Better yet, using the keywords in the title itself increases the discoverability by 10.3% (Source: While writing app description, businesses say too much about the app and its specifications, when they should really be focusing on how the app makes a difference in users’ lives. It’s important to keep the tone conversational!

4. The Principle of Scarcity – The Fewer, the Worthier

Create a Sense of Urgency in App Install Ads


Online Shopping AppsWords like ‘download now’, ‘20% off’, ‘don’t miss’ and ‘limited period’ add so much power to the copy, be it for paid app install ads or organic descriptions. It has been proved in numerous psychological experiments over decades that scarcity increases the perceived value of a product. Our brains are hardwired to believe that resources that are limited, by quantity or time, are somehow more valuable. A mobile app is no exception. The fear of missing out triggers the buying action almost instantly. When launching your app, offering it at a discounted price or free for a limited time, or incentivizing the download with limited discount coupons reinforces the users to press the download button now than later. It never fails!

5. Milgram Experiments – The Influence of Peers and Authority

Number of Downloads and Positive Reviews Substantially Influence Users


Now this one is really interesting! In 1969, Milgram conducted a series of experiments on social psychology. In one of these experiments, he made a person to stand on a street and look up at a six-storey building, noticing the reactions of the passersby. His findings were fascinating –


When 1 person looked up, 1 in 25 passersby looked up; when 5 people looked up, 1 in 5 passersby looked up; and when 18 people looked up, 1 in 2 people passersby looked up.


Okay! That’s too much of psychology. Here are its implications in the app market – The chances of people downloading your app are better if other people are downloading it too and better yet, saying good things about it. The higher number of downloads somehow compels the users to think, “If everyone else is downloading. It must be good. At least it deserves a try.” How else do you think Flappy Bird became the most downloaded app on the Play Store within a week of its launch?


In another experiment, Milgram found that a major fraction of the people tend to comply with instructions coming from an authoritative figure. When downloading an app, a user not only checks out customer-submitted ratings but also reviews from experts and industry influencers. The credibility of some review sites is so high that often, users tend to ignore their own opinions to give way to what the experts are saying about it. All in all, submitting your app to review sites and getting endorsements from industry influencers work wonders to drive up downloads.

6.The Rule of Reciprocity – What Goes Around Comes Around

Go an Extra Mile to Make Your Existing Users Happy


M Commerce Mobile App CreatorOkay, positive reviews help you get more downloads. But isn’t it kind of obvious? Positive reviews are something that every business is vying for. The real question is, why most businesses fail at it? Well, because they are trying to get more value than they create.


Reciprocity is rooted in human psyche. When you offer something valuable to someone without asking for anything in return, they are compelled to return the favor in their own way. If your app adds value to your users’ lives, helps them plan their day better or give them a seamless shopping experience, the users reciprocate with 5-star ratings and raving reviews. Think of it as Online Karma – What goes around comes around. Go an extra mile to make your existing users happy and turn them into evangelists for your app. If you do, new users will come through word of mouth resulting in higher downloads.


Okay! This might sound contradictory to what we’ve said so far. But let us get this straight – Human brain is complex and so is the art of selling. Some marketers might have you believed that the art of getting more downloads’ can be pinned down to a six-point checklist. But it’s a lot complex than you might think. So, it’s imperative to test your app before you launch it in the market. Even a small change in the app icon can lead to big impacts on the bottom line. A pre-launch app testing simulator like Instappy Wizard is one of the best tools in app marketer’s arsenal. It lets you see every change and update you make in your app in real time and see what’s working and what’s not.


At Instappy, we don’t just help you build apps. We get you noticed on the app store! By tapping into an extensive network of free and paid channels, we expose your app to a carefully selected spectrum of users – resulting in higher downloads.


How To Create Your Own App




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