How To Get Users To Download Your App?

There were 2.6 million apps available on the Play Store in December 2016, and 2 million on the App Store. The app competition is higher than ever: here are some tips to improve your visibility and drastically increase your number of downloads.

Know Your Users

First of all, you need to know who you intend to target: in terms of demographics (age group, gender) and app usage (why would they download your app?).

This will influence all your app’s content, its store title, screenshots and description. You should come up with a list of keywords and phrases that will be searched by your targeted users.

According to this survey, the main motivation to download an app is to accomplish a specific task, followed by a friend’s recommendation.

Improve Your App Store Optimisation (ASO)

Your ranking on the app store and its sub categories will not only depend on your app’s content (see above), but also on many other factors: number of reviews, shares on social media, recommendations from friends, etc.

Therefore, you must work on improving your users’ retention. For instance, you may ask for their feedback a few days after they install the app. If the user likes the app, invite him to put a review on the App Store. If he doesn’t, leave a comment section within your app that will help you improve and get better ratings.

Another trick is to place many buttons allowing the users to share your content on social media: when they accomplish a special action within your app, get a reward, buy a new feature…

Invest in User Acquisition

A good User Acquisition strategy can help acquire profitable users. We published last year a white paper highlighting 8 recommendations to improve your UA strategy. As a result, it is important to work with trustworthy and direct sources that can provide a sharp optimisation system and send the best traffic quality.

Keep track of the most important metrics

Determine which KPIs are the most relevant with your acquisition strategy, and follow them daily. We recommend you to put a special focus on these ones: ROI, number of downloads per source (organic vs ad networks), app store impressions, retention rate, number of shares on social media.

How To Measure Your Mobile Campaign’s Success?

Your campaign’s success must be measured on both volume and quality levels.

Volume: compare your conversion rates

The impressions-to-installs ratio will be your campaign’s CR. The global ratio (from all your User Acquisition partners) will give you an idea of how well your campaign is converting. The 2nd step will be to check each UA partner’s CR.

We usually say that the conversion rate is very low when several thousands of impressions are necessary to drive one install; a good ratio is from few dozens to hundreds of impressions. There are 2 consequences to a low CR:

  • The daily volume of installs might be lower: the campaign is not performing well for your UA partner’s publishers (they aim at the highest eCPM: revenues per thousands of impressions).
  • The quality might not be high since the campaign will not get the best visibility.

How to improve: check with your Account Manager the reasons behind this low conversion rate: creatives and CPI (Cost Per Install) are the top 2 factors. A higher CPI in particular will help improve both volume and quality, since your campaign will get a higher visibility.

Quality: check your KPIs

Just like the volume being influenced by the conversion rate of your campaign, your KPIs (retention, registration rate, ROI…) can say a lot about its performance. Keeping track of your KPIs allow you to take actions on your app, and on sub sources level.

Taking the example of a common KPI, “Day 1 Retention”: a poor overall retention (usually less than 10%) could be the sign of a buggy app, an annoying process to start using it (long game tutorial or too many fields to register) or even misleading creatives (user doesn’t see what he expected when clicking on the ad).

How to improve: on your UA partner level, the first step is obviously to make sure the rules are respected (creatives used, only direct in-app traffic, etc.). Then, KPIs will vary a lot depending on the sub publisher. It’s important to keep track of your KPIs per sub source, to pause or push the ones that send you poor or high quality users.

3 In-App KPIs to Watch Carefully

The following KPIs can be game changers. Optimizing them is necessary if you want to succeed!

Click-to-install rate: get more downloads

Although the source of the traffic (advertising, organic) influences your number of downloads, the landing page on the App Store has an impact on the conversion rate. If the percentage gets too low (usually less than 1%), you might need to consider these factors:

  • Weight of the app: less than 50Mo is optimal.
  • Screenshots: the first 2 or 3 must be the best. Videos are great!
  • App title and description: clear, relevant to the category and attractive.
  • Ratings: try to aim at 4+ stars.
  • Last update: updates need to be frequent enough (not more than a month old).
  • Reviews: make sure your support team replies to bad reviews.

Day 1 retention: get more active users

It is normal to see less users coming back to your app the second day after installation. However, improving this rate should be one of your first goals. You need to pay a lot of attention to the experience of your users during the first minutes within your app. Most app developers usually aim at a minimum of 20 to 30% in Day 1 Retention.

Here are tips to improve this rate:

  • Sign up: if the user needs to log in, make sure the process is as fast and as easy as possible.
  • Simplicity: the user should be able to catch the concept of your app in minutes. It can help to work on a nice tutorial.
  • Minimize the loading time.
  • Be reactive when bugs are notified in the reviews.

Daily / Monthly active users: keep users engaged

This rate should be followed daily. Engaged users will recommend your app and drive more traffic to it. A downward trend is a sign that something needs to be fixed:

  • Check your crash rate and fix the bugs you might find.
  • Reactivate users by sending regular notifications: new app feature, discount…
  • You can go further and send specific notifications per type of users: for instance, send extra lives to the users who stopped playing a level because it is too hard.
  • Get social: entertain your users on social media.
  • Launch a retargeting campaign: the advertising platform will find the users that are no longer using your app, and display an ad to make them want to come back.

How to Optimize your Ranking in App Stores

Are you developing the next big Hit? Great! In order to optimize your number of downloads, you need to optimize your app’s ranking. Indeed, smartphone users look for new apps through 2 main tools: the top charts on the store and the search bar.

Here’s some advice on how to get the best ranking on Apple and Google’s App Stores:


    • It’s important to find the right keywords before you launch your app. Newly released apps seem to have a better chance of getting a higher ranking by the stores’ algorithms. You don’t want to miss that chance!
    • Choose the right keywords for your package name, title and description. Get inspiration from the store suggestions, and choose a short name for your title. Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to the description.
    • Once your app is live, you can use tools like AppAnnie to review your ranking, and remove keywords to which you rank low.


    • The number of downloads and their growth rate have a high influence on the app’s ranking. It is even more important within the first few days after releasing your app, so share it with your friends, family and on relevant forums.
    • The most efficient way to get downloads is to buy traffic from ad networks. You can also increase your downloads by having your app featured on websites or apps like Giftiz, which showcase apps against a fee or return traffic.
    • Keep track of uninstalls as they bring your ranking down. An unusual uninstall rate can mean that there are issues within your app (bugs, loading time).


  • App store algorithms also take into account in-app metrics to determine your app’s ranking.
  • Work on having the highest percentage of active users: make sure users can start using your app within minutes (Is the sign-up easy? Is the tutorial too long?) and don’t experience any bugs. Keep your users active: send them notifications and give frequent rewards (e.g., first levels of a game need to be easy to reach).
  • Make sure you update the app frequently, fix bugs and provide support.


    • Both ratings and the number of reviews count towards your app’s ranking.
    • Ask your happy users to review your app! Good reviews improve your app’s ranking, but you also need constructive feedback to improve your app. It’s a good idea to include a contact form in your app, so that unhappy users don’t feel the need to get your attention through a bad review.

Good luck!

Success Story Series : Star developer – Anthony Cardinale

This week, we’re glad to present to you Anthony Cardinale, a French indie developer and Unity specialist. He has released over 30 games on the Play Store and the App Store, many of which have more than a million downloads.

Today he’s releasing his book: « Creating games with Unity from A to Z » (in French), and he’s happy to share his thoughts on mobile development and gaming here. Please welcome Anthony :)

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and how you became a game developer?

I have been passionate about video game development since I was a kid, and I’ve always wanted to create my own games. It’s not always easy to start as a developer, but thanks to my studies and new tools like Unity 3D, I’ve been able to fulfil my dream. This software gave many indie developers a chance to create multiplatform games at lower costs.

You are a Unity expert and enthusiast, how did this game engine become your favourite? 

I discovered Unity in 2008 when they released its 3rd version. This version hurt its competitors because it was delivering a truly powerful and free tool. The new versions brought even more features to the software which is, in my opinion, the best compromise of the market. The community is gigantic, there are many resources, well-written documentation, and handling it comes naturally. Unity is available to all and anyone can start developing quality games without any difficulty. I’ve never found such ease with the other engines.

AB: You’re even releasing a book about Unity game development, can you tell us a bit more about it?

I’ve always loved sharing my passion through video tutorials on miscellaneous platforms such as Youtube. In recent years, people have been training themselves with my videos, I wanted to offer a new way to learn, and writing a book seemed like an excellent alternative to video. Books offer the readers the advantage of being held while coding without having to pause a video every 30 seconds.

This book allows the reader to learn how to create games with Unity and to go even further: monetization, maintaining and updating your game… This book answers all the questions you could have when you start creating a video game with Unity.

What is your most successful game? What do the players love about it? 

I developed several games with various thematics in order to find what the players were looking for. It turns out that my most successful game is the quite violent « Doll Dismount Origins » in which the player pushes a puppet to make him fall down. He gains points relatives to the damages taken by the puppet. The game is available on Android and iOS.

How did you learn about AdBuddiz, and what is your experience with us so far? 

When you’re publishing an app, you can’t help but ask yourself: « How can I monetize my game ? ». I had the chance to discuss with a consultant from Google several times, and he told me the best way to make money with a game is to offer it for free on the stores. Indeed, 95% of the games are free. The usual way of monetizing a free game is to display ads within it, and that’s when AdBuddiz comes in. AdBuddiz is a excellent mobile ad network for several reasons:

  • The SDK is very easy to integrate.
  • The quality of the ads
  • The documentation and example APK
  • Great customer service

Thus, I chose AdBuddiz to display ads in my Android and iOS games. The revenues generated up until now are more than decent and it’s enough to talk about a small success for an indie developer.

How do you monetize your games?

I’m mostly relying on ads. I decided to stop publishing paid games because it is not the best strategy anymore (at least for indie developers or small studios). So, I display ads in my game, between two levels for example. I also tried in-app purchases in order to offer bonuses to players who like the game.

What is the game that started it all for you, and what do you think mobile development and gaming will be like in 5-10 years?

The most successful game was also the one that allowed me to discover the potential of the market: « Doll Dismount ». That game gave me the means to finance several projects afterwards.

The mobile market is evolving very quickly, and I think that in a few years it will be totally different from today. Smart watches are coming to the market, along with virtual reality devices compatible with our smartphones… And virtual reality is growing as well… What is sure is that players will always ask for more, and they need even more sensations, immersion and features.

Would you like to add anything? :) 

I hope that the indie developers community will keep growing and that my book will help people embark on creating video games with Unity. I also wish a prosperous future to AdBuddiz, which helps developers to make a living out of their passion and create even more original new games.


Anthony’s book « Creating games with Unity from A to Z » is for now only available in French. You can find it here:


Success Story Series: Star developer – DAF

DAF is a team of two indie developers from Málaga, Spain who are having great success in the mobile game industry - doing what they love. David creates the games and Pablo creates the music.

We are happy to feature DAF in this weeks’ Success Story Series.

1. David, can you tell us briefly about your background? How did you become an indie developer?

Years ago I used to program simple games on my PC, but my only audience was my brother and some friends. I had long been disconnected from the computer world, but then my first smartphone landed in my hands. I decided to start app development to entertain myself and earn extra income on the side (the economic crisis in Spain was at its worst). Although I did expect to eventually make a living out of it, to tell you the truth, I did not expect such success in such a short time. It was a real surprise.

2. What is your most successful game? What is its concept in a nutshell?

It is called Archanoid DEMOLITION. It’s just a clone of the classic arcade game Arkanoid, in which bricks are destroyed by bouncing a ball on a racquet.

3. Your games have a simple yet addictive gameplay. What are your tips for creating successful mobile games? 

Although it may sound cheesy, I believe that a game can only be successful if you create it with affection. In the case of Archanoid, I had tried many clones in the Play Store, but none of them corresponded to my idea of what Arkanoid should be like, so I decided to create my own game.

How to make a game that is addictive? I guess by creating a desire in the player to surpass himself; to beat his own records or achieve certain levels and have fun while doing it.

4. Creating a game is one thing, but how do you get many people to install it? What are your promotion methods?   

I placed links to my game on a few Facebook pages of Android magazines, but I didn’t really notice an increase in the number of downloads. In my case, what really seems to have worked is word-of-mouth.

5. Why did you choose AdBuddiz?

One day I received an email from you, inviting me to try the service. I liked how you operated and have been with you ever since.

6. What has your experience been using AdBuddiz? 

Very good. AdBuddiz ads have beautiful graphics and a very elegant design, which makes them very pleasant for the user, not annoying at all. In addition, out of the three advertising companies that I use, AdBuddiz generates the most revenue for me - twice as much as the other two.

7. What would you change about AdBuddiz?

Lately the portal has been greatly improved, we can now visualize the number of clicks and installs. Perhaps adding even more statistics would be nice.

8. Do you use any other monetizing methods apart from advertising? What combination works the best for you? 

Currently I only monetize through advertising.

9. What are your inspirations when creating a game? Where do you get your ideas from? 

The inspiration usually comes from the most unexpected places. An old comic you’re rediscovering, a film… And of course the classics, the wonderful games from arcades. The 80s is an endless source of inspiration.

10. Do you have enough time to play yourself? What are your favorite games? 

Not much, but of course I play the odd game. I have ‘Hill Climb Racing’ and ‘Final Freeway 2’ installed in my mobile devices. On PC, I sometimes relax doing a virtual flight with Microsoft Flight Simulator X. But since you’re asking for my favorite games, I have to mention a very, very old game that gave me many hours of fun, and made me interested in how video games are made: ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’ – from the great Atari VCR console.

11. What changes in the mobile ad market do you anticipate from here until 2016? 

It is difficult to predict, but I guess more and more companies of all kinds will be created around mobile applications, not only IT companies. Perhaps in the future there won’t be much difference between the ads on apps and the ones we see on television today.

12. Where do you see DAF in 5 years’ time? 

My dream is to start a business together with some friends, but under a different name. I would like DAF to always keep the indie spirit it has now. In the near future, I would like to enter the world of Apple - at the moment I’m dedicated to Android only.



Success Story Series : Star developer - Kitmaker

This is the third post in our success story series, which spotlights the real heroes of the mobile gaming community. Our guest this week will tell us about his experience with AdBuddiz and with Giftiz, our app that helps promoting games on Google Play. Welcome to…

AB : First of all, can you tell us briefly who you are ?

Kitmaker : Well, Kitmaker is a young spanish company that develops mobile games and apps, and that keeps trying to improve day by day. We started in 2007 by developing J2me games. We began doing apps for Android in 2010. We are located in Palma de Mallorca, in the Balearic Islands, and have more than 60 employees.

AB : What is Kitmaker’s most successful mobile game ? What do you think contributed to its success ?

Kitmaker : On android, our most successful games right now are the Final Kombat saga. We believe that the success of these games comes from the fact that we chose the right theme and a great name.



AB : How did you learn about AdBuddiz ?

Kitmaker : I was contacted by one of your colleagues by email, and then went to do a little bit of research on the internet about it.

AB : Some of your games got featured on Giftiz, our app that features the best games on Google Play. How did the featuring help promoting your games ?

Kitmaker :The release of our games was much better thanks to Giftiz. We benefited from many downloads at launch.

AB : You use AdBuddiz in some of your games. What’s your experience with our network ?

Kitmaker :We tried other ad networks and got better performance with you guys. We are very impressed with AdBuddiz and we are looking forward to building a long term partnership.

AB : What are the most important things you look at when choosing an ad network ?

Kitmaker : The most important thing, of course, is revenue ! Customer support is very important as well. In addition to driving us great revenues, AdBuddiz has an awesome support team that answers all of our questions very fast.

AB : What can you tell us about your team ?

Kitmaker : Currently, we are 20 people working on games. We can be more or less depending on each project. We are always sharing ideas and working side by side!


AB : Last question, What is the mobile game that you like the most ? that you hate the most ?

Justo : « My favorite game is Infectonator! »
Manu : « I love Zombie Highway 2»

AB : Thanks a lot ! Is there anything you would like to add ?

Kitmaker : Many thanks for that entertaining interview !

You can visit Kitmaker’s blog here.

iOS or Android, that is the question.

iOS or Android?

All developers, be them first time newbies or app developing gurus, have come across this crossroad at one point or another.

Come on, iPhone and iPad users are richer

Common wisdom among the mobile app developers and publishers has it that while Android has an ever growing market share, iOS apps are more profitable. iPhone users are richer; they earn more; they spend more on apps and in-app purchases. The advertising rates are higher. 

Does that mean it’s a no brainer then? Go for iOS first of course!

Not so quick. If we take a look at the data released in February 2015 by Opera Mediaworks, we’ll see that Android doubled its share of ad impressions worldwide, far exceeding - in fact, tripling - that of iOS.

Wait…it costs less to advertise on Android

Although we see that iOS still has a higher revenue share, we must not forget that advertising rates are between 20-50% lower on Android devices. So when all things are taken into account, some Android apps are as profitable (if not more) as iOS apps. The Android revenue share is also clearly on a growing trend.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 18.16.54

In fact, in certain countries like Germany, the monthly app revenue on Google Play has exceeded that on iOS.

But of course, money isn’t everything…

Needless to say, revenue and profitability shouldn’t be the only considerations when deciding where to launch your app first. Other things must be taken into account. E.g. Development environment, configuration, language: Are you more comfortable with Java or Objective-C?); Publishing: would you like to have your app publish quickly - with the risk of being booted from the Play store later  - or endure a month-long wait for the stamp of approval (or disapproval) from Apple?

What do you think? What other considerations do you have when deciding which platform to start on? Drop a comment to share with us your thoughts!

A 3-step guide to treating app users like your lover

In the beginning, we believed that if a user downloaded our app, they’ll use it forever. Nowadays, with thousands of new apps popping up every single day, it’s getting more and more difficult to keep users loyal.

A successful app is like a great relationship. Obviously, it has to begin with a good first date, making a good first impression; but more importantly it has to be good consistently - so that your lover is happy each time she/he sees you, and wants to meet again and again, maybe even with their families and friends, and shares with the world on social media.

Here are a few popular strategies to help engage users long after they’ve downloaded your app:

1. Make a good first impression: User Onboarding

A first date, a first kiss…like any first impressions or experiences, the user onboarding can make or break the relationship. The key is to keep it clean and simple. If your app requires a login signup, simplify it by using social logins (Facebook, Twitter…); if you have a tutorial, keep it under 1 minute. Some apps are simple enough that they don’t require an explanation. According to Useronboard - a site dedicated to exploring the best practices of user onboarding - the best onboarding hack is having an interface that doesn’t need explaining.

2. Communicate: Use Notifications

Constant communication is key to maintaining any relationship. There are two types of notifications, push notifications and in-app notifications. Push notifications are pop-ups sent to users when they are not using the app (and thus more pushy). If used strategically, push notifications are like cute “I miss you!” messages you send to your lover, encouraging the user to re-engage with your app. However, it is important to bear in mind that push notifications require users’ permission, so bombarding them with notifications like an overly needy lover will only cause users to turn off notifications, or even stop using the app all together. In-app notifications are much less intrusive. They might not help bring back inactive users, but it’s a good way to engage and communicate with your users while they’re using your app nonetheless.

3. Share the love: Build a Social Media Community

A relationship is not official until you tell your friends and family. The same goes for an app and its users. There are two ways to go about integrating social media - 1) allowing users to share updates from the app to their social platforms, and 2) creating social pages where users can follow your updates and interact with fellow users. An added plus - this not only helps retain users, but also helps recruit new ones. After all, worth of mouth remains the best and most effective form of marketing, and no one wants to miss out on the hot app that everybody is using and talking about.

With user acquisition getting increasingly competitive and expensive, it is more important than ever to be able to keep the users you do get. What’s your take on this? Do you have other tips for keeping users happy and loyal? Drop a comment to share with us your experiences!

The 3 Secrets to Creating an Addictive Casual Game

“I’ve never heard of candy crush”, says no one ever.

Developing a viral casual game is many developer’s dream. In the past, game studios used to sell us $40 a game, and didn’t care how long we played it, as long as we liked it enough to buy the next one. With the rise of freemium games, the gaming industry has to shift their strategy to make sure that players stay in the game as long as possible; to make sure that we play and eventually, pay.

As a developer, you can either make games targeting specific groups or go for the whole world… and go casual.

And what exactly makes certain games so addictive?

We all love encouragements.

Nobody gets praised enough. We as human beings yearn for approval and acknowledgement. Like a kid who keeps doing the same task that his mom compliments him for doing, we naturally get hooked on the game that keeps saying “Sweet!” and “Excellent job” and offers positive reinforcements generously each time we clear a level. Dopamine is released in our brain every time we’re rewarded, and over time, we need more and more ‘game fixes’ to enjoy the same level of dopamine release and gratification.

Keep it light and crispy!

The majority of the most viral casual games have really short levels - Candy Crush, Angry Bird, Flappy Bird…as each level is short, players go from level to level quickly; like eating potato chips, we take one after another and before we realize, we finish the whole bowl in no time (and want another refill).

Good things come to those who wait…

Candy Crush, for example, lets us go through levels really quickly in the beginning, but the higher level we go up, the longer we have to wait once we run out of lives. Instead of being discouraged from continuing playing, the game designers know that we would’ve reached a level where we’re too addicted to quit, and like the allure of the forbidden fruit, we’d be longing for it so much that we’re quite likely to spend money to cut the waiting time.

A really successful casual game has to be universally loved. Instead of trying to make your game appeal to a certain demographic, a better way might be to approach your target inversely. Is it going to turn off a female player? When you struggle with adding or taking away a certain feature, think - Will it make a certain category of people not want to play the game?

The bottom line: don’t limit yourself to one type of player. If both your 10 year-old nephew and your 70 year-old grandma love playing it, the world will probably love it. ;-)