8 Mobile App Growth Hacks to Quickly Grow Your Audience

With so many brands vying for consumers’ attention, attracting the right audience is a massive challenge. So, how did brands like Facebook, Dropbox, and PayPal achieve such incredible growth with their apps in such a short period of time? The answer, at least in part, is mobile app growth hacking.

Simply put, growth hacks are tactics that marketers use to grow very, very quickly. Growth hacking is part of growth marketing, a flexible approach that uses data and near-constant experimentation to find and tap into rapid growth opportunities. Since the term was first coined over a decade ago, the mindset and practice of growth hacking have contributed to today’s biggest digital success stories, and some of the most captivating case studies for growth.

Here are eight growth hacking tactics to inspire your mobile app growth strategy. We’ll also share a few intriguing examples of growth hacking in action. 

Experiment Constantly

First things first; experimentation is everything. You need to quickly test your growth hacks to see what works, what doesn’t, and where you can optimize for additional growth. Growth marketers use A/B testing in the app and across multiple channels–email, SMS, advertising, landing pages, and more–to quickly learn what customers respond to. 

For aspiring growth hackers, or anyone looking to improve CX, your mobile app, and website are perfect places to start. 

  • Test for slow page load times, which can quickly turn customers away. 
  • Run experiments on your landing pages and CTAs to make sure they’re having maximum impact.

Expand Your Email List 

A great email list can open up fantastic growth opportunities, and Facebook offers one of the best recognized use cases. The social network quickly grew its app audience by asking people to import their contacts and invite their friends through email and then emailing notifications to draw people into the app. This hack was so successful it’s since been co-opted by many other social media apps.

To begin growing your list, take advantage of every available opportunity to ask customers for their emails, including: 

  • Through the app (of course!)
  • Via simple opt-in forms on your website
  • At point of sale 
  • At events 
  • Through social media 

Lean into Loyalty

Loyalty perks are a proven way to quickly attract new customers and grow your existing ones. In fact, consumers are 72% more likely to recommend brands with a good loyalty program. 

The key is to be creative and identify what your customers value, whether that’s a cash reward, free drink, gift card, or something else that motivates them to engage more, buy more, and strive for that next tier of loyalty. Mobile Wallet is one way to make it super easy for your mobile app users.

Airship’s loyalty solution can help you show customers you understand and appreciate them with a multi-channel approach to loyalty.

Cross Promote

If you don’t have an established audience, consider leveraging an existing one. In one of the most famous examples of growth hacking, emerging startup Airbnb recognized that by automatically crossposting its rental listings on Craigslist, it could reach millions of additional users without purchasing ad space. This hack is considered instrumental to Airbnb’s rapid growth, despite being reportedly unauthorized by Craigslist. 

There are tons of cross promotion opportunities for app growth, from co-marketing and product partnerships to joint social media campaigns and events with an influencer or another brand. Just make sure to find a partner that complements rather than competes with whatever your app offers. 

Activate With Incentives

Free stuff is universally popular. And freebies, freemium accounts and other targeted incentives are a tried and true way to get people to try your app, products or services. A word of advice: keep it simple. 

For example, you could simply pay people to sign up, a growth hack used by PayPal with much success. Their program offering $10 to every new AND referring user is credited with helping PayPal become a dominant online payment service. 

Ramp up Your Referrals 

Word of mouth has always been a growth driver and that remains true in the era of social media and online reviews. Customers acquired through word-of-mouth have a 37 percent higher retention rate, so it only makes sense that brands chasing rapid growth might look to referrals.

File hosting service DropBox achieved exponential growth by offering free space to users who referred friends. Not only did the person referring get free storage, so did their friend! Just keep in mind that because referral programs are so common, you need to give customers a compelling reason to participate. 

Team Up with an Influencer

Testimonials are powerful. And when that testimonial comes from a trusted source like a celebrity or social influencer, their credibility and loyal audience can make a huge difference for growth marketers looking to quickly win hearts and minds.

Specific influencer growth hacks include teaming up with an influencer to run a contest or give-away, use influencer-specific promo codes, create viral hashtags, or do a social media takeover to drive users to the app.

Cultivate Community

Online communities provide valuable content and interaction for community members. But did you know they can also open up attractive growth hacking opportunities?

Harry Dry’s dating site for Kanye fanatics provides a fun case study. To build buzz around his big idea, Dry turned to the Kayne subreddit, which had thousands of members. With an announcement to that community, he created excitement among an ideal audience before he even had a live website. While Dry eventually sold the site, his story shows how online communities can help mobile app growth hackers find their audience, whether they’re building community or connecting with an existing one.

With these eight mobile app growth hacking tactics, you’re that much closer to achieving your growth goals. Just remember to always look at the big picture, get creative and experiment, rather than focusing on a particular channel, tactic or funnel stage. Happy hacking!

To learn more about how to grow your customer base, contact us today.