Tips on Mobile App Viral Marketing

Huan Liu Co-founder at Vimo Labs Inc.

November 19th, 2013

We are developing a Dance Fitness iPhone App. The product is in beta, and we are ready to launch in 2-3 weeks. So we are now focusing on the marketing plan. Can you share your experience on how to promote a mobile app?

Here are a few things we are planning to do:

1. Produce a good quality video showcasing the product, post it on youtube where people can learn about the product.
2. Contact bloggers, editors from big tech media, such as Techcrunch, Venturebeat, Wired, Wall street journal etc. to hopefully secure some coverage
3. Hosting Dance competitions virtually or in local malls (this is unique to our App, we can score people on their dance performance).
4. Blog, twitter coverage by team members and friends and family

Anything else we could and should do? 

Does anybody has any tips on how to get Apple to notice you and potentially feature you? I imagine this is not possible on day 1, because Apple would not have seen your App yet? But, after we launch, how do we get them to notice us?

Thank you so much for your insights. 

Anthony Zeoli Digital Strategy and WordPress Consultant and Trainer

November 19th, 2013

Those bloggers are not going to pay attention until you have a story to tell. Work on the story and forget about pitching them until you have traction and other people tell them how cool you are. Best regards, Tony Zeoli - sent from my iPhone

krystal liu App store optimization expert

Last updated on November 28th, 2018

Hi friends, here are some methods can help your app get featured on the app store.

1. Create a high quality app - Only high quality app can gain it position in the app store. There is no oneapp storewant to recommend a low quality app to users, this behavior will damage App store’s reputation. So before launching the app in the app store. Ensure it is a high quality one. After launching, fix bugs and update version in time.

2. Create a unique app - App developers not only need to design a high-quality app but also design a unique app to help your app stand out from other competitors and attract more users. This method will help to get your app featured.

3. Know the rules of app store - After launching a high quality app, app developers should know how and what kind of apps get chosen as features. Download the apps which are already be featured on the app store, and analyze the apps’ advantages, learn the useful things from it. And also know about the rules of what kind of app does app store featured.

4. Localize your app - Make sure to localize your app in countries and languages your app supports. Because app localization is the process of adapting your app to a particular language and culture, which will help to boost app ranking and increase downloads.

5. App Store Optimization - App store optimization plays a vital important role to help you get your app featured on App Store. App store optimization helps to boost your app ranking, make your app be searched and known by more potential users. You can do it from these following aspects.

Title – App title is the most important. An app with a good title will easily be searched and found on App Store. It should include the keywords.

Keywords – Choose the keywords relevance, traffic, and competition into account.

Screenshot – Choose some attractive screenshots and make a short video which can show the functions and advantages of your app.

Description – List the functions and advantages of your app. Besides, adding your keywords as more as possible to the first three lines of the description.

6. Get positive reviews and high-star ratings - Reviews and ratings are the most important factors which can represent users experience. Most apps with good reviews and 4-5 star ratings are featured on App Store. Therefore, try to get more good reviews and high star ratings from users. Buy app reviews from reliable company is the most useful way to get more app reviews.

7. Get more downloads - The number of downloads is another factor taken into account by Apple when selecting featured apps. High downloads mean people like and need your app. If your app gets high downloads, it is more likely that it will get featured by Apple.

8. Update your app frequently - Constantly updating your product to add new features maybe helpful for getting your app featured on App Store.

Joel Brodie Business Development Executive and Entrepreneur

November 19th, 2013

A very wise app developer told me, if your marketing plan is to featured by apple, come up with a new marketing plan. 

Having said that, Apple does like to feature apps that show off the device, which sounds like your app does.

To get attention of bloggers:

- Make a target list of blogs (app review sites and tech) and list out which writers have written about similar apps/fitness related stuff (e.g, fitbit, fitocracy).   don't just do a pr blast.  write personal emails to people or tweets and base it on the "i notice you wrote about this app, let me tell you about mine..."
- Send them your pitch and give assets that make it very easy to review and post - e.g., good screens with dropbox link, video (s).  Don't send a PDF with all the images embedded since that not helpful to writer
- Include a launch and embargo date and stick to it.  Writers hate it when ask for embargo but then someone breaks it
- If this not work, you can follow up few weeks later with a pitch around a list around the app (top 5 apps to have fun this holidays and lose some holiday weight, include your own app in there, bloggers love lists
-  If you do the videos via mall, tape and throw up on youtube.  if one becomes viral, you're golden.

i own a games review site so feel free to hit me up with private message to contact me directly.  we don't usually write about these types of apps, but now that i wrote out the top 5 fitness app idea, i may actually post that :)


November 19th, 2013

I'm not sure what your marketing budget is, but I've heard good things about Grow Mobile for managing ad spend. They helped a game called High School Story hit top 5 Top Free in the App Store during launch week. Not scammy or bots or anything shady like that. Grow is a start up too, I think YC.

If want to do things on your own, I think the best ad spend for UA is now facebook mobile ads. It's contextual (on device) and you can hit your target audience.

Third, pay attention to your Apple keywords. There's lots of posts about optimizing the character limited field that Apple gives you. Let me know if you can't find them, or want simple feedback. Sometimes, esp during launch, you can get 2-3x sustainable download rate wins. Let me know if you want me to review your keywords for you.

Lastly, the best way to get your app distributed is good ol word of mouth. So listen to your users, engage your early customers, and turn them into your biggest fans.

P.S. I was a mobile PM in a past life. I'd be happy to beta test your app for you if you want. Just ping me and I'll give you my testlifght email. Best of luck!

Cassi Kjun Jiyong App promotion, app install, review and rating provider.

Last updated on November 28th, 2018

Good plan. About the fourth one, you can cooperate with those influential bloggers, newspaper journalists, professional tech writers in social network like Facebook or Twitter. These people are individuals with the power to influence the buying and engagement decisions of a certain group of people, they have large numbers of fans, which can promote your app efficiently.

About getting featured on the App Store, by following the follow tips, there is a great chance your app will be get featured on the App Store :

  • Create a High Quality App
  • Use Latest iOS Features
  • Make your App Universal
  • Localize your App
  • Make a Unique App(Visual Design)
  • Keep Download High
  • Keep Good Reviews and High Ratings
  • Update your App Regularly
  • Know Apple Well
  • Build a Relationship with Apple

About the ratings and reviews, in the new App Store 2.0 the role of ratings and reviews has been seriously elevated. The all-time ratings are now in the spotlight, being displayed right below the icon. Moreover, apps now will appear on search results with ratin,. User reviews also have got more prominent position on the product page, together with developer’s answers if those are provided. What's more, getting reviews and ratings is a great way to promote apps.

Because over 65% users discover new apps by searching or browsing on the app stores, and most of them just browing the top 10 apps. Then boost app ranking on the App Store is a one of the most effective way to promote app.You can boost your app ranking with the following methods:

  • App Store Optimization
  • Get App Installs
  • Gather Traffic and Downloads
  • Increase Engagement and Retention
  • Regularly Update and Upgrade
  • Improve Ratings and Reviews
  • Reduce App Size

Based on my experience, get app installs is one of the most efficient ways to boost app ranking, your app ranking will be improved in 8~10 hours once the campaign is activated.

Hope these methods are useful to you.

Alan McKean President at One Touch, LLC

November 19th, 2013

I have a few books on the subject of marketing apps but the one I like most is 'Pitch Perfect' by Erica Sadun and Steve Sande. It emphasizes getting your app reviewed by bloggers. Another that has some good advice is 'iPhone and iPad Apps Marketing' by Jeffrey Hughes.

Jonathan Poston | Medical Marketing Agency

June 2nd, 2015

Here's an article I just wrote on this:5 Tips for Your Mobile App Marketing Cheatsheet
But like @anthony said, there needs to be a story, and moreover a tagline how your app is a game changer..."learn to dance like xyz superstar in 72 hours," learn the 56 steps of NY Salsa in 7 days," "learn the basic 7 dance fitness steps in 15 minutes with this app" etc. etc.

Oliver Cross Founder of Skwag & Portal Product Manager at Gala Coral Group

June 4th, 2015


I launched my "Shoe Swapping App for Women" called "Skwag" a few weeks ago and I would suggest trying to get on, the amount of traffic and media is quite impressive. They are always looking for new ideas.


Ambi Moorthy Headed growth marketing and partner team to grow a SAAS product from 0 to 200,000 users in a year.

September 16th, 2017

Here are 3 things that you can do to virally market a new app, I have personally used all three and found them to give ROI with minimal or no investment,

1) Launch your app on Product hunt and get it hunted by a renowned hunter.

If you are able to do this right the amount to free PR and traffic it can generate is amazing.

2) On page SEO backed by quality content and good back links will get you higher up in search results bot in the app store and in search engines. An ad based promotional model will not scale so build on page and off page SEO from the ground up.

3) Network effect, enable existing users to invite their friends and family to try your app. Make sure you incentive them for the number of signups they bring in.

Bonus: There is no marketing like good word of mouth, create an experience that your users will love and they'll be your biggest advocates.

Good luck and rock on!