Top 5 Mobile Growth Hacking Tips


Jason is a student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and marketing intern at Branch Metrics. When he’s not helping the Branch team expand their network, he enjoys studying and collecting vintage timepieces.


At Branch, we’ve sponsored a bunch of Mobile Growth Hackers meetups across the globe. These meetups have featured speakers ranging from CTO’s of large, international companies, to those who are currently in the trenches trying to get their first 10,000 users. As a result of hosting these events, we’ve watched hours of mobile growth discussions and we’ve started to see trends that resonate with developers around the world. If you’re a mobile app developer or have recently launched an app, these top five mobile growth strategies are for you.

1 – Secure Quality Users Early On

The most important thing for a young app is to initially build a foundation of quality users. These users will provide you with feedback, share and promote your app, and allow you to fine-tune your product. Without the correct users, you can easily draw incorrect conclusions about your app. After reaching a critical mass of quality users, you can shift your focus to virality and start to target specific audiences you’ve identified out of these quality early adopters.

Take it from an expert — Deema Tamimi, Head of Product marketing at Flipboard says, “Once you have your first user base, figure out what it is they love about your app and then take those experiences and make them even better.”

2 – Customize The Onboarding Experience

    Josh Elman of Greylock Partners recommends slowing down the onboarding process: “Most services try to make the signup flow as painless as possible. That’s a terrible idea. You have more attention than you’ll ever have again from that user.” With that attention, it’s an obligation to thoroughly introduce the app to the user. Don’t be afraid to explain how to use the app. By educating the user, they’ll engage with the app as intended which will drive higher retention rates.

    You can also personalize the onboarding process. “Branch, for example, gives you the possibility to contextualize the onboarding experience based on where the users come from,” says Flipboard’s Deema Tamimi. Whether a user found the app from an ad or a friends referral, you can tailor the onboarding flow to create a custom user experience.

3 – Find and Polish Your Hook

    20% of downloaded apps are opened only once. To avoid this, you want to get your users to take some action to commit to your product. Get users what they want quickly. This means holding off on asking them to link their social accounts or asking for a review. Your product should be there to serve them first and foremost. Don’t assume users use your app the way you’ve intended. Find out what they actually use, “the hook”, and then figure out how to retain quality users. Use this data to improve and tailor UX/UI around real user data.

4 – Be Aware of a User’s Progression

    When interrupting a user with a review request or any other notification, be mindful of a user’s location in the app and what they are doing. It’s best to ask for a review or social share after a user has completed a positive action in your app, such as completing a purchase, finishing a project, or completing a challenging level. Experiment when making these requests. Once you have found out when to make the request, then you can optimize the messaging to make it even better. Josh Lu, Director of Product at Zynga, says, “When we know your app crashed recently, we won’t show you a ratings prompt, because your recent experience might not have been as good as we want it to be.”

5 – Focus on Being Great First

Everyone knows getting featured in an app store will spike downloads, but be patient and make sure you’re ready when it happens. Focus on perfecting UX/UI, user quality, ASO, and app performance before you make a push to get featured. Younger apps may be ill-prepared for the rush of downloads. Instead, you can soft-launch in a smaller market where you can collect valuable feedback and refine your app to prepare for the larger markets.

CEO and CoFounder of Apptentive, Robi Ganguly, says “… don’t focus on getting featured, focus on getting so good that if you are getting featured you are ready to onboard many people and give them the best experience possible.” As for getting featured, experts say it’s completely contingent on professional relationships and the quality of the app. Category managers will tell you what they’re looking for next so you can build it first.

Want more tips? Our SlideShare features 33 additional mobile growth tips to get you one step closer to being a mobile growth expert.