Mobile App Marketing Trends to Take Over in 2021

The year 2019 recorded a total of 204 billion app downloads across all platforms. If you’re a business planning to launch an app, this means two things. 

First, the demand for mobile apps is continuously increasing, which is the right time to enter the market. Second, the competition is fierce, and if you want to stand out, you’ll need to streamline your marketing efforts. 

These app marketing trends for 2021 can help you out. 

1. Attract Ratings and Reviews

Let’s say you offer a premium photo editing app for Android and iOS. A user wants to install a photo editing app on her smartphone, so she opens the app store and searches for “photo editor.” Your app appears, along with a bunch of other apps. 

The user opens the app store page of each app and checks the rating. Your app is the best of the lot, but it doesn’t have many ratings and reviews. Another app, which lacks many essential features, has more positive reviews. What would the user do? 

No matter how good your app is, people won’t install it if it doesn’t have good ratings and reviews. The app store algorithm also works on these parameters. An app that has more downloads and better ratings rank higher than apps with fewer installs. 

Ratings and reviews are like app store SEO. If you want greater visibility, you’ll need more ratings. 

Now, how can you encourage your app users to rate your app? There are several strategies to achieve that. The most common technique is to request your users to share their feedback. Almost all apps do that. Try installing an app, and within a day or two, you’ll see a pop-up requesting you to rate it on the app store. 

The second, more effective way is to incentivize your users to rate you. In exchange for a five-star review, you can offer them a small reward depending on the type of your app. For example, if you’re a food delivery app like Uber Eats, you can provide a discount coupon to customers who give you a 5-star rating on the app store. 

2. Use QR Codes to Simplify the Download Process

Quick-response (QR) codes do a fantastic job in increasing app downloads. Take Starbucks, for example. The coffeehouse company has used QR code API to put up QR codes in its stores. Customers can scan the code and download the app without manually opening the app store and searching for the app. 

Moreover, you can put up QR codes anywhere. Store windows, walls, POS terminals are a few examples. Several CPG brands put up QR codes on product packages and link them to the app download. You can also use a bulk QR code generator and print QR codes on banner ads, flyers, and brochures to encourage your customers to download your app. 

When trying to drive app downloads, include a small incentive. Not all customers would want to keep your app on their smartphones. You’ll need to provide them a reason to do so. So, offer them rewards and bonuses for installing your app.  

3. Leverage Social Media to Promote App Downloads

Social media has been under scrutiny when it comes to marketing. One of the major reasons is that social media marketing takes time to show effect. Its ROI is questionable and easily trackable. But problems aside, social media can adorn your app marketing efforts. 


App downloads are free of cost. When people come on social media, buying something isn’t nearly in their minds. Since apps are free to download (unless you offer paid apps), people don’t mind downloading them. 

The ease of download is another reason why social media is beneficial for app companies. You can share the app download link on social media, and users can click the link to download the app. It shortens the process, making it more user-friendly. 

Lastly, social platforms offer cost-effective paid advertising options. Since driving app, downloads don’t directly translate to revenue, running Google advertisements can be a hefty investment. Social media channels, particularly Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, offer affordable advertising options. Therefore, you can drive targeted app downloads at a lower cost. 

4. In-App Advertising Is Here to Stay

The mobile app industry is growing more competitive with every passing day. Only a handful of options exist that allow you to reach your target audience in a natural, compelling, and effective way. In-app advertisements are one of them. 

In-app advertising means running ads on other mobile apps. Several free apps, especially games, to that. 

If you display ads on apps, you won’t achieve the desired results. A lot of apps are already doing this, and if you do it too, you’ll be another cookie in the jar. Instead, look for sponsorship opportunities. 

Find apps in your niche that might have the user base you desire. Inquire them if they’re open to advertising on the app. Be sure to contact app owners who don’t normally run ads on their app. 

These companies care about the user experience a lot. If they agree to partner with you, you can get a substantial return on investment. However, the advertising cost on these apps will be significantly higher than regular display ads. 

5. Don’t Overlook the App Store

The competition in the app stores is increasing. A Statista report showed 2.87 million apps on Google Play Store and 1.96 million apps on Apple App Store. That’s fierce competition, and it might take a while for a new app to rank higher, be found, and eventually attract downloads. 

To overcome this hurdle, many app companies think of ditching the app stores. They offer the app from their website only. While this might give you the benefit of exclusivity, you won’t get enough eyeballs. 

Only 15% of local businesses receive more than 2,500 website visitors per month, showed a survey by BrightLocal. Let’s double the number, for instance, making it 5,000. Even if your website gets 5,000 new visitors per day, it’s nowhere compared to 1.28 billion visits on Google Play Store. 

So, while it’s fine to offer your app on your website, don’t overlook app stores. Hang in there, try to accumulate ratings and reviews, and rank your app higher. Once it ranks higher, it’ll generate automatic downloads, eliminating the need for advertising. 

6. Invest in App Design and Branding

Users will continue using your app only if it provides a good experience. However, good UX and UI go beyond speed and responsiveness. The feeling people get by using your app is also important. When they use your app, can they hear your brand talking to them? 

All elements in your app should reflect your brand message and values, from colors to fonts and icons. Are you bold, cheerful, and energetic? Then use Serif fonts with bright colors like orange and yellow. Are you calm and creative? Handwriting fonts with light and subtle colors can get the job done in that case. 

Many companies overlook the branding element when creating and promoting a mobile app. But remember that branding, if done right, can function as a powerful app marketing tool. 

8. Video Marketing Can Do Wonders

Lastly, use video marketing. Video has become the favorite content for app marketers, and rightly so. When you create an app, you try to solve a problem and engage your customers emotionally. Videos are arguably the best content type when it comes to telling stories and triggering emotions. 

Video marketing is a wide realm, and you can utilize it for all types of apps. Let’s say you provide a cloud-based team management app that allows managers and employers to manage their teams. 

This app’s video marketing campaign fan includes a weary manager who would work till late to ensure his team got the work done. Now, with your app, he can manage the team remotely from wherever he wants and now enjoys a lot of free time. 

Of course, your video marketing campaign should be realistic. Unrealistic advertising can turn off your target audience. 


Apps run the world, and rightly so. There’s an app for everything from working out to consulting with a doctor to turning off your fans and lights. In such a competitive landscape, making your app successful can seem challenging. But by implementing the right marketing strategies, you can get the job done.

Apoorva Hegde works as a Content Marketer at Beaconstac. She is a tech-aficionado, curious about all things related to marketing, and when not obsessing over QR Codes, she is also an ardent junkie of The Office.

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