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Laser-Focused User Acquisition Strategies to Skyrocket Ecommerce App Downloads

Shivkumar M 20+ yrs shaping technology Product & GTM strategy. Fintech, healthcare & retail industry expertise. Leads product launches, adoption & GTM as Director, Product Marketing.
Laser-Focused User Acquisition Strategies to Skyrocket Ecommerce App Downloads

From diapers to diamond rings, if it can be bought, chances are you can get it through a 5.5” screen.
Don’t believe me?
Take a moment to observe the people around you the next time you’re out. Whether you’re on the subway, at a coffee shop, or just walking down the street, it won’t take long to notice a pattern: practically everyone is on their phones, looking at the latest pair of Air Jordans or sweet sounding headphones they’ve been saving up for.
With mobile shopping becoming so popular, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your ecommerce app breaks away from the competition.
We’re starting a new article series focused on how ecommerce apps can give users an unmatched experience, including proven acquisition, engagement, and retention strategies
User journey
To start, we’ll cover what makes an ecommerce app successful, with a focus on app tried-and-true ways to drive awareness and user acquisition.

Awareness and User Acquisition: the First Steps to Success

Mobile commerce is expected to account for 54% of total ecommerce sales by 20211.
Still, creating a successful ecommerce app is no easy task. According to Gartner, less than 0.01% of apps released will be considered a financial success. 2
All the time and effort you’ve spent on your app is futile unless you have a foolproof customer acquisition strategy.

Key App Awareness and User Acquisition Lessons

To understand how to get app acquisition right, look no further than fashion retailer ASOS.
With £4 billion in net sales, it’s a dominant player in the ecommerce space — due in large part to its wildly successful mobile app with over 10 million downloads.
One of the biggest reasons ASOS excels at user acquisition and awareness is it’s ASO, App Indexing, and social media strategy. They do an amazing job at getting the basics right, and then adding their own special twist — making the app easily discoverable for anyone who’s interested in shopping for fashion on a mobile device.

Acing App Store Optimization (ASO), App Indexing, and Social Media the ASOS Way

First, we’ll focus on how ASOS excels at ASO.

  1. Main Title
    When picking the main title of the app, it is recommended to pick keywords based on relevance, difficulty, and traffic for your main title that reflect your app’s industry, core utility, or benefit.
    However, ASOS chose to distinguish itself by choosing a name that is exceptionally unique, memorable, and easier to rank. ASOS stands for “as seen on screen,” because you can shop anything you see while perusing the company’s Instagram or YouTube channel.
    Given how fast fashion is evolving — and how social media is dictating the latest style trends — the name couldn’t be more relevant (or distinct).
    By focusing on relevant keywords like “Shopping”, “Clothing” “Marketplace”, “Brands”, “Fashion”, “Catwalk”, “Misguided” and “Zara”, reflective of their core product, USP, and main competition, ASOS has been able to drive a huge amount of traffic to its app store pages on Android and iOS.
  2. Number of App Downloads
    ASOS does a great job of updating its app store page with relevant information about features and new releases. It has over 10 million active downloads across the globe on Android alone.
    Don’t panic if your app doesn’t have 10 million downloads. Every download you get improves visibility. And newer apps can outrank established players with a higher download rate. That means if you have more downloads this month, you can still outrank major brands.
  3. App Ratings and Reviews
    Ratings and reviews have a significant impact on app discoverability, and influence other users to download it.
    Use in-app notifications to find out which users are happy with the app and encourage them to leave positive ratings and reviews
    App Ratings
    In the above instance, a high average app rating of 4.7 for ASOS is additional motivation for users to download the app. The reviews they receive are due to the exceptional user experience it provides, with the additional advantages of free shipping and an extensive product catalog.
  4. App Store Page Details
    Once you’ve managed to get people to discover your app page within the app store, you need to make sure you clearly communicate the value you provide to the end user.
    This is where you include a brief description of the app’s main features and benefits. Highlight things like speedy checkout, visual search, designer collections, and other differentiators, along with walkthrough videos and screenshots of the app.
    It is also important to include details of the app version as well as the date of the last update. Users are more likely to download an ecommerce app that is maintained and updated regularly.

Mobile Web to App – App Indexing to Drive App Awareness

Google and Apple Spotlight Search, the dominant search engines on mobile devices, now rank app content in addition to website content. Search engine robots explore the pages within the app using deep links. This process is called app indexing.
This is a great way to potentially double your SEO — since you’re providing links to your app in addition to your website. So in effect, you can expect an additional influx of organic traffic to your app as well as your mobile site.
Results obtained through app indexing actually are prioritized above regular web results, by both Apple and Google. So without an app, it will become almost impossible to rank on page 1 of mobile search results.
Here’s an example of how ASOS manages to feature in top search results and nudge mobile users to install the app through Google Ads.
asos search result

For mobile users who have installed the app, deep linking allows users to discover products directly in the app through their search engine results.

#AsSeenOnASOS: Acquiring Users Through Social Media

By incorporating social media sharing into your app, you can:

  • Drive brand awareness
  • Give users the chance to share the products with their networks
  • Win potential new users landing on your app by clicking on shared backlinks

With the average person spending over 2 hours a day on social media, you have yourself a win-win situation that allows users to feel more connected to your app.
No other ecommerce app has been able to match ASOS when it comes to social media.
It maintains a strong presence on most social sites — and not just the usual suspects like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but also Pinterest and Reddit. With branded hashtags, shoppable looks on Instagram, and a thriving influencer network, social media is one of their biggest user acquisition channels.
as seen on asos

Driving Web Users to the Mobile App

Over 50% of ASOS users are on mobile, and there’s a reason why. With mobile-only features like visual and AI-driven search, mobile payments, and a fit analytics function — their app users know a lot of effort has been put into making the mobile experience superior.
And for users who are still on the website, ASOS provides a simple clickable link that directs them to the respective Android or iOS app store from a landing page that communicates the app’s value proposition and features.
asos in app

Event Strategy Mix

Apart from some of the best practices listed above, it’s important to identify the various user segments and tailor your acquisition strategies accordingly.
Here are a few tactics that will help you improve awareness and user acquisition for your app.

User SegmentTacticsChannels

Unaware User
  • Invest in SEO and ASO to generate awareness
  • Use app indexing to direct users who search for shopping related topics to your app store page


  • Search Engines – Google, Bing etc.
  • App Store


Aware but not Acquired User
  • Prompt web users to migrate to your app via a download button or pop-up
  • Invest in social media retargeting to prompt downloads for users who have made multiple purchases on your web platform


  • Exit intent pop-up
  • Social media ads


Acquired User
  • Create a short product tour for first-time users, enable social logins for quick and easy registrations, and send welcome messages via email, push, and in-app messages
  • Run a “welcome” or “thank you for downloading” email campaign with a quick tour of the app
  • Run campaigns on days 1, 3, and 7 post download to inform new users about core features. Share sales, discounts, and promo codes to encourage a first conversion.


  • In-app notification
  • Social Media
  • Push notification
  • Email



Metrics to Track Success

Once you have some key strategies for improving app awareness and user acquisition for your ecommerce app, you need to monitor its progress to see if it’s working.
Here’s the list of key metrics that will help you gauge your success and keep upping your game.

MetricMetric DescriptionMeasurement Formula

App RankingImprove your search ranking for both search engines and app stores to improve the chances of app discoverability, download, and adoption.


Influenced by the number of downloads, app store rankings, and reviews.


Cost per InstallThe amount you pay per installation of your app on a user’s mobile device through a paid ad campaign.


Total Expenditure on Ads/Total Number of App Installs


Average Click-to-Install Conversion RateThe percentage of the number of conversions (app installs) per ad click


(Total Number of Conversions/Total Number of Ad Clicks) x 100


App Store Page Conversion (APSC) RateThe App Store Page Conversion (APSC) Rate


(Total Number of App Installs/Total Number of App Page Views) x 100



What’s Next?

Successful app awareness and user acquisition is necessary for your app to become a market leader. Getting the fundamentals right is key, and spending your time and resources in adopting these industry best practices is what will make your efforts in building a great app worthwhile.
Stay tuned for my next blog post where I’ll cover how you can implement a dynamic user onboarding strategy for your ecommerce app.

Last updated on March 26, 2024