Free Ways to Promote Android Applications

Hello! In this topic, I would like to discuss one of the most interesting and at the same time mysterious topics for most, as it seems to me, indie developers - this is the promotion of their own applications. I’ll say a few words about myself: I’ve been involved in Android development for about 2 years (exclusively as a hobby, though). I have a dozen applications in the Play Store, with a total number of downloads of more than 5 million. None of which would be very much, and most of the downloads are in one application, but I made some conclusions regarding marketing for myself. Here I want to share my experience, observations, and also urge you to talk about your results in the comments. Exchange of experience in this matter would be useful to everyone, I think.

Another digression I want to make: I specifically put the word “free” in the headline. It is clear that you can buy downloads, reviews, advertisements, reviews, or even go to the publisher (if you have something worthwhile). But here I propose to take a look at the issue from the point of view of developers who are doing this mainly for the sake of the fan. I don’t have any budgets for my games, and I don’t think that in the near future it will become a business for me where I can (and should) invest money.

Play Store App Page

I'll start with the “face” of any application - its page in the Play Store. There are several important points that you need to pay attention to when placing:

  • The icon. This has already been said many, many times, the icon is the most important in the design. No matter how wonderful your game is, the player will never know about it if his attention is not attracted by a successful icon.
  • Description. It’s important to write a search-optimized description. New users coming “from the search” is almost all that we have left after we saw Just In. Many do not steam and just add tags at the end. Keep in mind that this is a violation of the rules and you can potentially get a ban, although I have not heard of any such cases.
  • Description translation. The description must be translated into the main languages, even if there are no other options besides auto-translation. It’s not without reason that I single this out as a separate item, it is really important for the growth in the number of downloads.
  • Headline. You have 30 characters for the title, try to use them most effectively. This does not have to be the name of the one-on-one game, be creative! Remember that a game with a keyword in the title, in the search results will almost certainly be higher than the rest.
  • Screenshots I think everything here is as obvious as with the icon, try to make them as attractive as possible, show your application from the best angle! Do not forget about the possibility of post-processing screenshots.
  • Video. Video is necessary, even gameplay-video "from the phone" is better than its complete absence. If you have enough skills to make a full trailer - this is generally wonderful!
  • Icon for the Recommended section. Of course, you should not expect to get into Featured, but as part of the design of the page of your application, the promo image should not be neglected either.

About the application / game itself, I can say the following: make a request to vote inside! Many users install the application from the web-store (on a PC, and you can vote only from a smartphone / tablet) and if you do not remind them, they will never look for the page of your application themselves to put their 5 stars. Such a request can be made in the form of a dialogue at the exit or after passing a certain number of levels, for example. Just do not forget that promotion for voting is also a violation of the rules.

Cross promotion

The next part is cross-promotion. I am using admob house ads. The tip I would give here: target your traffic! Put in the settings of the US advertising company, if you see that the application is growing only in the Russian top. Notice that “house ads” work, there should be a lot of impressions. For example, 100,000 impressions with a good CTR ~ 1% = 1000 clicks. Unfortunately, I do not have accurate statistics, but according to my feelings, only about 10% of the clicks are converted to installations. That is, we get 100 settings for 100,000 impressions, that's the kind of math.

There are also various banner exchange networks such as,, On their account, I have not yet made up my mind; the same tapfortap I personally did not earn the first time. In any case, here you can get 1000 impressions of your banner just for registering, as the saying goes "with the world by thread ...".

What sites should I look for when publishing reviews?

For Russian-speaking users, everything is simple - this is There is a forum on which, although they require you to definitely host apk (and we are mostly interested in direct downloads from the Play Store), however, here you can always get a lot of feedback, sometimes very useful feedback. There is also a Support Project for our developers , within which you can publish a free review of your application in the news feed, on the main page. By the way, many smaller RuNet resources draw materials from this forum, which also goes to our advantage.

With English-speaking users, everything is somewhat more complicated, here are the sites I have selected for myself:

  • is a very visited resource, the only minus of which is that it is mainly visited by developers and other geeks. There was an interesting case with my previous game: apparently someone from the administration noticed it on the forum and posted a short note on the main This gave a great impetus and the very next day the game was in first place in the “Hot apps” on (a portal with ratings), which also had a very positive effect on the dynamics of downloads! As a result, the application turned out to be in the Russian TOP-20 and the American TOP-100, which is not bad for a toy in a week, I think.
  • - try it definitely makes sense. There are several subreddits dedicated to Android.
  • The forum on is kind of a visited resource, although you should not expect anything special.
  • is an analogue of, but with a smaller audience (I do not give a link, because they have very aggressive ads on the page). Also require to upload apk.

In addition, of course, do not forget about social networks: Facebook, G +, Twitter, etc. Add socialization to the game, whether it's a tweet about a game achievement or setting a record in Openfeint - all this has a positive effect on distribution, and you only need a few lines of code, by and large.

As for sites specializing in publishing reviews, I had experience with only two. This is the notorious, at that time the review did not give anything, BUT, the game was frankly weak. Rather, the idea was not bad (at least I really want to believe in it), but the graphic design, visual style were not successful, not suitable. Funny detail: the erotic version of the same game showed pretty good results until Google banned it. The second is, they wrote to me with a proposal to place the game in the “Top Recommendation” in exchange for their link in the description of the game on the Play Store. In general, it is sometimes quite difficult to understand what ultimately caused a chain reaction in the form of an application getting into “Hot apps” (AppBrain) or “Gaining popularity” (Google Play), and from there to the TOP. For instance,


In conclusion, I want to recommend (if anyone else does not know) a good site that collects Play Store statistics by country: . If you add the statistics from the Developer Console plus the AdMob statistics to this, it’s a great tool to always keep abreast.

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