February 24, 2022

Find Your Users’ ‘Why’ For Downloading Your App

Learn about the different user motivations behind why people choose to download and use certain apps and learn how it can contribute to an app’s ultimate success.

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As the digital world becomes increasingly complex, apps are becoming a bigger part of who we are as people. Long gone are the days when playing a game was purely for entertainment, or posting photos was just for fun. Apps are now part of our lifestyle and used as a social outlet, a way to unwind, and even as part of our professions.

With more apps than ever before, it’s crucial to understand the deeper user motivations about why they download it in the first place. Understanding this key component will lead to more downloads, higher user retention, and long-lasting success.

In this article, we’ll explore the different motivations behind why users choose certain apps and how brands can utilize this knowledge to best suit their audience.

Table of Contents

Motivations Behind App Installs


Winning, reaching new levels and challenges

Competing to win against other gamers or against one’s own record, is fueled by the desire to gain power. Games that offer the opportunity to defeat opponents or progress toward higher rankings will appeal most to users who are highly motivated by power. Gamers who are driven by power will also be drawn towards a game where their character starts from a point of weakness and gradually gains strength in the form of point accumulation, upgrades, advancing levels, and achieving wins as they overcome challenges. In other words, it is the journey itself that gives the player a sense of power, growing more mighty with each defeat or accomplishment.


Playing and competing with others, forming alliances, chatting with new friends

For many, apps are a means to socially interact with others. Users motivated mostly by social needs will gravitate towards apps and games that allow them to work in teams and collaborate with others. Apps allow people to connect with each other in fun and exciting ways that would not be possible otherwise, especially when it comes to gaming. For example, gifting someone an item earned in a game promotes friendship; teaming up with a friend to compete against other players around the world forms alliances. Being part of an online community is motivated by the social need to fit in and identify with others and it is not uncommon for new friendships to form via gaming and extend into users’ offline lives as well.


Mastering skills, completing milestones

People driven by ambition will be drawn towards games that require mastering skills and completing milestones. These users want to reach goals and feel a sense of achievement and therefore play games where they can progress and get rewarded. Users motivated by ambition want to reach new levels, new challenges and feel like they are reaching a target. These gamers will enjoy seeing the fruit of their efforts to the extent that they have advanced with each challenge.


Thinking, solving problems, thrill seeking, fantasy

Users looking for escapism will be drawn toward apps that offer an immersive alternative reality and a place to they can play out their fantasies. They are looking for the thrill and excitement of exploration outside their own world. It’s not only the adrenaline rush that these gamers are seeking but the escapism that thinking and solving problems offers.

Self Expression

Customization, role playing

For some, an app can serve as an opportunity for self expression. Games that give the option to customize a character or design a landscape will attract users who want to express their own individuality and creativity. Character role play within a game is an example of players using their imaginations to create another identity.


Collecting, exploring new worlds

Exploring the unknown is what attracts some to certain apps. The desire to discover new worlds and search for new possibilities attracts gamers motivated by discovery. The reward of collecting items drives users to keep testing the boundaries to see what can be found.


Strategy, resource management

If resource management is a user’s top motivation, they will look for games where they can make long-term strategic decisions and enjoy the process of planning, methodizing and deploying. They are attracted to complex problem solving and look for games that allow them to plan several steps ahead to create a long-term strategy.

Applying User Motivations to Get More Downloads For Your App

Figuring out user motivations is only the beginning of the process. Once you’ve identified them, it’s time to implement this knowledge into the marketing plan. This is where theory comes into action and actually gets users to hit download. Below are a few of the most popular mobile marketing methods.


App store optimization, or ASO, revolves around optimizing the content, design, and reviews of an app listing in either the iOS App Store or Android’s Google Play store. Craft the store graphics and metadata to best appeal to your target audience’s motivations.

User Acquisition

Don’t pay for ads if you’re unaware of your users’ motivations – it will literally cost you! Understand your target users’ motivations to create the right messaging and know which platforms will be most effective for paid user acquisition efforts.

Social Media

Having a solid social media presence is key for getting an organic following for your app (not to mention the many paid advertising options available on each platform). Figuring out what will motivate users to install your app or play your game will completely change how you interact with them.

Email Marketing

By collecting details about users that have already shown an interest in your app via landing pages or sign-up forms, email marketing is an excellent choice for retargeting. Email marketing is the main technique for user retention. You can play on your audience’s key motivators by offering loyal users exclusive offers and promotions that will appeal to them. In turn, they will feel valued and will be more likely to keep investing their time and money in your app.

FAQ About Getting More App Downloads

How can I get more downloads for an Android and iOS app?

Ensure your app is optimized to allow for maximum visibility so users can find it easily when searching. This can be done through a deep understanding of their needs and motivations so you can keep giving them what they want. Positive reviews and higher user retention will also increase the rating of your app and naturally increase downloads.

Do you get paid more when more people download your app?

No, an app does not generate income directly via downloads. Apps make money when users pay for an app, make in-app purchases, or click on advertisements within the app.

Conclusion: What Really Makes An App Get Downloaded and Succeed

Gaining motivational insights about your users will help you target your audience effectively no matter the marketing activities you choose. When you concentrate on your niche market, you can attract the right users for your app.

Understanding your users’ deeper reasons behind downloading is intrinsically tied to better performance. When you know what makes them tick, you can make sure your app is fulfilling those needs. This will increase retention, satisfaction, and lead to higher rankings in the app store.

Want to get more downloads for your app? The yellowHEAD team can help! Contact us and let’s get started.

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