How to Write Effective Creatives That Will Boost Your App Installs

This happens a lot. You create an awesome app, upload it to the App Store, advertise it, and nothing. No ratings and hardly any installs. In the meantime, your competitors launch similar apps, advertise them in same networks, and conquer what once supposed to become your audience. And it doesn’t get any better.

Depressing? Yes, it is

But there are ways out. A good one would be to run more effective ad campaigns by writing irresistible creative messages. The ones that will make your prospects reach for the install button. By the time you read through the post, you’ll know a few effective ways to craft this kind of messages.


We’ll start with some proven techniques used for writing headlines. They obviously work in blogging and journalism, and experiments with our own creatives show that they work no less effectively for in-app cross-promotion. So here goes!

Formula 1: Question + Answer = (Problem + Solution)

This formula is easy to apply in creatives that consist of a title and a body. In the title, you ask a question that reveals the need to download your app, and in the body you answer the question all the while listing your app’s benefits. Pay attention: you need to write benefits. Not features. Try to figure out what’s in your app for the user. Write “likes in Instagram” instead of “range of quality filters”, “know whether or not take an umbrella” instead of “detailed weather information”, “become more organized” instead of “new organizer app on the App Store”. Compare CTR* for different creatives for our iPhorisms App.

descriptive_creative question_answer_app_creative

Formula 2: How to + Download [your app name]

This one is even more persuasive. There is definitely some magic behind these two words. Hard to believe? Just try it. We applied this when writing creatives for Math for Kids app. The CTR for how-to creative was 3-4 times higher than with the other creatives for this application. Compare:

app_creative_example how_to_creative

Formula 3: Effective creative = Testimonial

Wouldn’t you download a fitness app N if you read something like this:

Miranda Kerr admits: “I don’t know how I would keep myself fit without N app – it’s amazing!.”

You probably would. That’s the power of a good testimonial.

But what if you can’t boast of a celebrity or an opinion leader using your app? In this case, you may mention some segment that your prospects associate themselves with. For example, “avid Instagram users”, “keen photographers”, “sports addicts” “best mothers” and suchlike. This technique represents outside proof of your app’s value and provides a good reason to download it.

Instagrids_app_creative testimonial_creative

Formula 4: Enthusiasm + Emotions + Creativity

Many advise on staying away from creativity and emotions when crafting solid call-to-action messages. However, there are exceptions to any rules.

If your app is not a utility, but rather a captivating game, or a collection of inspiring images, sometimes it’s better to be creative rather than rational.

Try to sound enthusiastic. Everyone likes communicating with a zesty person. Get into the mindset of a thrilled iOS apps guru and start writing. Don’t stick to any rules and formulas. Paint a picture with your words. Here are some examples.

SCREEN_app_creative vivid_app_creative
ultraweather_app_creative vivid_app_creative

Formula 5 (New): Yes-No Buttons

The idea here is to think of a question that is related to your app and has two answers: yes and no. NO will close the message and YES will redirect the user to the app store page of your app.

See a few examples:

app_cross_promo app_cross_promo

This formula is very effective and is now most frequently used for cross-promoting our apps. Some major app publishers have also switched to this types of message lately. The CTR for these creatives is around 20%. You should definitely try it!

What’s next

Now that you’ve picked up some creative writing techniques, it’s time to launch a campaign and test each of the five message formulas. When you see that some creatives obviously outrun the others, these are your winners. Sort the messages out by CTR. CVR (downloads to impressions ratio) will catch up. We never stop testing creatives for our own apps and when we discover new recipes for killer messages, we’ll share it with you. You may bookmark this page not to miss our updates.

And don’t forget the golden rule. Concentrate on user’s benefits. This always pays off.

P.S. If you are really excited about what you’ve learnt, but you have nowhere to apply it, you are welcome to sign up for AppDK for free cross promotion of your apps. The service will become available in 2015. And you may be among the first to try it out!


*CTR = the number of clicks on an ad message divided by the number of times the ad message was shown. The number of impressions of creatives in the provided examples is more than 1000.

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