5 easy ways to get customers to download your Augmented Reality app

3D avatar and app created by Mortar Studios 2014

3D avatar and app created by Mortar Studios 2014

We are often asked by clients how to get customers to download their new AR app. After all the time invested in designing an incredible augmented reality experience, user interface, and branding messages, a client then needs to turns their attention toward marketing the app... which can be more challenging than planned!

The success of a new mobile app rests almost entirely on your ability to have the customer decide to download it. If nobody knows about it, your fantastic mobile application can be sitting silently in The App Store, not providing an ounce of ROI.



After collaborating with many marketing teams, here are our top tips for prompting your customers to download an app:



If you have an impressive social media presence, you must tie this into your marketing plan for the mobile app.



Super easy:

Post a video of someone (do you know any celebrities or popular personalities in your niche??) using your app. Boost that post, and share it everywhere. 

Augmented reality is a very visual technology & still generally unknown. A video of the AR experiences will say more than words can.

Social approval is a powerful technique to drive behavior. A popular person filmed using your new mobile app should encourage loyal fans to download the app themselves.



SO important...!

We cannot emphasize this more. 

Be as OBVIOUS as possible with your directions for a customer to download the app.


If you focus on 'good design' in terms of creating attractive text & images to subtly prompt a customer, you may be disappointed by how many people say "I didn't know you had an app".

How frustrating!

A few tips for signage:

  • Use bold contrasting colours (your branding is purple? Use vivid yellow)

  • Design an icon that looks like a physical button. Imitate a button on a smart phone. Curved edges, slight drop shadow, simple text.

  • Incorporate bright arrows to literally direct a customer.

  • We are in two minds about QR codes - customers tend to not notice these as much as clients hope.

  • Give clear instructions: provide the app name, where to find it, and actually say "DOWNLOAD NOW"

  • Utilise the environment. Are your experiences part of an instore display? Train the sales staff to use your app, and ask them to let customers know about it.

  • Incorporate strong & direct sentences like "To see this come to life, download the _______ app now" 

  • Push incentives. Offer a discount, lottery entry, exciting freebie, or anything that will engage your users. Focus all your promotional signage around this, rather than the app itself. ie: RECEIVE A FREE WIDGET by downloading the _____app now

  • Interrupt the flow. If you have a poster or billboard, place your icons or text 'in the way' of another message or image. If you have products on a shelf, perhaps put a small hanging sign in the way. 

  • If it is feasible, incorporate audio-visual installations that constantly demonstrate your new app to passing customers. Be sure to have people from your target demographic in the video demonstrations. 



Imagine this:

Find a public place, and have a group of excited people download & use your app. Create a stir & provoke the public's curiosity.

Then -

Film the whole event & share it on social media.



What if your AR app uses smaller markers, like a poster or card?

Determine where your ideal users hang out, and position your rent-a-crowd there. For example, your ideal customer/user will be at a university coffee shop. Have a group of 3-4 people use your app & talk about it loudly.

They need to get attention while looking natural... put on a show. 



It's an old trick, but still works.

Offer something for free in exchange for downloading the app. 


A few tips to make this work well:

  • The free gift or discount needs to be an instant reward. Immediate gratification will make many people act fast.

  • Centre your signage around the incentive rather than the app

  • Double-up the incentive: offer a free gift or discount. THEN offer a second promotion if the customer shares an image on their social media. This will leverage their own peer group, and provide strong social approval of your offer.

  • Use audio-visual installations to demonstrate how to take advantage of your offer. 



It is easy to assume that a new technology needs to be promoted in a certain way.


You can definitely mix old & new media.

Your Augmented Reality app can be promoted using traditional media, in a number of suprising ways.

Newspapers and newsletters target quite specific groups, and can be an excellent (often free!) way to provide alot of information about your new app.


Augmented Reality is a new & exciting technology, and can be deemed a 'public interest' story. Take advantage of this by talking to your local newspaper journalists.

Where is your target audience?

College students? - post flyers on the pinboards, and an article in their newsletters.

Gyms? - place printed media on the gym front desks, and a poster on their classes board.

Coffee crowd? - get the baristas to wear t-shirts promoting your app, and pay them to talk about it to customers for an entire week.




...Augmented Reality may be well understood by you, your team, and other marketers -  but probably not by your target customers. There is a steep learning curve you must push a customer through in a swift & enjoyable way!

Looking to other successful AR apps can be a fabulous source of ideas. Even if you simply leverage from their popularity. For example: let a local newspaper journalist know that your new mobile app uses the same technology as Pokemon Go. This will no doubt peak their interest & make your app easily understood.


We hope these points help! If you have some great tips of your own, please comment below, we would love to hear them.



Katrina Okoronkwo