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6 ideas for using scarcity in your mobile app marketing

6 ideas for using scarcity in your mobile app marketing

Humans are known for wanting what they can’t have. When something is low in supply, its scarcity leads people to believe that it must be an item worth having, and the perceived value of it increases. Brands use this thinking to promote urgency around their products, but scarcity can also be used to drive more mobile app downloads and engagement.

To help illustrate this thought, we spoke with Tatsiana Kerimova, CEO and Co-founder of Orangesoft, a web and mobile app development company, who gave us her top six tips on how to successfully implement scarcity into your mobile app marketing.

1. Time-sensitive incentives for app downloads

Limited-time offers are a standard practice for many brands, and it’s because they have the power to drive results. When consumers realize they only have so much time to take advantage of a good deal, their decision to move urgently happens almost immediately.

This can also be the case for customers who need to download your app. Offer them an incentive that is only available if they download.

If your customers procrastinated before, knowing that their slow movement could cost them may influence them to get your app. They’ll realize it takes them nothing to download an app from a brand they love if it means getting a better price on a product.

Limited-time offers are also applicable to subscription fees, products and services that your app provides. 

2. Incentives exclusive to mobile purchases

 If you need to boost downloads, provide a limited offer for customers when they buy on mobile. 

Despite all of their hype, apps aren’t getting downloaded as much as you might think. This may be due to customers not having enough storage space or feeling content with the apps they already have, but no matter the reason it all comes down to this: Consumers simply don’t feel like downloading the app is necessary.

So, what’s the solution? You have to make the app necessary.

If customers can get the item they’re looking for in store or they can get your not-so-exclusive discount online, why would they download your app? But if they can only get their desired result through your app, they’ll have to see its value and make space for it in their lives. After that it’s up to you to keep them there.

3. Exclusive incentives to increase app downloads

Consumers love experiencing things other people don’t have access to. This Clubhouse-like tactic draws in users by creating exclusivity with services or product offerings (also known as the Velvet Rope strategy). For instance, if you’re having a sale or dropping a new product you can allow your VIP loyalty members (customers who have seniority) to get first-dibs on the new or marked down items.

4. Same-day delivery countdowns for app orders

Customers want things quickly, and it’s all thanks to the psychology of instant gratification. It makes customers feel good to get their needs met, and the faster you can solve their pain points, the more value you provide. 

 If your customers have to download your mobile app to get their needs met quickly they will. Apps are a convenience for customers, and with same-day delivery countdowns (a timer incentivizing consumers to purchase their products within a limited-time to get same-day delivery) you can encourage your users to place an order much faster. 

5. Free trial until X number of downloads

If you have an app that typically requires consumers to make in-app purchases, consider offering a free trial to a limited number of app sign-ups. 

The appeal in this first-come, first-served promotion will come from customers understanding that they only get to briefly experience perks they’d otherwise have to pay for. Not only can this help you get the downloads you’re looking for, but if your app delivers a great user experience, consumers won’t want to part with it once the trial is over. They’ll also be more inclined to make purchases.

6. Freebies for X number of app downloads

You can also offer incentives in the form of freebies to consumers in exchange for downloads.

According to this tactic, users get a gift once they download your app. These don’t have to be huge gifts — it’s more of the thought that counts. You can offer a small discount, a free item of their choice, or drop the price of a more expensive item they’ve been eyeing for a while. You could even keep the mystery "freebie" a secret and play on the psychology of uncertainty

This is a smart strategy for a number of reasons. One, gifts make your customers feel valued as they’re able to see that you appreciate their patronage, and two, giving your customers a gift could expose them to a new product they might come to enjoy and purchase in the future. 

Driving consumer urgency around your mobile app marketing is possible with the help of scarcity. Using the six tips we mentioned above, you can increase consumer engagement with your mobile app and get the downloads and engagement you want.


Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.

Picture of Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener

Lindsay Keener is a brand journalist for Quikly. She covers stories that help to inform and educate consumer-facing marketers.