Roadmap to Getting Your First 100,000 Monthly App Users

When you launch your app, one of the most anticipated milestones is when you are finally able to reach 100,000 users. Many apps fail soon after launching due to poor planning, a lack of marketing, or a drop in users due to a lack of updates or added value. Many companies fail because they don’t take into account that app creation is just the beginning. If you don’t create a strategy for how you will increase brand recognition, cultivate new users, and boost your user engagement, you will struggle just to maintain the numbers you gain after the initial surge in downloads. 

Incentives in Your App Keep People Coming Back 

When you are just starting to build your user base, retention is incredibly important. Offering incentives is a surefire way to keep people coming back to your app again and again. When you offer time-sensitive incentives, it creates a sense of urgency and pressure that makes people feel like they need to use the app each day or they will “lose out.” 

How to Utilize Push Notifications for Incentives 

Using push notifications to make users aware of the incentives for using your app involves a delicate balance of informing users with time-sensitive alerts, and bothering them to the point of uninstalling your app. Push notifications can motivate users by making them feel persuaded to use the app or risk losing the offer. However, push notifications can also cause people to feel anxious or guilty, or even annoyed if they are not implemented properly. Make sure to keep your push notifications to a minimum, averaging less than one a day. Personalizing push notifications is a nice touch, which can make users feel cared about, rather than preached to. 

What Type of Incentives Should You Use for Your App? 

The types of incentives you should use for your app will depend on the type of app you’re promoting, the areas in which most users live, and the age and demographic of your target market. In developing nations, apps see a huge rise in user engagement if they offer inexpensive incentives that include mobile airtime, since many people spend a disproportionate amount of their income on phone services. In other areas, a simple point system with digital offerings such as badges, avatars, and the ability to use premium services within the app is enough to get users excited about using your app daily. 

Great Apps Need Great Marketing

You don’t typically grow an app to over 100,000 users without a stellar marketing strategy. Even before your release date, you should be developing and implementing a well-thought-out plan for marketing and advertisements that is designed to increase both users, and user engagement. When it comes to an app’s success, marketing is often considered even more important than the app itself. 

Use the Right Data from Your Market Research

When conducting market research you may get bogged down with the details, and not be able to discern how to use the data to make an actionable plan. Find out exactly what needs your app is fulfilling that aren’t being met by other products on the market. Then, use the data that pertains to that need, rather than taking in all of the analytics as a whole. This allows you to pinpoint the areas that need work, as well as the ones that are already succeeding. 

Determine What Response You Want From Your Users

Without a goal in mind, it is difficult to create a marketing plan. With each campaign you should have a clear goal in mind, such as increasing the number of users, creating an email marketing list, or boosting your engagement. When you are able to determine what behaviors you are trying to encourage, your marketing campaigns will become much more effective, which also leads to lower costs. This is true whether you are launching a fitness app, or an app that helps people pass their permit tests. If you don’t know what you want from your users, you may be taking shots in the dark when it comes to your marketing strategy, which can be not only expensive but lead to mixed messages from the user’s end. 

Evaluate Your Competition 

Creating a detailed analysis of your competition will help you to maintain your edge, so that you can ensure you are offering an app that anticipates your user’s needs. Take into consideration their price points, marketing and incentive strategies, user demographics, and success. You will also want to monitor public user feedback regarding your competition on social media so that you can take their customer complaints and compliments into consideration when developing new features. Try to find out what they aren’t offering that their users are asking for so that you are able to fill in the gap. 

Develop a Strategy

Create a comprehensive marketing plan that includes steps and campaigns for all of the platforms you will be using. Incorporate your brand’s message, aesthetics, and reputation, as well as a timeline for your goals. Have a clear plan for every campaign so that your brand remains cohesive and your strategy works across platforms without becoming repetitive. The better your marketing strategy directly correlates to how quickly you can reach 100,000 users. 

Make Sure Your App Continues to Provide Value 

If you don’t keep up with updates and respond to customer feedback, you may notice an increase in the number of users uninstalling the app, as well as a lowered rate of user engagement. A sudden drop in engagement or many users uninstalling the app at the same time usually indicates an issue with usability or an operating system update that may have caused your app to stop working. Use A/B testing to find out small changes or tweaks you can make that your users respond to. The most successful app companies continually use A/B testing so that they can update their product to be as engaging and effective as possible. 

Personalization Makes Users Feel Important 

When you increase the number of ways your app can be personalized, you are able to make your users feel important. This can also make users feel as if they’re interacting with your app, almost giving it a life of its own. Go beyond adding personalized names to copy in your app; allow users to customize colors, avatars, and options. You may even want to change your content based on how each person uses your app. Personalized push notifications are a great example of this, with feedback and reminders based on each person’s preferences and usage.  

Keep Updating to Bring New Value and Improve Retention

Many developers make the mistake of not adding any new content or updates, save for resolving bugs that pop up every now and again. In order to improve app retention and continue to draw in new users, you should be constantly adding new content, updates, and marketing strategies. Not adding any new value to your app sends the message that you no longer believe the app has importance or value, as well as making users who enjoy your app feel abandoned or neglected. 


By doing simple things, like refreshing the look of your app, adding new incentives for existing users, and creating add-ons for existing features, you will keep your app from becoming outdated, or having your users become bored. Even worse, they may run out of things to do on your app, leaving them with no other option than to either stop using it, or uninstall it. When you wait too long to update your app, you may also have the issue of people not noticing that you have released an update, leading to a drop in user engagement. 


Don’t ignore what is working, either. You can improve or build upon the parts of your app that your users are raving about. This makes people who are giving positive feedback feel heard, increases engagement, and makes your app become more valuable. When you pay close attention to feedback from your users and respond quickly, you will also improve your brand’s reputation, which can help you when developing new apps in the future. 

Create an App You Would Use 

One of the most important aspects for developers is to make sure that you are creating an app you would use, rather than the app you think people need. If you aren’t passionate about your product, you shouldn’t expect other people to want to download it. If your app is not created for a need that you have, do your best to empathize with your demographic so that you can better anticipate their needs and wants, and increase the engagement and enthusiasm of your users. 


Getting to the point of having 100,000 users is hard work. Creating your app is only the beginning of your journey to success. Marketing and advertising are essential in building your audience, and maintenance and updates retain more users so that you can lower your churn rate. Most apps fail within months, so if you’ve managed to steadily increase your numbers, you are well on your way to the 100,000 mark.