Category Marketing
In-App Referral Programs for Mobile Apps In-app referral marketing is one of the most effective marketing tactics

Every app developer, as well as app development companies, wants their web or mobile app to be an instant hit in the market and to have the capability of growing their own user base with a significant amount of audience. But it's almost impossible to achieve this goal in the initial hours or even days of the official app launch.

And this is the part where the in-app referral programs come into action. So that is exactly what we will be doing in this article i.e. explaining the process on how to smoothly implement in-app referral programs for mobile apps.

Keep on reading to learn about the importance of referral marketing in today’s app promotion techniques.

What is In-App Referral Program?

In simple words, a referral program can be defined as a process where one person refers to a mobile app to another person and the latter accepts the request and becomes a user for that particular app. Then for this reference both of the users get rewarded by the mobile application here, this reward can be in terms of app credits, coupons, or even cash back.

What is In-App Referral Program

The above image is a simple and innovative example of an in-app referral program which is providing rewards to the app users and app referrals in terms of cash and other discount deals.

These in-app referral programs are a great option for creating more awareness about the brand by spreading the word to a larger audience and that too a relevant one. During the implementation of this process, the aim of this marketing strategy is to promote the app in growing in a viral trend that is organic in nature.

When it comes to different types of programs, the ones that lead the race are incentive programs. These in-app programs offer its app users to share the content of the application with their contacts and once that task is completed the in-app referrals give incentives and credits.

Effective Ways to Implement In-app Referral Programs

Below is a list of some of the most effective ways that can help you in smoothly implementing the in-app referral programs for your mobile application:

1. Boost Your ROI

In every business, the ROI i.e Return on Investment is a crucial factor that can not be ignored under any circumstances. By implementing an in-app referral program, your chances of gaining a higher return on investment increases by a huge percentage. Also, this is interconnected with the user acquisition costs which we will be discussed ahead.

Uber referral program

If we look at the average amount of cost that is required to acquire a single user, the numbers are quite high. Whereas in comparison to that, referral programs somewhat optimize that user acquisition cost while profiting your mobile app.

For Example:

Let's try to understand this fact with the reference of a well-known Mobile application, it has been reported that an average user spends more than $90 per month on Uber rides where the company keeps almost 25 percent of that. So according to this data, the Uber mobile app will break-even of their new download cost in approximately two months.

In the case of the in-app referral programs, there is only one major cost involved is the one that you are proving to your current app users to bring in more new users. This ultimately leads to a higher rate of ROI at a much faster pace.

2. Reduce Your User Acquisition Costs

In the field of mobile app marketing whenever a new strategy is taken into consideration the fact that how much money is required to successfully proceed with the campaign is one of the first things that come to mind. This is because you need to ensure that these strategies are planned according to your investment budget.

Cost per app install by country

The above graph from AdEspresso provides a closer look at the statistics over the ‘Cost per App’ as per different locations i.e. countries such as South Korea, United States, India, France, Australia, etc.

For instance, the average cost of acquiring a single user in countries like Spain and Singapore (more than $3) is much higher in comparison to countries like Brazil and Mexico (less than $1).


When assessing your mobile app marketing strategy, consult with your team of experts or ask yourself, "What is the current cost of acquiring a new app user?" It's crucial to prioritize keeping user acquisition costs low. Leveraging in-app referral marketing programs can effectively aid app owners in achieving this objective. For optimal results, consider partnering with reputable mobile app marketing companies.

3. Utilize Push Notifications Feature

In today's world of mobile apps, push notifications play a vital role and with the help of these push notifications, you can take your application a step closer to success. Suppose, your in-app referral program is all set and ready to go live for your user base. Now the next thing you need to do is tell your app users about it.

And what is a better way of spreading the word than using the feature of push notifications? But the app developers need to be careful with the push notification features because you can neither send a ton of app notifications to the user nor do can create a month-long gap in between two notification alerts.

Utilize Push Notifications Feature

The above image shows some of the recent statistics regarding Push Notifications from all across the world. These numbers are showcasing why push notifications are an important feature that every mobile and even web-based application needs to be properly utilized.

Note: Try to limit your daily amount of sending push notifications to once or maybe twice but refrain from sending more app notifications than that as it will only irritate your app users. Another thing to remember in case of push notification is hat the content that you display in the notification is what makes all the difference.

4.  Leveraging Every Distribution Channel

Nowadays, the marketing of any digital product or service is conducted and also promoted through the means of social media. There are various social media platforms that can act as influential distribution channels for spreading the users aware of the incentive referral program on your app.

Effectiveness rating B2B social media platfroms

The above image is a graphical representation of all social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc. as per their effectiveness ratings over the internet.

According to the above-mentioned statistics, we can say that LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube are currently leading as the most effective B2B social media platforms. And on the other hand, Pinterest and Google+ are the ones that you shouldn’t be stressing over.

If you want your mobile application to attain that level of success that you have always aimed for then you also need to leverage all your distribution channels which can be effectively used to boost your app marketing game.

5. Have Control Over Quality

You might have heard of the famous saying that quality is more important than the quantity and in this case, it's true as well. As a mobile app developer, it is your job to see if the referral program is working flawlessly or not and if you might have any issue in its running, then take responsibility for it and fix it.

This needs to be taken care of because you don't want your loyal app users to face problems while they are referring your application to their family/friends and not getting any rewards for promoting the app.

In addition to this, it is your responsibility to ensure that the new users that you are gaining by the in-app referral programs are also getting some incentives as per the marketing scheme, or else this app promotion tactic will lose its charm.

Key Types of app testing

The above image shows the different types of mobile app testing methods that currently exist and can be used to search for errors or bugs during the process of implementing referral programs in the application.

For Example:

If your mobile app is for the Android platform then you need to test out how it works on different types of models and brands that are offering services for the Android applications. And if there are multiple options to refer to a friend like social media or SMS, then check if all the options are integrated in a perfect manner.

6. Keep An Eye On Time

Our team of experts has seen many mobile apps fail because of the sole reason that they did not plan the timeline effectively. Here we are not suggesting that you launch your referral program as you release your mobile app. The real reason behind it is that if your in-app referral program is launched too soon then the users won't be able to engage properly with the app and know about all of its functions.

Mobile app referral program

Let’s explain this in more depth with the help of a lifestyle funnel diagram of an app user as shown in the image above.

An app user goes through many different stages before it turns itself from just an app visitor into a valuable loyal customer. The thing that requires the most attention here is the app analytics i.e. the suitable time is when your app is getting a significant amount of downloads with an increasing number of active users on a daily basis.

The lifecycle for every mobile and web-based application works differently, which is exactly why the app owners, as well as the app developers, need to pay close to the analytics statistics of their application so that they can implement the in-app referral programs at the appropriate time to maximize their app's growth.

Apart from this, there is one more thing that you as an app developer should keep in mind i.e. do not wait too long to achieve that right moment to start with your app's referral program. This is because waiting too long might make the app users lose their interest from your app.

Final Thoughts

This is how you can effortlessly implement in-app referral programs for your mobile apps. So if you are thinking about expanding your user base with the relevant audience without investing huge sums of money then we would highly recommend opting for referral programs.

The below image gives you a simple and clear idea of some of the main benefits of the in-app referral programs to be used as a mobile app marketing promotion strategy.

Main Benefits of In-app Referral Programs

Also, don't wait for a couple of months before implementing the referral marketing strategy and if your app is live then there is no need to waste any time further. There are many high performing mobile applications that started their referral programs from the very beginning.

And in you are someone who is interested in reading such informative articles about mobile app development. Then make sure you hit that ‘Subscribe’ button to stay notified with all the latest news regarding technology only on MobileAppDaily.

Sakshi Kaushik

By Sakshi Kaushik LinkedIn Icon

A passionate writer and tech lover, she strives to share her expertise with mobile app developers and fellow tech enthusiasts. During her moments away from the keyboard, she relishes delving into thriller narratives, immersing herself in diverse realms.

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