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app referral for mobile app

Why App Referral is Important For Your Mobile App

Estimated read time: 7 minutes

Wondering why app referral is important for your mobile app?

You’ve come to the right place.

App invites are one of the best ways to find new customers for your software application. Let’s see how.

What is the word of mouth marketing and why is it important? 

Also known as referral marketing, word of mouth marketing focuses on reaching new users through existing mobile users. Under this tactic, apps focus on offering a great in-app experience to their users.

A mobile app referral program then nudges their active (and happy) users to refer their friends and family to the app, inviting them to join their journey. 

Now, why would this tactic of a mobile referral program be more effective? 

Firstly, a user is more likely to send app referral links to only those they know will be interested in your mobile apps. This addresses the biggest concern of acquisition – reaching the right audience. 

Secondly, according to a study by Nielsen, 84% of people tend to take action on recommendations coming from their friends and family. This is a lot more than the interaction on most paid ad campaigns and social media promotions. 

Thirdly, Invespcro found that customer referral programs convert into 30% more customers than leads or interests generated from other marketing channels. They also shared that referred users displayed 37% higher retention rates and were 4 times more likely to refer more users to your app. 

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For example, Candy Crush didn’t just focus on keeping its users engaged in the game, but also nudging them to invite their friends after every stage. In fact, enabling sending invites on Facebook got the app millions of users.  

More recently, GetSocial and SEGA Hardlight conducted a study on player engagement for viral acquisition. Their insights came from 40,000 users who had been invited to the game Sonic Forces: Speed Battle using social media app referrals.

Here’s what the study found about users acquired through app referral programs:

app referral

But with Facebook killing app invites and then popular solutions like Firebase deprecating them, how can your app achieve such successful referral program marketing? 

Well, there are still solutions that you can make use of to implement app invites to encourage word-of-mouth promotions. 

How to implement an app referral to leverage word of mouth marketing

If up until now, your app invites were via Facebook or Firebase, there are a few alternatives that you can use to replace the solutions.


Branch Metrics is another mobile app solution that offers apps an advanced deep linking solution. You can use deep links to set up referral programs, making it easier for app users to invite their friends. At the same time, this method will also make it easier to track the performance of these invites. 

The core features of the solution include: 

  • Highly customizable deep linking to make invites more personalized.  
  • Mobile growth statistics to closely track app invites and referral performance.
  • Smooth integration with other marketing platforms to execute multi-channel campaigns. 

While Branch makes for a good alternative, app developers may find it very similar to Firebase dynamic links. This will counter a few drawbacks like having to rely on native sharing with limited customizations, basic reward rules, basic feature support for converting web users, and no localization support.


If you don’t want to be limited by the drawbacks of Branch and Firebase dynamic links, another alternative is GetSocial. 

This solution supports social sharing of your invites, but also additionally enables users to share in-app content with their friends and family. They can choose to send these invites over WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Kik, Kakao, email, SMS, and all social media platforms.  

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  • A higher level of personalization and customization of app invites.
  • Easy social media sharing of invites. 
  • Enables app invite sharing on email, SMS, and popular chat apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Kik, and more. 
  • Real-time data for every app install event for contextual reward. 
  • Personalized onboarding for referred users with robust deep linking. 

Here’s how UbiSoft’s Face Up Social Game is making use of Smart Invites to create a viral loop of referrals:

app referral

Image source:


Another promising alternative to fuel your app invites is Appsflyer. The links generated by this solution for app invites are deep links. This makes it possible for the referred user to be taken to a specific in-app destination. The result is a personalized onboarding for new users and a higher engagement rate. 

The core features of Appsflyer’s referral process include: 

  • Deep linking to offer personalized referral messages. 
  • Can use one referral link across all marketing channels and platforms.
  • Easy sharing of app invites on email, SMS, and social media. 
  • Frictionless user experience and personalized onboarding. 

app referral

Image source:


Megacool is another alternative solution you can use to fuel your app invites. This free SDK integrates seamlessly into mobile games, providing friend referrals and deep linking to make invites more contextual and engaging. 

Some of the features that make Megacool a promising alternative include: 

  • Customizable links for players to share with friends and family. 
  • Universal linking and deep linking to personalize user experience.
  • Easy integration with the mobile app. 
  • Enables app invite sharing on social media, email, and SMS.


The last of the alternatives, but still a promising solution for App Invites is Adjust. Adjust also offers easy sharing of invites with deep linking to offer personalized referrals. In addition, the solution offers a robust mobile attribution. This enables app developers and marketers to identify channels that work the best for them. 

Some of the core features of Adjust include: 

  • Easy integration with the mobile app. 
  • Deep linking for personalized onboarding of referred users.
  • Enables app invite sharing on social media, email, and SMS. 
  • Robust mobile attribution for real-time campaign tracking. 

Choosing the right solution for an App Referral

No matter which industry you’re in, competition is increasing by the day. To make things worse, advertising on platforms like Facebook is getting more and more expensive. The average user acquisition costs are skyrocketing as everyone does battle trying to reach the same audience. 

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That’s where referrals offer a promising channel to grow your mobile app and hit virality. They don’t just help you reach a more qualified audience but also lower your cost of user acquisition drastically. 

So choose your solution for App Invites wisely. Whichever solution you choose, it should be easy to integrate with your mobile app. But more importantly, it should offer easy app invite sharing across all the channels that the modern smartphone user is more likely to use. 

For instance, with 1 billion daily active users, WhatsApp promises instant engagement. So it’s one channel you don’t want to miss out on! 

Remember, two golden rules to make App Invites really work: 

  1. The easier it is for your users to send invites, the higher the participation is.
  2.  The more personalization you offer, the higher the engagement and retention rate of referred users.

If you, as a business CTO, do not find the right app development and marketing expertise on your app project team, we would advise you to partner with an experienced software development company.

DevTeam.Space can also help you here with its field-expert software developers and you can easily partner with them by sharing your initial app project requirements via this quick form. One of our account managers will get back to you for assistance with developers onboarding, project planning, execution, management, etc.

Vanhishikha BhargavaVanhishikha Bhargava is a content writer at GetSocial, an all-in-one solution to empower mobile app marketing and product teams with growth tools to maximize user acquisition, engagement, and retention.

Frequently Asked Questions on an App Referral

What is an app invite?

An app invite can be in the form of an instant message, an email, or any other form of outreach where the user can click the invite to install the app. It is an invite message or ad that allows the user to install the app by clicking on a link.

Do app invites work?

App invites have proved to be one the most successful ways of marketing apps. While messages from third parties are not as successful as invites from friends and relatives, referral app invites from existing users provide an easy way to reach new customers.

How can I add app invites to outbound messages?

The most important part of an app invite is the embedded URL or address that links to the location of the app download page. The design and format of the invites are entirely up to the sender.


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