What Is a Burst Campaign and How Does It Work for Mobile Marketing?

David Morneau

By David Morneau
12 min READ | Nov 28 2022

You’ve built a mobile app; now imagine building a snowman.

Millions of snowflakes are glued together in that one lump of snow. Then, you start rolling the snowball on the ground, making it bigger and bigger by the second.

That’s how you build the snowman’s bottom – and it’s also the principle behind a burst campaign.

A horde of advertising messages delivered in a short period of time will get you increased visibility and purchases for your mobile app.

But you must conduct your campaign correctly to avoid wasting your campaign budget on ads that fizzle out.

This guide explains what burst campaigns are and how they work step by step. We’ll look at their advantages compared to other campaigns and analyze best practices while offering successful examples you can copy.

Keep reading below.


  • Concept: Aggressive, short-term mobile app marketing campaigns.
  • Duration: 24 to 72 hours of intense advertising.
  • Outcome: Rapid app visibility and higher app store rankings.
  • Benefit: Large influx of app installs propels your app up app store rankings.

Key Features

  • Targets a wide audience in a short time.
  • Can involve smartphone notifications to target interested users.


  • Fast exposure: Rapidly increases app discovery and brand memorability.
  • Ranking high quickly: Swift rise in app store rankings due to a surge in downloads.
  • Cost-effective: Lower cost per install compared to other marketing strategies.

Execution Insights

  • Timing matters: Ideal times include app launches, specific events, or periods of slower growth.
  • Platform specifics: Apple Store focuses on install frequency, while Google Store considers multiple factors.
  • Testing: Ensure the app is bug-free and optimized for the app store before launching.

Best Practices:

  1. Find a solid mobile marketing agency to work with.
  2. Choose the right time frame for maximum impact.
  3. Optimize specifically for your app platform (iOS vs Android).
  4. Test your app thoroughly before launch.
  5. Utilize multiple ad networks for wider reach.
  6. Incorporate varied ad messages to prevent ad fatigue.
  7. Continuously monitor campaign metrics.
  8. Aim for long-term user acquisition and retention post-campaign.

What Is a Burst Campaign?

Burst campaigns are short-term, aggressive mobile app marketing campaigns.

You will buy a lot of media space to massively advertise your app within a short time frame, between 24 and 72 hours.

This focused advertising effort reveals your app to a very wide audience, bombarding it with messages in a few days.

The biggest benefit?

With such a huge influx of new app installs, your app skyrockets in terms of its app store ranking.

You also get an increased user base as an added plus. And we saved the best for the end: all this activity builds up and the app store algorithm pushes your app in the app store even more.

Pro tip: Successful burst campaigns include a good offer so that more people will download the app (i.e., prizes, in-app discounts, etc.)

Side note: There is a subtype of burst campaign where you only use smartphone notifications to attract new users. Here’s how that works:

  • You send push notifications to your target audience.
  • This audience receives your messages because they have turned on “app of the day” notifications. Thus, your messages go to an already interested group of people, with more chances to convert.
  • These users get to your landing page, where they can learn more about your app and how it solves their needs.

The final step is to track how the campaign affects your conversion rate and make the necessary adjustments. Like price tracker software can help e-commerce businesses scour the market, you can use similar tools to track your results.

Here’s one example of how a burst campaign could work:

DuoLingo partnered with HBO Max before the House Of The Dragons release to popularize the High Valyrian course. The campaign was based on a challenge and the chance to win a $25,000 sword from Game of Thrones.

Valyrian steel challenge ad on Duolingo

How Does a Burst Campaign Work?

The main result of a burst campaign is huge visibility for a new app.

Side note: You can also do that massive awareness with micro-influencer marketing for mobile apps, but it will take much longer.

So how exactly does a burst campaign work? Here’s the step-by-step process:

  • Many people download your app within a short period of time.
  • Your app ranks higher in app stores because of that exploding number of downloads.
  • Having higher app store rankings has two consequences:
  • Your app appears in the top charts, where more people will discover and install it. That leads to organic growth.
  • Your app gets featured in the “explore page” on the Google Play Store. Again, this leads to wide exposure and massive organic downloads.
  • This high visibility and downloads further increase your ranking, leading to other organic customers – and so forth.

Warning: You may need at least 120,000 inorganic downloads to rank high enough for any significant results.

The Ikea App Catalog is an oldie but a goodie. The 2010 app used an AR app on Android and iOS to help people see how IKEA products would look in their homes.

Before the updated app reveal, IKEA had a slew of ads and PR articles to bring its customers’ attention back to the app:

IKEA AR app article
Article about the IKEA app in Marketing Week: Source

Youtube ad for the IKEA app
YouTube ad for the new IKEA catalog app posted just one day later on YouTube: Source

Reasons to Choose a Burst Campaign over Other App Marketing Approaches

There are a few reasons to choose app burst campaigns over other approaches:

Fast Exposure

You could arguably get the same exposure within a larger time frame. However, quick exposure:

  1. Increases app discovery
  2. Makes your app/brand more memorable
  3. Increases social proof
  4. Helps you stand out from the thousands of apps available

These combined advantages result in increased sales, so your user base growth is accelerated. As a result, you will get a massive return on investment.

Ranking High Quickly

A massively growing number of downloads within that short period makes algorithms deem your app relevant. As a result, your app gets a prized place within:

  • App store charts
  • Search results

These coveted places further increase your exposure and boom your organic downloads. This seems like a spiral of visibility-downloads-ranking-visibility and so forth.

Remember: Niche apps may not have this snowballing effect because they’re not meant for a mass audience. The array of uninstalls, accompanied by bad reviews and low ratings would cause a massive negative impact on your business.

Low Cost

Unlike other app marketing strategies, using a burst campaign has a low cost per install. So not only are you getting a boom of downloads quickly, but you also obtain that user base increase at a lower price.

Mobile burst campaigns can cost up to $30,000, depending on your goals. But remember that it will include numerous instruments, including:

  • Google ads
  • Social media ads
  • Influencer marketing
  • Smartphone notifications
  • PR

Warning: To reap all these bendvigx, ensure your app is high-quality and relevant to your audience.

Here’s a successful campaign:

NielsenIQ re-released, an inbox decluttering app, and wanted a quick increase in installs. inBeat helped them with a media-buying strategy built on a scalable user-generated content strategy. ad

The main channels used were:

  • Meta
  • TikTok
  • Snapchat
  • Google Ads
  • Reddit

and the results cumulated over 100,000 app installs and an overall reduction of 75% for CPA:

Campaign results for

Learning More about Your Audience

Gathering more insights into your target audience is always an advantage. Running a burst campaign will help you analyze metrics like:

  • Impressions
  • App downloads
  • Volume of installs
  • Sign-ups for your newsletters
  • Conversion rate
  • Retention
  • Source of installs
  • Reviews
  • Paid subscription plans
  • And more

Your app developers can then use this data to optimize your app, by adding insights to a project management solution like Airtable for building apps, while your marketing team can improve your future campaigns.

Best Practices for Running Burst Campaigns

As you can see, burst campaigns don’t guarantee a bulletproof effect unless you have a relevant app and choose the right audience.

Here are some other best practices you should be mindful of:

1. Choose Your Ideal Time Frame

Burst campaigns take place over a short time period, so you have to pick that timing correctly. Otherwise, your advertising messages won’t be perceived as relevant, so your app won’t get the visibility and downloads you’re aiming for.

The best times to start your bust campaign are during:

  • App launch: Best for increased brand awareness
  • A specific event or the holiday season: Best for increased awareness of your app’s relevance
  • A period of slower growth: Best for app maintenance because you rev up your downloads and bring new organic traffic

For example, this post from the Doctor on Demand medical app has good timing because it’s just before Thanksgiving. Therefore, the app reminds people that:

  • Doctors are busier during holidays, but also:
  • It’s more likely to fall ill during holidays, especially when there’s a lot of traveling, food, and fatigue.
Doctor on Demand social post

Lessons learned: We’re not saying this post is perfect. For your burst strategy:

  • You would need more messages that focus on solving your audience’s needs.
  • These needs would ideally have to be connected to the holiday.
  • Your audience would be rewarded for downloading the app (e.g., a limited free trial or free in-app features).

2. Optimize for Your App Platform (iOS vs. Android)

Optimizing your marketing efforts according to your channel is a crucial lesson in marketing. Things aren’t different with mobile apps, either.

Here’s the problem:

Most marketers believe that the channel is people’s mobile phones. In fact, the channel is your app platform.

iOS and Android are the two most common operating systems and are fairly different.

  • The Apple Store: Ranks apps according to install frequency. This algorithm gives you a more objective variable to follow.
  • The Google Store: Ranks apps according to several factors, including downloads, ratings, reviews, keywords, and more. The Google Store ranking algorithm resembles Google’s search engine system, so it’s harder to control.

Adapting your message for these platforms means focusing on the variables the software likes to see, not just what your audience wants to see.

Ideally, you would have perfectly blended messages for machines and humans.

Like in this example:

Super Mario app post

Notice how the LEGO Super Mario app description uses long-tail keywords for algorithms and informal language to build rapport with potential customers.

3. Test Rigorously Before Launching

Use your analytics and data monitoring before launching to:

  • Gain valuable insights into your consumers’ minds, understanding why they use other apps and identifying patterns of behavior
  • Grasp what motivates your audience to download apps
  • Identify the correct messages (yes, you’ll need more of those to avoid ad fatigue) and the right timing

Pro tip 1: From our experience, most newly launched apps aren’t bug-free. Yours probably isn’t either, so test it rigorously.

Why is that important?

The problem with having bugs during a burst campaign is that you’re addressing a massive, varied audience. So chances are high that people will bump into those bugs.

Unfortunately, that will increase your app uninstalls and negative reviews.

Pro tip 2: Use rigorous testing for app store optimization. Taking care of that detail ensures that more people will convert seamlessly thanks to a smooth user experience. Otherwise, people will close your app page and never return.

4. Use Multiple Ad Networks

Using multiple ad networks is essential because you get access to a larger audience. As a result, you will increase your app’s visibility and downloads.

And that will lead to higher rankings, more organic traffic, more chances of becoming viral – and so forth.

Pro tip: Get an MMP to avoid extra costs for the same install.

5. Incorporate Different Messages

Diversifying your messages helps you avoid ad fatigue, which is linked to increased negative responses.

So, consider different ad copies and visuals.

Pro tip 1: Consider adding UGC into your ad messages to increase social proof and trust in your brand communication. inBeat’s UGC studio connects you with the top 1% of content creators that can deliver genuine UGC. Besides, you can book a free demo to see how it works.

Pro tip 2: Use a mockup generator to test different messages on different platforms. Our toolkit can help you get started.

6. Monitor Your Campaign

Use those analytics tools to keep tracking your campaign. Measure:

  • Views
  • Downloads
  • Engagement rates
  • Usage patterns
  • Ratings
  • Reviews
  • Uninstalls

Correlate these variables with factors like time to get a more accurate picture.

Depending on your results, be ready to refresh your messages quickly – you have limited time to help your burst campaign succeed.

7. Scale Your Burst Campaign

Your burst campaign will bring you short-term success, but you shouldn’t stop there.

Long-term user acquisition and retention strategies are essential to attract high-quality users. Of course, you should constantly optimize your app to attract more leads and keep your loyal customers interested.

Pro tip: One strategy that works very well for mobile apps is influencer marketing. inBeat has already tested that premise for several mobile app brands, including is a budgeting app that helps people put their finance in order, get out of debt and even start saving. The app’s main audience is Gen Z, so we partnered with nano-influencers like Carter Sullivan within a longer-term campaign to explain Mogo’s advantages.

We found that Gen Z is preoccupied with financial security and wants to understand the objective advantages of the products they buy (apps included). That’s why YouTube was one of the channels we chose for in-depth videos like the one below: video ad

Launching Your Burst Campaign

As you can see, organizing a burst campaign for your mobile app has many advantages. You can skyrocket your awareness and downloads, but you have to play things smart.

You will face many challenges, from understanding your audience to grasping your mobile platform’s intricacies.

And if you don’t pick the right timing or fix all your bugs, your burst campaign can go south quickly.

inBeat can help you build a comprehensive strategy to promote your app and increase installs exponentially. We will also help you optimize your cost per install using tailored tactics, including influencer marketing, UGC, and paid ads.

As a result, you will enhance user retention and grow your business.

Book a free strategy call so we can discuss your options here.

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