How to Use Coupons and Promo Codes to Drive More Downloads to Your Mobile App

Throughout commerce history, companies have created wildly successful product promotions through the use of coupons. In the world of mobile apps, coupons still exist in multiple different forms. They can be enclosed in app referrals incentivizing users to invite friends, or used in web-to-app banners to convert web users into native app users. They can be used to promote single products or encourage storewide purchases, and even sent out to engage email contacts with new products. Regardless of how they’re used, however, coupons have been a long-lasting method of increasing sales, but they can also be a great resource to actually drive more app installs for your mobile app.

In the last few years, Apple and Google have released promo codes for in-app purchases. Unfortunately, these promo codes are limited (500 for Google, 1000 for Apple) and they only apply only to in-app purchases which are only relevant for digital goods and app upgrades. For these reasons, we are going to stick to the topic of product coupons that relate to apps focused on e-commerce. If you’re interested in these coupons specifically, you can read more about these promo codes in Google’s promo code docs and Apple’s promo code docs.


Coupons in Marketing Links

Enter SAVE10 at checkout and receive 10% off your entire purchase—a lot of companies are still using this promo code technique. This means that every user must go to your app after finding your promotion, then must pick out what he or she would like to buy, then must proceed to checkout, then must actively search for some code redemption field or page, and finally must recall the coupon code from the ad that originally directed them to the page. This is clearly a sub-optimal user experience. With this method, you risk losing each user who tries to dig through previous emails to find their original coupons.


One way to make sure you give users a great user experience is to redeem the coupon for them. Embed the coupon within a Branch link as a custom parameter. Once the user opens the app, store that coupon and apply it at the time of checkout. 


In the code below, you can see how easy it is to check whether a user came from a link that has a coupon code within it.

// within AppDelegate application.didFinishLaunchingWithOptions
Branch.getInstance().initSession(launchOptions: launchOptions) { params , error in
  // Read the data from the Branch link
  guard let data = params as? [String: AnyObject] else { return }

  // Read the coupon and store it as for later use
  if let coupon = data[”coupon”] {
  //Store this coupon for later user


Coupons in Emails

Now that you see how easily you can redeem coupons within your app, the next step is promoting that coupon. With Branch’s email service provider integrations, you can easily embed coupon links in all of your email campaigns. One interesting method to drive more app downloads is to give a code only to users that come to your app from a promotion or an email. For example, you can use emails to promote discounts and only apply those discounts to app users who come from those promotions, not your regular app users.


Coupons in Banners

Most companies strive to convert web users to app users because native app users convert to purchase at much higher rates. One method of web-to-app conversion is to present users with a banner or interstitial that drops down when a user visits an app on the mobile web. This method can be particularly effective if you embed a Branch deep link that will redeem a coupon code. With an embedded Branch link, you can incentivize users to download your mobile app without forcing users to remember or retrieve a code. Because the banner can be powered by a Branch deep link, you can make sure that only users coming from the banner actually redeem the coupon.


Coupons in Referrals

What better way to gain traction than to have your own users promoting the app. Branch links are smart enough to remember the referrer, so the referrer can be rewarded each time a referred user is successfully onboarded. In addition, you can track which users are actually driving the most referrals and installs to your app through our influencer analytics platform. You can learn more about Branch-powered referrals in our referral docs.


At Branch, we believe that every user experience contributes to building a successful business. Deep links can make good coupon experiences great. Go ahead and start building out your deep linked coupons today!