In this recipe

Increase downloads by having your most engaged users refer the app to their own network. Ask users to refer the app to their friends using their phone book contacts, Facebook contacts, or contacts on other social channels.

Friend Referrals: Increase Organic Installs
Friend Referrals: Increase Organic Installs

Campaign Tool

In-app message

Who to Target

Engaged users. It’s best to find people who are already engaged and happy with your app and are likely to refer you to others.

When to Target

If there is some kind of incentive involved, then it’s best to provide the referral option when the user is most inclined to want to take advantage of this incentive.

Other options are to prompt the user after a certain amount of time in the app that indicates they are highly engaged, or at a time where they would want to engage with their friends.

What to Test and Optimize

You can optimize the effectiveness of the visual presentation of the message by A/B testing the copy in the in-app message.

If offering an incentive, you should test the incentive to see what level of incentive is enough to incite referrals and return a positive return on investment (ROI). It’s also good to test the timing of the referral offer to make sure you are hitting users when they need it most.

What to Measure

  • Click-through rate on the campaigns
  • Installs from the campaign
  • ROI from the campaign (cost versus revenue per install)

How to Run This Campaign in Swrve


  • Engaged users: On the User Lifecycle dashboard, in the top right corner of the Engaged user lifecycle card, click the menu and select Create In-App Campaign.


  • Send the in-app message when a user needs access to premium features (if you’re offering a month of premium) or when the user has had a ‘happy moment’ in the app and is more willing to share with their friends.

Copy/creative Ideas

  • If you are a freemium app, offer 10 days access to the premium version of the app for each referral.
  • If you can make in-app purchases, offer a $10 discount to the referrer and referee.


  • Copy
  • Art
  • Button Copy
  • Timing