Is There a Way To Make an App Viral? How Did Sarahah Go Viral?

Partner Post - Promatics Mobile App Development Service

Posted: August 28, 2017

There are millions of apps in the app store that are competing with each other to win good positions on smartphone screens across the world. Each app developer and marketer is devising methods to reach out to a large audience in hopes of becoming an instant hit.

Having a mobile app go viral on Google Play and iTunes is one of the biggest achievements for a mobile app developer or marketer. Going viral means the app is being shared and everybody is talking about it.

Whether you are creating a news app, game app, social app or any other useful app, your key focus should be to make it go viral. Creating a brilliant app is not a one-time effort, but requires lot of constant hard work and persistence.

People are likely to download only those apps that top charts. The only way to make people download your app is to make it attractive and unique.

We are hearing a lot about ‘Sarahah’ these days. It is a social network that lets you send and receive anonymous messages. It was created by a Saudi Arabian Developer Zain al-AbidinTawfiqon on the belief that people are more willing to be honest when their messages are anonymized. This social network was started in 2016 as a simple website and became very popular in English and Arab speaking countries in a years’ time.

Before highlighting the success story of Sarahah, let’s learn a few interesting things about the app.

What is Sarahah? 

The main objective behind Sarahah (meaning frankness) was to create a tool that would help employees provide unbiased and unfiltered feedback to their employers.

However, the developer quickly realised that the app can be useful outside the corporate setting also. So, he launched the website and started sharing it with his friends and colleagues. The website describes the app in a pretty simple way, allowing users to search for others who may know them and send anonymous messages.

With hundreds of social networking and online messaging apps in the app store, what make this app different from other apps?

Sarahah gives the messaging person anonymity, giving them enough courage to speak their mind without the fear of losing relationship with the other person. This helps the other person reveal their feelings or rectify their mistake or share some good thoughts. Sarahah helps you discover your strengths and areas of improvement, by allowing your friends to be honest with you.

Today, the Sarahah app is available for both iOS and Android, and has already been installed on millions of devices within a few months.

Although it is a simple online messaging app, the anonymity feature of Sarahah has proven very attractive. The app has been downloaded and used by millions of users on Google Play. Similarly, we can see million downloads on iOS. The web statistics of Sarahah shows nearly 35 million visits in the previous month.

What lessons you should learn from the success of Sarahah?

Sarahah has brought out multiple sides of human emotions, which you would have seen in the past few months. The sharing of ‘feedback’ on social media shows how viral it is. This app has been able to change the mindset of users globally.

So here us what app developers should learn from the success of Sarahah.

  • Keep it simple 

If you want your mobile app to go viral, you should keep it super simple. You need to understand that the app has to be simple and intuitive enough that it can be used easily even by the laziest person on earth. If you see the UI of Sarahah, it is so simple that even a child can understand and use it. The feedback has to create account in some easy steps and share URL for it. The feedback giver has to write feedback on simple plain text and the job is done.

A lot of people who want to create mobile apps neither have clarity on neither the problem nor the solution. You need to make sure that the app has attractive features, and at the same time it would not confuse the end user. Before building an app, you should understand the difference between ‘Core Features’ and ‘Fancy Features’.

Remember that your product can go viral if it can be used by people who are not tech savvy.

  • Build something that is worth sharing

There are thousands of apps on Google Play and Apple iTunes that don’t have any sense. Build an app that is unique in its own way and at the same time beneficial to the users. Whether it is gaming app, social media app or informative app – make sure that it fulfills the needs of large group of audience.

Include shareable moments that users will share on social media or directly to their family/friends/colleagues. Engaged users are more likely to share the app. The app ‘Sarahah’ got more than 5 million users within few months of hitting the app store. Today, it has become one of the popular apps on app store.

The more users become engaged, the better effect it can create.

  • Don’t market the app to everyone

When Tawfiq created Sarahah, he decided to share it with a friend who was considered to be a major influencer. The service grew from 70 users to more than 1000 users in a span of few days. If you want to make your app viral, you shouldn’t just pay for general advertising. You are pumping your hard earned money into ineffective marketing with the hope that right users will see it.

For example – there are many apps that have ads at the bottom. They can be in the form of Facebook news feeds or app promotion. Have you ever thought of clicking on the ads? Did you find any app interesting or worth downloading? No! Well, the reason is these ads are put to appeal to everyone and they actually neglect to appeal potential users.

So, do not market the app to everyone. Instead, share it with the influencer, followers and other people whom you think are interested in your app.

  • Put efforts to create viral loop

Many app developers make the mistake of giving gifts and freebies to their users. However, if you want to make your app viral, you don’t have to give any gifts/freebies to the users. You don’t even have to tell them how good it is and how well it will be performing in future.

Just share genuine feedback on the home page. You don’t need to ask users to share on social media or other platforms, as it is the part of flow. Create an app that evokes the emotions of users. They will surely share it on social channels. Sarahah did it well, and we all can see the result of it.


Having a viral app can lead to incredible results. It is important to track the performance of share buttons and understand the efficiency of your strategy to make your app viral. If you can carry out the above suggestions, your app will do well in all stages. It is all about planning viral loop within your app from the beginning.

If you feel like your app downloads need a boost, let us know. We can help you build an informative and valuable app that gets millions of downloads.