Mobile User Acquisition Strategy – It’s Easy If You Do It Smart

Mobile User Acquisition Strategy - It's Easy If You Do It Smart

Mobile app industry is a growing multi-billion dollar business entailing overwhelming opportunities for all involved players, provided that they are smart about leveraging them. Considering that apps yielded over $88 billion globally in 2017 with revenue predicted to surpass $188 billion by 2020, it comes as no surprise that everyone wants a piece of this proverbial cake.

The key to earning a high and steady income from your mobile app is acquiring as many users as possible. In this article, we try to bring closer the main tactics to employ for successful mobile user acquisition.

What is mobile user acquisition?

Mobile user acquisition (UA) is the process of attracting lasting and valuable users to your mobile app. It presumes the ultimate goal of having customers that have either paid or downloaded your app and continue using it.

Here is how a typical mobile app user acquisition funnel looks like:

Source: Apptentive

Mobile user acquisition strategies

There are multiple different strategies and channels you can use in attracting mobile users:

1. App Store Optimization (ASO)

Most apps are discovered via organic App Store searches, so ASO should be the number 1 on your mobile UA channels list. It refers to boosting your app’s discoverability in an app store. It can be achieved through search optimization (adjusting the factors that affect ranking, like usage, reviews, and so on) and appeal optimization (icons, screenshots, phrasing, etc. – all the things that a user sees when they find your app in the store).

2. Web to App

A good website is not necessary, but will certainly help user acquisition. Enabling web pages to open in relevant apps rather than in the mobile web browser leads to higher conversion rates. The most effective way to succeed in this? Smart banners. Several studies show that the in-app purchase rate is 70% higher for users opening the app directly from a smart banner. This rate increases 2.6 times for users originally installing the app from a smart banner.

3. Email campaigns

Including deep linking in email messages can drive people directly to a certain part of your app, consequently improving user experience by giving them more freedom in moving across mobile channels and platforms.


4. Social media

The popularity of various social networks has helped drive mobile UA in unprecedented ways. App developers can utilize their power by placing ads on social media channels they deem most relevant to their user base.

5. Influencer marketing

Speaking of social media, its advent has also given rise to a phenomenon called social media influencers, which refers to people influencing the opinions and behavior of masses by using their popularity. App developers can take advantage by actively seeking out such individuals and paying them to promote their apps.

6. Referrals

Recommendations from family members, friends, and colleagues is another powerful strategy for bringing new users to your app. Increase the strength of your referral marketing by adding a valuable reward system for active participation.

7. Content marketing

Creating a narrative around your product has proven effective as people react positively to useful content. In addition to having a nice website, add a blog section where you can weave a story around your business, explain the industry secrets, give valuable tips, and more. Also, utilize the power of platforms like Quora and Reddit to expand your reach and let the wider Internet community know about your app.

Mobile User Acquisition KPIs

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are metrics used for analyzing performance in terms of meeting specific strategic and operational goals. Mobile UA KPIs include metrics such as:

  1. Install rate (IR) – the number of users who downloaded your app after clicking the ad;
  2. Conversion rate (CVR) – the ratio of the number of users who downloaded the app over impressions;
  3. Cost per install (CPI) – the cost paid by the advertiser each time a user installs the app through their ads;
  4. Cost Per acquisition/action (CPA) – the price paid for acquiring a paying customer or getting them to do a specific action;
  5. Cost per mille (CPM) – how much an advertiser pays for every one thousand views of their ad;
  6. Effective cost per mille (eCPM) – the price of every 1000th ad impression regardless of the buying method or ad revenue;
  7. Cost per click (CPC) – the price advertiser pays for every click on the ad;
  8. Click-through rate (CTR) – the ratio showing how many users clicked on an ad after viewing it;
  9. Customer acquisition cost (CAC) – dividing the cost of acquiring customers by the total number of customers;
  10. Stickiness – how many people stay with your app and don’t uninstall after downloading.

Mobile user acquisition best practices

Finally, here are several practices to keep in mind when embarking on the mobile UA adventure:

1. Have a great app

In the words of Bill Harris from Personal Capital, “growth in users starts with having a best-in-class application that consistently receives 5-star ratings, driving customers to recommend us to others”. Having a fantastic product is the main prerequisite for increasing your user base. The word of mouth about it will quickly reach valuable customers.

2. Soft launch

Not sure how your potential users are going to react to your strategies? Employ a soft launch – the pre-release of your app in a smaller market resembling the targeted one. It allows you to run mobile UA campaigns and acquire information on which specific channels work best before you embark upon the worldwide launch.

3. Mobile UA attribution

This means that you should observe and analyze your app’s entire conversion funnel in order to discover which UA channels used in your app are most effective. Not only does this save you money, but it also simplifies your entire advertising environment.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here