The mobile app market has never been larger and the competition has never been fiercer. The struggle to be among the top 5, 10 or even 15 mobile apps in one of the two most popular app stores (preferably both) has led developers and publishers to constantly try to imagine new ways to attract users and generate income in the process.
In this post, I’ll try to break down mobile user acquisition and give you pointers into some of the best practices to employ for this purpose. But first, let’s deal with the basics.
Just like its name hints, mobile user acquisition is the process of bringing in lasting and valuable users to your mobile app using various techniques and methods. The ultimate goal is to have users, those that have downloaded your app and continue using it, generating profit for you through in-app purchases and ad impressions.
To understand the effectiveness of your mobile user acquisition methods, there are multiple metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) to track. These include install rate, conversion rate, cost per install (CPI), lifetime value (LTV), cost per action (CPA), cost per mille (CPM), effective cost per mille (eCPM), click-through rate (CTR), return on investment (ROI), and others.
Now let’s take a look at some things you can do to ensure the best possible mobile user acquisition.
1. Soft launch
Soft launch refers to a carefully controlled release of your app in a tiny market resembling the targeted one and running specific mobile UA campaigns before the app goes live worldwide. This allows you to see which of the campaigns will work best in bringing the highest-quality users at the lowest price after the app is fully launched.
It will also help you discover bugs and errors that were missed in the beta testing phase and deal with them on a smaller scale. Soft launching also allows you to gather user feedback and address any concerns early on.
Paid advertising is one of the go-to methods for acquiring users. Video ads are one of the best choices, as people react positively to them and they can be placed on various platforms, including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Taboola, or other mobile apps.
Even though the good old banners are beginning to lose on popularity, they’re still useful to get the word across, at least in the beginning, as they allow users to start recognizing your app. Additionally, using interactive or playable ads will allow your prospects to try out the app themselves and see if they like it.
The popularity of social media should not be overlooked either, as carefully tailored social media campaigns can bring you quite a few valuable users. Social media also allows you to harness the power of visual cues in attracting people’s attention.
3. Content marketing
Speaking of advertising, there are more subtle ways to advertise your app than the simple “look at my app” method. It’s called content marketing and is focused on weaving a story around it, providing useful content for users to read instead of just blatantly advertising without providing any value.
Content marketing can be in the form of a blog or some other medium, with articles, infographics, analyses, reviews, etc. anything that your potential users might find useful. In the process, you can explain how your app can solve a particular problem in the industry or provide new value along the lines of what is discussed in the article.
4. Influencer marketing
A new form of marketing that has developed with the rise of social media, influencer marketing is extremely useful thanks to the immense number of followers some of the influencers have. This allows any product or service being marketed to reach huge audiences. With that in mind, you need to do your due diligence and find the right person to achieve this. They need to be popular, authentic, experienced and, most importantly, relevant to your app.
5. Non-digital channels
In the era of all things digital, we often underestimate the power of the non-digital in spreading the word. The non-digital channels that can be utilized include popular industry conferences, meetings, or similar events. There you can talk about your app, let people experience it first-hand and ask questions, as well as connect with other industry players, which in itself can help you further your business.
6. App store optimization
Once published, your mobile app will be available for download/purchase in an app store. To ensure users download it, you need to make it as visible as possible. The process of deploying various strategies to improve the app’s visibility in an app store is called app store optimization (ASO). This refers to the optimization of keywords, images, reviews, and anything else that affects the apps’ discoverability and ranking, be it the position in the search results or its visual appeal.
7. A/B testing
App store optimization isn’t just about coming up with clever ways to make your app more visible. You also need a way to check if various methods are working and to what extent. To find this out and to make data-driven decisions, you need to regularly conduct A/B testing. This refers to comparing two or more versions of your product page against each other to see which performs better.
After the app’s been published, you need to keep up with all your UA strategies, measuring installs, user revenue and identifying their sources. This is called attribution and is important in analyzing the effectiveness of all your strategies so you can make necessary adjustments. There are various companies offering attribution services and most of them work by briefly taking through their SDK all users that clicked on an ad for your app.
The importance of UA analytics
Having an efficient UA strategy is one of the prerequisites for your app to grow. However, it isn’t enough to just have users download your app, use it a few times, and then remove it. There are significant costs involved and you can’t afford to lose any new users. Hopefully, these pointers have put you on the right track to avoid this happening.
In addition to implementing these practices, it is important to also analyze your app’s entire conversion funnel so you can keep a close eye on what your users are doing and which UA channels are most effective so you can optimize accordingly. Soomla can help you along the way, measuring not only ad revenue but also discovering the elusive ad whales so you can focus your UA techniques on them and their look-alikes.