The latest data for the first quarter of 2020 shows the following: 2.56 million apps are now available on Google Play and 1.85 million apps can be found in the App Store. Needless to say, the stores are crowded, and you have to fight for user attention and installs. In this article, we’ll cover an important direction of mobile marketing, User Acquisition, and talk about some efficient ways to acquire more users and make your app more profitable.
What is UA and why do I need it?
User Acquisition is an important strategic direction when it comes to promoting your app or game. It may be worthwhile to understand that only with organic installs you won’t go far, especially if competitors are not only doing ASO. That’s why you may want to take some strategic actions to convince potential users to install your app.
Besides, while gaining users, you’re going to study their pains, habits, and needs — and get some invaluable data. So you can adjust the overall strategy to achieve high results and increase ROI (Return Of Investment).
When you should start thinking about UA
Thanks to Reddit and Product Hunt, you can shape the interests of potential users in advance and get your first installs right after the official announcement. What’s more to it, you can enter only several markets and test your product at the launch stage, like, collect data on app installs and monetization. You can check creative ad solutions and ad prices too so that you have a card up your sleeve at the official launch in the form of reliable creative ads that really work to attract users with good LTV (Life-Time Value). It’s the total profit that the company receives from the client during the period of cooperation with him.
- The decline in organic installs and LTV values
Speaking of LTV, this is the most important metric that you need to consider anytime. If you have a decline in LTV, it’s a signal that you need to evaluate your traffic channels and internal processes (how, what, and how much we sell). It is easier to stimulate LTV growth by working with current users — to convert them into a purchase (and then into a re-purchase of those who are already in your app/game) than to re-attract new ones. It’s important to connect retargeting campaigns and work on Retention (the process of engaging existing customers to continue using your product).
- Lower-ranking in the store’s search results
We’ve already shown you the official figures. The number of apps in the stores — as well as competitors — is growing day by day. Because of this diversity, you may lose your search ranking in no time. User Acquisition will make a difference.
Key types of UA strategies
We’ve already mentioned some ways to acquire users. Here’s a more detailed and shaped outlook. First, all types of UA strategies can be divided into owned marketing channels and paid options. You can gain new users when you utilize your own resources, but sometimes you just need to invest to get more.
Owned marketing channels and ASO
Fortunately, there are UA channels for publishers and marketers that require virtually no investment. They can be incredibly efficient with the right approach and frequent improvement.
Let’s start with ASO, because it’s, in fact, free. Most importantly, if you keep optimizing your app, you will get organic installs. Organic installs are very valuable as users find you on their own, see you in the search results and install your app without any promotion or advertising. This is the highest quality traffic in terms of ROI and LTV. From here comes a very simple conclusion: ASO is an efficient way to become more visible and attractive to users, especially if you are moving along with relevant search queries and working on keywords and creative ads.
Besides, please keep in mind that users read reviews and look at app rating in the store, so you need to work on your app rating and analyze the reviews as this affects search ranking and conversion. By the way, the Ratings & Reviews section of Checkaso helps you analyze ratings and reviews of your app and find ways to improve them.
With a careful, well thought out content strategy, you can improve UA significantly. Start a company/app blog, be proactive and engaged when running your accounts in social networks, send newsletters, write articles in reputable media, and publish press releases. You also may consider some less obvious options that may suit you like YouTube, Twitter or even TikTok. Keep in mind that people spend time on social media and they will trust a brand that can share an expert opinion or tell an interesting story. In addition, let’s talk about cross-promotion: as a rule, it’s not difficult to find a loyal partner who can join your promo or PR campaign to attract new users and save some budget.
Organic and owned marketing channels are especially efficient when combined with paid ads. Using this option, you can engage target users with creative ads or special offers, work on your brand reputation and track the results at all stages of the funnel.
Using Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Search Ads is the most popular and efficient way to acquire new users. Ad campaigns are easy to set up, and, most importantly, they help you search for your target audience, make adjustments to ad campaigns and track performance. You can choose a traffic purchase model (CPI, CPC, CPM and so on) and control your budget. Retargeting can be an advantage of advertising platforms too — with it, you can complete the funnel and motivate users to perform the target action.
Besides, marketers may use ad networks and programmatic advertising platforms. For ad networks, you need to be extremely careful to avoid fraud. For programmatic advertising platforms (for example, Liftoff) you may need a solid budget.
Please note that paid ads are a great source of data which you can use to improve your product.
Working on brand awareness
Often enough, installs are the outcome of quality work on brand awareness. Users can choose you just because they trust you in absentia. Your app may be recommended by a blogger, you can be a participant or partner of some event or ask your CEO to give an interview in the media. All these options should not be ignored.
Tip: Analyze your competitors and extra sources. What relevant platforms are your competitors ignoring? Where would it be appropriate to act? Where would users be able to install your app right on the spot?
UA features for gaming apps
There is a difference between gaming and non-gaming apps when it comes to User Acquisition. In a game, unlike a non-gaming app, there may be psychological triggers that, if properly served, will work for you. It’s all about advertising in the form of short videos, thanks to which you can gain users and capture their attention immediately.
Show the gameplay to inspire users and make them want to continue. You also can use the Playable Ads format: not only do those creative ads attract attention, but they also shape the user experience. Please mind the speed! When creating video ads for a mobile game, it’s important that your message is sent as quickly as possible. Users decide it in an instant if they are interested in an app. Every second count. Use it wisely.
Key metrics and ways to reduce single-user costs
Installation, registration, direct purchases, subscription, re-subscription — users have to go through many stages to use an app. Their every step forms a conversion funnel and requires marketers to take certain action to engage users and to work with statistics and key metrics – LTV и Retention.
A good way to deal with a decline in retention is to work hard on your product. Try to improve your app or game and always keep in mind that User Acquisition is equal to revenue. The longer they use your app, the more your LTV.
Tip: Keep track of how many times your app has been uninstalled and pay attention to retention values. By figuring out why users uninstall your app and utilizing some extra communication channels to return users, you can increase LTV and lower the costs of a single installation in the future.
Obviously, it’s quite difficult to acquire quality users due to a huge variety of apps; therefore, traffic, in particular, one targeted action, is becoming more expensive. You need to understand that not all users will provide you with high LTV rates. However, you can find out which sources of traffic bring quality users to distribute your budget reasonably.
Useful life hacks from experts
If you are promoting a game app, then you should listen to Tatyana Bogatyreva (Head of UA at Gram Games), who believes that creativity plays a very important part in UA. Therefore, the Gram Games team mainly uses Playable Ads as users can understand the gameplay and its purpose on the spot.
One more recommendation from Nate Barker, Director of Business Development at Fluffy Fairy Games: «Pay close attention to what really makes players happy, and not just metrics — this is one of the most important things in the gaming industry. Things like DAU, MAU, and ARPDAU are important, but you can make more right strategic decisions related to monetizing and acquiring users based on your players’ preferences».
User Acquisition is an important area of mobile marketing that needs to be developed to keep scaling and increasing app profitability. You should think about UA if you have just entered the market, noticed a decline in organic installs or your ranking is far from Top 3. When developing a strategy to gain users, you can utilize free and paid options, as well as improve brand recognition and brand reputation. It is important to understand that gaming and non-gaming apps need different approaches when it comes to UA. To reduce single-user costs, keep improving your product, work through all stages of the conversion funnel well and add some extra channels for promotion and communication.