So you’ve built an amazing mobile app that has the potential to make $$$ and solve the problems of hundreds and thousands of people out there? But here’s a catch (or say, many) – Before getting the install counter moving quickly, there are several hurdles to overcome including high competition, low visibility, lack of trust, and users’ reluctance to download any app.
This is why it is said building a great mobile app is just half the battle. In order to generate revenue and make a real impact in the market, you need to have a winning mobile app user acquisition strategy with our top 10 popular channels. Learn tactics to attract and retain users for business growth. user acquisition strategy in place.
Don’t know where to start? We give you a starting point – easy, hassle-free, and quick.
This blog will guide you through the essential steps of creating an effective user acquisition plan for your mobile app, including identifying your target audience, selecting the right channels to promote your app, optimizing your app store pages, and tracking and analyzing your results.
With the right approach, you can attract and retain a loyal user base and take your mobile app to the next level.
Why You Should Have a Mobile App User Acquisition Strategy
A goal without a strategy is just like a ship without a sail. It can leave the shore but is less likely to reach its destination. Likewise, it’s important to have a strategy in place, whether it’s user acquisition or in-app engagement.
Having a well-chalked-out user acquisition strategy has more than one benefit. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider having a user acquisition strategy for your mobile app.
- Identify and reach the target audience
A well-thought-out user acquisition strategy can give you a clear roadmap of how you want to approach your target audience. It will also help you identify channels that work for your brand the most since the first step of making a user acquisition strategy is to understand the target audience on the basis of their behavior, demographics, and preferences.
- Optimize the ROI of your mobile app marketing campaigns
The user acquisition strategy is directly tied to revenue growth and cost optimization. A solid strategy leads to more user acquisition, which further leads to higher revenue potential. Having a strong strategy also helps you cut down costs on cohorts and channels that aren’t working for you.
- Improve brand recognition
A business that a user acquisition strategy in place is more likely to have a better brand value among its target audience than those who don’t. A UA strategy helps brands create consistent and relevant messaging targeting the audience that helps them increase their visibility.
- Better user engagement
User acquisition is not just acquiring users, but also retaining them. As mentioned above, a well-designed user acquisition strategy leads to better and relevant messaging targeting the right kind of audience, which in turn brings in users who are more likely to engage with the business for a longer period of time, leading to better user retention and engagement.
- Cuts down UA cost
A UA strategy is not a cash burner. It, in fact, a well-design strategy helps businesses cut down costs on unnecessary expenses on channels that aren’t working, and on audience groups that are irrelevant. This in turn can help increase profitability and make it more sustainable in long term.
Setting the Foundation
So now you know why building a user acquisition strategy is important. Now the question is: how to set the foundation right? Here are some basic steps to follow and set the foundation for your UA strategy.
- Define your target audience: Identify what your ideal customer looks like. This will help you customize your user acquisition strategy as per the needs and preferences of your target audience.
- Study your competitors’ UA strategy: Look at what your competitors are doing to acquire users. This will help you identify gaps in the market that you can target with your own user acquisition strategy.
- Pick the right channels: Determine which channels will be most effective for reaching your target audience. This may include social media, email marketing, search engine marketing, content marketing, or other channels.
- Define KPIs: Define what success looks like for your user acquisition strategy and how you will measure it. This may include metrics such as website traffic, conversion rates, customer acquisition cost (CAC), and customer lifetime value (CLV).
- Develop messaging that suits your brand: Craft compelling messaging and creative assets that will resonate with your target audience and help drive user acquisition.
- Test what works for you: Launch your user acquisition strategy and track your results. Use A/B testing and other methods to optimize your approach and improve your results over time.
10 Popular Channels For Your Mobile App User Acquisition
So now you’ve set the foundation for your user acquisition strategy, it’s time to decide how to go about it for different channels. Let’s break them down one by one.
App Store Optimization
Just like Google Search, your app should be discoverable on App Stores as well, because App Stores are still #1 drivers of app discovery. The process of optimizing your app to rank higher on the app store is known as App Store Optimization (ASO).
To begin with, you need to optimize your app’s listing on App Store on certain parameters to increase its likelihood to be seen by your target audience. Here’s how you can start:
- Keyword Research: Identify keywords that best describe your app and try to incorporate them into your app title, description, and other metadata.
- App Title & Description: Create a compelling app description that describes the utility of your app in the best possible way.
Here’s an example of how this app created a compelling copy for its app description:
- App Icon and Screenshots: Designing an attractive and engaging app icon and screenshots that showcase your app’s unique features and benefits.
- App reviews and ratings: Encourage users to leave positive reviews and ratings for your app, which can improve your app’s visibility and ranking in the app store.
- Localization: Translating your app’s metadata and content into different languages to increase its appeal to a global audience.
- Competitor analysis: Monitoring your competitors’ ASO strategies and identifying opportunities to differentiate your app and improve its ranking.
These are some simple ways in which you can start optimizing your app for the app stores. It can give you a headstart to improve your app’s visibility in stores and attract more relevant users.
Headspace used App Store Optimization (ASO) to increase its visibility across app stores and therefore, increase app installs.
They optimized their app store listing by choosing the relevant keywords for their target audience, creating a compelling app title and description, and finally, including some high-quality app screenshots and videos on the listing.
Additionally, they also gathered user reviews from their existing users that improved their app’s credibility. They actively responded to user feedback and encouraged their users to leave positive reviews, which helped boost their app’s visibility in the app store search results.
As of now (2023) Headspace has 293K reviews on its platforms and 10M+ installs.
Through their effective use of ASO, Headspace was able to improve their app’s visibility and drive more installs, which ultimately led to increased revenue and a larger user base.
There are many organic ways in which you can attract users to your app. For example, social media and websites funnel traffic to an app store, leading to a download. When complemented with paid advertising, organic campaigns can yield good results with minimal investment.
Here’s how you can go about it:
- Smart banners: Introducing visual elements is a great way to grab attention and make users do what you want them to do. Adding smart banners on your website with a deep link that leads them straight to a specific part of your app, is a great way to drive organic installs to your mobile app.
- Content marketing: According to Aberdeen, conversion rates are nearly 6x higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters. This tells how important and effective content marketing is to drive conversions. Invest in a good content marketing strategy that appeals to your target audience and establishes your brand as an industry leader in the market.
- Personalize: Don’t chase quantity over quality. Create tailored messaging for each persona type by creating content pieces that solve their query or problem. This way you can not only drive them to install your app, but build your brand’s credibility among them.
It grew 3900% with a simple referral program!
Dropbox went for an innovative referral program in 2008, that incentivized users to invite their colleagues and friends to join the platform, and the invitee to join the program.
Result? In 2017, it clocked 33.9M registered users on its mobile app.
Also, word of mouth went in their favor, giving them the headstart to establish themselves as thought leader in the file-sharing space.
Adding to this, Dropbox also invested in Search Engine Optimization to improve its visibility on search engines and drive organic traffic to its website. They created high-quality and unique content on industry-related topics, targeting all the stages of their marketing funnel to attract more marketing-qualified leads.
Not to forget, Dropbox’s social media game is on point, creating brand value among its target audience.
In a nutshell, Dropbox used a mix of social media marketing, search engine optimization, and referral marketing to boost their organic app installs.
3. Paid Advertising
Paid advertisement is one of the most effective ways to put your brand in front of your target audience. When used in combination with organic campaigns, paid advertising can be a great method to acquire new users for your mobile app.
But it isn’t as simple as it sounds. Making a high-converting ad campaign is a make-or-break for your UA strategy. If you’re just starting out, here are some tips to help you build some momentum.
- Diversify your campaign: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Invest in different kinds of paid advertising: PPC, social media ads, native ads, banner ads, etc.
- Create personalized campaigns as per personas: There’s no one size fits all in paid advertising. Create campaigns targeting different personas as per their preferences, demographics, and behavior.
- Don’t be shy to show the world what your product can do: Don’t mince your words when it comes to telling how your product can make your users’ lives easier. Be specific in your language about how your product/service is solving a problem your competitors aren’t.
Spotify, a leading music streaming platform, sought to increase its user base and boost app installs. To achieve this, the brand launched a paid advertising campaign targeting potential users across multiple platforms.
The primary goal was to increase app installs and grow the user base by leveraging various ad formats and targeting methods.
Spotify’s Paid Advertising Strategy:
- Platform Selection: Spotify focused on popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, along with search engines like Google to reach a broad audience.
- Ad Formats: The campaign used a mix of ad formats, including carousel ads, video ads, and app install ads, to showcase the app’s features and benefits.
- Targeting: Spotify employed sophisticated targeting techniques, including interest-based targeting, lookalike audiences, and retargeting, to reach users who were most likely to install and engage with the app.
- Creative Approach: The brand used visually appealing graphics, catchy copy, and compelling call-to-actions (CTAs) to entice potential users to download the app.
- Continuous Optimization: Spotify regularly analyzed ad performance and adjusted the campaign as needed to maximize results, focusing on aspects such as ad placements, creatives, and targeting.
4. Influencer Marketing
Winning your audience alone is a battle impossible. But when partnered with the right people who already enjoy credibility in their niche, the tides can turn in your favor. Influencer marketing harnesses the power of trusted voices to amplify your brand message, build credibility, and foster genuine connections with your target audience.
By collaborating with influencers who share your brand values and resonate with your target market, you can create authentic, engaging content that not only captures attention but also drives consumer action.
In an age where consumers are increasingly discerning and skeptical of traditional advertising, tapping into the influence of trusted personalities can be the key to unlocking new opportunities and winning the hearts of your audience.
Here’s how you can go about it:
- Identify the right influencers: Research and select influencers whose content, style, and values align with your brand. Look for those with a strong and engaged following in your target market. Consider factors such as reach, engagement rate, and audience demographics.
- Establish clear goals: Before reaching out to influencers, define your campaign objectives. Are you looking to raise brand awareness, increase conversions, or improve customer loyalty? Having specific goals will help guide your collaboration and measure success.
- Develop a creative strategy: Collaborate with influencers to create content that highlights your brand’s unique selling points while staying true to the influencer’s voice and style. Consider different content formats like blog posts, videos, or social media takeovers to keep the campaign fresh and engaging.
- Offer fair compensation: Influencers put significant effort into creating content and engaging with their audience. Ensure that you provide fair compensation, whether it’s monetary or through product exchanges, exclusive access, or other benefits that are valuable to the influencer.
- Track and analyze performance: Monitor campaign metrics such as engagement, reach, clicks, and conversions to gauge success and optimize your strategy. Use this data to make informed decisions about future collaborations and improve your influencer marketing efforts.
- Maintain long-term relationships: Building lasting relationships with influencers can lead to continued collaboration and mutual growth. Stay connected, provide feedback, and explore new opportunities to work together in the future.
- Stay compliant with regulations: Ensure that both your brand and the influencers you work with follow FTC guidelines and disclose any sponsored content or partnerships transparently.
Calm, a popular meditation and mental wellness app, sought to increase its app installs by leveraging influencer marketing. The brand collaborated with various influencers across social media platforms, primarily Instagram and YouTube, to raise awareness about the app’s features and benefits.
The primary goal was to boost app installs and expand Calm’s user base through authentic content and endorsements from influencers in the health and wellness space.
Calm’s Strategy for App Installs:
- Influencer Selection: Calm identified and partnered with influencers who had a strong following in the health, wellness, and mindfulness niches, ensuring their audience aligned with the app’s target market.
- Content Creation: Influencers created tailored content that showcased their personal experiences with the app, highlighting features such as guided meditations, sleep stories, and relaxation techniques.
- Platform Utilization: The campaign focused on Instagram and YouTube, as these platforms allowed for engaging visual content and storytelling, which effectively showcased the app’s features and benefits.
- Call-to-Action: Influencers encouraged their followers to download the app by providing a link in their bios, captions, or video descriptions. In some cases, Calm offered exclusive promo codes or discounts to incentivize new users to install and try the app.
- Performance Tracking: Calm-monitored the success of the campaign by tracking app installs, engagement, and conversions generated by influencer partnerships.
Calm’s influencer marketing campaign successfully increased app installs and expanded its user base. Some of the popular influencers which Calm partnered with include Jerome Flynn, Tabitha Brown, Chris Hughes, etc. As of 2022, Calm has clocked 50M+ app installs on Google Play Store alone.
5. PR & Media Outreach
Partnering with media and websites like Product Hunt can also be an effective way to market your mobile app. Prior to the launch or during the recent updates, you can go for channels like these to create a buzz around your mobile app.
Here’s how you can go about it:
- Prepare your app and marketing materials: Keep captivating app descriptions, several high-quality screenshots, promo videos, and a document listing the product USPs handy before the outreach.
- Choose the right timing: Make sure your PR launch is not clashing with any major holiday or an industry biggie event that could overshadow your reach.
- Engage: Engage with active communities on Product Hunt for feedback and support. Answer questions, ask for feedback, show support, etc. This will build positive relationships which will increase the likelihood of your app being promoted organically.
- Leverage your existing network: Encourage friends, family, and colleagues to upvote and share your app on Product Hunt and other platforms.
- Promote your launch/update: Share your app’s launch or update across your social media channels, email list, and any relevant forums or online communities.
- Monitor performance and gather feedback: Keep an eye on your app’s performance, upvotes, and comments on Product Hunt and other platforms.
- Follow up with updates and announcements: Keep the momentum going by regularly sharing updates, new features, or success stories with the Product Hunt community and your wider audience.
Duolingo, a popular language learning app, aimed to increase its app installs and expand its user base by leveraging PR and media outreach. The brand utilized press coverage, media partnerships, and guest appearances to generate buzz and raise awareness about the app’s unique features and benefits.
How Duolingo did it:
- Duolingo subscribed to Muck Rack, a search engine to find journalists to collaborate with. They used it to research and keep up with key journalists, keeping a tab on media mentions of Duolingo anywhere.
- Product-led PR remained at the core of Duolingo’s marketing strategy. With just 3 members in their PR team, they tapped into important social events like the Game of Thrones launch, to bring the audience to their platform.
- Duolingo’s founders and experts participated in podcasts, interviews, and panel discussions to share their insights on language learning, technology, and education. These appearances positioned Duolingo as a thought leader in its industry and generated interest in the app.
Combined with other marketing efforts, Duolingo has amassed more than 100M installs on Google Play Store alone.
Video, is by far the most engaging content format in marketing. Also, videos have an audience reach of 92%, being the highest among all the content formats.
On social media, video content receives 12X higher reshares as compared to static content, with 64% higher chances of user converting. All these statistics validate the importance of video in user acquisition.
Now you understand how important it is to invest in video content for mobile app user acquisition, let’s unravel how to go about it, point by point.
- Create rewarded ads: Rewarded ads incentivize users to watch the video in the form of extra streaming time, lives, virtual currency, or offers.
- YouTube videos: Create videos specific to your industry that add value to your users in one way or another. Mention explicitly how your app helps solve their problem and include specific CTAs navigating them to a specific part of your app.
- User-generated content: Leverage UGC to build credibility and boost engagement on your mobile app. Design your app/website in a way that allows users to create video and share it with their network. Promote user-generated content on social media to expand your brand’s reach.
Example: Urban Company
Urban Company, India’s largest home services booking platform, deployed a mix of video ads, television ads, and user-generated content to boost app installs on their app. Here’s a breakdown of their marketing strategy:
- Television Commercials: To reach an Indian audience, television commercials are one of the best ways. They launched TV ads campaigns with video content on how Urban Company can simplify service booking right from the comfort of your home. To make their videos more engaging, they onboarded Bollywood celebrities including Kriti Sanon.
- Social Media Videos: Urban Company tapped into influencers to create engaging videos promoting the app on Instagram and TikTok.
- User-Generated Content: On their website, Urban Company also features user testimonial videos to build credibility among the target audience. It also promotes UGC on its social media profiles.
Through this mix of video content, Urban Company became a market leader in the home services segment in India. Today (as of 2023) it enjoys 10M+ users on Google Play Store.
7. Email Marketing
Did you know that the average expected ROI of email marketing is $40 for every $1 spent? This demonstrates the power of email marketing, where there are 4.3 billion users of email.
There lies a great opportunity in email marketing to acquire users for your mobile app. It is an effective way to connect with your audience in a more personalized way to boost customer acquisition as well as retention.
If you’re just starting out email marketing or want to scale your existing strategy, here are some tips that might come in handy.
- Personalize: Don’t follow one template, send all methods. Use personalization to connect with your audience deeply and understand their pain points. Address recipients by their first name, mention their exact touch points with your business, customize coupon codes for them, etc. – these are just a few of many ways to personalize your email marketing strategy.
- Bring User-Generated Content & Email Marketing Together: Using user-generated content in emails can be an effective way to build trust, convert more, and showcase the value your product is bringing to users’ life. Use client testimonials, video testimonials, brand mentions, etc. in your newsletter can have more benefits for your business than you think.
- Use Deep Links: To avoid wasting the traffic, use Deep Links to navigate users to a specific part of your app, or a specific app store to install the app.
The multinational clothing company has a unique email marketing strategy that engages users at every stage of their buying journey. Here’s a breakdown of their email marketing strategy:
- On signing up, subscribers get a welcome newsletter announcing personalized coupons, discounts, and offers.
- It sends exclusive offers to users who sign up for their newsletters, hence building their email list.
- Throughout their emails, H&M heavily promotes their mobile app and even offers additional offers and app-exclusive offers enticing customers to download their mobile app.
8. Referral Program
Did you know that a whopping 92% of people trust their friends’ referrals, according to a Nielsen study?
A referral program can supercharge your user acquisition game and help you save big on customer acquisition costs. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to spread love for your app with a touch of trust!
If you want to up your referral game to boost customer acquisition, here’s how you can go about it:
- Think outside the box – Cashback rewards are cool, but why not try offering freebies, discounts, or unlocking exclusive content or features?
- Make sharing a breeze – Use in-app messaging to nudge active users to invite their buddies, and don’t forget those handy social sharing buttons.
- Let them show off a little – Make it super simple for users to share achievements, badges, pics, check-ins, and UGC on social media – along with their referral code, of course!
Get your app’s referral game on point, and watch your user base grow.
CRED, an Indian FinTech company, launched a unique referral program to boost app installs and expand its user base. It encourages its members to invite friends and family to join the platform.
In the referral program, existing CRED members can share a unique referral link with their friends or family. When someone uses this link to sign up and completes their first credit card payment, both the new member and the referring member receive rewards, usually in the form of CRED coins.
These coins can be used to redeem various offers, discounts, or products available within the app.
What’s unique about CRED’s refer & earn program, it provides custom messages for users to share among their friends, which makes referring easy and quick.
9. Traditional Marketing
You might think that old-school marketing methods like TV, radio, and print ads are ancient history in today’s digital world. But hold on a sec—TV ads can actually boost app installs by a whopping 56-74%!
A cool fact is that 84% of TV viewers chill with their phones nearby, often scrolling through them during commercial breaks. It’s a perfect chance to grab their attention and make them want to try your app.
Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t forget to follow up. After your TV ad, retarget potential new users with mobile ads within the next two hours to encourage more installs. Engage with top mobile ad networks in your industry to expand your efforts further.
- Be smart about who you’re targeting. TV and print fans are usually picky about what they watch or read, so you can focus on reaching specific groups of people more easily.
- Track your traditional marketing efforts like you would any other channel. Set up ways to measure the impact of your ads based on when and where they’re shown. Compare the average number of organic installs before and after your ad airs to see the difference it makes.
- So, don’t be too quick to dismiss traditional marketing. It can still work wonders for your app
Example: WinZO Games
WinZO launched TV ads in collaboration with former captain of Indian cricket team Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ad Man Piyush Pandey.
The ad showcased characters bearing relatability to real life personalities, making it resonate among its target audiencem belonging to the Tier 2 to Tier 4 cities of India.
The campaign has been a huge success, establishing WinZO as a go-to entertainment destination for gaming enthusiasts.
10. Demos & Free Trials
This rule holds true since the beginning of time. Since the dawn of time, the idea of giving something before getting something in return has been a powerful strategy. This principle holds true in the world of user onboarding as well.
To encourage new users to give your product a shot, consider offering demos and free trials. This approach allows potential customers to explore your product, understand its value, and see how it fits into their lives—all without any upfront commitment. In return, you’re more likely to gain loyal users and grow your user base.
Here are a few tips to make your demos and free trials more appealing:
- Keep it simple: Make the sign-up process for your demo or free trial as straightforward as possible. Don’t ask for too much information, and minimize any barriers to entry.
- Showcase your best features: Highlight the unique selling points of your product during the demo or free trial period. Show users what makes your product special and why they should choose it over competitors.
- Offer timely support: Be available to answer questions and provide assistance during the trial period. A helpful and responsive support team can make all the difference in converting users.
- Set clear expectations: Be transparent about what’s included in the demo or free trial, and what happens once it’s over. Make sure users are aware of any costs or commitments they’ll need to make if they decide to continue using your product.
- Collect feedback: Use the demo and free trial experiences as an opportunity to gather feedback from users. This can help you refine your product and ensure you’re meeting the needs of your target audience.
- By offering something of value upfront, you’re more likely to win over new users and foster lasting relationships with them.
Cult.fit, a popular Indian health and fitness startup, offers a compelling free trial program to attract new users and showcase its wide array of services. With a focus on holistic well-being, Cult.fit provides online and offline fitness classes, mental health support, and dietary guidance, among other offerings.
The free trial program is designed to give potential customers a taste of what they can expect from a Cult.fit membership, encouraging them to explore the platform and experience its benefits first-hand.
Key features of Cult.fit’s free trial program includes:
- Easy sign-up process: To join the free trial, users simply need to create an account on the Cult.fit app or website, providing minimal personal information. This hassle-free process reduces barriers to entry and encourages more people to try the service.
- Access to a variety of classes: During the trial period, users can attend a selection of Cult.fit’s fitness classes, such as yoga, strength training, dance fitness, and more. This allows them to discover which classes resonate with their preferences and fitness goals.
- No commitment required: The free trial comes with no strings attached, as users are not required to provide payment information or commit to a membership. This helps build trust and allows users to make an informed decision about continuing with Cult.fit after the trial.
- Support and guidance: Throughout the trial, Cult.fit provides users with support, including access to fitness trainers and nutritionists, ensuring a positive and informative user experience.
- Seamless transition to paid membership: If users decide to continue with Cult.fit after their free trial, the platform makes it easy to upgrade to a paid membership, unlocking additional features and benefits.
Cult.fit’s free trial program serves as an excellent example of how businesses can attract new users and demonstrate the value of their offerings. By providing a low-risk opportunity for potential customers to experience the platform, Cult.fit paves the way for lasting relationships and continued growth in the fitness industry.
How Trackier Helps You Boost Your Mobile App User Acquisition
Trackier is a powerful tool that can significantly boost your mobile user acquisition strategy. By providing valuable insights into key performance indicators and helping you optimize your marketing efforts, Trackier plays a crucial role in growing your user base.
Here’s how Trackier can benefit your mobile app user acquisition process:
- Identifying high-performing channels that are driving the most conversions. By analyzing this data, you can focus your resources on retargeting and re-engagement campaigns on channels that work for you.
- Funneling fraudulent conversions, ensuring that your marketing budget is used effectively and your mobile user acquisition efforts remain genuine.
- Its multi-touch attribution method allows you to track the source of app installs and user engagement, giving you a clear picture of your most valuable acquisition channels.
- Trackier helps you keep an eye on your marketing expenditures by providing detailed reports on the cost of acquiring users across various channels.
- Using an in-app event activity report, you can check if your users are ‘retained’ on your app. It gives you a deep understanding of how your users are behaving on your app.
In summary, Trackier is an indispensable tool for enhancing your mobile app user acquisition strategy. By providing insights into channel performance, combating fraud, offering attribution data, monitoring marketing costs, and evaluating retention rates, Trackier empowers you to optimize your marketing efforts and grow your user base effectively.
Next Steps: Customer Retention
User retention is crucial to the success of any business, especially in the digital age where customers have a multitude of options at their fingertips. While user acquisition is important, retaining existing customers can be even more valuable in the long run. Not only does it save on marketing costs, but it also fosters loyalty, encourages repeat purchases, and generates positive word-of-mouth. By providing a positive customer experience, personalized communication, and offering incentives and rewards, businesses can increase their chances of retaining customers and ultimately, drive revenue growth. Therefore, it is essential for companies to focus on both user acquisition and retention strategies to achieve sustained success.