Mobile App Growth with Paid User Acquisition: 4 Tips for a Killer UA Strategy

Chiara Patrizi
February 24, 2023
Mobile App Growth with Paid User Acquisition: 4 Tips for a Killer UA Strategy

Driving new users to download and engage with your mobile app is key for its success and growth. In order to reach this objective it is crucial to understand that app installs and all following in-app actions are the result of an appropriate User Acquisition strategy.

Organic user acquisition is certainly an important indicator for users’ interest and loyalty to your app, however, is no longer enough to reach a wider audience and earn the top 10 or page 1 position in the App Store or Google Play. If you want to increase your app visibility and enhance your ASO (App Store Optimization), a well-structured Paid User Acquisition strategy is key.


What is Paid User Acquisition?


Paid User Acquisition is the method of driving new potential users to a mobile app through marketing activity. Therefore, it differs from organic installs since these ones are not driven by marketing activities, in fact  users download an app without being influenced by advertisements. 

Developing a well-structured Paid User Acquisition strategy has lots of benefits for an advertiser such as:


-   High targeting ability, which leads to acquisition of high-quality users and is the result of state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms and A.I.

-   Paid User Acquisition is a data-driven process, therefore you will be able to invest your app install campaign budget more wisely, because you are investing on marketing sources you know may bring positive results.

When choosing paid user acquisition, it is critical to keep an eye on the right app marketing metrics. Selecting the right ones will lead you to properly evaluate your app promotion campaign performance, going beyond the bare number of installs. App marketing metrics provide valuable data on campaign costs and revenues and also allow you to optimize them (by accurately and comprehensively evaluating the performance of individual partners). 

Now that you know what a Paid User Acquisition is, let’s analyze how you can enhance your UA strategy thanks to Paid User Acquisition.

Track the right metrics you need to optimize your app promotion campaign


App metrics are snapshots on the performance of your marketing campaign. There are plenty of metrics available that can help you understand how to optimize your app promotion campaign.

Keeping track of the ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) is one of the main measures you can use to understand whether your campaign is working or not. In fact, if you paid more than you gained from your users, the app promotion campaign can’t be considered successful. ROAS calculates the revenue generated from your investment and allows you to invest your budget wisely. Furthermore, it highlights which ad campaign has delivered more high-quality users

ROAS can also be used in specific time frames (to give an example: ROAS at day 0, or day 7, or day 30 etc.) to understand users’ behaviors while using apps. In the case of Mobile Games this can be particularly relevant since it can help the advertiser understand and measure the ARPU and LVT of new users.  

If ROAS also considers revenues, CPI CPA e CAC metrics are more focused on costs and allow you to understand the actual costs of your campaign in relation to the results achieved. 

CPI (Cost per Install) is one of the main metrics used in Mobile User Acquisition, it is the pricing model used in app install campaigns, which establishes the price the advertiser pays to the publisher each time their app is installed and opened because of the app promotion campaign. CPI is a performance-based price model, which means that it helps advertisers save money because they are only paying for the results.  

CPI differs from CPA (Cost per Action), the latter is a pricing model based only on users’ in-app actions (purchase, or post-install event). Tracking CPA can be useful for advertisers because thanks to this metric they can set the focus of their campaign on gaining high-quality users.

Another important metric is CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost), which determines how much it will cost to attract new customers. CAC is an important metric to keep in mind when determining the profitability of your company, because it represents the overall marketing cost necessary to gain new paying users over a specific period

Test multiple channels for acquiring new users 

If you want your app promotion campaign to succeed you have to diversify the channels for acquiring new users. But which are the criteria for selecting the right channels?

Undoubtedly, the prominent UA channels are Google and Facebook, both offering a self-serving ad platform which enables app marketers to optimize for install and in-app events.

When testing multiple sources, advertisers should consider that channels as Google and Facebook work with variable prices in the purchase of traffic. You will be able indeed to set budgets and price limits, however, the disadvantage is that if you want to increase your install volumes, you won't have a precise idea about how much you are going to spend, in short you can't predict it. Ad Networks and DSPs work with fixed costs instead. Therefore, since CPI and CPA are fixed, advertisers are able to estimate the total expenditure.

Set enough mobile advertising budget for significant tests


Establishing from the very beginning of your app promotion campaign how much you should invest into the growth of your products is a vital component of successful UA.

Advertisers should keep in mind that a successful mobile useracquisition strategy involves  lots of testing, meaning that staying on track with your budget is crucial to reach high quality users that lead to positive ROAS. In fact, the lower are the spent volumes, the smallest are the datasets produced. To achieve a positive UA strategy, large date samples are necessary to understand what is working for your ad campaign and to optimize it.  

Therefore, A/B test is a powerful tool to evaluate and optimize your campaign performance. How does it work? To give an example, A/B test can consist of a randomized test in which two different creatives are displayed to two different target audience segments. The goal of this procedure is to identify the most effective one in app install campaigns

Build a transparent partnership with app marketers

The last move for reaching a successful Paid User Acquisition strategy is to build a transparent and effective partnership with your app marketers. This is a step that should not be underestimated, because the digital-advertising ecosystem revolves around this relationship.

During your app promotion campaign it is crucial to build a transparent relationship with your app marketers. But how are you supposed to do that?

First, creating transparency means to set clear goals and KPIs for the app marketers. If your goals are clear, app marketers will know how to meet your needs. 

Working with MMPs is a must for both advertisers and app marketers. In fact, these third-party companies help advertisers collect data, measuring campaign performance and attribute results to precise marketing partners. At the same time, MMPs can track in-app events and allow visibility of users’ funnel in the app. Sharing these information with app marketers is crucial to optimize your app promotion campaign.

Making sure that app marketers have visibility into as many in-app events as possible that are part of the user funnel within the app allows them to optimize the campaign more accurately toward the desired event (purchase, deposit, etc.). More data allows machine learning algorithms to be even more accurate and get to target primarily those users who are most likely to generate in-app revenues.

Key takeaways for your Paid User Acquisition Strategy


To sum up, if you are an advertiser who is looking to acquire new users for your app, Paid User Acquisition is useful for your mobile app growth. However, in order to reach positive goals with your UA strategy is important to keep in mind these 4 key passages:


1. Tracking the right app metrics that can give you insights on the performance of your marketing campaign. Such as ROAS, which measures the revenue generated from your investment, or CPI, CPA, CAC metrics that are more focused on the actual costs of your campaign in relation to the results achieved.


2. Testing multiple channels, such as Google, Facebook, Ad Networks, DSPs, is important if you want to reach a large number of new users. However, when testing the different options it is important to keep in mind their pricing models.


3. Allocating enough budget to run significant tests is key to identify which kinds of ads are working for your app promotion campaign and which not.


4. Lastly, building a transparent relationship with app marketers is crucial. In order to reach it not only it is necessary to to set specific goals and KPIs, but also to share marketing analytics so as to enhance your marketing performance.