User Acquisition: Quality Matters More Than Quantity

Mapendo Team
May 26, 2022
User Acquisition: Quality Matters More Than Quantity

In the mobile apps industry, User Acquisition managers work to find high quality users. They know — as we all do — that often quality matters much more than quantity: you want to find people that not only like your app, but that are likely to convert and make a purchase in “freemium dominated” industry. Apps developers need high quality users to survive and prosper.

Today we want to talk about what is a high quality user and what it means — and what it takes — for an app to find one. We’ll be doing this with the “indirect help” of one of Kevin Kelly brightest piece of writing: the 1,000 true fans theory.

Almost fifteen years ago, Kevin Kelly — one of Wired co-founders— came up with an interesting and pioneer theory. It is called 1,000 true fans.

To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans. (Kevin Kelly, 1.000 True Fans)

Kelly’s theory is not something that you necessarily need to take “as it is”. We think of it as a source of inspiration, more than an imposition. A theory that app developers must interpret and adapt to their product.

The reason is simple: businesses can’t always sustain themselves with “just” 1,000 true fans. Apps that operate worldwide often need to find acquire a large number of high quality users to stay on top of their industry and can’t settle. So, for the purpose of this article — forgive us Kevin — we’ll not pay attention to the number but to the core of what a true fan means for a business.

Photo by Vojtech Bruzek on Unsplash

Why are high quality users important?

Instead of trying to reach the narrow and unlikely peaks of platinum bestseller hits, blockbusters, and celebrity status, you can aim for direct connection with a thousand true fans. (Kevin Kelly, 1.000 True Fans)

We sometimes hear stories about extremely successful companies that grow at the speed of light; the same thing goes for creators — singers, actors or artists — who reach stardom with a hit. Those are the ones that aim at and make millions of paying fans all over the world.

This is a legitimate goal but is not sustainable from a business point of view. Why? Because the stakes are too high. Creators cannot cross their fingers and hope to make it big immediately or become a one hit wonder. It can happen, but is so rare that it usually makes the news.

Is risky because is better to have a plan that requires creators to find, get and retain the users that are the true fans. Whether they need 1.000 of them or not, the concept is the same: quality overcomes quantity.

There are proofs of this in the mobile industry, when a smaller percentage of the users is responsible for the majority of the income of an app. And we’re not talking about the 80/20 rule. In the mobile app ecosystem, especially for gaming, the percentage can shrink: 10% of the players can be responsible for 65% of the revenue, according to a 2019 study by SWRVE.

So, here comes what Kevin Kelly thought of years ago: aim for less, but better.

Find the right users that will impact the revenue of your app, website or whatever. User acquisitions strategy should often look for true fans that will have an impact on their app and will lead to expansion. we call those true fans: High Quality users.

What are high quality users?

High quality users are the one that don’t just download the app but interact with it. They are our version of true fans.

The app industry is mostly made of freemium players. Apps are downloaded for free and developers usually make money when a IAP — In App Purchase — is made or when ads are shown. For example, think of a game where you can play for free but you can buy gears, coins and all sort of things in app.

This makes users that convert— high quality users — incredibly more important than the ones that have no interest in becoming customers or pay for a service that can be free. Sure, you can work to nurture the users that have just downloaded the app, but it may — and will — take time to convert, if they do.

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High quality users and uninstalls.

According to Appsflyer recent study, one app every two is uninstalled in the first 30 days. Most of the time though, it takes way l than month for a user to get rid of an app.

In fact, the uninstall rate is higher on the first day, as the users who open the app can be non compatible or not in target with the content of the app.

Here is what happens:

  1. User downloads an app
  2. Opens it
  3. Deletes it if she is not really interested in its content.

And uninstalls are a waste of money.

On average, in 2020, apps wasted $57,000 a month due to uninstalls. According to our analysis, the average app lost about $57,000 a month in 2020 due to uninstalls — a significant 70% increase compared to 2019. — . (Business of Apps)

This is why user acquisition strategies must aim at finding the right users, to avoid money wasting, to optimize ROI — Return on Investment — and ROAS — return on advertising spend — .

We’ve talked about the consequence of targeting and finding the wrong users, but what does it take to make those fans find you?

How can you find High Quality Users?

Whatever your interests as a creator are, your 1,000 true fans are one click from you. As far as I can tell there is nothing — no product, no idea, no desire — without a fan base on the internet. The trick is to practically find those fans, or more accurately, to have them find you. (Kevin Kelly, 1.000 True Fans)

Internet is endless, interconnected and with the biggest audience available. As Kelly says, true fans are one click away. Often, just one click. User Acquisition is just one click away.

The problem is, how can you find the high quality users that are likely to convert. How can you find your true fans?

During the years, we’ve helped different companies find those users. We do it with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. Our proprietary technology is called Jenga, an A.I. that collects data, find trends, patterns and user behaviours.

By gathering data anonymously, we learn who are the users that are more likely to convert once they download an app and we leverage on that to drive conversions and help our clients find true fans.

Our A.I. studies tens of thousands of behaviours and can connect an app with its true fans, the users that are more likely register, subscribe, purchase or whatever goal an app has.

By bringing high quality traffic to apps, we optimize the budget and the user acquisition strategy by driving only users that are likely to perform an action.

We’ve been doing this for eight years, and you can get to know us here!