What Is Mobile User Acquisition? Everything To Know 2022

Mapendo Team
August 2, 2022
What Is Mobile User Acquisition? Everything To Know 2022

Your app will struggle to succeed even if you put all the effort into making it great if no one knows about it.

So, how can you attract users by standing out among the millions of other apps? Especially when the typical smartphone user only downloads two app each month and over half don't download any at all?

The answer lies with mobile user acquisition. 

What is mobile user acquisition?

Mobile User acquisition has many layers, however in a nutshell it can be defined as the strategy employed to:

Drive new users to an app.

Mobile user acquisition is achieved through marketing and advertising campaigns. The main marketing activities we are going to focus on here include paid media marketing, owned media marketing, and app store optimization (ASO).

Paid media marketing employs media channels to display ads to consumers that are intended to elicit a prompt response and action, such as persuading people to download an app. Targeted banners and adverts on social media platforms are just one example of paid media marketing.

This is how every app install campaign unfolds: app developers rely on marketers to distribute their ads (in various media types like banners, videos, native ads, or GIFs) across various platforms, paid media, and app stores. As a result, this method of driving installs is not organic because consumers will see an advertisement, potentially interact with it, and download the app.

When referring to mobile user acquisition, there are a variety of channels one can think of:

Mobile user acquisition channels: 

  1. Organic user acquisition
  2. Offline advertising 
  3. Social media
  4. App install campaign 

Organic user acquisition

This refers to the process of acquiring new customers without paying any direct fees, i.e., without spending money on paid ads. One strategy for this is app store optimisation (ASO).  This is a crucial aspect in the process of mobile user acquisition. 

App store optimization is an important activity aiming at achieving the optimization and visibility of an app in app stores. It is often compared to SEO (Search Engine Optimization), as they both rely on the importance of keywords, good descriptions, and effective images. ASO should be an ongoing process, as better visibility of an app in app stores search results surely improves the app ranking and boosts organic installs.

Offline advertising:

This refers to any advertising that is carried out using traditional offline media such as tv, radio, billboards, PR or newspapers, for example. More often than not, modern-day offline marketing methods are built to support or supplement online efforts.

These offline advertising activities help to increase brand awareness, which is essential in any effective mobile user acquisition strategy. TV ads, radio, billboards and PR help to increase the visibility of your app and a well-known brand makes your paid user acquisition campaigns way more effective. 

Social media: 

We are all familiar with the use of social media as a medium for adverts. But did you know that for mobile apps, the use of social media for mobile user acquisition has an … effective rate. One study found that over 90% of marketers who employ an influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective. Working with a proven social media marketer who has pull among your target audience is an effective way to improve brand awareness, grow your own social media followers and increase your mobile user acquisition. 

Furthermore, some social media platforms such as Tiktok and Facebook allow also highly targeted app install campaigns, leveraging their wide reach and targeting capabilities. 

App install campaigns:

Last, but certainly not least, we have app install campaigns. Deemed as one of the most lucrative means to attract new users and boast user acquisition for mobile apps, app install campaigns are popular amongst all app categories. 

App install campaigns push a bulk of downloads during a short period, increasing the app's ranking in app stores. They also help with organic traffic, which leads to even more downloads and exposure. This ad type generally consists of the app name, description, image, and a CTA button. 

Since there are constantly new competitors in the worlds of internet marketing and mobile apps, it is probably more important than ever to optimize your app campaign. For your app install campaign to be effective, you must target the proper users and grab their attention. Both before and after the campaign has begun, app campaign optimization is necessary. You must keep track of it, make adjustments as needed, and gather and analyze data as you go.

A successful app install campaign will certainly result in measurable advantages for you: the volume of the campaign will increase, and the CPA (Cost Per Action) will decrease, raising the ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) for your app install campaign.

For app install campaigns, it is crucial to constantly analyze your activity and the early results. There are a variety of channels for app install campaigns: Many advertisers run their user acquisition campaigns through DSPs (Demand Side Platforms), which use A.I. and machine learning algorithms to improve their performances based on data they gather from the beginning. In programmatic advertising, you can refine your traffic acquisition based on many different factors assessed by these algorithms, and some examples are the operating system version, the internet connection and IP address, just to name a few. You can also avail of affiliate marketing and mobile ad networks.

Want to learn how to create a successful app install campaigns in four easy steps? Read on here

Why is mobile user acquisition important for your business? 

  1. app growth
  2. increase user base
  3. acquire high-LTV users
  4. increase revenues by running ROAS positive app campaigns
  5. adopt performance-based models like CPI and CPA


After putting your mobile user acquisition strategy into action and experimenting with a range of platforms and channels, find out how people most frequently find your app. What could you do better going forward? Don't forget to research your competitors and see what they do in order to not only embrace tried-and-true strategies but also to establish your own niche in the app industry.