In Mobile Marketing, paid user acquisition is simply a set of non-organic activities, performed by apps, with the goal of acquiring new users. Is a form of advertising mostly done to drive installs and bring users to the store page of the app.
Users use apps to accomplish their day to day needs such as taxi booking, food delivery, shopping, or anything. Somehow, we can say that are smartphones have become the first — or one of the first — touchpoints in the purchase process.
During the first half of 2021, the global consumer spending in apps and games had an increase of 28,4%. So, companies look at mobile applications as a good chance to discover the best consumers.
With the increasing trend of apps trying to target consumers across the world, the concept of “user acquisition” is becoming increasingly more relevant for developers and marketers.
“UA” — short for user acquisition — as all the different digital marketing activities, can be done on a worldwide scale; you just need to know who to target. As the world gets “smaller”, the mobile market gets bigger.
But growing your app can be painful, expensive, exhausting and risky — you can end up wasting a ton of money or setting the wrong goals — . We’ve put together a simple guide to help you understand what paid user acquisition is and what it can do for your app.
User Acquisition in a nutshell
User acquisition means finding new “customers”. Your app looks to increase the number of active users, whether it means more players for a mobile game or more people buying clothes.
Organic user acquisition is one of the most important part in the UA strategy. It is defined as the implementation of a set of marketing initiatives to drive organic installs, meaning the ones that are not coming from paid ads. Users are driven to the App store and Google play store via organic marketing activities, such as content, social media, referrals and more.
There are some techniques that aim to increase the way Apple or Google surfaces your app in some areas. Organic user acquisition is, of course, the highest valuable traffic. Users that find your app and install it on their own, means they are immediately more engaged and invested in making the experience you offer. They are looking for your, so they probably know you already and are convinced about downloading your app.
When we talk about organics, we are referring to App Store Optimization (ASO) which is a fundamental activity that is aimed at increasing installs, thus a great part of user acquisition. This kind of optimisation consists in enhancing description, keywords and headline; all features needed to bring more organic traffic. ASO sounds as you think: it is SEO for apps.
However, organic install user acquisition has some limits:
- Is less scalable, as you likely can reach a limited amount of users.
- If you need to achieve results quickly and need to create a customer base, you need to have a paid strategy.
- Find more users via a paid strategy will help you understand what users want.
Growth is necessary in acquiring new users and maximising their value, especially in free apps. Boosting the customer base of your app will rise the minority of users who contribute to app-purchase revenue, that will support the profit coming from your platform.
So, let’s talk about Paid User Acquisition.
What is Paid User Acquisition?
As stated earlier:
Paid User Acquistion is simply a set of non-organic activities, performed by apps, with the goal of acquiring new users.
This works through different media channels which display direct response ads of your app to the right audience. For instance, a person, while navigating online, could stumble across targeted posts, banners or other ads coming from social media.
Paid UA is a crucial strategy to grow. It tries to bring a targeted audience to an app, increase both visibility and downloads while improving rankings. Reaching consumers that are likely to make a purchase is not easy since organic is never enough to scale very significantly. Top apps are spending a lot of money on user acquisition, and is only going up.
Why you should have a paid user acquisition strategy
A strong paid user acquisition strategy is a “must” to maintain a high retention rate while obtaining new customers. There always is a huge number of users that will acquire or either stop using the app after a while or uninstall completely.
Recently, the app industry has seen a recent decline in organic installs — the share of organic installs in the average app dropped 20% since 2016, according to AppsFlyer — . Managing organic installs has become more and more difficult but the solution could consist in good UA strategy.
Enhancing your position in the app-rankings will bring many benefit- especially in a period when organic traffic is hard to get. A paid user acquisition strategy is crucial to increase brand awareness, attract users that don’t know you who may make a purchase, leave a good review or refer your app to a friend.
A Data-Driven Acquisition strategy can boost your sales
A successful user acquisition strategy requires continuous testing and adjusting campaigns, to better hit the target. This is possible only by trying a set of different marketing activities, and based on the data you gain, it is fundamental to adjust or rethink what you have done. Data is useful to identify the patterns that work for your app and objectives.
Recently, app owners shifted on quality — rather than quantity. Specifically, they concentrate their efforts in involving users on post-install engagement. Marketing managers should examine mobile attribution to target the sources of high-quality users and spend a high part of budget to acquire them.
High quality users are the one that interact with your app, like a true fan. Apps are usually downloaded for free and owners are able to make money when IAP — In App Purchase — is made or when ads are shown. This support the fact that high quality users are extremely important than others that are not interested to become customers.
If the budget available is limited, it is fundamental to spend on the right users.
Artificial Intelligence can optimise the budget you spend
Overall, UA strategy aims to discover high quality users that are likely to make purchases. During the years, we’ve helped many business to find the right target thanks to our proprietary technology called Jenga — an A.I. that collects data, find trends, patterns and user behaviours.
Through the data we collect, we are able to identify the users that could probably register, subscribe, purchase or other goals that an app has. Our I.A. analyze users’ behaviours and connect an app with possible “true friends” that are likely to make a conversion.
Finally, UA strategy must include paid ads because organic install are not enough to gain high quality users. We have experience in optimizing budgets and the user acquisition strategy by driving only users that are likely to perform an action.
User Acquisition has changed after IOS 14.5
After the rollout of IOS 14.5 — a huge and big change for the entire mobile industry — marketers have started to wonder what will User Acquisition be like from now on. They wonder because with ATT, users need to give consent to an app to be tracked; as a great majority chooses to opt-out, the lack of data poses a threat to advertising experts.
Where does user acquisition go after IOS 14.5? We think that there is not an answer yet, not a precise one at least. Companies and marketing managers will have to face two goals: match the company’s goals and play by the rules, so respect the users privacy. Apple has also made it kind of clear that there is no way around ATT: apps must respect the users privacy if she chooses not to be tracked.
We think that a possible solution to achieve those goals is machine learning, as it works both ways: it respects the user privacy and is powerful enough to guarantee results.