• Consumer Research

Answering Your Top Mobile App User Acquisition Questions

Matt Kaplan
Matt Kaplan
Content Strategist
5 min read
Posted on March 28, 2019
Answering Your Top Mobile App User Acquisition Questions

Do you have a lot of questions about mobile app user acquisition? Then you’ve come to the right place. This guide is for all mobile app marketing professionals and app developers looking to launch a successful app (in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store), acquire users at scale while keeping acquisition costs minimized and launch a successful, sustainable app-led business.


Here, we’ve compiled some of the top questions asked by mobile marketers on Quora and provided our answers on how they can differentiate themselves from the millions of apps they’re likely competing against.

Q: How Do I Make My App Popular?

A: Let me address this question in two parts.

First, in terms of popularity, be sure you define what that means for you. Quantify popularity, and then work towards that goal. Does popular mean downloads, MAUs, marketing buzz, first in the app stores for key categories, or something else entirely?

Depending on how you’re defining popularity, choose the right tactics to help you reach and maintain your goals. There are lots of great guides out there about App Store Optimization, Paid Mobile App User Acquisition, social media marketing, word of mouth, PR for apps and other tactics to consider.

To generate money from your app, there are a few different ways to go. Advertising is the most popular and often the most lucrative, although in-app purchases, subscriptions and paid installs are common approaches too. Certain approaches will work best for particular types of apps, and sometimes it’s beneficial to use multiple monetization tactics.

But, no matter what monetization approach you choose, make sure it fits in smoothly with the overall user experience being provided; if potential users are overly annoyed in the monetization process, then you’re failing. You want users to share positive stories about your app, not criticisms, with people they know.

Q: What is the Monthly Cost to Advertise and Promote a Mobile App?

A: The monthly cost to advertise and promote a mobile app really depends on a number of factors, including your goals and benchmarks for your ad campaign.

  • Are you aiming to just promote your app, or do you want your ad campaign to drive app downloads or get a particularly high value individual to download your app?
  • Who is your target audience for the app, and where do they spend their time? This will help you determine where your ads should run.
  • What is your budget? What is the maximum amount you’re willing to spend to meet your monthly benchmarks?
  • Do you plan on promoting your app for just a month, or are you willing to promote it over a longer period?
  • What kinds of ads will you run? What creative formats will you feature? Also, will the ad stay within the app environment or use deep links to point someone towards a mobile website?

If it helps, Business of Apps has compiled a number of helpful stats on average CPMs (cost per 1,000 impressions) and costs per click on a variety of platforms and ad networks/exchanges. But, you may need to speak directly with these ad platforms to determine if they can help you reach your target audience and to establish parameters for your campaign.

Q: How Much Money Do We Earn if Someone Installs Our App?

A: To answer this question, it helps to know how much a user is worth to you. For the typical app, a user is worth around $10. Of course, this figure can vary by app. For some apps, each user is worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.

To determine this calculation for yourself, figure out how much money you make from an average app user before they stop using the app, delete it from their mobile device, etc. Then, determine how much money you spend to acquire a typical app download. Subtract the first number from the second number, and the remaining figure will provide you with insights on how much an app install is worth to you.

For example, let’s say you charge someone $1 to download your app, and this is the only way you monetize your app. If you typically need to spend $75 in marketing and advertising for every 100 app downloads (this is a really low figure, but you get the idea hopefully), then you’re earning $0.25 per user.

This also depends on your average conversion rate. The better the conversion rate, the less you may need to spend to acquire users.

Q: Will Advertisers Eventually Stop Paying for Clicks?

A: At least in the in-app advertising world, while clicks are still a key metric and CPC campaigns are still effective in many instances, many advertisers are already prioritizing metrics beyond clicks.

For starters, depending on the campaign and its goals, impressions may be more critical for brands looking for more awareness and overall brand reach. Further down the proverbial funnel, the campaign may be more focused on user acquisition, app downloads, CLV, etc. than on just aggregate clicks.

For example, consider a mobile in-app video advertising campaign. Here, its success would be judged on metrics beyond clicks, including AVOC, CPCV, completion quality score, etc.

Clicks are still key to an extent, but advertisers are already moving away from clicks as the sole metric being tracked.

Q: If You Run a CPI Ad Campaign and Have a Paid App that Makes More Money than the Installation, Is It That Simple to Make a Profit?

A: Assuming I’m answering your question accurately, then yes, you would be making a profit. If, for example, your app costs someone $3 to purchase/install but your average CPI was $1, then you would definitely be making a small profit.

But, it’s likely helpful to keep the following points in mind with any user acquisition plan:

  • What is the lifetime value of the users you’re acquiring from your CPI ad campaign?
  • Is your CPI stable and consistent? How sustainable is your CPI ad campaign?
  • How much variance are you seeing in costs per install? How many installs are costing you more than or less than your average?
  • Are you monetizing your app users solely through the initial app purchase, or are you utilizing any additional monetization strategies as well?

Q: What is the Best Advertising Program for Me? I Want an Advertising Program for a Mobile Game Where I Can Share the Income with a Third Party and Where the Players Have to Watch an Ad Before Every Round.

A: You have described either a rewarded video or a full screen interstitial video ad unit. InMobi supports just about all ad unit types. Many of our partners, including some of the world’s biggest names in the mobile gaming space, utilize all ad units. These include banners, along with full screen skippable and non skippable videos.

InMobi connects your audience with advertisers across the globe. InMobi’s top countries and regions based on ad spend include the U.S., China, Indonesia, India, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Saudi Arabia and more. Additionally, InMobi differs from our competition due to the fact that 90 percent of our ad spend come from brand advertisers (vs gaming app install advertisers).

If you’re interested in more information, check out our case studies to learn more about how we work with apps or send us a quick note to connect.


About the Author

Matthew Kaplan has over a decade of digital marketing experience, working to support the content marketing and search optimization goals of the world’s biggest B2B and B2C brands. He is a passionate app user and evangelist, working to support diverse marketing campaigns across devices.

Additional posts by Matthew:

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