• Advertising

The Ultimate Mobile User Acquisition Checklist

Matt Kaplan
Matt Kaplan
Content Strategist
5 min read
Posted on August 19, 2019
The Ultimate Mobile User Acquisition Checklist

Use This Mobile User Acquisition Checklist For All of Your UA-Based Mobile Ad Campaigns.

Mobile user acquisition strategies driven by through mobile ads, while effective, can quickly drain your budget if you’re not careful. Want people to be downloading your app? That’ll cost you between $1.29 and $4.47 per install, according to eMarketer. Looking to acquire loyal app users - i.e. highly active users? That can set you back over $100 in some instances.

Acquiring new users for your mobile app through in-app advertising doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult. Be sure to follow this checklist and answer these questions before starting any paid mid-funnel or bottom-funnel campaign designed to bring in new mobile users.

Target Audience(s) Defined

The granularly your campaign targets users, the better. In the realm of UA, it can often be more effective to get in front of fewer people - so long as those individuals have a higher propensity to download and actually use your app over time.

For example, consider these two scenarios. In scenario one, your campaign yields 100,000 impressions and 1,000 downloads, but only five people are still using the app after 90 days. In scenario two, the campaign has 50,000 impressions and 200 downloads, but 90 days later 50 people are still using the app - and making significant in-app purchases to boot too.

Which option would you choose? Scenario two reached fewer people, but more of the right kind of people for your app-based business.

When you know the time, place and devices people are using to consume your ads, you can make data-backed decisions to optimize on the fly and improve future campaigns,” said Kedar Gavane, VP of India, Australia and New Zealand for ComScore.

Creative Variants Ready

As the old saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Having the right creatives in place is crucial. And don’t just rely on one or a small handful of options either; test out lots of options to see what works best for your goals.

If possible, definitely use video ads. Our research has shown that video ads are highly effective at capturing attention, and have click-through rates that are, on average, much higher than what’s typically observed for either banners or native ads.

“Once upon a time, software was eating the world. Now, it’s video’s turn,” said Abhay Singhal, Co-Founder and CEO of InMobi Marketing Cloud.

Be sure to pair the winning creatives with ideal next steps. What do you want someone to do after experiencing an ad? Interactive features like clickable end cards help hold user interest, and deep linking enables someone to quickly and easily download your app from an app store of choice directly from the ad creative.

KPIs Defined

Before executing any campaign, it’s critical to establish a hypothesis on what will be achieved. This is important for any kind of in-app ad campaign, but it’s especially critical for user acquisition efforts.

Within the mobile UA world, it’s tempting to focus on cost per install or total installs. But, just because someone downloads your app doesn’t mean they’re a loyal, active user. Instead, it’s often much better to base your campaign’s success on how many quality users are acquired in the end.

This is how a major quick-service restaurant brand defines and measures success for its UA campaigns. They look at not who has downloaded their app but rather who has added money into their mobile wallet after the fact, as this - and not just the download - signaled to them that they had acquired a high-value app user and not someone likely to churn anytime soon.

“The ability to measure quality, combined with a deep understanding of which engagement metrics drive performance, will result in tangible outcomes for brands, transforming how advertisers define value in their media spend,” said Matt McLaughlin, Chief Operating Officer of DoubleVerify.

In terms of measurement, don’t go it alone. Whenever possible, leverage the support and services of third-party platforms to ensure that you’re getting accurate insights in as close to real time as possible.

Other App UA Strategies to Consider

There are over a million apps out there. You may need more than advertising to differentiate yourself and get in front of the right audiences. Here are some other UA options to think about and use:

  • App Store Search Optimization: Many people will use either the iOS App Store or the Google Play Store are their primary means of discovering and downloading new properties. In fact, three in 10 people will download the very first app they see after conducting a search in the app store, highlighting the necessity of app store optimization for these individuals. Check out this guide from Search Engine Journal to learn more about store rankings, keyword usage and other key components of App Store Optimization.
  • Word of Mouth: Sometimes, the tried and true methods are the best ones to utilize. Word of mouth is great because it’s free and can be highly effective. The only problem is that it’s notoriously fickle and can be next to impossible to really cultivate at scale.
  • Influencer Marketing: This increasingly popular method involves tapping the services of individuals with significant digital followings, under the hopes that they can turn their dedicated fans into your loyal customers. But, be sure to choose your influencers carefully, as this methodology is not always effective and can make ROI tracking very difficult.
  • Content Marketing: The goal here is to create content like blog posts, videos, infographics, etc. that is then shared and disseminated through a wide variety of channels, with the content serving as bait to lure in potential customers. This can be highly effective, but is sometimes hard to measure and can be slow to yield real results.
  • PR: Quality press coverage can be a great way to get people to learn about your app through trusted sources, especially if your app is within a space covered by niche, well-red publications. Getting this coverage can be slow going and expensive, and positive results are both hard to come by and hard to measure.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to read these blog posts at your leisure:

If you’re interested in even 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.

Stay Up to Date

Register to our blog updates newsletter to receive the latest content in your inbox.