8 Effective Ways To Develop Your App’s User Acquisition Strategy

User acquisition is one of the most important elements for your product’s growth. Take a look at our complete guide and make sure to be one step ahead of your competition.
Published July 19, 2022

About the author
Bart Stemkens is a growth advisor for tech startups. He loves building online businesses and bringing them to live through bold ideas.

Given the amount of competition in the mobile app world today, attracting new users becomes more difficult each day. Whether it be on the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, there are hundreds of apps being placed in the public eye on a daily basis

Having a well-informed user acquisition strategy for apps is detrimental to ensure the success of your app, and this customer acquisition strategy template guarantees success in doing just that. 

To be one step ahead of the game, you need to have a strategy that will save you both time and energy. This is where we come in, by helping you map out 8 effective ways that will attract the mobile app users you seek to reach. 

What is User Acquisition? 

User acquisition is the strategy one aims to adopt in order to attract new users to their product or service, in this case a mobile app. Your user acquisition strategy will be the driving force behind your app’s popularity and downloads. 

Why Do I Need a User Acquisition Strategy? 

Whether you’re an app developer or marketer, one of your biggest concerns is not just your app’s profit but also your user satisfaction. Your profit will eventually depend on how many new users you’ve managed to attract successfully. User satisfaction guarantees long term success.  

In this way, the more users you have attracted, the more you showcase an increased level of trust and communication with those users, which builds a reputation for your app. This leads to repeated users who want to keep engaging with your app. 

The more users you acquire through effective user acquisition, the more opportunities there will be for them to refer your app to other users. 

So How Does User Acquisition Work? 

The ways to attract new users to your app are almost endless. While some methods form a part of paid media marketing, such as advertising campaigns, others are known as owned media marketing, which is any free campaigns you undertake, such as giving your app a voice, social media engagement, and email marketing. 

Owned media marketing is particularly useful if you are just starting out and want to build a brand for your app, in order to attract more users. 

A third type of user acquisition is App Store Optimization, or ASO for short, which includes optimising specific keywords and screenshots, or having effective written descriptions, all which attempt to discover within App Stores like Google Play or Apple’s App Store.  

Finally, retargeting and re-engagement campaigns serve to bring back users who have already installed your app but haven’t been using it. The strategy here is to send them personalised content such as emails or messages that will attract them back to the app. 

What Are Some Problems of User Acquisition? 

Despite the ability for user acquisition to attract new users, there are still issues that may arise when it comes to effectively acquiring customers. Some of these challenges are: 

  • Fraudulent Traffic – Regardless of the ad networks you use, there is no guarantee that the traffic you receive from their sources won’t be fraudulent. Using a less systematic ad campaign can increase these fraud rates to more than 50% within an ad network. 
  • Manually Optimising Ad Campaigns – As an app developer, you have to constantly keep track of the Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs. To maintain the levels of your ad campaigns, you will have to manually optimise them regularly, and this can take up a lot of time and cause you to make mistakes. 
  • Attracting Organic Traffic – New users will be attracted to your app from different sources, or channels, including those who have discovered your app without any ads, which can be a challenge to attract. 
  • Maintaining an International Market – Launching and sustaining your app in a global market can be challenging, since it is hard to attract the users who come from different regions and cultures. The diversity requires you to adjust your campaigns in each country accordingly. 

Now that we’ve cleared some of the obstacles that come along with developing a user acquisition strategy, let’s get down to the top 8 ways you can attract new users with an effective strategy! 

8 Effective Mobile App User Acquisition Strategies 

1. Finance Your Mobile User Acquisition Strategy  

One of the most important tools for acquiring new users for your app is your budget. You and your team may want to predict an amount of money that will be spent on advertising campaigns, user data as well as social media content production. 

This step comes first and foremost because you need to have existing users who have tried and tested your app in order to attract new users. The only way to get those primary users is by paying them to try it out, leave feedback and contribute to the data you need to collect. 

Spending money on ad conversions is a wise mobile app acquisition strategy. You will need to launch ad campaigns according to the amount of potential users it is estimated to reach, so using the correct tone and format is essential.

2. Give Your App a Voice 

Any efficient strategy will aim to include this voice in the app’s ad campaigns, reviews, and even throughout the app’s UX interface. 

What is so unique about your app? What will it give a potential user? The answers to these questions must be targeted in your app’s voice. 

This voice is what will distinguish your app from the hundreds of other apps being advertised and placed before potential users’ eyes. 

The best way to share your app’s voice is directly through it, by allowing users to hear it and the benefits it brings along by interacting with the UX interface for free.

3. Make the Most of Social Media 

Behind every successful app is a competitive social media presence. Given the domination of social media platforms in providing news and updates, your app’s social media platforms will play a huge factor in your user acquisition campaigns. 

Social media is the best user acquisition channel to invest the most in, because this is where your potential users will be spending most of their time and attention. 

More than that, social media allows your users to share your app with their friends or followers, increasing organic traffic. 

To balance your social media profiles, you can incorporate a service such as Hootsuite that will help you plan your social media content for each day. 

Social media is your best bet for showcasing the visual aspects of your app, and you’ll be able to engage with users in an easy way. If potential users see that you have received great feedback, and responded to it, they will be more inclined to go ahead with installing your app. 

Given that 91% of users buy a product or service or think of doing it in the future after seeing an ad on their smartphone, focusing your strategy on social media marketing is a very wise decision. 

4. Expand Your Geographical Reach 

Even after you’ve developed and released your app, you’re still halfway through reaching your potential audience. 

You will have to decide which market you want to attract users from, and this is done by optimizing your reach. Different apps can succeed in different markets, depending on where most of your potential users are located. 

For instance, you could plan for your app to be one of the top apps in the U.S. or U.K. market respectively. Alternatively, you could choose to have it reach more users in a growing market such as Brazil.

To see where your app would perform better, you need to analyze your users’ interests. If your app’s genre is relevant to an audience regardless of where they’re located, than targeting a larger area would help increase user engagement. 

Your customer acquisition strategy becomes much easier to tackle when you’ve decided on and optimised your target market.

5. Make Use of the Influencer’s Market

The growth of the influencer’s market, where an individual who’s popular on social media convinces their audience to opt in for a product or service, means that you cannot exclude it from your user acquisition campaigns

In fact, influencer marketing is estimated to be worth a dazzling $16.4 billion in 2022. 

This is a growth hack that is easy to ignore, because it involves promoting your app through a third party who isn’t necessarily associated with your brand. 

Selecting an influencer who is prominent in the particular genre of your app and agreeing with them to promote your product through a social media post can reach their followers. These are potential users that you wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. 

After you’ve determined your target audience, you can choose when to collaborate with an influencer in your ad campaign. 

There are 3 critical campaign tactics you can make use of: 

  1. A pre-launch campaign
  2. An app launch campaign 
  3. A post-launch campaign. 

A pre-launch campaign is when an influencer will attract pre-registrations for your app before its actual release and builds excitement around it, much like a trailer does for an upcoming film. 

After that, you can use an app launch campaign to make an influencer showcase the app to their followers for the first time. Finally, a post-launch campaign can be used to introduce more potential users to your app, and announce new app updates or features. 

6. Analyse Your Users’ ROI

Once you begin acquiring new users, measuring their metrics can show you the best way to continue reaching similar users. This is best done by tracking user retention rates, ARPU, ARPPU and conversion rates, which will show you areas in which you can fix your app to attract more users. 

Even if the retention rates aren’t what you were hoping for, you shouldn’t feel disappointed. You can use these figures to help you improve your strategy. 

The data you collect will also be beneficial in letting you know if you should invest more in users who don’t generate much profit but are attracted with little effort, or those who bring in more money but require a bit more effort to reach. 

Starting ad campaigns on a social media platform such as Instagram for each kind of user will allow you to calculate the retention rates of each type. This will help you decide which kind of user deserves the investments of time and money, and ultimately be the target of your acquisition strategy. 

7. Develop an Email Campaign 

Despite social media dominating the channels of targeting users, email remains as a top marketing tool for reaching potential users for your app. 

Email marketing is one of the most popular marketing tactics for app developers because you can also do it at no charge, using services such as MailChimp or Substack that allow you keep track of a list of emails to reach regularly. 

You can view your email marketing campaign as a way of updating your users about your app in real time, or share content that is tailored for them and their interests. 

The average open rate for emails sent out to users for the first time stands at 82%. This means that you can use this opportunity to include information about your app that you know will keep your users wanting to engage with your future emails and app. 

Email campaigns offer the benefit of users contacting you as well, giving you specific feedback that you can use to update your app accordingly. 

8. Make Use of Referral Marketing 

Referral marketing is one of the most efficient user acquisition strategies, because it is a source of organic traffic for your app. According to Nielsen, people are 4 times more likely to buy a membership or install your app when referred by a friend. The most common method of referral marketing is through word of mouth, where your active users mention your app to their friends or followers. 

To develop your referral marketing strategy, here are some points to bear in mind: 

  • Offer your referred users a valuable gift or message
  • Allow an effective way of sharing your app on social media and chatting apps 
  • Keep your users wanting more from each engagement 
  • Give rewards to loyal users 
  • Activate milestone sharing, such as offering exclusive content to referred members. 

Increasing Conversions With An Effective User Acquisition Strategy

The most important part of any app developer’s journey is reaching the audience for which the app was created. Sometimes it can be a challenge to determine the exact audience for your app, which requires a solid mobile app user acquisition strategy

Keeping up with the most popular marketing channels to reach potential users is vital. Knowing the right social media platforms and ad content to reach your target audience can take time to achieve, since you need to establish your target audience first. 

One of the most efficient ways to find target audience will be by measuring their metrics such as their retention rates, and determining their interests by experimenting with various ad campaigns until you find the one that results in the highest conversion rates. 

Once you discover your ideal audience, you can predict your app’s success and put all your effort on continuing those user acquisition campaigns. 

Need help with your acquisition strategy? Get in touch with us.