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10 Tips to Streamline User Acquisition for Your Mobile App

Here is an article by the AdQuantum team who share their expertise with the readers of SplitMetrics blog.
Note: the opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily coincide with the ones of SplitMetrics.

User acquisition is an essential advertising tool for every mobile marketer. Good UA provides apps with new paying users, fresh revenue streams, increased brand awareness, and wider influence.

But how can you benefit from a UA campaign to the fullest? What do you start with? How can you measure and optimise?

We, experts at the performance marketing agency AdQuantum, are answering these and many more questions, and sharing our top 10 tips on how to make the most out of mobile UA campaigns.

1. Define your target audience 

This is the first and probably most essential part of the entire UA campaign. If you did not define your target audience or did so wrong, the next steps would simply be ineffective. Why? To attract the right kind of paying users, you need to understand who the people using your mobile app really are.

Imagine, you are working on attracting new users to the mobile game, Doorman Story: Hotel Tycoon. This is a time management simulator where the player needs to grow their hotel from a tiny guest house to a glorious 5 star hotel. The vast majority of its players are females aged 24-45. The UA manager who is in charge of this mobile game doesn’t know that. And acquires an audience consisting of men above 35. Of course, this campaign would not perform as well as it could have. That’s why knowing your target audience is so important. 

2. Find a proper user acquisition channel

Now you know your target audience. The next step is to find the right UA channel where your audience dwells. Ask yourself, where can you find your target audience? Is that TikTok? Or Snapchat? Or do they mostly spend time in other apps, meaning it would be best to use ad networks to run ads in other games? How to find your traffic source? For example, you can try testing with a small budget on different channels and select the one that gives you the highest Return on Investment (ROI).

3. Choose the right ad format

It is crucial to understand the features of different ad platforms to take full advantage of your ad creatives. For instance, in most cases, you won’t get high metrics if you launch playable ads on TikTok. For playable it’s best to use in-app advertising. While for traffic sources, such as TikTok or Snapchat, the top performing ad format is native live-action creatives containing real people.

4. Establish a creative production process

Every ad creative ends with burnout. The creative burns out when every relevant audience has already seen it and thus, cannot be acquired with it anymore.

What happens when you have all your creatives burnt out and no new ones left? Well, most likely you either stop your UA campaign until new creatives are developed or continue the campaign without getting the desired result.

However, if you have a smooth cycle of ad creative production in your company, you will never face this kind of problem. You can set specific KPIs for the team. For example, your team has to design 50 creatives for a project each week.

5. Conduct creative tests

Marketing teams often neglect creative tests. They believe it’s just a waste of time and marketing budget. It is a lot easier and faster to immediately start running ads in non-testing mode. But to be honest, we don’t recommend ignoring creative tests. They will save you a lot of resources in the long run — and here’s why.

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Creative testing allows:

1. to eliminate 80% of your ineffective creatives, saving human and financial resources; 

2. to define the best creatives among all the successful ones, and to make the most of them; 

3. to find the combinations bringing profit;  

4. to make out what kind of audience you are dealing with: what they are interested in and what topics they could be hooked on to;

5. avoid a situation where the creative has “burnt out” and there is nothing to replace it with. The more creatives you have in stock, the better the volume of ads that are being run and the less chance that you’ll have to pause your UA campaign.

6. Implement predictive analytics

Predictive analytics plays a significant role for every company working with user acquisition. It does not matter who you are — a mobile marketer, an app publisher, or a developer — you are driven by the desire to make money from the project without spending unnecessary extra funds.

Let’s say you have created a mobile app that is monetised by paid subscriptions. Each new user gets access to a 7-day trial version.

You launch a Facebook ad campaign: traffic flows and money is spent, but you will only start receiving real data on purchases after 7 days when the trial period ends for the first users. At the same time, you will spend the whole week running Facebook ads, which, in the end, may not even pay off. The budget will be spent inefficiently.
This is where predictive analytics comes in. It allows you to understand how effective the UA campaign is, which users you are dealing with and how you can improve your marketing strategy. Crucial decisions become much easier to make.

7. Set the right KPIs for your campaign

This is especially important in regards to ROI. It shows the correlation between the amount of money you spent on a product’s marketing and the amount of revenue you obtained from it.

It may seem tricky — but still, you should set a proper ROI goal for your UA campaigns for two reasons.

If you set an overly high goal for ROI, the problem would be that you cannot reach it.
And, on the other hand, if the KPI ROI is too low, then the goal will be achieved too fast and you will go under the available capacity.

Take note that the first week or two aren’t the time frame you should focus on, and sometimes you need long-term results for long-term success.

8. Don’t forget to use an attribution model

An attribution model is a method that helps to discover which marketing channel a specific conversion came from. Needless to say, for every mobile marketer this understanding is essential. Otherwise, how do they find out how many users and conversions took place as a result of their work?

There are multiple attribution models that you can exploit. For instance, the first-touch attribution model, the last-touch attribution model, the last non-direct attribution model, the multi-touch attribution model, the custom attribution model. If you pick the right one for your campaign, you will get the best advantage.

A properly selected attribution model allows to:

Test hypotheses — should this fitness app advertise more in the mornings? With attribution, you can find out more precisely.
Discover the user’s path — who are your most engaged users? What does their journey look like? Attribution gives you the data to look at their path and find a way to offer it to new potential customers.
Define the highest performing UA campaigns – find the most effective ad creatives and produce more of their variations.
Measure – with the attribution tools you can measure the average revenue for paying users, RR and LTV for different cohorts of users, or the users who convert from trial to paid subscription.
Optimise campaigns – attribution tools will help you to get rid of inefficient ads and correct the good ones.
Take advantage of smart retargeting – you can target users who tried out your app but didn’t stay there for a long time.

All this and even more becomes possible thanks to attribution.

Our recommendations on the best mobile app attribution tools:

– Adjust
– AppsFlyer
– Branch
– Kochava

9. Adapt to the new post-IDFA reality

Learn information about how SkadNetwork works, spend some time diving into what the ATT means. What is IDFA all about? After you obtain enough information, start looking for ways to adjust your marketing performance to this framework to benefit. The better informed you are, the better ability you’re going to have to ascertain what to do.

Try to also pilot SKAdNetwork campaigns.

​​Think about using your first-party data to understand your audience. Knowing this, you can find similar audiences and get new engaged paying users.

Find out more about the IDFA deprecation and how to adapt to the new reality.

10. Assemble a powerful team

All the above would work a lot better when you have a powerful team of both experienced and aspiring specialists. These are those who will be achieving great results, pushing forward mobile apps, and helping products grow.

And this not only relates to UA managers who acquire traffic for apps. This also has a lot to do with managers who can look into the processes and correct them, with analysts dealing with predictions and data assessment, with the creative team constantly coming up with new ideas for ads… and many, many more.

A good team is a key to success.

We at AdQuantum have all the above running like clockwork. If you need a new approach to UA we would be happy to cooperate. Let’s talk.