While creating a mobile application, one of the biggest goals of a developing team is to get as many users as possible. But it is very important how you achieve those users. Today we all know that people love spending their times on mobile apps that provide value to them. According to the 2016 Mobile App Report of ComScore, people spend more than 3 hours per month on the Top 1000 apps and this is 20X greater than what mobile web visitors spend on their Top 1000 properties. However it is really challenging to build a large audience on apps. The same report shows that nearly half of smartphone users don’t download any apps in a month, and the average user downloads 2. In order to be 1 of these 2 downloads, you need to give a huge and smart effort! You have to build a smart user acquisition strategy for apps to gain success on long term and you need to start developing this strategy before launching your app. A successful app user acquisition strategy not so far if you follow these steps.
Start With Segmentation
Every marketing strategy starts with a smart segmentation. Targeting a specific audience will bring more results than developing a strategy for a wide area of users but with no interest in those features provided by your app.
However, it is mostly hard to execute this segmentation for indie developers, app owners, or mobile marketers. Here are some tips for you to segment your users.
- Start with your current users and their reviews in order to attract new users.
- Determine the important attributes like gender and country. You can enlarge these attributes and collect them via in-app messaging.
- There is not an ideal number for a quantity of your segments but build at least 3 different segments and create different goals for each of them. Don’t exaggerate your number of segments to avoid confusion.
- Test your every segment over time and change the attributes or the segment itself if needed.
Improve Your App For Engagement
Creating a mobile app user acquisition strategy doesn’t replace the value of your app. You have to develop an amazing app if you want to achieve the number of downloads that you dream to have. Many useful tools that can help you to increase the engagement where discussed in more detailed terms in previous articles like Mobile Deep Linking and Push Notifications vs In – App Messaging: Differences and Best Practices.
Make sure you take benefit from social sharing buttons and make easier for your users to share their results and their opinions with friends and family from inside your app. This is one of the best ways to increase word of mouth and your downloads accordingly.
Attract people to use your app with deep linking for promotions or valuable content. As we highlighted earlier, the most frustrating situation is when an app announces a giveaway and, for that, you just have to install that app or, if you already have the app, you just have to click a button to open the app. But, instead of a layout with the promised gift the user is sent to the homepage of the app with no clue for the prize. The answer for this issue is that the app must have deep linking and, after the click, it should open a page with instructions for user’s benefit. This is an essential feature for a long-term relationship between brands and customers.
In – App Messaging and Personalized Push Notifications provide awareness for your users convincing them to use your app and even share it with other friends that can benefit from it. With iOS 10, you can create amazing rich notifications including an image, a GIF, a video or an audio. Learn the best practices of both push notifications and in-app messaging and start engaging with your users to increase your downloads.
Use Organic Channels
A good idea is to try all the organic channels available. You don’t need a high budget and they are very effective in both engaging your potential users & offer them insights of your app and acquiring new qualified users. Here are these organic channels you can use to attract new users to your app.
1- ASO (App Store Optimization)
It is important to search for keywords when you launch your app on App Store. Put them in the app title and app description, but don’t do keywords stuffing. By the way, in Apple App Store you are allowed to use only 50 characters for your title. Try to communicate your users the benefits and the features of your app.
Another method to offer your user an amazing app is to localize it. Be aware of the fact that not everybody speaks your language and give them the opportunity to use your app in the best possible way. If those users enjoy your app they will spread the word into their country. So, you will gain popularity and, of course, new users. Useful information about localization is listed in our article: How To Increase Downloads With App Localization.
2- Building a Website for Users
If you want to attract users to download your app you can create a simple, responsive, of course, website. Don’t worry if you are not a web designer. Using a free Content Management System, like WordPress or Joomla is all you need to create an amazing site where you can upload a lot of screenshots of your app, and even better, an impressive video to explain your users how to use your app and to increase the onboarding flow. Don’t forget to include a link for the app in the App Store to make it easier for potential users to download your app. Similarly, add you website link to your app store pages in order to direct your users to your website. It has a couple of advantages to have a website for your mobile app. One is about your brand perception. If you have a website, it will increase your trustworthiness. It will also help you to increase your visibility across digital channels.
3- Social Media
Use social media channels to increase the interest in your application. Try to connect with influencers in your domain and learn from them what are the best methods to engage your users. First, you need to find the best social media platforms for your app. You can do this by analyzing your users’ behavior on social media. Than post regularly on those platforms. Be careful that people don’t like the pages that only talks about themselves. Think about your users need and use their language to attract them. Not only post on the platforms but also engage with your audience via comments, likes, and clear communication.
Another thing you can do to be active on social media is joining the related groups. Especially on Facebook, users love to join the groups about their hobbies. Find these highly engaged groups and talk to your audience there.
Use highly-used hashtags on Twitter, Google+, and Instagram. It’ll help you to reach your audience. You can use tools like Hashtagify in order to find the best hashtags that are related to your app.
4- Content Marketing
Nowadays it is not that hard to promote a product if you stay in touch with people from your area of work. Give them details about your app and convince them that you have a valuable piece to share with them. Content marketing is what you need to reach them.
There are a great number of social platforms where you can share information about your app but you will be rejected if you just show – up and start talking about your app. Those are important channels to communicate with your potential users. Sign in and participate on these sites when you start developing your app, not when you need new users. Engage the people who comment on these platforms and convince them that it’s worth downloading your app. After that, check their opinions related to your app. It is a good way to improve your app without having bad reviews or bug reports.
After creating your amazing piece of content, find the best places to share it. You can use social content platforms like Buzzfeed, Quora, Product Hunt, and StumbleUpon.
It is very handy to keep a blog and develop a great community in your domain. It helps you with mobile app user acquisition too, because your readers can spread the word about your amazing app. As well, you can receive feedback about it and you can use this channel to improve your app.
5- Increase Reviews & Ratings for User Acquisition Strategy
Ratings are influential factors to persuade people to download your app. Take into consideration to include a feedback loop into the app to find out your users’ opinion regarding its features before they leave a review onto the app market. It is critical to have a bad review because we have to admit that we all pay attention to what others have to say.
In order to increase ratings and reviews, you can do a lot of creative things as follow:
- Use push notifications and in-app messages to ask for rating and review.
- Submit your app to the reviews platforms both test it and learn what people think about your app.
- Reward people to rate your app in social media.
- Offer something valuable from inside your app in return of giving feedback.
Use Paid Channels
With a budget for marketing, you have many opportunities to gain the confidence of your potential users. Here are the most effective paid ways to acquire new users.
1- Boost Campaigns
Boost campaign is an amazing solution for increasing the visibility of your app on the market, in order to gain organic users after the campaign. Because the chances to be found in app stores is decreasing, it is very hard to increase the downloads with only organic ways. Boost campaigns aim to increase the category ranking in order to increase the visibility of your app and increase the organic downloads accordingly. If your app is good enough for your potential users, you have a big chance to be stick in the rank you reached after the burst campaign.
If you want to learn more about boost campaigns, here is an article for you.
2- Social Media Ads
This is one of the most effective ways to attract users because social media is part of our lives now. We don’t even eat if we don’t check our accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and this is the main argument to consider it for your campaign. While Twitter has a limit of 140 characters which make your message to be short and concise without forgetting a link of the app in app store, Instagram provides us a different solution to promote the app through images. More about social media ads you can read in a previous article.
Here is how retargeting works: A person visits your website and leaves it without downloading your app. Thanks to a cookie in the visitors browser, your retargeting ad is viewed in order to persuade the person to download your app. Even if it is very easy to launch a retargeting ad, you need to be careful to get the best results for your app. Here are some best practices for mobile retargeting:
- Deep linking increases the chance of downloading. Make it easy to download your app with deep linking.
- Pick compelling visuals and convincing texts.
- Don’t forget to exclude the users who already downloaded your app.
- Frequency is important. Work on it and don’t over do.
- Do A/B testing to find the best options.
4- Ad Networks
Mobile ad network provides a platform for marketers to generate mobile app user acquisition campaigns. We are talking about 5 main categories of ads: CPM (Cost Per Mile), CPC (Cost Per Click), CPI (Cost Per Install), CPA (Cost Per Action) and CPV (Cost Per View). There are also different ad formats like banner ads, video ads, and interstitial ads. You can segment the users to increase the chance of downloads and get the best results.
Track Important Metrics
When you test these strategies and methods to drive users into your app it is necessary to follow the results. Measure the most important metrics in this process and act according to the results. A detailed article about this is The Fundamental Metrics To Measure Your Mobile App Performance.
As we said before, it is imperative to acquire users but it is equally essential to observe what makes them coming back to your app after the first installation. A successful app persuades the user to use it over and over again and attract his friends in using it. Check the article where we talk about how to use mobile analytics to increase your app downloads.
User’s lifetime value is the most important metric that you have to track in this process. Although a user doesn’t spend into your app, he can bring other users that will spend money using your app. Those users are highly valuable because they will increase the number of downloads which is the reason of your strategy. In a previous article we gave you 5 tactics for maximizing lifetime value of an app user.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) represents the actual money that you pay to acquire a user versus his lifetime value. The key solution is to acquire users with the highest lifetime value and with the lowest customer acquisition cost.
Analyze the Results & Improve Your Strategy According to Your App Category
After you experiment all these technics and see what is working for your app and what is not, you can go with the best strategy for increasing the number of users that download your app. You can follow your competitors to observe what they are doing to make the difference.
It is crucial for a development team or a mobile marketer to attract users from all directions, but you need to do that in a clever way. You can’t just throw your money (even if you have it) and hope for the best because it is not working that way. This is an on – going process to improve both your app and your approach regarding your users, to target the right audience and to drive smart campaigns.