mobile App marketing

Top 8 Channels to Target for Mobile App Acquisitions [2020]

As per the recent data, the average app user acquisition cost in the Asia Pacific and North America region is 85.95 and 122.22 U.S. dollars respectively.

Top 8 Channels to Target for Mobile App Acquisitions

Any business becomes successful only when it has a strong and large customer base. The amount of customers depends on the type of your business and whether or not it fulfills their needs. In today’s time, when smartphones are the need of every individual, having your application on those phones will prove to be a great way of building a good customer base.

But is it that simple? To do so, you’ll need to let the crowd know about your app. Even if you create a good mobile application, it won’t draw you any customers if people don’t know about it, and this is where mobile app user acquisition comes into play.

But again the real question is, what does it mean?

What is User Acquisition?

User Acquisition is a process to generate new users and customers for a mobile app business, using various marketing-driven activities. These activities target specific areas or acquisition channels to generate a large number of potential users and customers. Not only does user acquisition help in gaining new app users, but it significantly helps developers and enterprises in understanding the user retention strategies of their app, i.e., retaining old users for the second session and lowering the uninstall rate.

Top 8 Channels for Mobile App Acquisitions

Let’s have a look at the top 8 channels for app user acquisition.

1. Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is one of the most efficient acquisition channels and user acquisition strategies that can potentially draw in a lot of eyes to your app and eventually increase its users. The idea behind this channel is to pay social media platforms to display your app’s advertisements to its users.

You can select the target group of audiences to set visibility of your ads which puts your app in front of a massive audience. There is also an option to add actions to the ad where they can be directed to a landing page of your app with an option to download it.

Example of Paid Advertising-

One of the most fascinating customer acquisition strategy examples of paid advertising is the Hopper app, a flight-tracking and travel booking app that made use of Instagram stories to reach as many as 7.5 million people across the US and Canada. The app targeted young travelers who plan their trips early and always look for the best prices which resulted in a 67% higher rate of app installs, a 50% rise in new users’ flight searches, and an 80% increase in the booking rate of the app by new users. Just goes to why social handles like Instagram which are part of mobile marketing so important for an app promotion today.

2. Influencer Marketing

With the increase in popularity of social media, there has been a great rise in the number of influencers who also run paid user acquisition campaigns. Getting an influencer to promote your app is a great way to start attracting an audience. The bigger the influencer’s follower base, the larger your app’s audience.

Most influencers have followers across different social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube who could draw a diverse set of audiences to your app. Recommendations from influencers are one of the major reasons for people coming across to a product/application and potentially making use of it. 

In fact, nearly 89% of marketers today believe that influencer user acquisition marketing generates more ROI than any other marketing platform. Here’s a little insight into that.

mobile app user acquisition

Example of Influencer Marketing-

Starting in the year 2012, Headspace, a widely popular meditation app is a perfect example of influencer marketing. The app’s user acquisition strategy was to target a wider mainstream audience. For this purpose, it partnered with a number of fitness communities like running expert Knox Robinson and Paul Karmiryan. It worked our wonders as the app was able to reach a wider audience in no time. In fact, it even recently partnered with NBA where the players useds their social handles to tell the world how they themselves incorporated the app in their fitness routines.

3. App Store Optimization

This channel works just like Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as we call it. You use keywords to optimize your app name, title, app icon, screenshots, rating of your app. ASO also focuses on the click-through rate (CTR), which means analyzing the number of actual clicks on your application after it appeared in the search. This is one of the best channels for mobile app acquisitions, and here’s what you need to know about it. 

  • If the question is how to get users for your app, then a well-optimized app can get high visibility on the app stores. Higher visibility then generates a high number of clicks and downloads. 
  • Optimizing the app can also allow it to display as a recommendation when a user opens up the app store or is on the page of a similar app as yours on the app store. This helps the app to get recognized and the user might end up trying it.

Besides, here’s an example of how the ASO worked for the well-renowned Dark Sky Weather app.

Example of App Store Optimization-

Earlier known by the name Dark Sky Weather, the app changed its title to “Dark Sky – Weather Radar, Hyperlocal Forecasts, and Storm Alerts” which resulted in a massive change and the app’s ranking skyrocketed on the app stores.

4. Email Marketing

Email, with the advancements in technology and the internet, has become easily accessible to everyone. Today, you can catch up on your emails with just a touch, and this is a great way to let people discover your app. You can utilize mails to send holiday wishes, birthday wishes, customized offers alongside so many other ways to introduce the users to your app and its features.

This requires a little trial and error initially but can prove to be a good way to generate traffic for your app via direct communications. Users can directly reply to the emails in a more personal way. Not only is it a good user acquisition strategy, but it is also a fair pick to collect feedback.

Example of Email Marketing-

Uber, one of the well-famed and widely used apps in the world today is a perfect example of email marketing. Simplicity and ease of use is the name of the game when it comes to Uber. The same is reflected by its email marketing strategy. Uber keeps its marketing emails as simple as possible with an option of a single tap. This has gained immense popularity over the years as people find it more appealing as compared to other emails, eventually resulting in a wider number of installs.    

5. Referrals and Invites

Referrals and Invites are a great way to build a strong user base and work a little faster than the other channels. Everyone likes to be rewarded. Likewise, rewarding your customers for referring your app to other users, and inviting others to an incentive program can be one of the most exciting customer acquisition techniques and a great way to increase the reach of your app in no time.

Offering free products, services, discounts, and cashback offers can tremendously increase the users for your app. Moreover, allowing them to share their achievements with other users can prove to be good for customer retention and also attract new users.

Example of Referrals and Invites-

One such hallmark example of referrals is Airbnb. The company conducted thorough research and found out that nearly 25-50% of new users could be achieved through referrals. It then carried out a project in which customized emails were sent to people who seemed the closest to try the service. What happened after was staggering. The overall new booking rate of the app increased by at least 25%.  

6. Digital Video Marketing

Videos can have a great impact on app user acquisition. A 30 seconds video about your app can be displayed anywhere on the internet. With YouTube videos targeting a majority of the crowds, your apps video ads being displayed can generate an immense audience for you. Not only YouTube, but multiple social media apps and streaming platforms allow video ads, which target a diverse set of audiences. In fact, social media is one platform that features in just about every app marketing guide accessible today.

Your video ads can also be rewarded by letting a user watch the entire ad in exchange for extra points on a gaming app. This way, users will get an overview of the app and its feature, which can potentially turn out to be a promising user acquisition model.

Example of Digital Video Marketing-

One such example of digital video marketing is the promotional campaign by Netflix. During the pre-release promotion of The Stranger Things season 3, the streaming giant came up with a creative and ground-breaking idea of digital video marketing when it released an ad teasing the return to Hawkins. The video received nearly 2 million views and dramatically boosted the popularity of its series.

7. Demos and Free Trials

If you have created a paid app or a subscription-based app, the best way to draw in users is to let them use your app for free for a limited period. Allow them to see the full potential of your app by offering them a higher level subscription for a certain period, and then give them a marginal discount on buying that subscription once the trial period ends. This is a very efficient way of mobile acquisition and has worked out well for many notable apps.

Example of Demos and Free Trials-

Created by app developer Stuart Hall in a matter of hours, the  7 Minute Workout app was initially launched as a paid version. However, on conducting a detailed research on the marketing techniques, Stuart decided to experiment the same app by offering it for free. What resulted then is still an encouraging example for many. The app received a whopping 216,718 downloads in a matter of 3 days which is an average 72,000 per day.

8. Traditional Marketing

Traditional marketing is not a thing of the past yet, and it won’t be anytime soon. TV, radio, and newspapers are still referred to widely across the globe. A TV spot or a print ad in the newspaper can potentially generate a 50% to 70% increase in the installs for your app. You can also combine this with Influencer Marketing or Digital Video Marketing channels to yield even better results.

Most preferred channel by the majority of businesses because it generates a higher rate of conversion for the application. Traditional marketing allows you the flexibility of combining it with other acquisition channels to boost up the user generation. 

Example of Traditional Marketing-

One such example is the Clash of Clans commercial of the 2015 Superbowl on YouTube that received more than 30 million views.  The app invested nearly $9 million on the commercial and it paid off in no time as the app climb from the #39 to #24 on the most-downloaded App Store charts.

Summing Up

Promoting your app is the best way to put it in front of the masses and allowing them a chance to get their hands on it. Mobile user acquisition may seem to be a tough task, but with tons of channels available to target, it can in fact be easy if done in the right manner. You get the privilege to use multiple acquisition channels and even combine some of them to boost up your visibility in the market and generate a great user base. In fact, app creators can find multiple ways of improving user engagement of the app once they've gained new users.

So if you like this article, let us know your thoughts on the above mentioned mobile user acquisition channels or head over and share your views about how do you market an app in the comments section down below.

General FAQ

  • How do I get users for my app?
  • What is paid user acquisition?
Arpit <span> Business Development Head </span>
Written By
Arpit Business Development Head

He is responsible for marketing programs, brand management, and corporate sponsorships. He thrives on challenges, particularly those that expand the company’s reach. Next to work, Shadow, his dog, immensely contributes to his happiness.

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