User Acquisition Scaling And New Approaches That Fire

In this article we go through such techniques as personalization, ASO, social media marketing, influencer marketing, referral program, machine learning in UA and so much more.

User Acquisition Scaling And New Approaches That Fire
User Acquisition Scaling And New Approaches That Fire

User acquisition is essential for keeping an app visible. If you want to generate more users, you should look into our new article.

Today, we’ll go through such techniques as personalization, ASO, social media marketing, social proof, referral program, and so much more. We’ll also elaborate on the details and best practices, so you have a starting point.

User Acquisition: Definition and Importance

User acquisition (UA) is the process of attracting new customers to your website, app, or service. When it comes to the mobile market, UA is a must for keeping high app performance. Gaining a competitive edge is grounded in mobile app advertising, as the market is somewhat saturated.

Solitaire Grand Harvest, Royal Match, Candy Crush Saga, Monopoly Go!, Match 3D, Slotomania — overall, there are 3,8+ million apps for iOS and Android.

Via: Apptica Store Intelligence

To increase your app installs, you need two things: invest in app promotion, so that your app doesn’t get lost in the flow and…

Team up with Apptica, an ad intelligence and app analytics tool. Monitor your competitors’ activity, get the latest marketing news, and access millions of converting creatives — all in a single place!

Strategies for User Acquisition

Without an app advertisement, no one might notice the product. But what exactly should a fellow marketer do to improve one’s app performance?


Pick an audience segment and focus on catering to their needs. While it might seem counter-intuitive, as broad targeting helps to acquire more users, the churn (bounce) rate will quickly follow. It’s like printing money and getting inflation afterward.

Pleasing one segment in full will launch the word-of-mouth effect, when the reputation precedes the app. This helps to improve the shares of organic and direct traffic, marked by their cost-efficiency and lead quality.

Start with defining the basics: location, age, subscription age, and possible concerns. Use the Country Comparison Tool to get the notion of the GEO you’re getting into. Knowing your customer persona helps not only to attract people better, but to respond to their queries faster, conquer their objections, and retain users better.

App Store Optimization

A tried and true classic of mobile app advertising, App Store Optimization (ASO) helps your app to pop up on top of the search, whenever a user browses for something new. About 70% of store visitors use the search function to find new apps. Here are eight more facts about ASO and its importance:

  1. Remember that App Store alone contains almost 2 million apps, against which you are competing.
  2. Optimized apps see a 30% increase in downloads on average.
  3. Less than 2% of app developers employ professional ASO, indicating a significant opportunity for improvement.
  4. Regular updates can boost ASO by up to 20%.
  5. 56% of app store searches are brands, highlighting the importance of named optimization.
  6. Businesses prioritizing ASO are 60% more likely to achieve their goals.
  7. Only about 5% of app marketers always use ASO best practices.
  8. Well-optimized apps can rank up to 65% higher in App Store search results.

Continuing the idea of personalization, start by localizing your landing page. On average, localizing product pages can increase a conversion rate (CR) by up to 26%.

Your app title is the first point of contact with the users. Quite often, it’s the only chance to hook the user. Thus, it has to be captivating but succinct. Aim at 25–30 title characters as the optimal length.

Finally, apps with video previews get 16% more conversions. They are rivaled only by the playable ads, which are harder to make.

Check our Apptica Talks episode about A/B tests in ASO with Emilio Mellado, ASO expert at Geeklab and learn how to validate your ideas, find a winning variant, elevate your Custom Product Pages, and best practices for mapping out a series of A/B tests.

Social Media Marketing

Social media is where people hang out the most. They are relaxed, enjoying leisure time and searching for new content. That’s a good opportunity for your app promotion, but you need to know your target audience portrait first, as every platform is favored by a specific group of people.

  • Facebook:
    • Largest age group: 25–34 (29.9%)
    • Monthly active users: 3.065 billion
    • Gender distribution: 43.7% female, 56.3% male
  • Instagram:
    • Largest age group: 18–24 (30.8%)
    • Monthly active users: 2 billion
    • Gender distribution: 48.2% female, 51.8% male
  • TikTok:
    • Largest age group: 18–24 (36.2%)
    • Monthly active users: 1.7 billion
    • Gender distribution: 49.2% female, 50.8% male
  • X:
    • Largest age group: 25–34 (38.5%)
    • Monthly active users: 368 million
    • Gender distribution: 37% female, 63% male
  • YouTube:
    • Largest age group: 25–34 (21.2%)
    • Monthly active users: 2.491 billion
    • Gender distribution: 45.6% female, 54.4% male
  • LinkedIn:
    • Largest age group: 25–34 (60%)
    • Number of members: 1 billion
    • Gender distribution: 43.7% female, 56.3% male
  • Pinterest:
    • Largest age group: 25–34 (30.9%)
    • Monthly active users: 498 million
    • Gender distribution: 76.2% female, 17.2% male, 6.6% unspecified
  • Snapchat:
    • Largest age group: 18–24 (38.6%)
    • Daily active users: 414 million
    • Gender distribution: 51% female, 48% male

Consequently, if you target women, then Pinterest is your go-to platform. And in case your audience is made up of millennials, consider targeting Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Ensure your content is easily shareable. It will spur your social media marketing efforts through a viral loop, when the users spread the good word about your app.

Learn more about the power of performance-driven organic growth on social media for user acquisition in an insightful article brought by our partner Addict Mobile.

Customer Reviews

When making a purchase, 88% of consumers treat reviews as a personal recommendation. Asking your most loyal users for reviews is a critical aspect of app development and marketing. Positive ratings and reviews not only boost user confidence but also significantly impact the app's visibility and ranking in app stores. However, soliciting reviews can be a delicate process, as not every user is inclined to leave feedback.

Moreover, about 85% of users believe that 3-month-long reviews are outdated. While not necessarily true for some expensive and stable products like cars, PCs, or watches, mobile apps do get a lot of updates, especially if the business follows the idea of liveops. That’s why it’s important to get the most recent feedback.

An effective method is to strategically prompt users to rate the app at opportune moments without interrupting their experience. This can be achieved through subtle yet noticeable methods, such as embedding review requests within the app interface rather than employing intrusive pop-up windows. By seamlessly integrating the request into the user journey, developers can encourage feedback without disrupting user engagement.

Moreover, the content of the review request is equally crucial. Instead of directly asking for a review, it's beneficial to first gauge the user's satisfaction with the app, like Apple with NPS gauge. This involves prompting users to express whether they like the app or not. If positive, users can be encouraged to rate the app, while negative feedback provides an opportunity to address issues and improve the user experience (UX).

Learn more about Mastering Reviews Management in our podcast episode with Anatoly Sharifulin, CEO at AppFollow.

Mastering Reviews Management with Anatoly Sharifulin, CEO at AppFollow

Referral Program

Referral programs are a powerful strategy for user acquisition, used by leading platforms like Amazon, Shopify, and PayPal. These programs incentivize existing customers to recommend a company's products or services to friends and family in exchange for rewards such as discounts, gift cards, or monetary incentives. This approach leverages the trust inherent in personal recommendations, making it a highly effective way to attract new customers.

Below are the key features of referrals.

  1. High trust revel: Referrals come with a high level of trust, as they are based on personal recommendations from satisfied customers.
  2. Various forms: Referral marketing can include user-generated content, social proof, and direct recommendations.
  3. Incentives: Companies offer rewards to customers who successfully refer others, which can include discounts, points, or monetary compensation.
  4. Automation: Referral programs can be managed with software that tracks referrals through codes or links, automating the reward process.
  5. Cost-efficiency: This strategy can reduce customer acquisition costs, as businesses only pay for successful referrals.

Referral programs not only help in acquiring new users but also enhance customer retention and overall brand loyalty.

Influencer Marketing

Unlike traditional celebrity endorsements, influencers engage deeply with their audiences, influencing purchasing decisions through their perceived authority and trustworthiness.

The industry has seen rapid growth, from $16.4 billion in 2022 to an expected $84.89 billion by 2028. Brands typically see a return of $5.20 for every $1 spent, with top performers earning up to $20 per dollar. 90% of marketers find influencer marketing effective, with Instagram being the most popular platform (67% usage).

Payment varies

  • Nano-influencers (1,000–10,000 followers) earn $10-$100 per post
  • Micro-influencers (10,000–50,000) $100-$500
  • Mid-tier (50,000–500,000) $500-$5,000
  • Macro-influencers (500,000–1,000,000) $5,000-$10,000
  • Mega-influencers (1,000,000+) $10,000+ per post

You should focus on building long-term relationship instead of a quick-sale and a one-time collaboration.

Effective campaigns involve clear goals, realistic budgets, understanding the target audience, researching suitable influencers, and collaborating on content. While influencer marketing offers significant reach, trust-building, and cost-effectiveness, challenges include finding the right influencers, brand reputation risks, and measuring results.

Playable Ads

Playable ads let users try a mini version of a game or app, typically lasting 15 seconds to one minute. They include a tutorial prompt, an engaging gameplay snippet, and an end card with a call to action (CTA). Tools like Playable Factory should help make some playables.

There are two main types:

  • HTML playable ads, which use game assets and HTML code to replicate gameplay
  • Interactive videos, which combine video footage with HTML elements. HTML ads are generally more engaging.

Playable ads achieve conversion rates up to 700% higher than other formats and improve user retention by providing a clear app experience before download. They also offer advanced real-time analytics for optimizing campaigns.

Playable ads should be on-brand, intuitive, tailored to the audience, and kept under one minute. Mobile analytics should be used for continuous improvement through A/B testing and optimization.

Playables generate between $11 and $25 per 1,000 impressions. They drive high-quality leads and reduce the cost per lead, with some campaigns seeing a 30% increase in leads and a 66% decrease in cost per lead.

Check our recent article on playable ads

How To Triumph With Playables: stats, numbers and tips
Learn about the best practices for playables ads, how to build them, current statistics with rankings.

Gated Content

Gated content requires users to provide contact information to access it, making it a key strategy for generating leads and nurturing prospects. Common gated content includes white papers, ebooks, webinars, and templates. In contrast, ungated content like blog posts and infographics is freely accessible and aims to boost SEO, increase traffic, and build brand awareness.

The primary benefit of gated content is lead generation, though it limits reach and visibility. Ungated content drives more traffic and enhances visibility but is less effective for direct lead capture. Choose between gated and ungated content based on your goals: lead generation or brand visibility, and the type of content.

Let’s go through the best practices for gated content.

  1. Tailor content to the buyer’s journey: Create content for the awareness, consideration, and decision stages. For example, use ebooks for awareness and webinars for decision stages.
  2. Competitive analysis: Research competitors to determine which content to gate.
  3. Provide value: Ensure gated content offers significant, actionable value to encourage information exchange.
  4. Build a strong landing page: Use clear headlines, persuasive copy, and user-friendly forms.
  5. Segment your audience: After collecting user information, segment your email lists for targeted follow-up campaigns.
  6. Measure analytics: Track conversions and analyze data to refine your content strategy.

In summary, use gated content to generate leads and ungated content to increase visibility and traffic. Balancing both in your strategy ensures effective lead capture and brand growth.

Miscellaneous Tips

  • First impressions are crucial; 50% of users decide to download an app based on their initial impression in the app store. Therefore, it’s vital to clearly display what the app offers.
  • Understanding your users is essential. Knowing your target audience helps in attracting quality installs and reducing churn rates. Create user personas to better understand and target your audience.
  • Social media is a powerful tool, with over 90% of potential users on various platforms. Use social media to showcase your app's features and communicate with potential users.
  • Enhance the onboarding experience by using screenshots and preview videos to show new users how to use the app, speeding up the onboarding process.
  • Referral marketing is important, as 92% of users trust recommendations from friends and family. Encourage users to refer your app to others.
  • Offer a free version or a free trial of your app to allow users to experience its premium features. This increases the likelihood of them spending money on the app later.
  • Use video or playable ads to effectively convey what your app or game is about, as videos are more engaging.
  • Lastly, leverage influencers to spread the word about your app to a larger audience.

Machine Learning for User Acquisition Optimisation 

Now, the success of UA advertising campaigns largely depends on the right mix of creative content and algorithm efficiency. For marketers, mastering this mix is key to engaging customers effectively and standing out in a competitive market.

Understanding the "Black Box" of Publisher Algorithms

Based on the expertise of our partners from Gamelight, the algorithms utilized by publishers often act as a "black box," processing inputs without transparent feedback on how decisions are made. The key to success with these algorithms is to provide highly relevant events, which enhances the likelihood of acquiring high-quality users. While advanced algorithms can show continuous improvements with accurate postbacks, less sophisticated systems may need weeks to adjust, to assimilate new data points, which prolongs the learning phase necessary for campaign optimization.

Author image

The interaction users have with ads is the most important moment in user acquisition. Increased engagement with ads typically leads to more impressions, driven by algorithms designed to maximize effective Cost Per Mille (eCPMs). Therefore, enhancing creatives is not just about aesthetics or message clarity but about boosting user interaction to gain favor with algorithms. When creatives are well-received, they can quickly affect campaign metrics, evidenced by improvements in Click-Through Rates (CTRs), Click-to-Interaction (CTI) rates, and other related metrics.

Dmytro Vorobiov, User Acquisition Manager - Gamelight


User acquisition (UA) is crucial for attracting new customers to your website, app, or service, especially in the saturated mobile market. Effective strategies include personalization, app store optimization (ASO), social media marketing, leveraging customer reviews, referral programs, influencer marketing, and playable ads.

Personalization involves targeting specific audience segments to improve retention and organic growth. ASO ensures your app ranks higher in search results, boosting visibility and downloads. Social media marketing taps into the platforms where your audience spends the most time, driving engagement and installs. Customer reviews build trust and improve app store rankings, while referral programs leverage existing users to attract new ones through personal recommendations. Influencer marketing connects your app with trusted figures to reach wider audiences, and playable ads offer an interactive preview, significantly boosting conversion rates.

Besides, user acquisition strategies heavily rely on the synergy between innovative creatives and advanced machine learning algorithms. Understanding the limited but impactful controls that marketers can exert, and the pivotal role of engaging creatives, is essential. Continual testing and adaptation to these factors are crucial in navigating the competitive landscape of digital advertising, ultimately leading to more successful campaigns.

Balancing these strategies helps you effectively capture leads and enhance brand growth. Prioritizing both gated and ungated content ensures you generate leads while increasing visibility and traffic, achieving a comprehensive and successful user acquisition strategy.