What is User Acquisition and why should I care?

So, you have built your app, or a mobile game, congrats! What now? How are you going to tell if it is successful or not? The number of installs or interactions? Maybe. Or are you going to measure it by the number of patches and bug fixes you made? Please don’t. Maybe number of users is a better way. Wait, you don’t have any? Or just a few? Well in that case you are in the right place. Let’s learn about how to get users and why it is the basic step for any app or mobile game, or any software.

In this article, we are not going to talk about customers, payments or converting your users into your business source. These topics we will cover later. This article is about user acqusition (UA) only.

So, what is user acquisition?

I think you already get it by now. But let’s see how the definitons go. UA are all of your acts of gaining new users for an app, platform, or whatever you are building. Even cars, buidlings and lego toys have their users and customers. On mobile, user acquisition is a strategy designed around generating installs, usually achieved by advertising campaigns and promotional offers.

UA and mobile games

in Mobile, UA is basically the addition of new users on the mobile-based platforms, such as an iOS app, Android app, mobile-friendly websites, and more. But because of mobile specifics (higher conversion rate, enhanced retention rate, and more) the competition in the mobile app marketing is huge. As a result UA in mobile is one of the key concerns of marketers.

Why is it important?

  1. Well first of all, your app or game is for nothing, if it does not have any users. We live in a world where „go big or die“ is the main mantra for business growth. If you want to make money from your app, or game, you need to convert users to customers, consumers, buyers… But you cannot do that without having them first as a users.
  2. Second reason is equally important. If you want to know if your product is good, you need to have a feedback from users. More users=more feedback, more data and more ways to improve.

You can create a very good app or software, but without a good UA strategy, you will have problems to succeed in a competitive mobile app industry. A UA strategy should focus on getting the right users for your app. Target of each strartegy should be a point where ROI is positive and scalable, and growing your app to move up the charts.

How does UA works?

It is very simmilar to any marketing campaing, but with some specifics.

  1. First you need to know who your futuer users might be, and target them
  2. Next you have to choose the right channels to approach them. Maybe you have a mobile app that is for older generation, you will probably have to target them by using offline ads. But if your target group are gamers, then go where they spend most of their time – online and mobile games. You got the point right?
  3. Don’t forget about the money. So you already figured out that this will not be free. Set your budget and divide it between channels and different campaigns.
  4. Analyze your data and make tweeks and decisions based on what you see is perfoming good.

Reaching and converting new users can be done through advertising channels, mostly ad networks. You can use an ad network to launch a UA advertising campaign, and that campaign will serve in the advertising space provided by other apps who use that network for ad monetization.

Where to get those users?

There is, as always, more than one place where to get your users, here are a few examples:

Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Snap, TikTok..) – they are very good platforms for your community and organic grow,  but also paid promotion. Everyone wants wants a community where users will talk about your game, app or other software, and social platforms provide that network built into their culture. The main advantage of Social networks is their ability to target people. From broad campaigns to interests or lookalike audiences

Universal App Campaigns (UAC) are an automated ad type in Google Ads. It is targeting more app installs and/or drive in-app conversions. UAC runs ads across Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Google Display Network, and AdMob.

Ad networks enable game makers to reach a larger audience, and can help maximize conversions on mobile. Various networks provide you with scale and some specialized targeting that increases their level of customization

Measure your success

  • CPM (cost per thousand impressions): the amount an advertiser pays a website/publisher per one thousand visitors who sees its advertisements, or cost per 1,000 impressions of an ad. Formula: Cost/impressions * 1000 = CPM

  • CPI (cost per install): a pricing model used in mobile user acquisition campaigns in which app advertisers pay each time a user installs their app from an ad. CPI is a very common pricing model and is specific to mobile apps. Formula: Spend / installs = CPI

  • CPA (cost per acquisition): an online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations. Formula: Total earnings of campaign/ number of actions taken = CPA

  • ROAS (return on ad spend): a popular metric that can help businesses evaluate if their campaigns are successful by revealing how much revenue they’ve earned for every dollar spent. Formula: Revenue / spend

  • LTV (lifetime value): the metric that indicates the total revenue a business can reasonably expect from a single customer account. It considers a customer’s revenue value, and compares that number to the company’s predicted customer lifespan. Formula: Total in-app purchase revenue + advertising revenue/ all new game users (in certain period of time, eg. D7 LTV, D30 LTV or D365 LTV)

In this article, we are not going to talk about customers, payments or converting your users into your business source. These topics we will cover later. This article is about user acqusition (UA) only.

So, what is user acquisition?

I think you already get it by now. But let’s see how the definitons go. UA are all of your acts of gaining new users for an app, platform, or whatever you are building. Even cars, buidlings and lego toys have their users and customers. On mobile, user acquisition is a strategy designed around generating installs, usually achieved by advertising campaigns and promotional offers.

UA and mobile games

in Mobile, UA is basically the addition of new users on the mobile-based platforms, such as an iOS app, Android app, mobile-friendly websites, and more. But because of mobile specifics (higher conversion rate, enhanced retention rate, and more) the competition in the mobile app marketing is huge. As a result UA in mobile is one of the key concerns of marketers.

Why is it important?

  1. Well first of all, your app or game is for nothing, if it does not have any users. We live in a world where „go big or die“ is the main mantra for business growth. If you want to make money from your app, or game, you need to convert users to customers, consumers, buyers… But you cannot do that without having them first as a users.
  2. Second reason is equally important. If you want to know if your product is good, you need to have a feedback from users. More users=more feedback, more data and more ways to improve.

You can create a very good app or software, but without a good UA strategy, you will have problems to succeed in a competitive mobile app industry. A UA strategy should focus on getting the right users for your app. Target of each strartegy should be a point where ROI is positive and scalable, and growing your app to move up the charts.

How does UA works?

It is very simmilar to any marketing campaing, but with some specifics.

  1. First you need to know who your futuer users might be, and target them
  2. Next you have to choose the right channels to approach them. Maybe you have a mobile app that is for older generation, you will probably have to target them by using offline ads. But if your target group are gamers, then go where they spend most of their time – online and mobile games. You got the point right?
  3. Don’t forget about the money. So you already figured out that this will not be free. Set your budget and divide it between channels and different campaigns.
  4. Analyze your data and make tweeks and decisions based on what you see is perfoming good.

Reaching and converting new users can be done through advertising channels, mostly ad networks. You can use an ad network to launch a UA advertising campaign, and that campaign will serve in the advertising space provided by other apps who use that network for ad monetization.

Where to get those users?

There is, as always, more than one place where to get your users, here are a few examples:

Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Snap, TikTok..) – they are very good platforms for your community and organic grow,  but also paid promotion. Everyone wants wants a community where users will talk about your game, app or other software, and social platforms provide that network built into their culture. The main advantage of Social networks is their ability to target people. From broad campaigns to interests or lookalike audiences

Universal App Campaigns (UAC) are an automated ad type in Google Ads. It is targeting more app installs and/or drive in-app conversions. UAC runs ads across Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Google Display Network, and AdMob.

Ad networks enable game makers to reach a larger audience, and can help maximize conversions on mobile. Various networks provide you with scale and some specialized targeting that increases their level of customization

Measure your success

  • CPM (cost per thousand impressions): the amount an advertiser pays a website/publisher per one thousand visitors who sees its advertisements, or cost per 1,000 impressions of an ad. Formula: Cost/impressions * 1000 = CPM

  • CPI (cost per install): a pricing model used in mobile user acquisition campaigns in which app advertisers pay each time a user installs their app from an ad. CPI is a very common pricing model and is specific to mobile apps. Formula: Spend / installs = CPI

  • CPA (cost per acquisition): an online advertising payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations. Formula: Total earnings of campaign/ number of actions taken = CPA

  • ROAS (return on ad spend): a popular metric that can help businesses evaluate if their campaigns are successful by revealing how much revenue they’ve earned for every dollar spent. Formula: Revenue / spend

  • LTV (lifetime value): the metric that indicates the total revenue a business can reasonably expect from a single customer account. It considers a customer’s revenue value, and compares that number to the company’s predicted customer lifespan. Formula: Total in-app purchase revenue + advertising revenue/ all new game users (in certain period of time, eg. D7 LTV, D30 LTV or D365 LTV)

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