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The definitive guide to dominating mobile user acquisition in 2023



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July 24, 2023 | 6 min read

User acquisition plays a crucial role in the success of any app or mobile product strategy

Without a consistent influx of new users, it is impossible to sustain or scale an application. Whether you are a startup gearing up your marketing strategy or an existing business looking to drive user acquisition, it is a top priority for mobile app marketers. As the app store marketplace becomes increasingly competitive, businesses are reevaluating their mobile app user acquisition strategies.

In this comprehensive guide to mobile user acquisition in 2023, we will explore essential concepts, measurement methods, channels, best practices, and the critical role of invalid traffic protection in your mobile user acquisition strategy.

What's the difference between user acquisition and customer acquisition?

User acquisition and customer acquisition are related terms but differ in scope and focus. User acquisition primarily targets acquiring new users for your mobile app or product. It involves attracting individuals who may have never interacted with your app before and converting them into active users.

On the other hand, customer acquisition involves not only attracting users but also nurturing and converting them into long-term, revenue-generating customers. In the context of mobile apps, user acquisition is often the first step in the customer acquisition journey. Once users are acquired, businesses can focus on converting them into paying customers through monetization strategies, subscriptions, or in-app purchases.

As a mobile app marketer, you need to measure and optimize your user acquisition efforts. Understanding the success of your mobile user acquisition campaigns is crucial for improving their performance. Key metrics for marketers to monitor in mobile user acquisition include downloads/installs, cost per install (CPI), retention rate, lifetime value (LTV), and return on ad spend (ROAS).

What makes a good mobile app user acquisition strategy?

To achieve successful mobile app user acquisition, consider the following best practices:

Targeted audience segmentation: This should be the first step of your mobile app marketing strategy. Identify and target specific user segments based on demographics, interests, behavior, or other relevant factors. Tailor your messaging and acquisition efforts to resonate with each audience segment.

Compelling value proposition: Clearly communicate the unique value and benefits your app offers to potential users. Highlight what sets your app apart from competitors and why users should choose it through your messaging and visuals.

Effective marketing campaigns: Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes a mix of paid advertising, content marketing, social media promotions, and public relations efforts. Tailor your campaigns to different channels and target audiences to maximize reach and impact.

Take a data-driven approach: Utilize analytics and tracking tools to gather data on user behavior, acquisition sources, and campaign performance. Analyze the data to gain insights into user acquisition trends, optimize campaigns, and make data-driven decisions.

Top five mobile user acquisition channels

App store optimization (ASO): ASO involves optimizing various elements of your app store listing, including the app title, keywords, description, screenshots, and reviews. It helps improve visibility in app store search results, leading to increased organic downloads. Think of ASO as digital window-dressing, attracting people to your app.

Social media: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat offer robust targeting capabilities and extensive reach. Taking advantage of this targeting and creating engaging visuals is an effective way to drive new users to your app.

Influencer marketing: Collaborating with influential individuals or micro-influencers within your app's niche can be a powerful user acquisition strategy. Influencers can promote your app to their followers, generating awareness and driving downloads.

Mobile ad networks: Mobile ad networks, such as Universal App Campaigns (UAC), AdMob, and Unity Ads, provide access to a vast network of mobile apps and websites where you can advertise your app. These networks offer various ad formats, including display ads, video ads, and native ads.

Referral programs: Encouraging your existing users to refer your app to others is an effective way to acquire new users. Implementing referral programs with incentives, such as discounts or exclusive content, can incentivize users to spread the word about your app.

Strategy and channels are useless without protection from invalid traffic

Ad fraud refers to illegitimate or fraudulent activities that artificially inflate ad engagement metrics, waste advertising budgets, and undermine the effectiveness of user acquisition campaigns.

The statistics on ad fraud are alarming. A recent report found that the rate of install fraud on mobile apps worldwide was 7% for Apple iOS apps and 12% for Android apps. In 2022, Apple had to deactivate around 170 million fraudulent customer accounts. The post-attribution fraud rate for iOS apps was also found to be a staggering 20%.

To safeguard your user acquisition efforts and ensure that your resources are utilized efficiently, it is crucial to incorporate ad fraud protection measures in your strategy. Consider the following steps:

Choose reliable ad networks: Partner with reputable ad networks that have established anti-fraud measures and transparent reporting systems. Conduct research, read reviews, and seek recommendations to select trustworthy partners.

Monitor key metrics: Regularly monitor key metrics, such as click-through rates (CTR), conversion rates, and retention rates, to identify any suspicious patterns or anomalies. Sudden spikes or inconsistencies are usually a sign of fraudulent activity.

Establish clear policies and contracts: When working with ad networks, influencers, or any other partners involved in your user acquisition efforts, ensure that clear policies and contracts are in place to protect your interests.

Implement fraud detection tools: Utilize an ad fraud detection tool that leverages advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify and prevent fraudulent activities.

In conclusion, mobile user acquisition in 2023 requires a strategic approach that encompasses targeted audience segmentation, compelling value propositions, effective marketing campaigns, and protection from invalid traffic. By implementing best practices and utilizing the right channels and tools, you can maximize the success of your user acquisition efforts and drive sustainable growth for your mobile app.

Ad Fraud Mobile Users Mobile


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