6 High Impact Strategies to Boost Your App’s User Acquisition

user acquisition
michael-signal@2x By Michael Signal July 12th 2021

If you’re not familiar with the term, user acquisition is simple; acquiring users. There are so many ways you can do this, and we’ll talk about some of them, but it’s important to know why.

There are almost 2 million apps on the App Store, and some will acquire users, and others won’t.

Your app may be a paid download, it may have in-app purchases, or it may run advertisements. No matter how it makes money, you will need to have users to generate revenue. The more, the merrier.

However, you can’t acquire users if you don’t know how to. Let’s talk about some simple tips you can use to boost your app’s user acquisition!

User Acquisition Tips: Optimize Your App

You’ve probably heard of search engine optimization or SEO. It’s the process of making your website rank highly on Google and other search engines to generate organic traffic.

Well, SEO is important for apps. A lot of people download apps after finding them on Google. However, it’s not the only way, or even the most important one, that you can optimize your app.

App Store optimization, or ASO, is just as important. People searching on Google for something may not be interested in downloading an app that they find, but people searching in the App Store likely are.

Why Use ASO

Don’t underestimate the value of organic traffic. 53% of web traffic comes from organic searches, and it makes sense when you think about it.

Are you more likely to click on something if you see another one of the thousands of ads you’re shown every day, or are you more likely to click on a result that you searched for? Exactly. Paid advertisements have their place, but optimizing your product to appear at the top when people seek out similar products is where you should be putting a lot of your efforts. 

How To Optimize Your App

Don’t just focus on one app store. The Apple App Store and Google Play Store have roughly the same amount of users, so they’re equally as important. The good news is that once you have the app launched, optimizing for both has a lot of similarities.

Keywords

Keywords are critical. Finding the words that people are most likely to search for is exactly how you’ll start ranking higher in those searches. If your app is a fitness app, keywords like “health tracker”, “fitness monitor”, “pedometer”, or others could help you stand out.

Find out what keywords are best for your industry and break them down to your primary and secondary keywords. The first will be one phrase (between 2 and 6 words) that you want to put in your title, description, and anywhere else you can put it. The latter you’ll want scattered about in your app description so it will still appear if people search for it.

You can even use app store intelligence tools to tell you what keywords will work best for your niche.

Screenshots

Screenshots and videos need to be visually appealing and promptly display the primary features of your app. Don’t overdo these, just give users a brief understanding of what the inside of your app is like.

Title

This is the first thing people will be looking for. Don’t make these too long, but try to get a keyword in. Google only allows 30 characters, and Apple allows 50. You want the name of your app followed by the shortest possible description.

Something like (sticking with the previous example of fitness): “Fitness Bro – Your Personal Health Tracker”. 

This made-up example would have both “fitness” and “health tracker” in the title. If you have a short, unique title that doesn’t have a keyword in it, it is especially necessary to add a quick description at the end.

Description

Both app stores will have a short description and a long description, and both are equally important to ranking highly. In your short description, you’ll have 80 characters to put keywords into. Use them wisely.

For the long description, you’ll have thousands, so don’t worry. Give a detailed description, and spread keywords all the way throughout. Write down the keywords beforehand and have them ready while you write out this description and use them as much as possible (not every other word, but as much as you can naturally pull off).

Have A Strategy

Having a user acquisition strategy is crucial. Like any marketing campaign, not having a strategy is a death sentence before you even get started.

Know exactly what kind of marketing you plan to do, when you plan to do it, and your maximum budget. Ideally, you want to have this in place before you even launch the app, but the sooner the better.

Budget

Knowing your budget before you go into this is crucial, and there are so many aspects of a campaign that can be easy to forget. A social media post is free, but are you paying someone to do it? Are you paying for ads through a third party who will require fees? Did you buy intelligence technology for your ASO? Are you buying software for email campaigns?

Know about these expenses, and factor them into your budget beforehand so you know what to expect.

Types of Campaigns

Know exactly what kinds of campaigns you intend to run before you get started. This will help you determine your budget, as well as what insights to monitor after you launch your campaigns.

Social media posts across multiple platforms, paid advertisements, email chains, ASO, SEO, and any other strategies you have should be written down at the start. Diversity in your campaign is great, but if you’re on a tighter budget, putting a lot into a little might be better than putting a little into a lot.

If you’re doing a lot of work into the campaign yourself, or if a long-term staff member is, focusing on diversity is possible on a lower budget. ASO doesn’t have to cost money, and you can keep hammering in on social media, utilizing as many platforms as possible, and attract app users through creative posts.

Mailing List

If you really want to improve your mobile app user acquisition, don’t underestimate the value of email marketing. Everybody has an email.

If you’re starting your app with an established company, like a grocery store or a gym, you probably already have a lot of emails on file, and you probably already do some email marketing. Bring people to your app through your mailing list.

For most apps, if you rely on in-app purchases or advertisements, then you don’t just need to worry about user acquisition, but also retention. If you get someone hooked once, keeping them is every bit as valuable as bringing in new customers. The best way to do that is to keep reminding them of your product and upgrade your user experience.

Advertise

This is the one you were expecting but dreading. However, the advertising industry has evolved to be a lot easier and more cost-effective. It’s easier than ever to start an ad campaign, ads are a lot more targeted now, and you have a whole host of options to choose from!

Pay-per-click ads (PPC) are generally affordable, as you only pay for the number of impressions you make, which can directly translate to more business if your ad was effective.

Banner ads appear in front of people on given websites, like when you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed or reading a news article.

Search ads are ads that appear after somebody searches for something. You can rank on the top of a Google search result, but it will still be lower than the paid advertisements.

On The App Store

Advertising on the App Store or the Play Store is just the natural option, right? You’re trying to get people to download your app, so where better to find them? It’s not surprising that Apple’s search ads have a conversion rate of 50%.

When people search for the right keyword, you’ll show up in a banner on the top, being the first thing the app user sees. This is a great way to put yourself right in the face of potential customers, but these ads can come with a price tag!

On Other Apps

If your app is a game, this is perfect for you. With games, it can be a little more difficult to come up with the right keywords since games are so unique. In this case, you’ll typically want to attract app users by showing them a picture or video of what your app is like. Where is a better place to do that on a similar app?

Game apps typically don’t mind advertising other games because users can play multiple games and not have it interfere with their business, whereas a business planner app would not want to drive people to similar products.

However, you may be able to get away with advertising on apps that aren’t the same, but that target the same audience. For example, you might have a business planner app, so trying to advertise on an app that handles business communications might work for you! Reach out and see if you can make a deal!

On Websites

Social media, Google, and other ads are excellent choices for this. While they won’t be as targeted as advertising on similar apps or on the app store, these ads will definitely have their place.

They’re also highly affordable, usually offering generous PPC rates, especially on video advertisements, which is where you can best display the features of your ads.

Promotions & Trials

Having promotions in place is always good for business. Whether you’re a game, news outlet, business planner, or anything else, offering a “play before pay” promotion always helps with user acquisition.

People don’t usually like to gamble when it comes to apps. If you have to buy the app upfront, you’re taking a risk in assuming that you’ll like it. Not everybody will read the 4000-word description to see if it’s going to be right for them, so give them a shot at it first!

Subscriptions are excellent business models in general, so if you have that kind of model or you’re interested in it, offer a free trial. If people like it, they’ll buy a subscription. This gives you a steady, predictable source of revenue throughout your entire business endeavor, which makes budgeting a lot easier.

If you don’t run a subscription service, like a game, in-app purchases are the way to go. Get people hooked with a lot of free play and then see if they’re willing to give you some money for a better experience with your services. Or, you can have a one-time payment after all the free time in order to continue services.

Build A Website

Building a website is a great way to drive more traffic to your app. Make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, and you can add a download button so people can directly take your app from the website.

Having the website alone doesn’t generate traffic, but there’s a lot more you can do with it. You can use the website as the link for your advertisements, display much more about the features of your app, and use content marketing to bring up your user acquisition.

Once you have a website up, start a blog so you can use the right SEO practices to dominate the search engine scene. A website with a few pages has one chance to show up, but with a blog, you’ll have hundreds of opportunities to rank highly on Google. Just make sure your content drives people to your app.

You can even hire a professional web developer to do all that, and more, for you.

Once You Have A Plan, Get Started!

Once your user acquisition plan is set, it’s time to put it in action. Have your budget, know the details, and get started today! Now that you know some great tips to improve your user acquisition, check out some tips on material design for Android apps!

michael-signal@2x By Michael Signal

Michael is the creative brains of the company and he leads the UX and UI team at EB Pearls. He has experience of over 20 years in interaction design and have designed digital products for Fortune 50 companies all over the world.

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