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Mobile user acquisition – 7 ways to attract new users

With more than 2,5 million apps in the Google Play Store and 2,45 million apps in the App Store, it’s difficult to get noticed. Your future users are waiting to discover you through the App Store [...]

February 26, 2019

10 min reading time

With more than 2,5 million apps in the Google Play Store and 2,45 million apps in the App Store, it’s difficult to get noticed. Your future users are waiting to discover you through the App Store, paid ad or through a friend recommendation. So we listed 7 ways to attract new users and grow your app user base.

1. App Store Optimization (ASO)

App Store Optimization is the process of improving mobile app discoverability to rank higher in app store search results. The key of ASO is to make your app more visible to your potential users. Ranking high in the app store search results is like being on the first page of Google – you’re more likely to be noticed.

Optimizations of:

App Page
This will often be the user’s first interaction with the app. Every element of the App Page in the Google Play or App Store has the power to drive app downloads. This is a place to showcase the app. The App Store Optimization process never stops. Many of the categories below will require constant A/B testing to figure out what works the best.

Think about:

  • App Name – How well does the name of the app describe what is the app about? The name should be simple, but memorable, it should be easy to spell and not too similar to any of the existing apps.
  • App Description – What’s the app story? How well it describes the main features of the app? App Description should be engaging, it should highlight the features and the functionalities of the app. You should tell the users why is your app unique. The tone should convey the tone of the brand and app experience.
  • App Logo – How well does the logo describe your app? Will it intrigue the potential user? App Logo is one of the first graphic elements that users see and it can make a strong impression. It should be simple, but recognizable.
  • App Screenshots – How many app screenshots are there? Do the screenshots demonstrate the main functionalities of the app? Screenshots should be handpicked to communicate app’s features.
  • App Ratings and Reviews – How many app ratings and reviews are there? Are they positive? How well is the overall score of the app? Reviews certainly have an impact on anybody looking at the app’s page – but it’s not only about the summary rating. This feature should be used for directly addressing users’ feedback, questions, and concerns.

Search Page

How well the app ranks compared to the competitors? Can you copy some of the strategies your competitors are using? What is the Keyword Quality Score?

Think about:

  • Localization – Think about the localization of the app store page for each target market – including keywords. It can drive up to 767% more downloads and increase revenue.
  • App Category – In the App Store, there are 2 categories you can assign to the app – primary and secondary. The primary category is particularly important to the app’s discoverability in the App Store.
  • App Keyword Fields – Choosing the right keywords is a part of long term ASO strategy. Researching the keywords should be done before you publish the app. Keywords can be anything that comes to the mind that is relevant for the app, like the tasks the app performs or the main features.
Elements of App Store Optimization
Elements of App Store Optimization

2. Paid User Acquisition

Paid User Acquisition will consist of choosing a network for acquiring app users that fits your needs, budget, and goals the best. This approach will bring the results much faster, proportional with the budget you have. If you’re aiming for a high visibility in a short time, it can be quite expensive.

Start with choosing the ad network. Not all ad networks will work for both platforms (like Apple Search Ads). Targeting the audience is possible by age or region, the device they’re using or based on their gaming history.

Think about:

  • Results will be faster – Organic growth takes time – investing in advertising brings results faster.
  • High visibility – Depending on the budget, you can introduce the app to a huge audience in a short time.
  • Controlled – Choose how you target the audience and where you show the ads.
  • Can be scaled – Start small and expand as you grow. This is one thing we’re great at – check out our work.
Revolut’s ad on Instagram.

3. Influencer Marketing

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, an influencer is someone who affects or changes the way that other people behave, for example through their use of social media. When looking for an influencer for the app, it should be somebody who already has an established relationship with the target users.

Influencers will expect a reimbursement depending on how big their reach is. Price of a single post can go up to $250,000.

Think about:

  • Right influencers – Influencers are an extension of your brand. Think about it more as a long term partnership, not a onetime-thing. Revolut – the banking app grew to a user base of over 4+ million users thanks to the social proof and working with influencers like Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
  • Right platform and story – On which platforms your audience spends time?
  • Tracking – Results can be harder to track – set up a custom URL for tracking the campaign. Someone could download the app from the app store after watching a YouTube video.
Revolut's work with influencers grew this banking app user base to more than 4+ millions.
Revolut’s work with influencers grew this banking app user base to more than 4+ millions.

4. PR & Press Coverage

PR goal would be to generate buzz in the days and weeks prior to the launch of the app. This strategy would include different partnerships, working with journalists, bloggers and different websites. Your app is great and you’ve put a lot of effort in it – but you need to spread the word.

Think about:

  • Choosing the right PR pitch

Think about what is unique about the app and what appeals to the audience of media outlets you’re planning to work with.

  • Target early adopters

Tell the media outlets about your new product. Find the media outlets that are excited about new apps. But have in mind that early adopters don’t necessarily represent your ideal user.

  • Creating a media kit

A simple press release just won’t do it – take time to make creative screenshots and videos that describe the app. Share the interesting data like the number of downloads, app ranking, size of the user base, previous successes…

  • Can be expensive

It can be expensive depending on the media outlet you’re aiming for.

Example of an App Press Release.
Example of an App Press Release.

5. Referrals & Invites

If you already have a certain user base – why not utilize it? According to a study by Nielsen, more than eight-in-10 global respondents (83%) say that they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family.

The word-of-mouth effect can’t be denied. Your current user will provide incentives to download the app, but he will also introduce it to future customers in a trustworthy way.

Think about:

  • Rewarding the users

Offer the users access to exclusive content or features. Referrals and social proof can fuel growth – Revolut and Airbnb are great examples.

  • Making it easy to share
  • Encouraging sharing

In-app content should encourage users to share the app with their friends – with perks and referral codes.

Airbnb's referral program.
Airbnb’s referral program.

6. Social Media

Organize the social media content around the topics that interest the customers, engage them with creative posts or rewards. Social media networks give users the opportunity to get to know the app, communicate and connect with other users. With active social media channels, you’ll drive more traffic to the app page.

Think about:

  • This is a long term user acquisition strategy that takes time to see the results
  • Targeting the right users – What social media networks they use? Where do they live? What kind of content they like (video, graphics)?
  • Content marketing – Create engaging and quality content that will encourage everybody who comes to social media page to check out the app and download it.
Pokemon Go uses social media to engage and reward users.

7. Review sites

One option for acquiring new users is submitting the app to app review sites. It will increase the app viewability and the review will help future users to determine if the app right for their needs. You’ll need to submit the app for the review. Include the details like app description, App Store/Play Store URL, screenshots of the app, videos of the user experience…

Some of the app review sites are:

  • AppBrain
  • Pricing: campaign’s are starting from $100
  • Submission form: https://www.appbrain.com/info/addapp
  • Appolicious
  • Pricing: $80 – $12
  • Contact: https://appolicious.com/contact-us/
  • AppAdvice
  • Pricing: N/A
  • Contact: https://appadvice.com/page/contact-info-developers
  • FeedMyApp
  • Pricing: $1.90 – Standard submission, $9.00 – Express Submission, $49.00 – Express Submission + Guaranteed Review
  • Submission form: https://feedmyapp.com/submit/
  • Mashable
  • You’ll need to write an informative post related to the app and contact Mashable editorial team to get featured.
  • Pricing: N/A
  • Contact form: https://mashable.com/submit/?europe=true
  • TechCrunch
  • – TechCrunch is popular among tech geeks and you can get a super boost of the app. It can be easy if the app stands out, otherwise, it will be hard to pitch.
  • Pricing: N/A
  • Contact: advertise@techcrunch.com
Submission form for the app on AppBrain.

Organic/Paid

Some of the strategies listed above we consider as organic channels for mobile user acquisition, while some are paid. Optimal would be using more than one strategy, if not all. Even though we listed 7 categories, there is always overlapping of the methods and outputs. For example, when working with Influencers, you’ll want to use the Social Media to expand the reach of the campaign.

To sum up:

An effective strategy to acquire new users for the app will go beyond simply uploading it to the Google Play or App Store. Optimization must be ongoing. Strategies like App Store Optimization (ASO) never stop. Depending on the goals, budget and time you have, you’ll use one or more of the strategies listed. Paid user acquisition will bring the results in the shortest time. You can turn to influencer marketing for reaching the target audience or pay for a review of the app on some of the review sites we listed. Using the power of social media can drive your growth – apps like Revolut combined it with referral programs to grow their user base. And if you’re launching a new app – think about creating a press release.

But it is not only about user acquisition – you’re aiming for them to stay. That’s why you should think about app analytics platforms even before you launch the app. With more than 4 million apps in 2 leading app stores – it is not easy to stand out. And the best way of knowing and understanding the users is to use a user mobile app analytics.

About Udonis:

We are an award-winning marketing agency specialized in mobile apps & games. We help scale products that people love, keeping the attention on data and results. Have questions, need help? 🤗  Email us at hello@udonis.co!







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Slavica Grgić

I'm Slavica, Social Marketing Manager at Udonis. If I'm not writing new blog posts, I'm making sure that everything is picture perfect.

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Eric White
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Eric White

I was just looking how to grow my app and this post gave me a few ideas! Awesome read!

Jerry Allen
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Jerry Allen

I can’t believe that there are so many options for growing your app!