Want to learn how to scale user acquisition campaigns effectively? We have plenty of tips for you, so let’s get started right away.
Do Extensive Research
The first step of any successful user acquisition strategy is doing research, primarily on your target audience.
Here’s why that’s important.
If you don’t clearly define what type of user you’re targeting, you’ll be spending a lot of time and money on guesswork. It’s like shooting in the dark.
As you might expect, the results of your campaign will reflect that.
Instead, think about who are the people who want or need what you’re offering. In other words, which groups of people would be interested in using your app or playing your mobile game?
Start by defining the age, gender, and location of your target audience – these are the basics. Then, go even deeper and determine their interests and behaviors.
If you have a mobile game, it’s useful to consider player motivations, i.e., reasons why people play mobile games. To do this, you need to consider the main features of your game and identify which group of players would enjoy it. For example, players motivated by winning or gamers who simply want to relax while playing.
For more info on this, check out our guide on motivation-based creatives.
It’s important to note that in order to scale user acquisition campaigns, you need to constantly learn about your audience and work on expanding it.
Set the Right KPIs
Another important step you need to take to scale user acquisition campaigns quickly is setting the right KPIs or key performance indicators. They will let you know how successful your campaign is and what you need to improve.
Of course, the number of installs should be one of your primary KPIs, along with cost per install (CPI) and cost per acquisition (CPA).
However, it’s important to note that most KPIs depend on your specific goals.
For example, if you have an app or a hyper-casual game, the main focus should be on user acquisition. For other types of mobile games, you’ll probably look for users who are likely to spend on in-app purchases, as well as look at user retention. In this case, user acquisition costs will be higher.
Or, if your app has a subscription, the lifetime value metric will be crucial.
Additionally, you can have different KPIs for each ad network because your goals might not be the same for, let’s say, Google and Facebook.
Come up With a Budgeting Strategy
Here’s the thing – the money you put into your UA strategy should be viewed as an investment. Furthermore, every company needs to decide the level of risk its willing to take. This will determine how aggressive your approach will be.
The tricky thing about coming up with a budget for a UA campaign is that you need to spend enough money for it to be effective.
Low spend volumes will result in small datasets, making it very hard to reach high-quality users. That, in turn, will have a negative effect on your ROAS.
Thus, for a UA campaign to be effective, you need to spend enough money on it to get a large dataset. That will allow you to better optimize your campaigns and achieve better results.
Approaches to UA Budgeting
When it comes to approaches to UA budgeting, you have two options – top-down or bottom-up.
In the former, all budgeting decisions are made at the C-level. The overall marketing budget is allocated to various strategies, including UA.
In the latter, the decision starts with the UA team, as these are the people who closely follow the existing campaigns and oversee the overall market situation.
Both approaches work well for budgeting UA campaigns. It’s up to you which one you feel more comfortable with.
The most important thing when it comes to budgeting is to not be set in your ways. Your budget strategy should constantly evolve as you learn more and get more data.
Choose the Right Ad Formats
Ad creatives are critical when it comes to scaling UA campaigns. The first step is choosing the right format, as this has a massive impact on the campaign’s effectiveness.
Selecting ad formats largely depends on whether you have an app or mobile game, as well as what type of app or game it is.
For example, if you have a mobile game, your main focus should be video ads because this ad format can best represent the game experience.
To help you decide on the ad format for your UA campaign, I’ve listed the most common ad types.
This is one of the older mobile formats. Usually, you’ll find them embedded as an image in an app, and they stay on the screen while users interact with the app.
When placing banner ads, it’s essential they don’t interrupt the natural flow of the app or cover text or images.
The main issue with banner ads is that they’re quite small and can easily be ignored, which is why other formats tend to perform better.
Interstitial ads are full-screen ads that can be either images or videos. They are placed at the natural pauses during app use. When they pop up, the ads cover the whole screen, which is what makes them attention-grabbing.
Interstitial ads should never interrupt users in moments when they’re highly engaged with the app or game.
This is one of the most effective ad formats for user acquisition campaigns because they allow you to tell a story, improve brand awareness, and demonstrate the best features of your app.
Video ads are particularly popular with mobile games because they allow developers to showcase gameplay and overall game experience.
For more info, check out our guide on how to create video ads for mobile games.
Another type of video ad is rewarded ads. As its name implies, if users choose to watch a rewarded ad, they will get a reward, which is a powerful incentive.
If you’re looking for an interactive ad format, you should try playable ads. They enable users to try out the app or game before downloading it – it’s like a demo.
Because of that, playable ads tend to boost not only conversions but also user retention, player LTV, and ultimately, revenue.
However, keep in mind that playable ads need to be simple, so you should only include the core functionality of an app or game.
Expand the List of Network Partners
You can’t successfully scale user acquisition campaigns when only advertising on one or two ad networks. Expanding your presence to other ad networks gives you access to a new and broader audience. Naturally, this can boost your UA efforts.
However, you need to carefully choose which ad networks to advertise on. That decision largely depends on whether you have a mobile app or game and who is your target audience.
For example, advertising a mobile app or game intended for a young Gen Z audience on Facebook probably won’t be very effective as younger generations generally don’t use this platform.
To help you out, I’ve listed top ad networks for acquiring users for apps and players for mobile games.
(Data source: AppsFlyer Performance Index, the retention index)
Top Ad Networks to Acquire App Users
- Apple Search Ads
- Facebook Marketing Platform
- TikTok Ads
Top Ad Networks to Acquire Players
- Unity Ads
- Apple Search Ads
- Ad Colony
For more ad networks, go to this article.
Deploy High-Quality Ad Creatives
If you want to scale user acquisition campaigns to get more users, producing a large number of high-quality ad creatives is one of the most important steps.
Because user acquisition campaigns are getting more and more automated, so the main competitive advantage comes from ad creatives. They’re still produced by humans, which makes them the main driver of performance.
To develop ad creatives that will drive your UA campaigns, you first need to analyze both your and competitors’ ads.
Facebook Ads Library is a great tool for that. Even though you can ’t see how well your competitor’s ads are performing, if they’re running the same ads for a while, it means they’re working for them.
That’s why it’s a good idea to pick some concepts or attributes from these ads and test them for your app or game.
The Process of Creating Ad Creatives
Here are some basic tips for constructing video ad creatives, as this is one of the most popular ad formats.
The first step is coming up with an interesting ad concept. Ask yourself, what do you want to achieve with this ad? Which app or game features do you want to showcase? How do you want to present them? What’s the overall tone and atmosphere of this ad? And so on.
Next, you need to write a script – this is where you map out each ad scene in as much detail as possible.
Then, you move on to creative production – which is where your ad comes to life.
Keep in mind that the key to high-quality ads is testing. That means you need to test everything – the ad concept, CTAs, intros, captions, branding, ad copy, placements, etc.
Create different variations of the same ad, and A/B test every aspect of it. That way, you’ll figure out what your audience responds to best, making the creative production easier.
Segment Users to Boost Engagement
Segmenting your audience can further improve and scale user acquisition campaigns.
Audience segmentation refers to dividing users into different groups based on demographics, physiographic, behavior, media use, app usage, etc.
This can help you acquire high-quality users. You can put more of your budget towards the group where you get the highest quality.
Furthermore, you can learn what works best for a specific group of people and then iterate the best-performing ad creatives and strategies.
Avoid Ad Fatigue
Your acquisition campaigns may be going well for some time, and you’re getting a lot of new users. But then you notice a drop in performance and your ad creatives don’t seem to be working anymore.
When your audience sees the same or similar ad too frequently, they start experiencing ad fatigue. In other words, they stop interacting with the ad and start ignoring it.
Luckily, you can solve that and prevent it from happening in the future.
The first thing you need to do is monitor your KPIs. You should pay special attention to ROAS, as well as CTR, ad frequency, CPI and CPI. These metrics will allow you to determine whether ad fatigue is happening and, if so, which ads you need to eliminate.
Then, you need to come up with new ad concepts. The key is to keep users interested with fresh and unique ads. Try testing out new ideas or ad variations and never let them get bored.
Final Thoughts On How to Scale User Acquisition Campaigns
Finally, you should analyze the results of your UA campaign and fine-tune them. This process should be repeated over and over again if you want to scale user acquisition campaigns.
As you learn more about your target audience and campaign performance, optimizing your UA strategy should get easier.
If you have any questions, leave a comment below!