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6 Actionable steps to improve your app’s user acquisition strategy

Smartphone use remains at an all-time high. The app market, in turn, continues to provide users with a variety of applications to serve their needs.

In 2021 alone, consumers spent a combined whopping 187.58 billion dollars on Google Play and the Apple App Store. What’s more, up to 21% of millennials report that they open some apps over 50 times a day.

These rising numbers indicate one very important fact for developers: that there’s still a lot of room for new apps in the market, as users demand alternatives that solve the pain points of existing players.

Because users only have so much time to spend on their favorite apps, acquisition must be a priority for app creators. The larger the community of happy users and the longer the customer lifetime, the more authority you command. Consequently, you have better chances of becoming one of the main players in the game.

Then why isn’t my app taking off?

Building an effective app customer acquisition strategy is all about studying unsolved pain points. The gaps in the user experience of other mobile applications are doors of opportunity for you.

A fancy UI and smooth transitions won’t help much if your app doesn’t scratch the itch that users struggle with. The purpose of the product should always be at the forefront of your design philosophy. If there’s no reason for people to use your app, they’re not going to download it.

6 actionable steps to acquire more users for your app

If you’re new to the market and finding that your app has been struggling to attract and retain new users, it may be due to the lack of an effective user acquisition strategy. These six methods may just give you the edge you need against your competitors:

1 - Study the market

Research into user sentiments, market perceptions, and general trends is always the first thing to do when forming a customer acquisition strategy. 

Find out what pain points people are experiencing in an app segment, what can be done to improve on existing formulas, and what possible obstacles that you may run into while building the solution. It’s usually best to focus your effort and resources on a single section of the market and a specific target audience

Your research will give you a clear direction for your future campaigns and product development. As a bonus, any adjustments that will need to be implemented will be much easier to pull off.

2 - Invest in App Store Optimization (ASO)

There are nearly five million apps in the Apple App store alone, and it’s very likely that yours will get completely drowned in that sea. App Store Optimization (ASO) is a way to ensure that your app stays visible, discoverable, and acquires users organically. 

ASO has many similarities with search engine optimization, in that there is a list of factors that the platforms look for a certain list of criteria in your app/website to rank them against other competitors on specific search terms.

App stores are the primary places users browse for and download programs. It’s for that reason that you should keep tabs on how to make sure that the stores work in your favor. It’s also important to note that Apple’s App Store and Google Play have slightly different checklists when it comes to ASO work.

Ultimately, the goal of ASO is to make things easier for both end-users and product teams.

3 - Gain deeper insights & use them to your advantage

After having studied the market, the real work can then begin: gaining deep analytical insight.

Each type of engagement metric tells a story that will help you better your product. The users’ activities and behaviors will reflect in the numbers. Visit time, strings of actions, and user locations are some of the metrics that tell a developer how people use the app

What do they use your app for? When do they launch it? Where are new users finding your ads? What demographic group uses your app the most? These strategic questions give you a more complete picture of how you can optimize your marketing budget

Active users, churn rates, and user retention rates are some examples of the primary analytics you should pay attention to when trying to optimize your user acquisition strategy.

4 - Invest in a retargeting campaign

Another way to acquire more users is to employ a retargeting campaign, which is a strategy focusing on attracting people who have interacted with your brand but have not taken action to convert. Retargeting campaigns can be run through social media, email marketing, and other acquisition channels.

Why then are retargeting campaigns so effective? It’s simple: Interaction shows interest but indicates that there might be a blocker keeping them from conversion. This group of people is pre-qualified leads, and doubling down your customer acquisition efforts on them can pay off considerably.

The effectiveness of retargeting as an acquisition strategy is worth emphasizing because it brings down the average customer acquisition cost, offering more value for money.

5 - Improve the onboarding experience

An influx of new users is expected upon the launch of a new marketing campaign, but this is not the time to grow complacent. When people first land on your app, they aren’t likely to know how to get the most value from it. The first few moments are your prime opportunity to create a lasting positive impression.

A 10-page onboarding guide shouldn’t be necessary to understand how to use your app, so if users are introduced with a “how to use” section, consider redesigning the onboarding flow.

It’s your job to make sure your product is created to be used intuitively. If users are able to gain value from your app with minimal intervention, the UX will improve drastically. Again, this will help you to be in a more favorable position in the market against your competitors and put you ahead of the curve.

6 - Build a community of loyal customers

Many product teams forget this simple, yet powerful tool to build and sustain a vibrant user base: a tight-knit community. While invaluable for customer retention, a community is also terrific for new user acquisition because it appeals to our inherent need to connect.

Users want to be able to engage with other users, especially when they share something in common. It doesn’t matter if your app isn’t inherently a social media app. Even the most basic messaging and community features are a start to building engagement and investment.

Another benefit to having social features is that users can then directly troubleshoot and report any issues they might find directly to you and to the community. This will help to keep people happy, as existing customers always want to feel their voices are heard and their concerns were taken seriously. These reports also reveal bugs and performance issues, improving your product in the long run.

One issue is that social features can be difficult to implement correctly, which may cause a whole host of UX/UI issues. Having SDK tools will help greatly with this, as they can streamline the process with readily available OS-compatible UI kits and real-time technical support.


App purpose equals organic customer acquisition

Without considering why people need your product, driving growth and acquiring new customers is an uphill battle. It’s important to start building a relationship with the market even before you start building an app. During the research phase, make your presence known in the community by being in their forums and engaging with would-be users.

As product developers, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers game that we forget to take a step back and look at things through the users' eyes. Remember why you built your product and who you built it for. If you take care of your users, they will take care of you, too!

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