Top 10 mobile app user acquisition strategies

Are you wondering how to get app users? We’ve got you covered. Here are our 10 best mobile app user acquisition strategies inspired by some of our favorite apps.

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on mobile app user acquisition strategies! In this blog, we’ll delve into 10 amazing strategies that successful brands and companies have employed to acquire users for their mobile applications. 

Whether you’re a startup looking to launch your first app or an established enterprise seeking to boost your user base, these strategies will provide valuable insights to help you achieve your goals.

Understanding the basics of user acquisition

What is mobile app user acquisition?

User acquisition refers to the process of gaining new users for a mobile application. It is a critical aspect of app development and marketing because acquiring users is essential for the success and growth of an app. Without a solid user base, even the most well-designed and feature-rich app may struggle to gain traction in the highly competitive app market.

How can I measure the success of my user acquisition strategy?

Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of app downloads, cost per install (CPI), retention rate, and lifetime value (LTV) of users are commonly used to measure the success of user acquisition efforts. Tracking these metrics allows app developers and marketers to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies and make informed decisions to improve performance. 

What is the average cost of mobile app user acquisition?

The cost of mobile app user acquisition can vary widely depending on various factors, including the industry, target audience, geographical location, and the specific user acquisition strategy employed. Generally, the cost of acquiring a single user, often referred to as the Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), can range from a few cents to several dollars or even higher in some cases.

Now, let’s dive into our top 10 mobile app user acquisition strategies, along with real-world examples and case studies to illustrate each approach.

Our 10 best mobile app user acquisition strategies

1. App Store Optimization (ASO)

App Store Optimization (ASO) involves optimizing various elements of your app’s listing on app stores to improve its visibility and ranking in search results. This includes optimizing keywords, app title, description, icon, screenshots, and reviews. By optimizing these elements, you can increase your app’s chances of being discovered by users who are actively searching for apps similar to yours.

Headspace app

Example: The meditation app "Headspace" leveraged ASO techniques to improve its visibility on the App Store and Google Play Store. By optimizing its app listing with relevant keywords and compelling visuals, Headspace was able to increase its organic downloads significantly.

2. Social Media Marketing

Social media platforms offer a powerful channel for promoting your mobile app and reaching potential users. By creating engaging content, running targeted advertising campaigns, and leveraging influencers, you can effectively raise awareness of your app and drive downloads from social media users.

Peloton TikTok fitness app

Example: TikTok has become a popular platform for app promotion, with many apps leveraging viral challenges and influencer partnerships to gain traction. For example, the fitness app "Peloton" collaborated with fitness influencers on TikTok to create engaging workout videos, resulting in increased app downloads and user engagement.

3. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves partnering with influential individuals on social media platforms to promote your app to their followers. By leveraging the trust and credibility of influencers, you can effectively reach and engage with your target audience, leading to higher app downloads and user acquisition.

Forbes article about Fortnite

Example: The mobile game "Fortnite" collaborated with popular gaming influencers such as Ninja and PewDiePie to promote its app and drive downloads. These influencers created gameplay videos and live streams featuring Fortnite, which helped generate buzz and excitement among their followers.

4. Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant content to attract and engage your target audience. By producing high-quality blog posts, videos, infographics, and other content related to your app niche, you can establish your brand as a thought leader and attract users who are interested in your app.

Duolingo blog

Example: The language learning app "Duolingo" has built a strong online presence through its blog, which features articles on language learning tips, cultural insights, and app updates. By providing valuable content to its audience, Duolingo has been able to attract and retain users who are passionate about language learning.

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing remains an effective strategy for promoting your mobile app and nurturing relationships with your users. By building an email list of subscribers who have expressed interest in your app and using a company email finder to increase your reach, you can send targeted campaigns with personalized content, app updates, special offers, and incentives to encourage app downloads and engagement.

Airbnb email marketing

Example: The travel app "Airbnb" utilizes email marketing to engage with users who have shown interest in booking accommodations through its platform. Airbnb sends personalized emails with travel recommendations, special discounts, and user-generated content to inspire users to download the app and book their next trip.

6. App Referral Programs

App referral programs incentivize existing users to refer their friends and contacts to download and install your app. By offering rewards such as discounts, credits, or exclusive content for successful referrals, you can tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing and encourage organic growth of your user base.

Ubers reward program

Example: The ride-sharing app "Uber" implemented a referral program that rewards both the referrer and the new user with credits towards their next ride. This incentivized existing users to share their referral codes with friends and family, resulting in a significant increase in app downloads and rides booked through the platform.

7. Freemium Model with In-App Purchases

The freemium model offers a free version of your app with limited features or content, while premium features or additional content are available for purchase within the app. By allowing users to experience the core functionality of your app for free and upselling premium features through in-app purchases, you can attract a larger audience and generate revenue from those willing to pay for additional value.

Example of an in-app purchase

Example: The mobile game "Clash of Clans" utilizes the freemium model with in-app purchases to monetize its app and acquire users. While the game is free to download and play, players can purchase virtual currency, upgrades, and other in-game items to enhance their gaming experience and progress faster.

8. App Store Advertising

App store advertising allows you to promote your app directly within app stores through sponsored listings, banners, or video ads. By targeting users based on their interests, demographics, and app usage behavior, you can reach potential users who are actively browsing app stores and drive them to download your app.

Tinder app

Example: The dating app "Tinder" used app store advertising to promote its app and increase visibility on platforms such as the App Store and Google Play Store. By bidding on relevant keywords and placements, Tinder ensured that its app appears prominently in search results and category listings, resulting in higher app downloads and user acquisition.

9. Cross-Promotion

Cross-promotion involves promoting your app to users of other apps within your app portfolio or through partnerships with other app developers. By leveraging your existing user base or collaborating with complementary apps in your niche, you can reach new audiences and drive app downloads through mutual promotion and endorsement. cross-promotion

Example: The mobile game publisher "Supercell" cross-promotes its portfolio of games to users through in-game banners, notifications, and interstitial ads. By promoting new game releases or updates to existing players, Supercell can drive traffic and downloads to its other games, leveraging the success and popularity of its existing titles. Supercell also partners with other games for cross-promotion campaigns. 

10. Performance Marketing

Performance marketing involves running targeted advertising campaigns across various digital channels, such as search engines, social media platforms, and mobile apps to drive specific actions, such as app downloads or user registrations. Unlike traditional advertising methods, performance marketing focuses on measurable results and allows advertisers to track the effectiveness of their campaigns in real time, optimizing them for maximum return on investment.

Adweek performane marketing example

Example: The food delivery app "DoorDash" employs performance marketing tactics to acquire new users and increase app usage. By running targeted ads on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, DoorDash reaches users who are likely to be interested in its services based on their demographics, interests, and online behavior. Through continuous testing and optimization of ad creatives, targeting parameters, and bidding strategies, DoorDash maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of its advertising campaigns, driving significant growth in app downloads and orders placed through the app. And it doesn’t hurt that they have pretty cool Superbowl commercials…

Read more: Top 20 mobile app user acquisition statistics

Ready to skyrocket your app's user base?

We get it, in today's fiercely competitive app market, acquiring users for your mobile app is more challenging than ever. But by implementing the right strategies, informed by real-world examples and case studies of successful brands, you can enhance your app's visibility, attract new users, and drive meaningful growth. 

Whether you choose to focus on app store optimization, social media marketing, influencer partnerships, or a combination of these and other strategies, the key is to understand your target audience, leverage the strengths of your app, and continuously iterate and improve based on data and feedback. 

Remember, with dedication, creativity, and a strategic approach to user acquisition, you can set your app up for long-term success.


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