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6 Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before Starting with User Acquisition

Are you a gambler? My bet would be you’re not. If you have a finished app or game, you’re probably looking for users. You’re looking to ensure a way your marketing investment consistently comes back… and stays. And going into user acquisition strategy without understanding who you’re what you’re trying to accomplish is not called user acquisition, it’s called gambling.

1. KPIs and goals

Your KPIs will be closely connected to your goals. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are metrics you can use to determine how well you’re doing your job. Since we’re talking about user acquisition, highly relevant would be customer metrics.

Some of the KPIs you can use:

  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – This value will tell you how much you’re getting from the long-term customer relationship.
  • The number of customers – For some business, this might be a very important metric. It’s pointless without taking into consideration other KPIs, but it is also pretty straightforward, you can easily tell how much customers you gained or lost.
  • The number of mobile downloads – How much times was your app or game downloaded. This is also pretty straightforward metric, a higher number of downloads is better and it is the number that will drive everything else up.
  • The number of mobile installs – How many people ended up installing the game after they downloaded it? If you have plenty of mobile downloads, but nobody is installing it, that could indicate some type of problem.
  • The number of mobile uninstalls – How many people uninstalled your game? Just because somebody installed your game, they won’t necessarily like it. It is important to track metrics like this as you release updates because it could indicate a problem within the app.

There is plenty of other important metrics you could track, but more about it in another post. The only important thing is to adjust KPIs to your app or game.


2. Tracking of KPIs and goals

Just having your KPIs defined is not enough, you need to have system of how you’ll be tracking those goals. It is essential to have app analytics and attribution set up even before you launch your game.

With plenty of free and paid options, there is no excuse for not knowing how are your users behaving in the app, how long are they staying in the app and how often are they opening the app.

Mobile app analytics are not much different from web analytics, they track user events and visualize that data. Since the KPIs are closely connected to the events in the app, setting up the right tracking is the key to measuring your goals.


3. User acquisition channels

What channels are you planning to utilize for user acquisition? With so many channels to choose from, it can be overwhelming at the beginning of your user acquisition.

Your user acquisition strategy should start with market research. If you thoroughly researched the market and you know who is your target audience, then it will be much easier to choose the channels you’ll choose for user acquisition.

Demographics of social media networks vary greatly. For example, 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old, while the average age of Pinterest user is 40 years old. If your app is aimed at a younger audience, it wouldn’t make sense to advertise on Pinterest.


4. Time to set everything up

Ads won’t just magically appear on your ad account and start bringing new users. Creating, optimizing and launching ads takes time and you need to designate time for setting your system up.

Ads on Facebook need to pass the learning phase. It can be from 4 to 7 days, and it is necessary to designate time for this to have the most successful ads.

But once you’ve set everything, remember you’ve got other things to do. It’s easy to get carried away. User acquisition is just one part of your job, so designate a specific time when you will do it.


5. Testing is the key

If you’ve defined your user acquisition strategy well, it should be helping you more than just getting you new users. It will help you learn about your users and your product.

Integrating analytics as well as the user attribution in the app will answer many of the questions you might have.


Questions you might be having in the beginning:

Is everything working as it is supposed to? (There could be a bug in the app, but you’re unaware of it.)

How often do your users open the app and how long do they stay in-app?

How did your users find you? Through which channel?

How many users downloaded your app?

How many users are active?

But be careful, it is easy to get lost in the numbers, metrics, analytics… You might feel overwhelmed and want to try everything, from creative copywriting to hyper-targeted audiences.

So while it is CRUCIAL to test and measure these things constantly, remember that too many changes will be too hard to track.

If you made ten changes in your campaign in one day, and in following days you notice a positive change, will you be able to determine which change drove the numbers up? Hardly. Too many changes = too much confusion.

To avoid testing problems, make sure you run an isolated test with determined KPIs and goals.

But also remember why are you testing in the first place, don’t test just for the sake of testing!


6. Ask for (professional) help

You’ve done your research, you’ve set up the KPIs, you’ve studied the platform and you’ve launched your campaign. It seemed easy enough when you were doing it.

Boosting a post on Facebook can be done in a few clicks, but successfully scaling the user acquisition campaign while keeping the CPI in range can be a difficult job for a beginner.

This is the time to think about hiring an agency. Marketing agencies can be a great short- or long-term solution for apps and games. A right agency will provide the infrastructure, knowledge, and experience.

A full-service agency will provide help on every step of the user acquisition journey. It will do market research for you, help with creative production and do the media buying for you.

Surely, you’ll be having a partner with much more knowledge about different ad platforms, targeting options and special features.

Maybe you’re thinking that hiring an agency is an unnecessary cost, but imagine the money you’ll be saving by reserving resources for the thing you’re really good at. If you’re doing UA for the first time, maybe it is better to ask for professional help.


User acquisition might seem like an easy task, but it is also a never-ending task. There will always be users who downloaded your app and never started using it.

Some will stop using it after some time or uninstall it completely. Retargeting and re-engagement campaigns play a huge role in keeping the existing users, while a strong user acquisition strategy will constantly bring you new, fresh and high-quality users.

You’ve designated a budget for user-acquisition, and you want results. Even if you have a limited budget, you’ll want to make sure your marketing investment consistently comes back… and stays. If you’re a beginner at UA, maybe the best option is to hire an agency.

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