When Acquiring New Mobile Users, Think Quality Over Quantity

Becky Doles

It’s no secret that acquiring users is the ultimate goal for mobile app marketers. Attracting quality users and retaining them, however, is notably difficult, and a challenge that many new marketers have a tough time overcoming. Last week at the GROW Conference in Vancouver, B.C, Jarah Euston of Flurry spoke about how marketers can leverage the right data to attract not just sheer quantity of users, but quality users who will actually convert.

At GROW, Jarah explained how we live in an app world. In fact, according to data from Flurry, 80% of time spent on mobile devices is spent in apps. Though she said HTML5 might change this in the future, apps are driving almost all the activity we spend on mobile. Currently, about one third of the time spent on apps are devoted to games (which is down from about half of the time spent on games while using mobile devices one year ago). Jarah also pointed out that other categories are catching up to games – especially the Facebook app. Mobile users are also engaged in apps throughout the day (with a small spike during after work and school hours), so there is always an opportunity for marketers to find someone on their device. This also means that the competition amongst advertisers – including mobile app marketers – to reach mobile users is becoming more fierce.

It’s also becoming increasingly difficult for apps to break into the top 100 in app stores, which can help apps acquire new users quickly and organically. Flurry found that to reach this level, you need 26,000 new users on your first day in the app store. Jarah points out that gaming companies are exceptionally good at this, and advises that if any app is looking for what are the best practices in mobile, turn to a gaming company. As she says “they’ve figured it out as their businesses are based on acquisition, in app purchases and user retention.”

With so many other advertisers fighting for attention, and so many apps flooding the market making it difficult to build an organic customer base, it can be difficult to acquire mobile users. Even more challenging can be retaining these users, as Flurry found that after 30 days in the majority of apps, half of the users no longer even open the app. As a result, almost every app marketer must continue the process of acquiring new users. However, as Jarah said, “it’s one thing to acquire a user, and it’s another to find a user that will convert.”

To find quality users, Jarah explains that app marketers must understand who their power users are, as 5% of your users will drive 90% of your sales. It’s critical to know where users are coming from, their age, geography, gender, and what other apps they use. Jarah then explained once you understand the basics of who your users are, you can segment these users, which is especially helpful for the marketing team, but also useful to help you better understand the purchase funnel and see where you are losing people. Once you know your power users, you can start tracking events to understand exactly who is converting, which helps you identify your most valuable users.

From this data, Jarah says marketers will understand exactly who converts best, with data about these users broken down into gender, age, type of device, and personas. Of course, knowing the most valuable type of users is only the beginning. Once app marketers know their types of valuable users, it’s critical to choose the right channels for acquiring more of these valuable users. While the options range from display advertising to branded app promotions, Jarrah advised that marketers consider video units. Not only is video advertising highly engaging, Flurry found that video ads returned 60% more quality users at a 20% lower cost than CPC.

Jarah said that the bottom line for mobile app marketers in acquiring quality users is that they must track performance. She explained that by using a solution such as MobileAppTracking, you can track the source of users and compare channels for quality, then optimize the acquisition budget. Finally, she said “you have to keep testing. The process doesn’t stop when you have acquired users. You must find what they go on to do, and decide how to apply that to the next campaign to acquire more users.”

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she handled content strategy and marketing communications at several tech startups in the Bay Area. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned home to Charleston, SC, where you can find her strolling through Hampton Park with her pup and enjoying the simple things between adventures with friends and family.

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