These five factors make or break mobile app user acquisition

Mobile user acquisition is a key challenge for app developers today, and quality, engaged users are far more valuable than a large quantity of disengaged ones.


Mobile app user acquisition is a major challenge for marketers today. Getting people to install a free app is one thing but acquiring users who will continue to engage is another altogether. Attracting a large quantity of users is much easier than acquiring quality users – but in a world where most users end up disengaging after installation, it is increasingly imperative to prioritize user quality in your marketing efforts.

Here are five factors that can make or break how successful you are at mobile app user acquisition which in turn affects your app's profitability.

Your app store listing

Understanding how people find apps is integral to encouraging users to install yours. App discovery is often a matter of seeing what is available within an app marketplace. Case in point: Search accounts for 65% of app downloads within the App Store, according to Sensor Tower research, and browsing accounts for another 15%.

People can only install your app if they can find it and if its listing compels them to do so. App store optimization (ASO) is the process of making your app more visible by increasing its ranking within store search results. An optimized listing must contain relevant keywords within the title and description, plus supporting visual elements like screenshots, video and a fitting logo. Mobile users also deem apps with good ratings and reviews more trustworthy, so it helps your cause to get current users to take the time to contribute their two cents.

It is worth optimizing your app store listing because it is the last place people will go before tapping "Get" or "Install." It can either boost your user acquisition efforts – or serve as a stumbling block.

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Your target audience

Barking up the wrong tree in terms of your app's target audience is a shortcut to blowing through your ad spend with little to show for your trouble. The success of your acquisition campaign cannot rest on installs alone as number of installs is not a solid indicator whether or not people will continue to engage.

Homing in on your ideal app user is the best way to maximize the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing campaigns and boost conversion rates. Fortunately, more mobile app user data is available than ever before, meaning you can target lookalike audiences who reflect your app's best users. Taking the time to create user personas based on demographic and mobile device usage information will help you refine your targeting.

Your ads

More often than not, mobile users will ignore generic ads, registering them as little more than a background annoyance as they continue along their mobile journey. This is precisely why savvy marketers are harnessing the power of dynamic advertising through companies like Liftoff.

Dynamic ads are assembled programmatically on the spot to be personalized, reflecting the users who see them. Customizing a template with ad creative based on factors like demographics, location, operating system and screen size helps marketers serve ads that are genuinely relevant to potentially high-value mobile users.

Your app's user experience

People will quickly abandon an app if the user experience is anything less than ideal. About 23% of people will only launch an app one time, according to Localytics. This just goes to show you have a short window of time in which to impress people with your app's usability and engaging nature. Make sure you are facilitating a great user experience to turn new users into loyal fans.


User acquisition is not a one-time endeavor. Sometimes people need a reminder to keep engaging. How you approach re-engagement matters. Retargeting ads and push notifications are key in this arena.

These five factors play a huge role in mobile app user acquisition outcomes, so keep them in mind as you build up your user base.

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