How to acquire users for your app: A complete guide

You're building an app, and you feel like you have everything in place except one thing: customers! If customer acquisition seems like a daunting task for you, you're at the right place! Follow these strategies to gain more users for your application and track your success with actionable metrics.

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Launching an app goes beyond putting it on the App Store or Google Play.

Have you been putting a lot of effort into developing your mobile app and wondering why the users aren't coming like you'd expect them to? Launching an app is not just about putting it on the App Store or Google Play, and getting users to your app does not happen only within the app. There is a lot going on outside.

Understanding acquisition strategies will help you acquire the users you want. Consistent implementation is a crucial element for building a successful app. With that in mind, there are plenty of ways to drive traffic to the app. Whether you have just launched an app or have had it for quite some time and would like to know how to grow it in this app era, keep on reading!

Acquiring Customers


Customer acquisition is an essential part of any business. It's the process of marketing a company's products or services to potential customers. This can be done through advertising, content marketing, or any other tactics.

If your app is new to the market, customer acquisition is one of the most crucial steps you can take. If you don't have customers, your business can't survive. That's why it's vital to have strategies for acquiring customers.

With all the research that you had done and learned about your audience and their pain points before you developed an app, now it's time to use that information to target them. 

Customer Acquisition Strategies


There are various strategies that you can implement to attract new users to your app. Take a look at these 6 main strategies with different tactics and execute them across your campaigns.

1. App Store and Google Play Optimization

It's necessary for your app to be seen; here are ways to optimize your app to rank higher than those of your competitors:

  • Research the most relevant keywords to your app and include them in your app's title, description, and keywords field.
  • Give your app an appealing name and put it in the right category.
  • Encourage users to rate the app and leave positive reviews to boost its visibility and credibility.
  • Monitor your app's ranking and performance and adjust as needed.

A great example of this would be 1112 Delivery, a food delivery app that serves thousands of hungry customers across Thailand each day. With the proper use of keywords, being in the right category, and its outstanding performance, it is one of the top-ranked apps on both the App Store and Google Play and has over 1 million app installs with a 4.9-star rating.

2. Organic Online Marketing

There are many channels that you can use to promote your app without having to spend money on advertising. For example, social media, email marketing, and other channels can drive traffic to your app's landing page. Here are the things you need to keep in mind:

  • Create and publish valuable, informative, and engaging content (such as blog posts, infographics, videos, reels, etc.) that targets your ideal customers. Remember to invest time and effort in your content creation and publish high-quality pieces.
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): when users search for something related to your app, you need to make sure that your site shows up. Utilizing keywords along with creating great content, such as blog posts, will make it effortless for users to reach your content and get to your app.
    • Social Media: Another useful channel to increase the number of downloads for your application is social media. Here you can create engaging content related to your app that the audience can share, offer promotions, and engage with them through polls or quizzes.
    • Email Marketing: This channel is valuable for acquiring customers for your app because people on your email list are already showing interest in your products and services. You can send them newsletters or promotional emails based on how you segment them. 

  • Always engage with users. You don't just publish content, and it's over. If someone sends you a message, reply to them. If they ask you questions in the comments, answer them.

  • Track the performance of your content and identify what's working and what's not via analytic tools. You can use tools like Google Analytics, Meta Business Suite, or any free analytic tools available for each platform that you use.
3. Paid Online Marketing

One of the easiest ways to reach your customers is through advertising. Nowadays, online advertising makes it a lot easier for businesses to put their content right to users' eyeballs. Here are some ways that you can utilize paid online marketing and promote your application.

  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC): PPC means that each time a user clicks on an ad, the advertiser pays a specific amount of fee to the publisher. One of the most popular publishers is Google, and there are 2 types of PPC that are available.
    • Search Ads: Paid results that come up on the Search Engine Result Page when you search for a particular keyword.
    • Display Ads: Ads (mainly in the form of banners) that show up on Google's partner websites.

  • Social Media Advertising:
    • Advertising through social media lets you show content that is relevant to your target audience based on their demographics, interests, and behaviors. Moreover, on some social platforms, like LinkedIn, you can even target them based on their job levels and industries.
    • You can implement A/B testing to see what type of content speaks to your audience and drives traffic to your app's landing page the most. So you can continue running the ads that yield more results.
    • You can also retarget people who interacted with your previous ads but have not yet converted into your customers to remind them again.

  • Affiliate Marketing: This type of paid marketing refers to when you work with bloggers or any other affiliates and pay them when users click the link directed to download your app (depending on the agreement) through their content.

4. Offline Marketing

With the rise of online marketing, offline marketing is still significant and provides value to businesses. Here are some traditional marketing tactics that we have compiled for you:

  • Offline Advertising: Depending on your budget, timeline, and target customers, there are different types of offline ads that you can go for, such as TV ads, radio ads, or billboards. They are good for reaching a larger and wider audience; however, they also come with higher costs than most online advertising.

  • Events: You can host an app launch event or participate in events related to your business to build awareness for your app and directly connect with your target customers in person.
5. Public Relations (PR)

What's better than having a great image and a strong reputation among the public? With a good PR strategy, you can build great relationships with the media and receive good coverage about your app. This results in more visibility and credibility for your app among potential customers and makes it easier for you to acquire them.

Moreover, PR is also crucial when it comes to crisis management because a solid PR strategy can help mitigate brand damage.

6. Referral Program

No need to look further than your current customers because they can also help you acquire new users for your app! If your application provides your current users with a smooth user experience along with fulfilling their needs, it's really easy to nudge them to use their power of word-of-mouth and social proof to drive more app installs from their circle of friends. You can incentivize users to refer with discounts, premium features, etc.
And those are the 6 winning acquisition strategies that we found effective. You can start by implementing the ones that resonate with your business the most and can easily reach your target audience. Don't forget to tweak them to fit the nature of your app.

Customer Acquisition Metrics


How do we know where to improve if we don't track? The foundation of every successful mobile app strategy is the ability to measure and monitor its effectiveness. If your strategy is not working well, with these metrics in hand, you will know where to fix and turn around the situation.

Here we have put together these crucial metrics that you must always consider after executing your acquisition strategies.

1. Reach and Impression

You probably have seen these two words quite often if you have run some online advertising before.

The difference between these two is that reach refers to the number of people who have seen your content. Meanwhile, impressions are the number of times the content or ad is shown on the feed.

Suppose one person sees your content three times. We count that as one reach and three impressions.

These two are good starting points to track, giving you insights about the size of your audience and are a good indicator of brand awareness. However, reach and impressions alone do not tell you everything about your campaign, so you also need to use other metrics.

2. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The next metric that you need to measure is CTR, as it will tell you how many times your content or advertising has been clicked after being shown to the target audience.

You can easily calculate the CTR:

CTR = Clicks / Impressions

A high CTR means that your content strongly resonates with your target audience.

Depending on the platform, your industry, and the type of content, the benchmark will be different. But most of the time, you will find that your organic content has a higher CTR than your paid one.

3. Conversion Rate (CVR)

This is one of the most important metrics to measure the effectiveness and success of your marketing campaign. 

There are many types of conversions based on the action that you want to track. For acquiring a new user for your app, the conversion that you want to track is 'the number of app installs.' Here is how you can calculate it:

CVR = The number of conversions / Total visitors

On average, if someone visits your app page on App Store, there is a 33.7% chance that they will install your app. On the other hand, around 26.4% of people will download it on Google Play.

If your app also includes in-app purchases, you should measure the number of people that convert within your app as well (in-app conversion rate).

CVR measures the percentage of users completing a desired action.
4. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

The cost includes everything associated with acquiring a new customer, including advertising fees and salaries for salespeople who sell your product.

You can spend as much as you want, but will it be sustainable? Of course not; the CAC should be at an affordable cost for your business, which means it should be lower than the amount of money that you will get from your customer (Customer Lifetime Value or LTV).

Here's how you can calculate the CAC: 

CAC = Expenses related to marketing and sales / Number of new customers acquired
We know that was a lot to take in, but you can always come back to this guide anytime! Pick the ones that align with your application most and then tailor them to fit your business goals.

Now it's your turn to develop, carry out, and evaluate customer acquisition strategies to make your application unstoppable! But always keep in mind that these strategies will help you gain users to the app, but the most important thing is the quality of your app. Make sure your app solves your customers' problems and gives them an incomparable experience.

Feel free to get a free consultation with us if you want to develop an app (we develop both native applications like iOS & Android, and cross-platform applications), improve one, or build any beautiful digital experience for your customers. We are a design-driven team that has helped hundreds of companies across various industries create successful digital products, and yours could be next!

Ready to start your project? Contact Us

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Belle Chaisomboonpan
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