Mobile User Acquisition


Kevin Urrutia


Marketing, Mobile Apps


May 05, 2024

The app market is exploding which means no matter how much time and effort you used to develop your app, it will all be for nothing if nobody knows about it.

Right now, there are over 1.5 million apps in the App Store and 1 million in Google Play making it increasingly difficult to get your app noticed, downloaded, and used.

So, how can you stand out from the millions of apps being offered today?

The answer to this question is key to your app’s success and, there happens to be more than a few ways to achieve it. So, let’s review a compilation of ideas you can use to create a personalized mobile user acquisition plan.


We focus on direct response and customer acquisition in e-commerce, lead gen, and mobile. When it comes to results and leads, we speak your language.

Developing a Strategy

In any digital space, when you promote your app online you’re not just competing with other app developers for attention, you are also competing with thousands of other distractions such as social media updates, news, trending topics, videos, and instant messaging.

You may think you have an app that people need, however, if you can’t get past the barriers that already occupy your target audience’s minds, how will your app succeed?

First, take some time to define what you would consider success to be. It might not always be to generate revenue, some apps are developed simply to generate leads. Here are a few examples:

  • User acquisition: The number of people who download and install your mobile app.
  • Stickiness: The number of people who continue to use your app and don’t uninstall it within a few days.
  • Level of engagement: How many people stop using your app after installing it or use it actively.
  • Reviews and recommendations: A considerable number of mobile user acquisitions happen through reviews and recommendations. This is a strong indication that your app is a success and encourages more word-of-mouth publicity to help it grow faster.
  • Monetization: This is the ultimate aim. What are your monetization goals from your app?

Often, the biggest challenge is not developing the app, but instead, reaching the target of your personally defined success.


Understand the Challenges

Are you aware of all the challenges your app is up against when you publish it to the App store or Google Play? Here are some of the common challenges you might face:

  • Rapidly Changing Technologies: Not long ago many apps for tablets and mobile phones have been developed for wearable products. Apps are also being developed to interact with household appliances and electronics which can be controlled by voice. When you push your app to the market, will yours be obsolete or ahead of its time?
  • Too Much Competition: 400;”>App stores are supersaturated with apps and competition is fierce. For every app available there are 50+ alternatives available. Try this yourself: use a keyword related to your app and watch how many appear in the search results. Many of these apps might not be worth your audience’s attention, however, they still create enough noise to limit your visibility by diverting attention away from the app you developed.
  • Rapidly Changing User Interests: When your app was first released, you may have missed critical features and preferences your users want and need. In your market space, competitors might be quick to respond or have already developed a solution, making your app obsolete. This is one of the biggest obstacles for user retention.
  • Too Many Choices: You already know there are a lot of choices for your audience to choose from. Yet, what are the defining factors that separate your app from the rest? Reviews. Even a single negative review, the slightest complaint against your app, can make those who are on the fence about downloading to move on and try the next.


Mobile User Acquisition Strategies

To overcome the challenges of acquiring new users to your mobile app, let’s look at some classic and creative strategies to refine and improve your mobile user acquisition plan:

  1. App Store Optimization

The most influential factor that drives installs for your app will always be the app store. Throughout 2018, there were more than 205.4 billion apps downloaded. This makes App Store Optimization (ASO) a high priority to drive more users to your app.

ASO is a method of improving the keywords, title, ratings, and other ranking elements used by app stores to position your app in the search results.

For more information on ASO, read this.

  1. Influencer Marketing

If you want to tap into your target audience, try reaching out to an influencer to gain credible, trustworthy referrals for your app. When it comes to download decision making, 33% of users download an app when it was recommended by someone else.

Image Source: Promatics

If you plan on using influencer market, be sure to reach out and choose influencers that will serve as an extension of your brand. They should also be positioned in front of an audience that is relevant to the app you have to offer.

  1. PR & Press Coverage

If you can get your app covered in a high-profile outlet, this can quickly drive awareness and installs for your app. Similar to influencer marketing, be sure to find the right channels that are aligned with what your app does what these outlets write about.

Try these resources to app review websites to drive more engagement toward your app:

  1. Email Marketing

You can use email marketing to automate and drive your mobile user acquisition. You can use email marketing to promote features of your app, share content that interest your users, and make requests for feedback and reviews.

Every email should be used to enrich the relationships you have with your users. Be sure to use deep links within emails to take users to a specific page within your app or to the app store where they can install it.

  1. Incentivized Installs / Referrals

Create a referral program to add a viral element to your plan and lower the cost per acquisition. If you can provide incentives for users to share your app with their friends and family, it can generate more trust and downloads for your app.

Try some of these ideas to incentivize your app downloads:  

  • Free Giveaways. Can you offer a free product, service, or discount to exclusive content or features?
  • Provide easy-to-share referral codes. Do you have an in-app messaging system of social sharing buttons that prompts users to invite their friends to your app?
  • Encourage social status. Does your app allow users to collect achievements, badges, photos, and location check-ins? And, can these be easily shared on their social media?


How Will You Increase App Downloads?

Having an effective user acquisition strategy is essential for ongoing growth for your mobile app. However, you don’t just want to acquire users who uninstall your app a few days later.

Instead, focus on finding users to give your app loner retention rates and higher user reviews. This will add the most value to your business.

Next, if you’re thinking about using paid advertisements to promote your mobile app, learn more strategies in our Mobile App Advertising Guide.

Next up

Top Influencer Marketing Strategies for the Social Business

Next up

Top Influencer Marketing Strategies for the Social Business

Next up

Top Influencer Marketing Strategies for the Social Business

Next up

Top Influencer Marketing Strategies for the Social Business

Next up

Top Influencer Marketing Strategies for the Social Business

Next up

Top Influencer Marketing Strategies for the Social Business

What are you waiting for?

Work With Us