Have an Early-Stage App? Don’t Fall for These Common Mistakes and Get Your User Acquisition Right!

Let’s start with a simple question – “Why do I need to focus on UA for my app?” The answer is simple too – “to make a strong foundation for your app with quality users.”  Now, you may again ask, “but my app is quite young right now, it’s in the infant stage, do I really need to focus on UA?”

Well, the answer to that is YES! You do, and this is actually the best time to carve an app marketing strategy for your app. Let me give you some more reasons.

A. Because your app is in the initial stage and not many people might be knowing about the offers/services/benefits of the app.

B. You want to create a market position for your app and app marketing is a big part of the process.

C. Also, you need not spend a huge amount of budget on advertising. Do your research and find the best app marketing platform which could help fulfill your KPIs.

But as an early-stage app, you can make some rookie mistakes that can cost you not only monetary loss but also impact your app’s success rate.

1. “I don’t know the right user for my app” 

It can be tempting to start a paid user acquisition campaign for a wide audience and think that it might help you scale quickly. But, it can prove to be counterproductive and cost you precious advertising dollars. Before you start a campaign, ask yourself or your ad platform which is the right target audience. This will help you to shape up your campaign by creating targeted user segments for effective acquisition and engagement. Whether you are running direct publisher integrations or going the programmatic route, consider the right operating systems, device models, geographies, interests, language, and more. All these factors do add up while doing audience modeling and predictive analysis. This will help you in keeping track of the customer behavior, and thus you can fragment your budget accordingly. Your ad partner can help you to get this right by using data-driven tools and algorithms for audience identification and optimization. For instance, if you are a finance app, for instance, an appographic modeling of the users will help you to target similar customers who are your most valuable base. 

2. “I am overpaying because I don’t know my KPIs”

It is a common mistake for advertisers to wander in a different direction and lose sight of the metrics to focus on. If you don’t understand the user journey and what action you want the user to take with your campaign, you will end up overpaying because your campaigns will not give you the desired results. As an advertiser who is starting up, you may feel that downloads are the most important metric to follow. Yes, that is an important metric in the early launch phase, but once you start growing your user acquisition, it is key to look into post-install actions as well. Is the user engaging with the app? Are they dropping off before signing up for a premium subscription? Have they downloaded the app but not interacted with it in a while? You need to have a clear picture of what the goal of your app is. Once you have that clear, it becomes easier to work with your ad partner in finding the right campaign channel, creatives, and campaign type to run your campaign in a budget-efficient manner. Your ad partner will also be able to help your goals better if you give them enough information on what you want them to achieve for you. Your app growth can also benefit from flexible pricing models that your ad partner offers based on your KPIs. These can be CPI, CPA, CPC, etc. Know your goal and accordingly choose the KPI which will fulfill your targets.

3. “I am struggling with ad fraud but I don’t know what to do”

Ad fraud can impact your overall campaign performance and it is one of the most frustrating challenges for marketers. Given that ad fraud is so prevalent with different fraud types such as click fraud, attribution fraud, click stuffing, etc, for an early-stage app marketer it can be confusing how to detect and prevent fraud at various levels. This is where the capabilities of your ad partner can help. A data-driven approach to ad fraud helps to identify fraud at early stages and prevent it. Check with your ad platform on the fraud detection capabilities. An ML-based fraud detection system can help to highlight multiple fraud types and drive real ROAS.

4. “I don’t have enough campaign insights” 

You have gone through steps 1-3 correctly, but you don’t keep a track of your performance. Well, this is a bigger mistake! All the above points will only make sense if you are keeping a track of the performance and accordingly analyzing the campaign data. The best way is to have a dashboard, where everything is transparent and you can improve your strategy if needed. Another mistake is having too much data, but not knowing what to do with it. You can have multiple reports across multiple dashboards, but if they don’t give you a holistic view of your campaign then you are only solving half the puzzle. A competent ad partner should be able to provide you granular reports into campaign performance to give you the best results so that you can leave the chore of app marketing to them and focus on the core results.

5. “My campaign is running well I don’t need to optimize”

Everything on your campaign may be running well but if you don’t optimize it for performance, you will soon see that your campaign will fail to deliver results in the long term. You can use Custom Cohorts to optimize campaign performance based on pre-defined KPIs as well as make intelligent decisions by narrowing down on those events which will most likely lead to conversions. When running optimization, another mistake is overlooking the creatives. Creative fatigue can pull down your campaign performance. To avoid this, keep updating your creatives and run A/B tests with your ad partner to find out what creatives work best for you. A data-driven approach to creative optimization can help you save time and money, so work closely with your ad partner on this. Whether it is creative optimization, channel optimization, or adjusting the budgets and the channels, a growing app needs to identify trends and spot important correlations through real-time reports from your ad partner and optimize campaigns when required.

Ready to start campaigns that deliver? Connect with me at diljeet.grewal@affle.com or reach out to us at maasmarketing@affle.com to find out more about how we can help your app goals!

Diljeet Grewal

Diljeet is a Sales professional at Affle's MAAS, specialising in managing app growth in the African markets. She is also a photographer and an avid reader.

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