App User Acquisition

App User Acquisition: How To Attract And Retain Users In 2024

Mobile app user acquisition is a long and complex process that will inevitably consume your time and resources as an appreneur or developer. While that may sound scary, it’s a process you can master and gradually reduce the time and money you need to make it worthwhile. Of course, you can make things easier for yourself by partnering with an established studio like NS804 to help you navigate those rough user acquisition waters.

Whichever path you choose, it’s worth knowing what the user acquisition process entails. We won’t say it’s easy because it’s not, especially with the overly stiff competition you will encounter in the app stores. Google Play is a good barometer of what to expect in 2024.

In February, around 52,000 apps hit the store, which is significant but also denotes a downward trend in app releases. Five years ago, during the same period, approximately 141,000 apps made it to Google Play. While this does show an environment with less competition than before, it also projects many hard truths about the current state of the mobile app environment.

In previous years, it was easier for developers to release low-effort, buggy, and even malicious malware-infected apps. That period is no more, as Google Play follows in the footsteps of the App Store. That means the app stores have no tolerance for apps with poor usability and violate user privacy and safety.

Inevitably, you have more hoops to jump through for your next release since the bar is set higher. So, your app user acquisition strategy for 2024 is more involved. Both the app stores and the users demand more from you, and you need to deliver to attain success and retain it for the long term. 

Why Does Mobile App User Acquisition Matter?

Mobile app user acquisition is a thorough and involved process for obtaining new users for an application, primarily for mobile devices. For this process to succeed, it’s necessary to implement several marketing and promotional strategies that will inevitably increase the rate of downloads and installations of an app.

The best app marketers know that it’s crucial to attract users who are the likeliest to engage with the app. For example, the target users for a dating app like PreVue are those seeking serious relationships. So, it makes little sense to market this kind of app to those who are into the hookup culture and short-term relationships.

Furthermore, app marketers will use advertising and other promotional channels to reach the app’s potential core audience. They will also implement App Store Optimization (ASO) and finetune it to ensure the app enjoys a high visibility and conversion rate in both the App Store and Google Play. Several ASO techniques will also apply to the growing number of third-party app stores available, even for iOS devices.

Without app user acquisition, it’s almost impossible to attract a large enough audience to cover development costs. While you’ll hear about a few apps gaining traction due to word of mouth and organic growth via ASO, these are edge cases. Unfortunately, most apps fail due to a lack of marketing efforts, which only underlines how crucial this process is for releasing mobile apps in 2024 and beyond.

What Steps Are Necessary For App User Acquisition?

It’s necessary to follow these steps to start acquiring users for your app:

  • Pinpoint your target audience: Find the demographic data, behaviors, and interests of your app’s potential audience. Then, tailor your marketing efforts to target this audience as effectively as possible.
  • Implement ASO: Optimize your app’s title, keywords, description, and visual assets. All these steps will help improve its visibility and ranking in all relevant app stores.
  • Create appealing visuals: All your app’s icons, screenshots, and videos must captivate user attention while showcasing the app’s key features. If you do this right, it will dramatically increase your app’s download numbers.
  • Targeted advertising: Use several online and social media ad networks to broaden your reach and grow your audience. But be mindful of your ad spend and always A/B test all your ad campaigns.
  • Work with influencers: Reach out to influencers so that they can promote or endorse your app to their followers. While this is an effective way to gain additional exposure for your app, it will also come at a cost since many influencers charge according to their audience size.
  • Social media marketing: Build your community on the most popular social platforms by creating content your target audience will enjoy and share. However, this is a time-consuming process that you may want a digital marketing agency to handle for you.
  • Start a referral program: Motivate your existing audience to refer friends and colleagues to download your app by offering them rewards or exclusive content.
  • Encourage user reviews and ratings: Always ask satisfied users to leave reviews and ratings, as these help potential users to try your app. If users leave negative reviews, courteously respond to these and make the necessary improvements to your app based on user feedback.

Should I Try Content Marketing To Acquire New Users?

Content marketing is tricky to pull off successfully, especially if you don’t have any prior experience in this approach. If you don’t know how to create compelling and informative blog posts, videos, or podcasts, it’s best to avoid content marketing. Moreover, you’ll need to create and share lots of content consistently, which will take up many hours of your valuable time.

Alternatively, you can hire experts who can create content on your behalf, but that will come at a cost. If your budget allows for this, content marketing will provide several benefits.

Initially, you’ll grow audience awareness of your brand and your app. Users love to read blog posts or watch videos about how apps start from the concept phase and enter production. They also enjoy developer interviews and behind-the-scenes content, giving them an insider’s view of the app development process.  

All this will help your potential audience feel more connected to your brand and its app. So, you’ll drive them down the marketing funnel from the awareness stage onto the consideration stage if you’ve kept their interest. If you’ve built enough trust and conveyed your app as a solution to your audience’s problems, you’ll drive them further down the funnel and increase your conversion rates.

If enough time and effort goes into content marketing, it will significantly help your app user acquisition efforts. A side benefit of content marketing is that it will make you and your brand come across as experts in your field or market segment. But only if your content is available on a high-ranking website you own or other authoritative websites, video channels, or podcasts.

Is The Freemium Model Effective For App User Acquisition In 2024?

Yes, the freemium model is still effective, but with a few caveats. As part of your app’s marketing strategy, you must fully comprehend your target audience. Are they the kinds of users who prefer freemium apps, or do they detest the model? If they’re in the latter camp, your app will fail upon launch, and you’ll need to make several crucial changes very quickly, at additional costs to you.

The freemium model only works if your users are willing to pay for a premium version of your app but still need to try a free version first. Even with the reduced feature set of the free version, users must accomplish a few critical tasks with your app to appreciate its value. If your freemium app conveys all this effectively, it will be easier to convert users to the premium version.

However, the freemium model works best with apps that attract massive audiences. In the gaming sphere, Fortnite, the third-person perspective (TTP) looter shooter, is free to play but employs an in-game currency called V-Bucks so that players can purchase upgrades.

Outside gaming, Tinder, the popular dating app, has converted a percentage of its most loyal users into paying customers. Then, there’s Dropbox, the chart-topping cloud storage app that built its business on providing free storage to users. And users that need additional storage are more than willing to pay extra for the convenience that Dropbox provides them.

Therefore, if you wish to adopt the freemium model for your app, ensure that it can attract and retain a very large user base. This choice will also affect all the frameworks and application programming interfaces (APIs) you use to build your app since you’re building an app designed to scale. 

How To Retain Users With Enhanced Engagement?

No matter how well you’ve marketed your app and how many downloads it attained, it’s easy to lose users due to churn. Thus, you want to implement effective methods to retain these users for the long haul. Of course, you should use churn analysis tools to pinpoint why users lose interest in your app. But you can radically reduce churn from day one by taking the following actions:

  • Better onboarding: While this applies primarily to new users, existing users benefit from an easy-to-understand onboarding process. Whenever you roll out new updates and features, use videos and motion graphics to explain these cohesively.
  • Implement push notifications: Users who have downloaded your app but rarely use it need an occasional nudge. You can do this with push notifications so long as you don’t inundate your users with too many. Instead, keep your notifications focused on new features that add value or offer personalized solutions to each user’s needs or interests.
  • Reward system: Don’t allow your app user acquisition efforts to go to waste, so implement a well-strategized reward system. Incentivize your users to try new features or use your app for longer with rewards at timed intervals.
  • Gamification: Add a game-like experience to your app and combine it with your reward system to keep users hooked. Let users unlock cool extras like badges or gain entries on a scoreboard via a well-implemented gamification strategy.
  • Boost user social media activity: Many users enjoy sharing various aspects of their daily activities on their favorite social platforms. Make it easy for them to share fun and quirky in-app experiences with other users with a single tap.

What Technical Aspects Help Retain Users?

You must treat your app as an ongoing project that consistently receives regular updates, features, and improvements. This is crucial because users quickly lose interest in apps that don’t receive any updates after long intervals.  

Users expect your app’s user interface (UI) to improve and reflect the current trends in design and usability. If you enhance the look and feel of your app regularly, then you’ll retain your users even if new competing apps emerge in the marketplace.

Your app’s performance must also improve with each major update. Furthermore, users must enjoy a similar or better level of performance when they upgrade their phones. And when they upgrade the operating system (OS) on their devices, they should not experience any performance degradation.

Don’t forget to plan a roadmap for your app’s upcoming features. These must align with your business goals, your app’s position in the market, your marketing plan, and the feedback you received from users. You may also need to offer a response to competing apps when they introduce new features that your app lacks. Always communicate about an upcoming update of new features to your users to keep them excited and to retain them. 

In Conclusion

App user acquisition is not for the faint-hearted since it’s long, complex, and often challenging. But it’s a necessary process you must undertake if you wish to gain the maximum visibility, downloads, and installations your app can potentially attain. Furthermore, you must work on your app’s user engagement to retain the users you’ve already gained. 

User churn is a very real problem you can’t risk ignoring, so ensure you take the necessary steps to deal with it effectively. If all this seems too convoluted or troublesome and you’d prefer to work with a professional studio to handle all the minute details, we’re here to help. Contact NS804 today to learn how we can assist you in acquiring users and keeping them engaged for your next app project!

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