Five Foolproof Ways to Optimize Your Mobile User Acquisition Campaigns

Posted by , Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales
9th February 2015

If you’re like most app marketers, your job isn’t getting any easier. With competition on the rise and Cost Per Install (CPI) rates up significantly over the last couple of years, it is getting increasingly difficult to acquire new, high-value users at cost-effective rates.

But all is not lost. The good news is that there are steps you can take to improve the performance of your UA campaigns. Whether your goal is to reduce your average CPI or to acquire new users that provide higher lifetime value, the following techniques can give your campaigns a boost.

1. Experiment With New Ad Formats

If you’re only using text-based ads, banners or offerwall ad units, experimenting with new formats can open up new possibilities. Video trailers, in particular, have been proven to drive extremely high-value new users. In a survey of Tapjoy consumers, 86% of respondents said they were likely to download an app after watching a video trailer that looked interesting to them, even if they were not rewarded for the install. The ability of video to show off an app and draw viewers in is what helps Tapjoy’s Video Plus Install product deliver retention rates that are 30 – 40% higher than other paid advertising sources.

Rich Media ads can also be an effective way to acquire quality new users. The unique aspects of rich media allow you to showcase your app in a whole new light that static banners and other types of ads could never match by letting you introduce characters, highlight action scenes, or present storylines in rich and dynamic ways.

2. Test Creative Variables

Regardless of which type of ad formats you’re using, there’s almost always ways to improve the creative that goes into them. One of the biggest mistakes many mobile app marketers make is to “set it and forget it” when it comes to their ad creative, whereas testing and iterating on aspects such as the offer, copy, images and key messages can have a huge impact. Sometimes just a seemingly slight tweak to the text or graphics can make a big difference in the click rates or conversions, helping boost volume while the CPI rate remains the same. By taking the time to develop new ad creative and optimizing its performance, you can improve your performance dramatically.

3. Improve Your Targeting

By targeting your campaign to users that represent your core audience—based on demographics such as age, gender, income and more—you can greatly improve conversions. Tapjoy offers a rich set of Exclusive Audience Segments to help you hone in on your exact targets based on things like app usage data analysis, user preferences, conversion history, comparisons with lookalikes, and more. You can also target by location, language, device type and other factors, allowing you to develop campaign creative or ad offers that are more suited to a particular audience and will therefore garner better results.

4. Conduct LTV Analysis

Cost Per Install is just one small factor in determining the overall effectiveness of your UA campaign. To truly understand ROI, it’s necessary to monitor new users’ in-app behavior and engagement to get a sense of their potential lifetime value. Only then can you optimize UA campaigns effectively. Don’t be scared off by more expensive ads. If they yield higher quality users, the ROI can be worthwhile. LTV analysis will tell you which ad channels and formats are delivering the highest quality users and help you decide where to allocate future marketing spend.

At the same time, analytics will allow you to determine where there might be inefficiencies or room for improvement in your First Time User Experience (FTUE). Optimizing your FTUE will have an invaluable impact on your UA campaigns. If too many users are dropping out of the funnel after the first few sessions, you might need to create a better tutorial or try streamlining your FTUE. By the same token, if users remain engaged for quite some time but too few of them are monetizing effectively, you might need to re-evaluate the events that lead them to make a purchase and try to incorporate more of these mechanics into the flow.

5. Drive Engagements, Not Just Installs

Getting a user to install your app is just the first step. Research shows that nearly 60% of apps are deleted only one month after being downloaded, which means that if you’d like to get the most from your acquisition efforts, you’ll need to convince users to stick around.

Tapjoy offers a Pay Per Engagement (PPE) product that rewards users for not just installing your app but also completing some type of action inside of it, in the belief that once they test it out, they’ll be hooked. For instance, you can reward users for watching the tutorial, creating a profile, completing level one or whatever else you feel will get them engaged. This allows users to truly understand your unique value proposition and for you to drop them further into the app experience right from the start. It’s a great way to minimize churn while maximizing retention. PPE can also be used to drive re-engagement by targeting consumers who have already installed your app and encouraging them to open it back up to take the next step, complete the next level or discover the coolest new feature.

Final Thoughts: Test, Measure, Optimize

User acquisition for a mobile app is part art and part science. It requires developing theories, trying them out, seeing if they work, and adjusting your strategy accordingly.

You’ll also want to tap into the wisdom of those who have done it before. Tapjoy has a whole team of UA experts on hand to help guide you in terms of best practices for each and every type of app imaginable. No matter what your objectives are or what the size of your budget is, we can help you figure out the right strategy to meet your needs. Reach out to us at for a free consultation. 


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