Want to see those download numbers soar? How to optimise your mobile app user acquisition strategy

Want to see those download numbers soar? How to optimise your mobile app user acquisition strategy_5ee33d0f7315c.jpeg

No matter how amazing your app is, if nobody knows about it, its 100% going to fail. You will need to work hard to get the right information in front of the right people at the right time, to encourage them to download and interact with your app. Sounds easy enough, right?

Well actually, it’s a little more complex than it seems, you see standing out from the crowd of millions of other apps is tricky business. On the flip side, there are multiple ways to strike gold in your mobile app acquisition strategy and we’re going to take you through each of them.

App store optimisation

According to data from Statista, around 562 million apps are downloaded, every day, from various app stores across different operating systems. In order to take advantage of the number one driver of app discovery, you’ll need to delve into the practice of app store optimisation.

Ensuring users can find you through a highly optimised title, keyword string (iOS only), a keyword-rich description alongside ranking factors such as rating is important to the discovery journey.

Multimedia is equally important, with screenshots and videos boosting the appeal of an app, offering insight into the capabilities before committing to a download. You should also be sure to A/B test your page elements to decipher what works best in enticing your desired users to download and use your app.

Is it for me?

App store optimisation is worth the time and effort, as it is one of the key ways in which users find your app. It’s low cost but can take time to establish what the winning approach is, stick with it and make use of this highly effective user acquisition channel.

Paid advertising

Paid ads offer you the capability to propel your brand to the forefront of potential users screens around the world. Whether it’s social advertising, Google app campaigns or in-app advertising with relevant publishers, paid is great for designing highly specific ads that are aimed at each user persona.

Ads can be tailored to meet different requirements or optimised to target different stages of the purchase funnel allowing you to nurture from initial awareness right through to download or purchase.

Creating mobile app landing pages and user targetings, such as demographics and interests, you can design a whole advertising network which is optimised to convert different visitors to app users.

Is it for me?

For a highly effective, visible and quick solution, paid advertising is a must-have for any mobile app business. Although it can be costly, you can tailor the ads to reach the most relevant audience possible, ensuring ROI.


Referrals are basically a recommendation from another source, in this case, to encourage them to use your mobile app. Typically, the lower acquisition costs are attractive, particularly to startups, and can help build a network of advocates for the product.

Using referral codes, which are pushed via in-app messaging, you can encourage your users to share and promote your app in exchange for in-app currency, discounts and rewards.

You can also utilise the element of competitiveness, to encourage users to share their scores, achievements or in-app content to social media channels, accompanied by their unique referral code. You’ll need to make sure you have an attribution platform implement to track referrals effectively.

Is it for me?

This loyalty-based approach is highly affordable, particularly whilst in the mobile app’s infancy, where momentum is key. The difficulty lies in ensuring that referrals are shared by interested parties, without trust, referrals can have less impact and be considered too close to ‘spam’.

Publication, press and PR coverage

Establishing strong professional relationships with the press, publications, bloggers and journalists early on allows you to build a network of people who are more likely to publish content about the app at key times in your business timeline.

To do this, you need to find people who are genuinely going to be interested in your mobile app and speak to them about it, without trying to sell it too hard. You need to have a PR pitch which demonstrates a clear understanding of your audience, a unique angle as well as an approach which will appeal to the publication.

Is it for me?

Building media content, copy and a media kit may appear time-consuming but ensuring that you create considered press content could be vital to obtaining high-quality leads, not to mention the lower cost.

Influencer marketing

More and more people are putting their trust in influencers to inspire the way they dress, the food they eat, the way they decorate their homes and the technology they use.

So, when initially launching your mobile app into the market, support from an influencer or a group of them can help you reach your desired audience, whilst building credibility and awareness.

Recommendations are a powerful thing, so it’s important to work with influencers who are relevant to your market and have a vested interest in the app.

For example, an app designed to manage a busy family life is going to be more effective when represented by a mom or dad blogger, than a games streamer.  

Furthermore, encourage your influencers to tell stories that position how your app can be used to enhance their lives and are doing so on the right platforms and at the right time.

Is it for me?

Influencer marketing has proven to be highly effective and is therefore worth considering for your mobile app. However, it can take some time to establish strong relationships and find the right people to work with. It also often requires a designated individual to manage and nurture these relationships closely to keep everything running smoothly and don’t forget a budget so you can reimburse the influencers you work with appropriately,

Email marketing

Email marketing has long been used to provide users with offers, updates and personalised content to encourage them to make a repeat or initial purchase or, in the case of mobile apps, interact regularly with your mobile app.

If you choose to use email marketing, you should optimise the layout to be viewed on mobile, alongside considering the content type and length. This should include deep links to take them to a definitive location within your app, such as resuming progress or making a specific purchase.

Is it for me?

Email marketing is relatively straight-forward and affordable and allows you to improve your relationship with your users. However, it does require optimisation to be the most effective and this entails the likes of A/B testing, which can take time and resources.

Organic mobile user acquisition

Focusing efforts on an organic strategy offers your mobile app a wealth of opportunity to achieve low-cost traffic through a number of different channels. Alongside visibility, organic traffic is typically much more relevant to your offering and is, therefore, more likely to convert than some paid channels.

Building and optimising your website, maintaining your social channels with fresh, relevant and regular content and ensuring that each of your channels has the capability to funnel traffic to your app store page, are all key ways to optimise your organic capabilities.

Content marketing can support in building a rapport with potential users. It should aim to offer interesting, entertaining and useful insights and provide users with valuable information which will enhance their overall experience.

Is it for me?

Organic mobile user acquisition for apps is low in cost and highly effective, although it is a long-term strategy, which requires time and effort to see the benefits.


If you’re looking to target demographics between 18 – 24, then video acquisition through the likes of YouTube could be one of the most effective routes for increasing the visibility of your mobile app.

Not to mention that video content is overall the most popular and favoured on social media networks, due to its highly accessible and easily consumable nature.

Videos see a 1200% higher social media share than other content shared across these channels, alongside improving conversions on landing pages across your website, by 80%.

You could even consider utilising user-generated content within your video marketing efforts, which can boost trust and allows users to see how the app looks and works before committing to downloading it.

Is it for me?

Recognised as offering the capability to boost your user acquisition and retention, a video could be a valuable investment for any mobile app startup. However, it can be difficult, outside of paid ad placement, to measure the effect that it has on converting customers unless you have a mobile attribution platform implemented.


Offering free trials and demos of your new mobile app allows users to understand and see the value in it, firsthand, with no financial commitment.

If the app requires payment or subscription, users are more likely to commit to this if they have already seen how the software can benefit them.

It’s important that during a demo, you make a point of highlighting all of the things the app can do, establish how it works and makes it clear which features require a paid membership and which are free.

You can enhance the user experience through push notifications or in-app messaging to keep them up to date on when their trial is coming to an end.

Is it for me?

Offering a free demo can initially increase your number of downloads and with the right tactics can capture interest which can be used to sell in a full-paid version or subscription service, later down the line.

However, a high number of free users are recognised as being lower quality leads, so it’s important to be clever about how much time and money you dedicate to this channel.

Measuring acquisition

Once you’ve designed and implemented your acquisition strategy, you need to track your key success metrics closely. This will help you determine the most effective acquisition channels for your market and mobile app, allowing you to better optimise your future efforts.

  • New downloads: You should view your number of downloads across a range of timescales, including how many new downloads you have seen daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly.
  • Download attribution: Understand what channels are yielding the highest number of app installs and how these channels affect how users use your app, ensuring that you compare this with retention data to optimise your strategy and choose the best channels for future activities.
  • Cost per install/cost per key event: Identify your total ad spend alongside the number of new app installs or events in-app that is triggered, to maintain the amount you are spending per install/event is budget-friendly and worth the cost.

For more information on building a successful mobile app acquisition strategy, get in touch with Favoured today.


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