Home » Marketing » Mobile marketing guide to acquire users (Part I)

Mobile marketing guide to acquire users (Part I)

Mobile marketing guide to acquire users (Part I)

Is your app the best application of its kind? And does it work properly? These are the first things to check prior to any further investment in it and thinking about its mobile marketing. If you are not sure about this or if it does not work properly, wait. Do not rush. Acquiring mobile users is not cheap. And if your application does not work properly they will fly away quickly.

All right! Your app is ready, it is impressive and you want to do whatever it takes to make the world know that it’s ripe for downloading. If so, the time has come to invest in mobile marketing for user acquisition: i.e. getting our potential mobile users to download our mobile application.

Updated info: Discover the Best App Marketing Strategies [2020]


person using white iphone

Source: Flickr

A few years ago, if you wanted to promote your mobile app there were few options available to choose from. Nowadays, several platforms allow us to attract mobile users to download our mobile application. The main ones are: the mobile ad network, social networking, video ads and incentivized downloads.

But we don’t have to limit ourselves. No doubt that more effective ones will appear in the future. So why limit yourself to only one of these tools to obtain downloads? Here you have some reasons why you should use several to optimize your mobile marketing strategy:


Every application works differently and is aimed at a different audience. That’s the reason why there is no secret formula to tell you what to do to improve your mobile acquisition. If you remain on a single platform –where you feel comfortable and are also having good results– you may be missing out on opportunities. Why not exploring and testing other platforms? They may also work for you. The more we test and explore, the bigger the knowledge and confidence we will build up towards our next initiatives and the tools we’ll use.


If you invest in only one platform, you may be hitting the same type of user –who in turn may get overloaded by so many exposures– resulting in us getting the opposite result: him getting tired of us. This is why it’s also recommended to invest in several tools to obtain downloads.

As previously mentioned, everything related with mobile phones is changing at lightning speed. Some time ago there were almost no platforms to help us with user acquisition. Currently, Facebook is one of the platforms that work best for acquiring mobile users for most apps due to its detailed segmentation. However, it is likely to be surpassed by video ads soon.

As there is no secret formula, it is important to explore and test several tools in order to optimize the investment, reach your potential user, find the best platforms and identify the saturation limit for each network.

With the aim of introducing several ways to obtain these long-awaited downloads, we make this guide on mobile user acquisition available featuring some of these tools in detail, as well as their advantages, disadvantages and useful specific examples.


Before getting started, it’s important to review some concepts:

CPI – Cost per installation: Under this modality, we pay every time a user downloads our mobile app.

CPC – Cost per click: We pay each time a user clicks on the ad.

CPM – Cost per thousand impression: We pay each time our ad is shown 1000 times.

We must have one thing clear: we will have to pay to acquire mobile users. It’s not free. Some platforms are more expensive, some are cheaper. Our current situation will determine which of such modalities (CPI, CPC and CPM) we’ll be interested in. This downloads (which will involve a cost) will improve our app rank, and thereby improve our visibility.

red arrow going up

Source: Roberto Crespo


There are two kinds of mobile ads: incentivized and non-incentivized. What’s the difference?

Non-incentivized Ads

Mobile users have no incentive to interact with your ad. This traffic is considered “organic” as the user chooses to interact with the ad out of personal interest and not because he will earn something by doing so. We can segment these ads depending on geolocation, gender, or device, amongst others. This segmentation will depend on the kind of platform chosen. Some examples of these kinds of ads are: Banners, Video Ads, Social Media Ads, Cross-promotions and App Discovery.

Pros: The kind of mobile user (LTV) we obtain through these ads is of higher quality than through incentivized ones. These users are people who interact with our ads because they are somehow interested in our app. It’s important to acquire this type of mobile users, as they yield a better return on investment (ROI) in mobile applications.

Cons: Currently, non-incentivized ads are more expensive than incentivized ones. However, trying them is encouraged because it’s very likely that they will work for your mobile application.

Incentivized Ads

They offer players the chance to win virtual prizes in exchange for carrying out a real action. What do they earn? Virtual coins or lives for games in exchange for downloading an app, watching a video, etc. Some examples of these kinds of ads are: Wall Ads and Video Ads.

Pros: The great advantage of incentivized downloads is the speed in which you get downloads. Another advantage is price: in general, this kind of downloads are cheaper than non-incentivized ones.

Cons: This kind of mobile user is not at all committed to our application. These users come across it because they earn something from downloading it, not because they are interested in it. Hence, the value of these users to us (LTV) is quite low and it’s very difficult to get a return on it. However, we may be interested in this kind of downloads at certain times, provided they are linked to other kinds of initiatives.

In order to make the most out of each of these initiatives, it’s important to carry them out following a mobile strategy. Why? Because it’s the way to ensure that we are not implementing different kinds of ads aimlessly. Even though there is no secret formula to it, the odds of being successful will potentially increase if our formula has been thought through before getting started.

Proyecto Marketing