Sample this: In 2008, there were just 500 apps on the iOS App Store. In 2018, 1.1 million apps were launched on the iOS App Store. Today, there are 2.2. million apps. On Google Play, the current number of apps is 2.8 million. The statistics not only point towards an oversaturation of apps in the app stores, but also why it is becoming increasingly difficult for app marketers to drive growth by relying on organic downloads and app stores or search engine optimisation.
Interestingly, there was a sudden push for expansion of the app market due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People turned to their mobile phones to meet their personal needs and gain access to services no longer available due to the lockdown restrictions. It created an additional demand for a wide variety of app verticals like health, fitness, food delivery and gaming. Yet, for businesses user acquisition continued to be a challenge.
The oversaturation in the app market and the sudden growth in certain app verticals have presented key challenges for businesses and app marketers. One of the key concerns for businesses w.r.t. user acquisition has been user stickiness and this is relevant even under the current scenario. Once the threat of the pandemic subsides, users may no longer rely on their mobile phones to meet their essential needs and services, thereby impacting user retention. “To get newly acquired consumers to stick around, marketers need solid retention strategies so their users become “superfans” or brand ambassadors from day one. This starts by learning consumption habits and where they are leaning in. Analysing your data will be essential to understanding the full conversion funnel and customer journey. Once a user churns it’s much harder to get them back, so firing up your retention strategy now means that you increase your chances of re-engaging them and building loyalty,” shares Shubham Jha, Sales Manager (India) at Adjust, the mobile measurement company that works with over 2,000 advertising partners and 30,000 customers.
While user retention will continue to be a key concern for businesses, a bigger focus area for many would be relooking at their user acquisition strategies. Agreeing with the trend, Shubham says, “In 2021, the key to growth, scale and profits is building a solid user acquisition strategy to acquire users who go on to generate more revenue than they were brought in for.”
Shubham is quick to bring attention to the fact that a good user acquisition strategy is not just about bringing new users to your app, but about bringing the right users. “For many apps, the bulk of their revenue is driven by a small share of their total users, who are much more engaged with the app’s services and more likely to keep coming back to the app. Depending on the app, they might be making in-app purchases, subscribing to the premium version, or just opening the app more and engaging with it for longer sessions, all of which makes them more valuable to app developers.”
Adjust and app monetisation experts at ironSource have put together an e-book ‘Growth Strategies for Mobile App User Acquisition’ to help businesses and developers draft a good user acquisition strategy that focuses on attracting the right users. The e-book is a complete guide to navigating in-app ad networks for mobile app advertisers. “Our latest guide outlines how attribution can play a huge role in making sure your user acquisition strategy is aimed squarely at the most valuable potential users, by identifying which of your existing users drive the most revenue and pinpointing the channel through which you acquired them,” he shares.
With a specific focus on non-gaming apps such as travel, music, shopping and news, the e-book highlights app industry user acquisition trends and strategies for staying ahead of the curve. The ‘Growth Strategies For Mobile App User Acquisition’ e-book doles out tips and talks about tools required to grow a business app through user acquisition. It explores everything right from media sources that non-gaming apps currently rely on to best practices for designing creatives that convert, helping businesses and app marketers navigate every step - whether the business is just starting out and building a strategy from the ground up, or a business looking to optimise and improve its current strategy.
Powered by data from Adjust and ironSource, the report also includes useful case studies and benchmarks for KPIs such as Click Through Rate (CTR) and Conversion Rate (CVR), enabling app marketers to see how their performance currently fares against the rest.
Shubham says that the best practices and observations in the e-book are universal and can be applied to any market in the world.
“In the case of India, the fact that mobile users are growing in number faster than anywhere else means the e-book will be more relevant than ever. With so many new users to attract, there is the pitfall for apps to spend a lot of money attracting the wrong type of user with an acquisition strategy that isn’t built around sustainable growth. This is why tracking and attribution will be imperative for app marketers and businesses in India in 2021.”
He suggests that in a big market like India, app user acquisition campaigns should see which networks and campaigns are driving the most value and reallocate budgets away from underperforming channels. He also recommends that app marketers develop a more diverse strategy, incorporating in-app ad networks into the mix. “While in-app ad networks have largely been the reserve of gaming advertisers, non-gaming brands have a massive opportunity to target highly relevant mobile app users that your competitors aren’t talking to — providing a real competitive edge in an oversaturated market.”
As restrictions during the pandemic take us towards a more app-focused world, 2021 is likely to see more businesses investing in their apps and using them as a primary channel to interact with their users. This is even true for the non-gaming apps market. That being said, to stay a step ahead and proactively reach out to valuable potential users, businesses must have an app user acquisition strategy that goes beyond Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and App Store Optimization (ASO).