It is clear that app stores have become crowded environments with there currently being 2 million apps available for download in the Apple App Store and 2.1 million in the Google Play Store. More than ever, it is important to have a well thought-out user acquisition strategy in place for your app to succeed. So then what does it mean to acquire users? While also creating a pleasant onboarding experience, this involves using the best practices and strategies to increase the number of people downloading and using your app. You might be intimidated looking at the statistics mentioned above, but don’t you worry about that, we are here to provide the essential steps to acquiring mobile app users.

Strategies for Mobile App User Acquisition

There are basically two main user acquisition categories: organic and paid. Below we go further into detail on the strategies included in both categories as well as providing you with different tools to help guide you on your way to acquiring more users.


App store optimization: Also known as ASO, this is the process of increasing in-store rankings and improving the visibility of your app. A couple of months ago, we did a post on creating an app icon specifically designed to increase downloads where we mentioned how app store optimization works. As a reminder, ASO is the process of helping mobile apps rank higher in app store search results by optimizing the content on their app store page. With the app ranking higher in the results, it becomes more noticeable and discoverable to possible customers and traffic becomes more frequent on your app’s page, which means: more downloads.

There are several factors involved to help with app store optimization. Having a title, a stellar icon design, description, location, screenshots and video tutorials on your app detail page are all part of the process. During the course of creating an optimized title and description for your app, it is important to think of the keywords and language your target audience and potential customers will use to search for apps similar to yours (a resource that can help with this is Keyword Tool). According to Statista, the most common way for an app to be discovered is through searching in app stores, therefore ASO plays an essential part in user acquisition.


SEO and content marketing: Using Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla to create a website and a blog for your app can be another way to attract users and spread the word. Building a relevant content marketing strategy can attract lots of potential new users to your website organically. Make sure to create a simple website that shows screenshots, demo videos and teasers of how your app works along with a link to it in the app store can increase the onboarding of users.

Social media: Using social media to engage and interact constantly with users can increase brand awareness and their interest in your app. This involves posting to different social networks like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram or sharing content on discussion websites like Quora and Reddit, engaging with online communities and groups, interacting with users via comments, communicating with influencers to help promote the app and using hashtags to boost the reach of your app.

Analysing your users’ behaviour on social media can help to determine which social media platform is the most popular among them and understand where your app will have the most impact. Hashtagify is a useful tool to help figure out the top hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. It is important to engage with the users on these different platforms to convince them why your app is worth downloading as well as listening to their opinions and feedback.  



Reviews and ratings: Receiving reviews and feedback from users is a great way to know what works well and what can be improved upon. Having in-app feedback features like push notifications or messages asking users for ratings and reviews is essential to know how consumers feel about using your app. You can even provide users with little in-app rewards for reviewing and commenting on its level of usability.


Boost campaigns: Also known as burst campaigns, this is when people buy a large amount of media exposure for their app for a short period of time (24-72 hours). This increases the visibility and ranking of the app. The benefits of using this mode of user acquisition are that it provides your app with a prominent place in app store charts and a better exposure in search results. This can result in a “burst effect” with a large number of app downloads in a short period of time. Appbooster is a platform that can help to boost your app to the top of the Apple and Google Play store charts.

Social media advertising: Advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube are great platforms for promoting your app. With Instagram and Facebook being some of the biggest social networking platforms, promoting your ad with eye-catching graphics, statistics, short videos and a link to your app, can help with your acquisition strategy and reaching your target audience. In fact, 30-second mobile video ads have a completion rate of 88.3%. Video ads for your brand can be created with other helpful tools like LoopMe and Renderforest.



Retargeting: Also known as remarketing, this is a form of online advertising to help your brand stay ahead of bounced traffic (people who don’t interact with your website). Let’s say someone visits your website but doesn’t click the link to download your app. Because of the cookies stored in a user’s browser, a retargeting ad of your app will pop up when that person visits another website.

This tactic helps to increase the awareness of your brand and persuade them to download the app. However, it is important to note that it is unnecessary to retarget people who have already downloaded your app and the overuse of retargeting will only lead to annoying and frustrating the users. Facebook and Google AdWords are sites that offer the necessary tools to help you create retargeting ad campaigns.



Now that you are all set to use these strategies to acquire users, it’s time to get to work on optimizing the visibility of your app! Be sure to stay tuned for future posts where we discuss everything there is to know about user retention and knowing how to properly pitch an app idea. We are proud to be your #1 resource for mobile app development in Montreal and Toronto.