American Marketer


User acquisition via social platforms

February 1, 2016

Itamar Benedy Itamar Benedy


By Itamar Benedy

Winning the user acquisition battle has never been easy, and with so many applications flooding the market, competition over users becomes tougher each day.

Mobile advertisers now spend an average of $9.46 for a registered user and up to $16.01 for sharing the app content. And costs will continue to skyrocket. You can focus your energy on driving organic installs, but with 3 million apps available through major app stores, you are unlikely to hit the top of the charts.

Organic traffic can be a good benchmark for success, but in many cases it is not high quality because you have no control of over it, nor can you target your core audience. But that is where paid user acquisition and social user acquisition are real game changers.

Acquisition through social networks is a worthwhile investment in terms of both price and quality, but many developers do not realize that they can also leverage social data and insights to take their apps to the next level.

How can paid campaigns help?
For a brand new app, paid user acquisition is a powerful tool for building your initial user base, making data-driven decisions about product development and providing support for your soft launch.

In particular, geographically targeted campaigns can bring in a considerable number of users, allowing you to collect data to measure, analyze and improve your app.

Once your product is mature enough, you may opt for a burst campaign to boost its visibility and app store ranking.

Keep in mind that the more paid downloads you have and the higher you are on the charts, the more attention your app will attract. Eventually, this increased attention will drive organic traffic.

According to the mobile marketing analytics firm Tune, each paid install brings you about 1.5 organic installs. Not bad, right?

There are multiple ways to demonstrate how paid user acquisition can promote growth, but one thing is clear: a paid campaign gives you control over what users you target and helps you attract the consumer segments your app really needs.

Why turn to social for user acquisition?
Social media has become a permanent fixture in our lives. Most of us cannot last more than a few minutes without checking news feeds, keeping in touch with friends or texting. There are more than 2 billion people who actively use social networks – that is huge.

Facebook alone boasts 900 million daily active users, and Twitter reaches 316 million monthly active users. Meanwhile, Instagram has grown by 50 percent in the past year.

Because people share so much about themselves, these networks have great insights about user preferences, making it easier for advertisers to deliver what users want.

If you still do not know who your target consumers are, launching a social media campaign can help you find out whether they are male or female, where they live, their interests, what time is best to communicate with them and when they actively use social media channels.

These campaigns are highly scalable, bringing advertisers and marketers top quality users and leading to fast growth.

There is a wealth of information you can use to tailor your messages to your ideal audience. Do your users come home at 6 p.m. and check social media right away? Target them with relevant calls to action and products for that time of day. Do your core segments start their workday by checking their news feeds at 9 a.m.? Show them the messages they want to see in the morning.

How can you further leverage social campaign insights?
Social user acquisition campaigns are an essential tool for figuring out how to communicate with your target consumers and turning them into actively engaged and high lifetime value (LTV) users.

But it does not have to stop there. The pool of user insights – data – you have is a precious asset that you can and should implement to improve your app.

All the information that you have gained about your users can be helpful across the user acquisition mix.

Once you understand user insights – what types of banners work better for men versus messages that inspire women, which countries are more responsive to a certain campaign, and which languages and calls-to-action are effective and which ones are ignored – you can leverage them in multiple ways in digital marketing.

To help your user acquisition partners allocate the appropriate budget, be transparent and share the information that you have obtained.

Each click, view, like, install and uninstall is worth its weight in data gold. Only by gathering, measuring and analyzing data properly will you be able to build killer user acquisition campaigns and effective marketing strategies.

YOUR MARKETING SOLUTIONS form a single ecosystem, where all the elements should interact to achieve complementary and optimal results across the marketing mix.

The more users that campaigns generate, the more data you will have to drive further acquisition efforts and build your monetization strategy.

All you have to do is think omnichannel, connect the dots and make the assets you have work for your success.

Itamar Benedy is general manager of glispa Israel and vice president of strategy and apps, based in Tel Aviv. Reach him at