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Why Organic Mobile User Acquisition Isn’t Enough

You’ve developed an app, and now you’re turning your attention toward building up a user base. But your budget is limited, so you figure you’ll stick to organic mobile user acquisition. Will this strategy alone work? Will you be able to amass enough engaged followers to monetize your app?

Unfortunately, organic mobile user acquisition isn’t necessarily enough to monetize an app in today’s competitive market. Here’s why—and what marketers can do to drive valuable user engagement.

Organic Mobile User Acquisition: Pros and Cons

Organic installs are important because they keep your overall cost per install down. When this metric is too high, it’s difficult to monetize your app because the cost of attracting users becomes higher than the payoff. So, the main pro of organic acquisition is its cost effectiveness.

The primary way to drive organic installs is by listing your app in popular stores, then optimizing this listing. This way, potential users can find it when they search for keywords related to the apps they’re seeking. According to one report, 63 percent of iOS users and 58 percent of Android users report “general browsing in an app store” as a method they use to discover new apps. This makes App Store Optimization (ASO) crucial as far as organic methods go.

Here are a few principles of ASO:

  • Choose a title that’s 25 characters or less and includes the most relevant keyword for which you want your app to rank.
  • Conduct keyword research and include top terms in your description, including some long-tail keywords.
  • Create a creative, recognizable icon.
  • Fill out your listing with screenshots and videos demonstrating what users can expect visually when they open your app.

Above all, think about how exactly users will be browsing and searching within various app stores to find new apps to install. Then optimize your listing to suit this user behavior. While ASO is just a start, it’s the first step to maximizing installs without having to pay for each one.

Paid App Marketing: Acquiring and Retaining Quality Users

ASO is useful in capturing installs from people already browsing app stores. But there are more than 2 million apps within the App Store and Google Play store, respectively. Convincing users to install your app—let alone stay engaged consistently enough to take important post-install actions—is a challenge that’s larger than organic acquisition alone.

Paid strategies, like targeted mobile ad campaigns, are another source for driving installs. The primary benefit here is that you can serve highly personalized ads to mobile users based on their demographic and usage data. This allows marketers to focus on acquiring “high-value users,” or the people most likely to go beyond installation to convert.

Working with a mobile app marketing agency like Liftoff enables marketers to target lookalike audiences, or people who exhibit characteristics in common with those most likely to convert, from billions of profiles. This drives user engagement without casting an unnecessarily wide and costly net.

Ads can reach mobile users across ecosystems; ASO applies to people who are already searching within an app store for something specific. This just goes to show organic and paid user acquisition methods can complement each other well, creating a more comprehensive strategy to attract users.

Paid Installs Increase Organic Installs

There’s one last reason to pursue paid mobile app acquisition as well as organic: “Paid app installs can boost organic app installs by 1.5 times across all categories.” Why? Well more installs and ratings of any kind improve app store rankings, to start. But there’s also the social aspect of many apps: People who pay to install an app and like it may tell friends and family, or refer another mobile user.

The most successful mobile app marketing endeavors include paid and organic components; rarely, if ever, is organic user acquisition enough on its own.

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