10 Innovative Mobile User Acquisition Strategies

The ever-changing landscape for mobile user acquisition strategies for apps can make it challenging to decide which approach is best for your product. With the intense competition within the app stores, the limited attention span of mobile app users and changes in platforms’ privacy regulations, taking an innovative approach to your app acquisition strategy is necessary to find your most valuable users.

That’s why we have put together 10 innovative mobile user acquisition strategies for your next mobile user acquisition campaign. These tactics can help you streamline your acquisition efforts, attract the right users and increase installs in the competitive mobile app landscape. Let’s get into it!

1. Social Media Ads

When considering mobile app user acquisition strategies, paid social is often one of the first ideas that come to mind. This includes advertising on the likes of Meta (Facebook and Instagram), TikTok, Snap, X and Reddit. Advertising on these channels offers numerous advantages:

  • Using mobile social media ads is an efficient and cost-effective way of engaging with an audience. Thanks to flexible budgeting options, app marketers can control the costs and optimise spending to achieve a better return on investment.
  • Social media ads pose the benefit of exposing your app to a wide-ranging audience. In 2024, there are estimated to be 5.17 billion total social media users worldwide.
  • Social media ads provide marketers with real-time feedback. The instant feedback you receive from social posts (e.g. comments and interactions) can make you instantly aware of how your audience feels towards your latest strategies. This will allow you to quickly recalibrate and optimise your campaigns accordingly with just a few clicks.

Social media ads are a vital part of a marketing strategy. Potential customers can interact with a brand in the places they use daily, offering users ease and convenience. For example, about 15% of TikTok users won’t even realise they’re being advertised to. This is valuable information you can leverage for your app marketing efforts.

Social media advertising may not be the most out-of-the-box method of mobile user acquisition, but there are strategies you can apply to distinguish yourself from the competition. Here are some helpful tips to consider:

  • Mix your assets: To maximise the performance of your paid social campaigns, leverage the mix of creative assets. Different users respond to different types of content. Some may prefer static images, while others can find your video content more engaging. The more creative formats you use, the better your chances of capturing the attention of a broader audience. Mixing your assets also allows you to tell your brand’s story in various ways. For example, a video can be great for a user testimonial, while a carousel can detail the app’s key value proposition.
  • Know your channels: Adhering to the best practices specific to each social media channel will ensure the effectiveness of your campaigns. Consider ad formats and aspect ratios, targeting options, creative best practices and unique user behaviours. Remember that each platform attracts different types of users who engage with content in distinct ways so testing different assets will be key in identifying what works best for your target audience.
  • Measure Engagements instead of CTRs: Click-through rates (CTRs) have been used by marketers to measure user intent for some time now, but this metric does not always accurately serve this purpose.

With the rise of mobile usage, users consume content in shorter, more fragmented sessions. Expecting users to click through to a website or landing page immediately may not always align with their browsing habits. Prioritising revenue-based metrics alongside CTR allows for a more holistic understanding of how users interact with your content on social media. These metrics include cost per acquisition (CAC) or return on ad spend (ROAS) which are more valuable indicators of the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Also, social media platforms regularly update their algorithms to prioritise content that encourages meaningful interactions and fosters community engagement. This means that focusing solely on optimising for CTR may not necessarily lead to increased visibility and reach. By prioritising user interaction, brands can adapt to algorithmic changes and ensure their content remains visible to their target audience.

Source: UKTV user acquisition creative

2. Apple Search Ads (ASA)

Apple Search Ads (ASA) is one of the most high-intent search platforms available to acquire iOS users. Here’s why:

Apple Search Ads, available on the App Store, enables marketers to target users based on App Store keyword search terms, with the added advantage of Apple’s proprietary data on user behaviour and preferences.

70% of App Store visitors use search to find apps they’re looking for, so there is already high user intent. The search-to-download pipeline is also consistent, with a 60% average conversion rate. This means ads are shown to users who are most likely to engage with and download the app, enhancing conversion rates.

By utilising this platform, marketers can achieve a highly targeted and cost-effective approach to user acquisition, tapping into the intent-driven searches of potential users right at the moment they are looking for new apps.

3. Dynamic Deep Linking

Deep linking is an innovative mobile user acquisition strategy that significantly enhances user acquisition and engagement. This approach involves creating links that direct users to specific in-app content based on their preferences and behaviours. The benefits of deep linking include:

  • Increased conversions and higher retention
  • Reducing friction in the user journey
  • They are easily measurable for granular insights

So, how do they work in practice?

When a user clicks a dynamic deep link, they are seamlessly guided through the app installation process and then taken directly to the targeted content, providing a tailored and frictionless experience. Not only does this improve user conversion by delivering relevant content, but it also enhances user retention by offering a personalised user journey from the very beginning.

It is worth noting that the process of deep linking looks different between Android and iOS devices. On iOS, you need to specify a custom URL scheme for iOS Universal Links, meanwhile, on Android, you need to set up app links.

Let’s not forget that deep linking enables marketers to optimise campaigns by targeting specific segments like behaviour, preferences, and demographics. This then enables measurement of the effectiveness of different touchpoints and allows app marketers to refine user experiences based on detailed analytics.

By leveraging this innovative mobile user acquisition strategy, you can drive higher engagement, increase conversion rates, and build more meaningful connections with your audience. And now app owners can also deep link their Custom Product Pages, allowing for even higher levels of personalisation in the user journey!

4. AI and Machine Learning Personalisation

AI and machine learning personalisation are some of the more cutting-edge mobile user acquisition strategies – and they are becoming more widely available.

For example, a shopping app (with the right marketing automation technology) can send push notifications to a user based on previous shopping activities or product preferences, increasing the likelihood of a purchase and user satisfaction, without the requirement of manual targeting.

By leveraging AI and machine learning algorithms, app marketers can analyse high amounts of user data to discern user patterns, preferences, and behaviours. App marketers can use these findings to create highly personalised experiences, from tailored content recommendations to customised in-app messaging.

The mobile advertising world has evolved significantly with the integration of machine learning to drive platform algorithms. One example of this is Meta’s Advantage+ App Campaigns. Focusing on automation to enhance app performance, these campaigns utilise machine learning to deliver high-performing creatives to relevant audiences across effective placements – all determined by their algorithm. In contrast to manual ads, automated campaigns such as these tend to streamline setup, support bulk ad creation, and use machine learning to enhance placement optimisation.

This is typically a great place to start with app install campaigns. Whilst these campaigns are limited in their targeting options (such as gender, demographics, interests, and behaviours), the automated campaigns aim to find your ‘ideal’ user over time and give you audience and creative insights you may not have initially hypothesised. This, of course, means putting a whole lot of trust in automated campaigns and relinquishing the level of control you would normally have over more manual campaigns.

Machine learning models continuously learn and adapt from user interactions, refining personalisation efforts in real-time. Recent research indicates that 51% of marketers say personalisation is their top priority and 70% of consumers are more loyal to the brand if the company understand their personal needs. This means it is worth utilising AI and machine learning personalisation for your mobile user acquisition strategy.

5. Retargeting Campaigns

Retargeting campaigns are a vital component of innovative mobile user acquisition strategies in mobile marketing, aimed at re-engaging users who have previously interacted with an app but have not yet converted or remained active.

These campaigns can be executed across various channels, including social media, display networks, and even within other apps.

By leveraging user data, such as browsing history, in-app behaviour, and previous interactions, app marketers can create highly targeted ads that remind users of the app’s value and encourage them to return.

Advanced retargeting techniques can also segment users based on their behaviour, allowing for personalised messaging that addresses specific user needs or interests.

For example, a user who abandoned a purchase in a shopping app might receive ads featuring the items they viewed, along with a special discount to incentivise completion of the purchase. By effectively utilising retargeting campaigns, mobile marketers can significantly improve user retention, increase conversions, and maximise the return on investment from their marketing efforts.

It is worth noting that retargeting campaigns have become ever more difficult in light of iOS 14+ and Apple’s ever-evolving SKAN privacy regulations for iPhone users. This has led to a bigger data gap for personal user data on iOS.  We recommend focusing your retargeting campaigns on Android, where these restrictions currently do not exist.

Source: Shopify

6. Interactive and Shoppable Ads (Snapchat / TikTok)

Interactive and shoppable ads on platforms like Snapchat and TikTok are transforming mobile marketing by providing engaging and seamless pathways for mobile user acquisition and conversion. This is evidenced by recent research indicating that 71% of TikTok users made a purchase after viewing products on the platform, and 58% used the platform for shopping inspiration.

These ads shrink the acquisition funnel with their visual appeal and interactive design, encouraging users to actively participate, rather than passively viewing content. Shoppable ads allow users to browse and purchase products directly within the ad experience, minimising friction and enhancing the convenience of shopping.

The interactive features that you can find on Snapchat, e.g. augmented reality (AR) lenses enable users to try on products virtually, while TikTok’s in-feed shoppable ads integrate seamlessly into the user’s content feed, making the shopping experience feel natural and engaging.

These platforms leverage their wide range of users and advanced targeting capabilities to deliver ads to highly relevant audiences, maximising the chances of conversion.

Through immersive and interactive ad experiences, brands can capture the attention of users more effectively, foster a deeper connection, and drive higher engagement rates. Also, the social-based interface of these platforms encourages users to share their interactive experiences, amplifying the reach and impact of the campaigns.

Through the innovative use of interactive and shoppable ads, mobile marketers can boost brand awareness, drive direct sales, and create memorable experiences that resonate with their audience.

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7. User-Generated Content (TikTok)

User-generated content (UGC) on platforms like TikTok has emerged as a powerful strategy for mobile user acquisition in mobile marketing. This approach leverages the creativity and influence of users to create authentic and relatable content that promotes a brand or product. On TikTok, UGC can take various forms, you can read more about that here. It is predicted that around 78% of online content will be user-generated by 2033. A lot of mobile marketing brands have already made the switch to a UGC-led creative strategy.

By encouraging users to participate in branded challenges or share their experiences with a product, app marketers can tap into the platform’s viral nature and foster a sense of community around their brand. UGC not only amplifies reach through organic sharing but also builds trust and authenticity. 84% of buyers trust recommendations from their peers over all types of advertising, so UGC marketing will likely generate a positive ROI.

Furthermore, TikTok’s algorithm promotes engaging and popular content, increasing the likelihood that high-quality UGC will be seen by a broader audience. Brands can enhance this strategy by collaborating with influencers who can further drive participation and add credibility.

Through user-generated content, mobile marketers can create cost-effective, high-impact campaigns that drive user engagement, boost brand loyalty, and attract new users in an authentic and compelling manner.

8. AI Creatives via Meta

Jumping on the AI bandwagon, Meta now offers AI-driven creatives in an attempt to revolutionise the way that ads are designed, optimised and delivered. Meta’s AI tools leverage machine learning algorithms to generate and customise ad creatives based on user data, preferences, and behaviours.

By analysing extensive datasets, AI can predict which ad elements—such as images, headlines, and calls-to-action—will perform best with different user segments. This enables marketers to deploy a variety of ad variations automatically, ensuring that each user sees the most relevant and engaging content.

Additionally, AI-driven creatives can adapt in real-time, optimising ad performance by continuously learning from user interactions and adjusting elements to enhance effectiveness.

Overall, AI-driven creatives on Meta represent the shift towards AI and automation in the creative space and we foresee that these innovations will continue to develop over the coming years.

Source: Meta

9. iOS Tracking and SKAN

iOS Tracking via SKAdNetwork (SKAN) is crucial in mobile marketing, particularly in the context of mobile user acquisition and privacy compliance. As concerns over user privacy have grown, and with the introduction of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, the traditional methods of user tracking have been significantly altered in iOS campaigns.

SKAN, Apple’s privacy-centric framework, provides a solution that allows marketers to measure the success of their advertising campaigns without compromising user privacy. We have a range of insights on this framework here.

SKAN enables app marketers to track and attribute conversions, such as app installs or in-app events, in a way that aggregates data and anonymises user information.

This approach ensures that while individual user behaviour is not tracked, the overall effectiveness of an ad campaign can still be assessed. Through SKAN, advertisers receive postbacks with limited data about ad interactions, which helps them understand which campaigns are driving installs and other key actions.

Despite the limitations, compared to previous tracking methods, SKAN offers several benefits. It helps maintain user trust by adhering to stringent privacy standards, as well as encourages marketers to focus on broader, data-driven insights rather than granular user-level tracking.

By leveraging SKAN, app marketers can optimise their campaigns based on performance metrics, making informed decisions on ad spend and creative strategies. App marketers can continue to drive effective mobile user acquisition strategies while respecting user privacy and adapting to the evolving digital advertising landscape.

App Tracking Transparency (ATT) Prompt

10. On-Device Ad Formats

On-device ad formats are an innovative strategy designed to enhance mobile user acquisition by integrating ads directly within the mobile device’s operating system or native apps.

An example of on-device advertising is the use of Original Equipment Manufacturer placements, OEM for short, where users can explore pre-installed apps or see an in-device app recommendation on their phones.

This type of advertising is currently only available on Android devices and is highly popular in Asian countries, especially China, where the Google Play store isn’t available. Some examples include Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi.

There are many advantages of OEM advertising such as increased visibility (pre-installed apps are guaranteed immediate exposure), higher engagement and conversion (which can reach even 85%) and lower acquisition cost.

However, this mobile user acquisition method can come with some challenges:

  • Cost – OEM advertising can be expensive. Securing OEM placement often requires upfront investment and there might be ongoing fees involved.
  • Market uncertainty – The success of your app would hugely rely on the OEM’s market performance and reputation, which can vary by region, leading to uncertain user acquisition.
  • Limited control – the app may need to meet specific guidelines when it comes to the app presentation, branding or even settings which leaves developers little control over their product.

Overall, on-device ads benefit from enhanced visibility and their placement in a trusted environment – the interface of the user’s device. However, they come with challenges and app marketers should review if it fits with their product goals, branding and budgets.

Source: BBC

Conclusion

In conclusion, as the landscape of mobile marketing continuously evolves, app marketers will need to stay up to date with the most innovative and cutting-edge strategies for effective mobile user acquisition. New techniques and technologies are being rolled out all the time, so keeping up with trends can be the difference between a successful and an unsuccessful campaign.

Each of the strategies mentioned throughout this blog illustrates a technique that can contribute towards a comprehensive and dynamic approach to mobile marketing, enabling brands to connect with their audience in meaningful and effective ways.

To gain further insight on mobile user acquisition, or for more app marketing knowledge, check out our other posts here.

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