NEW Game developers: check out PacketZoom Mobile Connect
Date By Celia Liang, Marketing Specialist, PacketZoom Tags mobile marketing / online advertising / targeted ads / acquisition ROI / mobile applications / user acquisition / customer retention / customer churn / business KPI / lifetime value

Mobile marketing - user aquisition and retention

The importance of user acquisition to mobile app marketers is not just defined by the number of installs or downloads, but user retention metrics as well. Knowing how to market mobile apps properly and efficiently is a no easy feat. Money spent on marketing can rise to the millions in one day.

At what cost?

In the mobile app space, advertising to mass audiences proved to be less effective than targeted ads on platforms like Facebook. Standard rates start anywhere from $7 per 1,000 installs and can rise up to as much as $7 per ONE install during the holiday season. Not only is user acquisition costly, but the return is also often slim. Only a small percentage of users, is expected to spend money on in-game purchases. Many apps advertised on Facebook are simple, free to play games, where only 3-4% of their users are expected to make an in-game purchase. Hardcore games, like Kingdoms of Camelot, expect only about 10-15% of their users to spend in the game. Not only that, but on average, apps lose about 77% of their users within the first 3 days. Capturing the user’s attention is the easy part. So how do marketers maintain their interest and get past the 3 day hump?

What can marketers do to increase user retention?

Marketing mobile games properly is a complex, sophisticated model. Even with the help of publishers, mobile marketers can still follow best practices to stay in good light with users.

  1. Leave a lasting impression: Leave a good first impression and ensure a smooth onboarding process. The initial experience with an app can be a telling sign if it is worth returning to. If the app is confusing and difficult to navigate through, users are likely to abandon the app in search of another option.
  2. Know your users’ lifetime value: It is much more expensive to acquire a user than to retain a user. Marketers need to know the lifetime value of their users (the average time a user sticks with the app and the average revenue generated per user). The ultimate goal is to reach a point where average revenue is higher than the average cost of acquiring a user.
  3. Measure ROI: Develop a way to track and measure users acquired from different platforms. Marketers should conduct research and compare data points with similar companies. Marketers also need to be aware of their users’ rate of usage. For example, apps like Expedia should not compare data points with apps like Slickdeals, because the expected time of use is only about once a month, as opposed to once a day for a daily deals app. Therefore, what works for one app might not work for another.
  4. Give them what they need: Intent is necessary for a successful app. Everyone uses an app with a purpose, whether the purpose is entertainment through a mobile game or looking for a ride through Uber. If there is no intent, there is no reason for the app to exist. Marketers should actively work to make sure users see the value of their app with new content, promotions, app enhancements, etc.
  5. Don’t over-push: Marketers can utilize push notifications to send gentle reminders and promotional notes to users to revisit their app. Although reminders often do work, marketers need to be careful not to overdo them and end up driving customers away. A study conducted by Leanplum on 671 million push notifications showed that the more notifications users received, the likelihood of opening the app decreased and they were more likely to leave for good.
  6. Customize, personalize, engage: Providing users with customizable options creates a sense of attachment to the app. Customizations can range anywhere from setting your own preferences to creating your own custom character to a game. When a user spends time and attention on customizing the app, the more likely they are to return to the app. Not to mention, in many mobile games, special customizations to character profiles require in app purchases. That’d be killing two birds with one stone!
  7. Invest in performance: There’s nothing more frustrating for users than waiting for content to load. Developers may invest all efforts into creating an engaging user experience, but can’t control the mobile networks that users rely on in real-time. Low latency in mobile network leads to disconnects, slow load times and a compromised experience, which directly affects user acquisition and retention rates. A Mobile Network Performance Study conducted by PacketZoom revealed that 71% of users expect mobile apps to load within 3 seconds and 63% will abandon an app that fails to load within five seconds. Advanced in-app technologies can help mitigate these issues and allow for a more consistent user experience, no matter when and where consumers are using the app.

Set yourself up for success

Regardless of how difficult it is to market a mobile app properly, marketers can always go the extra mile in conducting research and thinking in the users’ shoes. The end goal is to leave users satisfied enough to return and stay as a loyal customer. PacketZoom helps various apps regularly in making sure users have a smooth experience.


Read more about how we helped Travelyaari increase user retention and engagement. Download the full case study.

To learn how PacketZoom can help improve YOUR application, let us evaluate your app network perfromance and send you a FREE REPORT showing existing download speed and connectivity including the potential improvement using PacketZoom.


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