Your User Acquisition Marketing Strategy: Getting Started

There are millions of games on the app store, and an ever increasing number of gamers who are looking to spend. In 2020, the number of mobile game downloads broke records and in 2021, users are set to spend over $120 billion on mobile games! There’s so much opportunity for success in the mobile games space, but how are you going to grow your game in such a saturated market?

The answer lies in your user acquisition (UA) marketing strategy. Your UA marketing strategy has got to be top-notch if you’re going to be successful in growing your mobile game. But don’t worry, we’re here to get you started.

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Measuring User Acquisition

Metrics are the foundation of your UA marketing strategy. Your first step is to figure out what you’re going to measure, how you’re going to measure it, and what those measurements tell you about your success.

An essential metric to measure the success of your game and UA marketing strategy is Cost Per Install (CPI). CPI is exactly what it sounds like: the amount you pay in advertising to acquire each user who installs your game. You’re also going to need to look at the Lifetime Value (LTV) of your users. Understanding your CPI and your user LTV are essential to your UA strategy. By comparing these values, you’ll know whether the money you’ve invested in advertising is paying off.

There are many more metrics you can track including, but not limited to, total number of installs, daily/monthly active users, and retention rate. By including more values in your analysis, you’ll have a more holistic understanding of the growth of your game and will be able to adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Once you’ve decided what metrics you’re going to track, you should set some goals and benchmarks to compare against. You can base your benchmarks off previous releases, similar games in the genre, industry reports, etc. Choose benchmarks that are realistic and best reflect your game.

Finally, remember that your benchmarks and goals should be flexible. If your game isn’t measuring up to the goals you set, reassess!

Your first step is to figure out what you’re going to measure, how you’re going to measure it, and what those measurements tell you about your success.

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Balancing Organic and Non-Organic Growth for User Acquisition

There’s a staggering number of games on the app store, and many of those games never turn a profit. So how do you stand out in a vast sea of games?

App store optimization (ASO) is important, but it’s only going to get you so far. Not only is it difficult, but it’s time-consuming and unreliable. Similarly, putting countless hours of effort into organic content marketing can lead to your game under-performing.

The reality is that you can’t rely on organic growth. The market is just too big and you’ll be counting on mostly luck to grow your userbase (even Inner Sloth’s viral hit Among Us took years before it blew up). A more effective strategy is to take advantage of the power of targeted advertising.

Targeted Advertising and User Acquisition

Targeted advertising involves identifying a specific audience and crafting tailored messages  based on their  traits, interests and preferences. Instead of casting a wide net and hoping to catch a few interested people, targeted advertising narrows your scope to those most likely to download your game. Targeted advertising is more likely to yield better user acquisition results than organic growth, with 91% of consumers saying they are more likely to engage with brands that offer relevant, personalized options.

To target the right audience for your mobile game, you’ll need to conduct market research so that you have a strong understanding of your existing and potential audience. There are a variety of ways to go about getting this information and it doesn’t just stop at figuring out your game’s demographics. It’s your chance to get creative and deep dive into your existing playerbase and potential audience’s behavior, niche interests, the influencers they follow and more!

AE gives you insights about your players from their interactions with social and streaming services like Reddit and Twitch.

Crafting Player Personas

The information you learn about your users during your market research is going to help you create player personas. Player personas are profiles that describe the quintessential player types of your game.  Think of them as the fictional representation of the ideal customer. Building player personas is an essential step in developing your targeted advertising campaign as it allows you to craft marketing materials directed towards the audience the persona represents.

At the very least, it’s important to understand the basic player personas that exist (e.g. segments based on player spending habits) but you can also craft more detailed player personas. These personas can include basic information like demographics, but also more interesting characteristics like their music tastes and what influencers they follow. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Creativity is the key to unlocking niche markets you may have previously ignored.

Instead of casting a wide net and hoping to catch a few interested people, targeted advertising narrows your scope to those most likely to download your game.

The Importance of Lookalike Audiences in User Acquisition

Using lookalike audiences is another key tactic in your targeted advertising campaign. Lookalike audiences are ad audiences that are similar (in demographics, online activity, preferences, etc.) to an existing audience. By targeting a lookalike audience, you’re increasing the chance of reaching those most likely to download your game – lookalike audiences lead to 9x more online conversions!

All the major social media platforms and search engines offer the ability to use lookalike audiences. Facebook, for example, allows you to upload a source or seed audience from which it will create a lookalike audience that you can target with your advertising. Here’s a chance for you to use the player personas you created. Segment your audience based on the player personas, provide Facebook with a list of your current users who match that persona, and then Facebook will create an audience similar to them. You can then customize your messaging based on the persona and target the ideal audience with messaging that appeals to them.

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Reaching Players Through Email Marketing

Email marketing is more effective now than ever. That relevant, personalized content you’re providing through targeted marketing? Well it can lead to a return of $44 for every $1 spent with email marketing. Wow!

So how can you use email in your user acquisition strategy? Email marketing is another way to employ targeted advertising. You can reach current and past players through your established email list, and using the player personas you created, tailor the messaging according to the audience segment and the goal of your email campaign. For example, you may use email marketing to bring players back to a game they’ve fallen off by offering promotions that appeal to them. Or you may target the player personas that would likely be interested in your new game release.

Bringing it all Together

Here’s a summary of the most important steps in creating your user acquisition strategy:

  1. Decide what you’re going to measure and how you’re going to measure it.
  2. Set goals and benchmarks to compare your results against.
  3. Determine your budget and how much you’re going to invest in targeted campaigns. Remember: targeted campaigns are more  likely to yield a higher return.
  4. Craft player personas so you can build lookalike audiences and target the people who are most likely to download your game.
  5. Utilize email as a marketing channel.

And the last step? Review, reflect and redesign.

Compare the results of your campaign to the goals you set at the beginning. Here’s some questions you should be asking:

  • Did you achieve what you wanted to? If so, examine the areas where you excelled and make note for future campaigns.
  • Were there any areas where you fell short of your goals? Can you pinpoint why?
  • Were your goals too lofty or not lofty enough?
  • Did you target the right audience?
  • What will you do differently next time?

By reviewing your data, reflecting on how it measures up to your goals, and redesigning your strategy based on the information you learned, you can continually improve your user acquisition marketing strategy going forward.

AE delivers powerful marketing data. Let us show you how to precision target the right audience for your mobile game.