Mobile App Marketing: Benchmark Your User Acquisition Strategy


After you launch your mobile marketing campaigns, your work isn’t done. There are always opportunities to improve performance, refine, and optimize the results to maximize returns against spend. You may have significant growth opportunities to expand your core audience and/or geographic market.

If you’ve spread your campaign budget across several networks and tactics, you’ll want to see which ones perform the best. Ongoing evaluations of app store conversions, media channels, targeting and creatives will be required.

You’ll also need to be vigilant about the quality of your users — fraudulent users are a reality, but can be controlled if you know what to look for.

In this section, we’ll give you an overview of the monitoring and review process, take a look at how competitive data can help you optimize, and dip into the benefits of localization. We also provide a brief lesson in ad fraud.

Digging Deep Into Competitors’ UA

Understanding what worked for other apps in your category is a great way to shorten the learning curve and find tactics that deliver results.

While you’ll always have limited visibility into all of the details of what competitors are doing, there is immensely valuable quantitative and qualitative data available to help you optimize your own marketing campaign, informing your own spend and creatives and enabling you to set realistic benchmarks.

Here are three useful areas to monitor:

1. Competitive app retention data Discover how many high-quality users a competitor acquires and retains — and compare your own retention rates.

2. Competitive ad creative monitoring Track ad formats and creatives to see which messages and visuals may resonate with your target audience. For example, below are a few ads promoting the Walgreens app. If you are speaking to a similar audience, it can be helpful to see what you’re up against.

3. Paid vs. organic downloads Assess the source of a competitor’s growth, and to what degree it is organic or because of a paid user acquisition campaign. This will allow you to gauge the level and effectiveness of a competitor’s UA activity and adjust your own spend accordingly.


Right now, the iOS App Store and Google Play are available in more than 150 countries — that’s billions of potential users who may be interested in your app. But just because your ASO and UA strategies work in one market doesn’t mean they’ll translate exactly to others, so you’ll need to consider localization.

Localization is the process of adapting your app, content, creative assets and UA tactics to new locations or markets. In addition to language differences, localization takes into account cultural differences. A thorough understanding of the new market is required, and partnering with a local agency can help.

Your global ASO strategy, for example, will include the same core components as your overall strategy, but it should be tailored to play to cultural nuances within the major regions where you have a presence. For example, in South Korea white phones are more common and preferred, so you might want to make sure any screenshots on your app store page feature a white phone.

If your UA tactics include global advertising efforts, you can review top-performing ad creatives in local markets to inform your creative strategy. On a base level this could mean changing out a shot of Empire State Building in an ad with the Eiffel Tower for a French version, for example.

A Quick Note on Ad Fraud

If something is too good to be true, it just might be. According to Forbes, financial exposure to app install fraud in Q1 of 2018 was as much as $800 million, a 30% increase over last year.

But if you stay on top of your numbers, you may be able to uncover signs of fraudulent activity sooner rather than later. A few simple, but necessary, suggestions:

  • Focus on metrics like retention.
  • Perform regular research to understand how you’re earning installs.
  • Seek out partners to help combat any suspected fraud.

Remember, when it comes to ad fraud, you’re not in it alone. Fraudsters aren’t working alone and neither should you. These are highly organized, and often well-funded, attack campaigns. Seek out technology partners who can help you distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent users.

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