July 18, 2023

5 key components of effective mobile user acquisition campaigns

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1: Channel diversification

2: Loyalty

3: Creative optimization

4: Machine learning and AI

5: Automated campaign management

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Bringing an app to market without plans for a robust user acquisition campaign simply isn’t feasible in the modern app environment. The best-made app in the world, built to perfectly match the interests of an established user base, will still falter if it can’t acquire a critical mass of users relatively quickly. Success for mobile games (and apps of all kinds) increasingly depends on building effective user acquisition campaigns.

With the mobile app market beginning to stabilize above pre-pandemic levels, as reported by VentureBeat1, what can you do to make sure your app stands out? Here are five distinct approaches to build into your user acquisition funnel.

1. Channel diversification

A diversified portfolio is a safe and productive one. This common wisdom for financial investments applies just as much to channel diversification for user acquisition campaigns. Rather than betting big on a single channel that has performed well for your brand in the past, establishing a healthy media mix will give your campaigns the best chance at success regardless of shifting market conditions.

But how do you find the right combination for your app and make sure it keeps performing even as conditions shift? That’s where media mix modeling comes in. A Singular roundtable2 offers some excellent insights into how media mix modeling figures into UA performance, starting with the idea that it’s really about measuring your entire marketing mix — not just the channels you use, but broader business considerations such as price, distribution, and beyond.

The statistical backing of media mix modeling means it will always be best used for driving overall strategies rather than tactical marketing decisions, but as a unifying, data-driven backbone for your user acquisition campaigns, there’s nothing else like it.

👀 Related reading: 10 user acquisition channels marketers need to know in 2023

2. Loyalty

Build an app user acquisition funnel that prioritizes loyal users and you’ll set your portfolio up for success for years to come. While any new user who comes to your app is a promising start, several known factors make some users more promising than others when considered in regard to post-install engagement, retention, and building your user base’s average LTV (lifetime value). 

But how do you measure and target something as abstract as user loyalty? Look to a few of these KPIs for guidance:

  • Stickiness: Divide average DAU (daily active users) by average MAU (daily monthly users) to arrive at a quick and effective macro-level loyalty measurement.
  • Repeat purchase rate: The percentage of users who buy more than one IAP compared to those who only make one purchase is an excellent indicator of your app’s overall IAP value. Factor in ARPPU and you have an effective means to measure the loyalty of your most valuable players.
  • Transactions Per Paying User: The next logical step, this figure tracks average number of in-app purchases completed by paying users. It offers an effective measurement of how well your virtual economy is at keeping your highest-value users engaged and spending over time.
player loyalty metric in gaming

Ultimately, the value your game delivers will do the most to determine if it cultivates loyal users. However, you can help tip the scales in your favor with solutions that drive more known loyal users of other games your way and encourage them to keep coming back. One uniquely powerful approach is the Mistplay loyalty app, which helps players discover new titles and then rewards their continued play with points that can be redeemed for real-life rewards such as Amazon gift cards.

Click here to learn more about how the Mistplay platform can become a practical and effective part of your user acquisition campaigns.'

👀 Related reading: 5 essential elements of effective mobile game loyalty programs

3. Creative optimization

User acquisition campaigns faced massive challenges after the privacy-driven curtailing of mobile targeting capabilities. On top of that, the industry has made a rapid shift toward algorithm-driven campaigns that removed most traditional targeting levers. Though many means of manually optimizing user acquisition campaigns were left behind in the process, the critical lever of performant ad creatives is still standing. In fact, it may be more important than ever.

Matej Lančarič’s roundup3 of UA tips offers some very practical advice in getting your creative exactly where you want it — with one of the foremost tips being just how frequently you should plan on rolling out new creative to keep potential users’ attention. The short answer is a lot: Matej recommends apps with monthly creative budgets of $50,000 or less aim for four new, unique creative concepts (plus testing-driven iterations) per month, while those with budgets of $1 million or more should aim for 20 at a minimum. Optmyzr4 adds that optimizing your creative also means making unusual choices that may not look like your typical conception of ad creative. After all, it’s called “creative” for a reason. 

If you’re taking your creative approach back to the drawing board, keep one key factor in mind: It’s true that IPM (installs per mille) is the best way to get the full picture of how any piece of creative performs, but IPM by itself is meaningless unless the ad also achieves ROAS targets.

4. Machine learning and AI

AI robot scanning a laptop machine learning

Less-abundant targeting data means you need to be smarter about how you use the data you still have. The most promising method of supercharging existing data for user acquisition campaigns is through machine learning and AI, which can employ automated learning methods to surface patterns and potentially underexploited avenues for finding new users. Ad tech companies such as Moloco5 have built entire business models around deep machine learning to drive rapid and sustained return on ad spend, while Tempr6 is pushing toward fully automated channel mix management through AI-driven rules that follow human-built strategy.

Machine learning can also help surface games that players will love; Mistplay’s AI-driven recommendation engine is optimized toward known preferences and spending behavior, creating an automated method to grow your game with the players most likely to love it.

5. Automated campaign management

The importance of responding quickly to real-time data in managing campaigns cannot be overstated. Working with reliable MMPs (mobile measurement partners) such as Singular or AppsFlyer will help you guide organic and paid user acquisition campaigns alike by offering insight into when and how people come to your game, but how do you set up a user acquisition strategy that will respond faster and more effectively?

The answer is, at least in part, automation. As Mobile Dev Memo7 points out, the chances are good that your UA work is already partially automated. For instance, your bid, budget, and campaign strategy decisions may be deployed automatically based on values that you defined manually. Not needing to babysit each of these tactical decisions already frees up UA managers to focus on strategy. So what next? Ad creative production, audience testing, and ROAS projection and reporting can all be enhanced through automated templating, forecasting, and real-time adjustments.

This data is essential both in the moment for course corrections during a user acquisition campaign as well as in aggregate afterward; with the right measurement tools in place, each campaign will be just as valuable for bringing in new users as it is for informing your next effort.

Looking for more ways to attract users who will stick with your game for longer? The first step to building a base of loyal players is creating a great game – and since you already have that covered, it’s time to take the next. Bringing your game to Mistplay can help you win a more engaged and better-retained user base, creating a virtuous cycle that improves both the user experience and LTV.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Mistplay platform can build loyalty to drive LTV with your brand, reach out to our experts today.

Need to brush up on your user acquisition fundamentals?  Check out our comprehensive article, “Mobile user acquisition: The modern developer’s guide


  1. Rachel Kaser, Mobile game market stabilizes above pre-pandemic levels | Data AI, VentureBeat, March 2023
  2.  John Koetsier, 8 insights on media mix modeling for mobile user acquisition from Meta, Tinuiti, Rocketship HQ, and Singular, Singular, October 2022
  3.  Matej Lančarič, 11 tips for killer User Acquisition ops (Q2 version), Lancaric.me, May 2023
  4.  Diana-Alina Aldea, Why Ad Creative Is the Key to Unlocking Higher Conversions in 2023, Optmyzr, April 2023
  5.  Moloco, Inc., Moloco explains its machine learning, Moloco, July 2022
  6.  Tempr., Embrace the future of UA with superpowers, Tempr., June 2023
  7.  Eric Benjamin Seufert, The five levels of digital marketing automation, Mobile Dev Memo, April 2020


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