How to Find New Mobile User Acquisition Channels

Go to the profile of Lorenzo Rossi
Lorenzo Rossi
How to Find New Mobile User Acquisition Channels

Table of Content:

  1. How to acquire users for your app?
  2. Facebook and Google
  3. Snapchat vs Twitter
  4. Influencer Marketing
  5. SEO & Content
  6. Programmatic
  7. OOH Activities
  8. Cooperations
  9. Other options
  10. Look Beyond the Duopoly
Lorenzo Rossi from Free2Move shared his approach and tactics at AppFollow Meetup in Berlin. He talked about different approaches you can use to promote your app and how to find new mobile user acquisitor channels, apart from Google and Facebook. Which one to choose, what works better depending on the target audience and more.

How to acquire users for your app?

Most of you know how difficult it is to use an omnichannel approach nowadays with this high competition. There are more than 5 million applications across all the stores, and it’s difficult to find the easiest way to upload them.

Facebook and Google

We often think that the best way for the user is to use Facebook and Google, but actually it’s not always the most efficient. Fortunately, I had a opportunity to touch and experiment with more challenges, both offline and online. I’ve put together some thoughts and a vision of what should be a good organization strategy. 

This might help get a view of the advertising system nowadays, and its proven by numbers and trends that you can see in this graph.

Don’t focus on the numbers, focus on the trend and you see how this trend is growing. How the digital spending is growing and instead the life span is decreasing, and then you can see most of this trend is allocated to Google and Facebook. It’s a lot, and it’s difficult because we are a mobile people, and one-third of this brand in 2018 will be on mobile, by 2020 it will be 50%.

That’s the reason why we’re facing this kind of user acquisition cost, so you think that four dollars per install is a lot. Some may say “We are not interested in installs, we’re interested in retaining end users that are doing subscriptions”. How do they think you will survive this war with 5 million applications? It’s difficult, this trend is something that we all need to think about. If we didn’t have this kind of flow, we wouldn’t be here discussing how to optimize, how to spend the budget efficiently, and how to retain our users.

Thanks for this growth, it’s something good for us, but now it’s really time to understand how to move in a smarter way in this type of mess. The smart way of moving is trying to avoid the duopoly. The duopoly is not good for anyone, it’s not good for the market because we have this kind of numbers. It’s not good for us because we are all marketers, and so we are not so creative and if we focus only on the duopoly, our activity will be limited and our growth will be limited.

Snapchat vs Twitter

We have Twitter, our Captain America, and Snapchat, our Spiderman (because it’s the youngest).

I too often hear that these two don’t work. They don’t work because they’re too expensive, because their people are too young. Those are all true things, but not always. Twitter, for example, has a very big audience. There are older people, there are people that of course need more money, you need to spend maybe instead of 2 euros you need to spend 5, but in essence, they are there, and they want money.

It’s true that it’s not always good as a user acquisition strategy for apps in Europe. It’s also true that in companies in France and Spain, it’s working very well. Not to mention the U.S. where this is quite big. To talk about Snapchat, yes it’s true that the audience is very low. It’s also true that it’s a new platform, there is not so much competition and the CPI’s can be still quite low. That is especially true for Snapchat; it’s a very particular challenge that it's creating. You can experiment with all the stuff and it is the trend right now. So why not to try?

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is one of my favorite activities; there are multiple options and influencers are everywhere: YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. You just need to roll a picture, choose influencers (there are companies that are doing that), write them and see they will tell you this is the right influencer for you. If it’s well done, it’s very authentic. You don’t realize when you watch a video there is a guy or a girl talking about this fantastic product, you feel “damn I need to try it because it’s so cool”. They are making money from this, they’re getting a lot of money from us. 

We’re doing a campaign in Washington D.C. with our sharing service. They’re followers of science and the people are getting credit because they feel special, “Oh they’re giving me tasty meals for free, I’m so special, I’m so lucky”. If you use this kind of tricks, you can get results.

There is a discussion about the trackability of influencers because they’re not easy to track. They say it’s kind of true but if you are smart and if you don’t run 50 or a 100 influencers at the same time, you can track the influencer we have just for tracking. You give up a fixed target today to the specific influencer and you will see which one is more retaining. Of course, if the influencer is big, they can affect your organic traffic.

SEO & Content

I chose Hulk, this guy is sometimes transforming and is becoming green, and sometimes he is normal and SEO is kind of the same as Hulk. If it’s well done, it’s super powerful. It’s something I always suggest you invest time into because if you focus on a keyword strategy, you can get users that usually avoid normal advertising.

A good practice with content is to distribute it with paid distribution. So there are a lot of platforms such as Taboola. Basically, you have people that go after an ad you made, and you send them to other people. These things are very good because instead of using an approach that pushes the user, brochures are more educational so you feel that content that is good for the audience. If the audience asks that if it’s in the article and then they keep on downloading the app, that means they are very committed.


This user acquisition strategy for apps is a bit more expensive for the middle step, but it might be that we will get a little attention. There is another way for mobile user acquisition and that’s the way of going outside your company and talking to others. So there are lot of companies that are doing Programmatic. You know this guy (Iron Man), he is my favorite superhero, he is always saying “I am the best, I have the best power”, and Programmatic is something like this. So they tell you that they are best, they tell you that they can save the world, and it’s actually true because Programmatic is super powerful.

Programmatic has a long learning phase. It’s not two years, it’s from four to six weeks and it’s quite expensive. At the end of this learning phase, you’re going to have worked a promise: that’s transparency, control, and brand safety. If your budget, time, investors give you the cash, then grab it because it can give you a lot of good results.

OOH Activities

OOH activities are all advertising that you don’t see on your phone, laptop, TVs. Basically, it’s the billboard that you see at the bus stop, at the union station. That is something that during the bus ride, of course, they see this kind of activities, so it increases spending because most people are focusing online. I see that a lot of companies are trying to do it again. Then we tried to have some of the advertisers meet Uber (some do), and at the end of the day, you get something utterly in the mix because it gives you brand awareness, organic discourse, and you pay for that. But what not so many people measure is the health that this kind of activities give to the different campaigns: people see you out on the street, open their phone, see that, and they will download.


A good strategy, if you have the capacity in your team, is to try cooperation. Paid, but mostly unpaid because it’s very easy to find businesses that are complementary to yours and that’s for free. I make an example of what we need with Free2Move and Whazzo. Whazzo is a platfoom where anybody can find events and ideas. Those people that are looking for events might be looking for a way to go to events, right? That’s the same for us. People not living in your environments might be interested in seeing what to do in the city. That was zero cost because it’s just anything about them.

Other options

These are some of the possibilities that you have to advertise.

Look Beyond the Duopoly

There are certain networks like LinkedIn, and they are going to have people say “It doesn’t work”. Why not? I know professional people that for movement upwards they could search for a way to work or to go to a meeting, so if you just read the message you will read the thing all night long.

The whole point is not to tell you all the impossible challenges or how to increase user acquisition. The real point is facing the fact that we need to start thinking beyond the duopoly of Facebook and Google if we want to survive the mess and if you want to be efficient. I’m not telling you that you don’t care to use this because, in my opinion, they are the biggest and the best player in the ecosystem of advertisement. I’m telling you to start from them. If tomorrow we have to start an application we start doing advertising on Facebook, because it’s easy to set up and they have a fantastic audience. It’s easy to measure and you can get a lot of data. It’s easy to target so start from that, take your data, analyze it, but then when you have to scale, it’s time to move over. It’s time to set for a tentative goal.

The SlideShare presentation

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