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Tips and Strategies to Combat Rising User Acquisition Costs

Getting recognition and acquiring new users for mobile apps has gotten harder and harder as the app ecosystem has grown. This week, at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit 2012, strategy was discussed about the rising cost of user acquisition by three people close to the issue: Gabriel Leydon, chief executive of Machine Zone (free MMO developer of iMob and Original Gangstaz), Maria Alegre, CEO of Chartboost (app promotion solution), and Chris Akhavan, VP and GM of Strategic Partnerships at Tapjoy (app discovery and sharing platform).

One small, and strange, tip was to release apps on Thursday. Apple picks featured apps that appear on that day. Being featured on the App Store is likely the best way to get an app discovered (and it’s free!).

Some advice was a bit vague and obvious like, “make a great app!” If apps are good enough to spread via word of mouth, they’re much easier to make money from. Adam Flanders of Glu Mobile explained that cost-per-install (CPI) needs to be measured in relation to lifetime value (LTV),

“If CPI is getting too expensive, the focus needs to move to engagement, retention, and monetization of your product to drive LTV up above CPI costs.”

Moving an app to Android is also a potential solution. Cost of user acquisition on Android has actually been dropping. But monetization is weaker on Android than it is on iOS; so it isn’t a perfect solution.

Sites like FreeAppADay and App-o-Day are also great ways to increase downloads of an app and bring down acquisition costs. FreeAppADay receives millions of users on a daily basis coming to download whatever app is free for the day.

Other strategies mentioned include cross-promotion, more intelligent targeting, and possible solutions from Apple.

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Kevin Stout
I'm a graduate of Youngstown State University with a B.A. in Philosophy. My iPhone and iPad were my favorite college tools. I'm always looking for the advantages of iOS apps for students and educators.
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