Home5 Conversions5 Mobile User Acquisition: Definitive Guide (Updated 2021)

Mobile User Acquisition: Definitive Guide (Updated 2021)

Mar 5, 2021 | Conversions, JotURL

Mobile user acquisition is getting harder and harder every year. Few can disagree with that.

With further fragmentation of the market, each app needs to have its own environment and provide a compelling user experience for every user nonetheless.

On both the Apple and Android store, it’s also getting harder to get your app discovered. , while the already popular one can take advantage of massive traffic already.

But how can you acquire more mobile users sustainably and reasonably, even if you’re in a competitive niche and you don’t have a large budget?

In this guide, you’re going to discover what are the best mobile acquisition channels working right now where you can find your next users, how you can track your analytics so that you know what’s working and what’s not, and everything else necessary to make your user mobile user acquisition efforts succeed.

Discover what’s working in this article, so that you can use it to your advantage and beat your competition.

Read on!

Read This Before You Start

If you’re serious about mobile user acquisition, you need to start operating like a ‘mad scientist’ from today in the way you attract users for your app.

Let me explain. You can’t just play around with every acquisition source.

Instead, having your Cost per Acquisition (CAC), Lifetime Value (LTV), and other key metrics drilled down it’s what makes a difference between having a successful mobile user acquisition strategy and one that fails.

“What gets measured, gets managed.” – Peter Drucker

Using software like JotURL will help you have all those key metrics always in front of you. It is not compulsory to use it, but I highly recommend it as it will allow you to understand what’s working and what’s not so that you don’t waste time on wrong campaigns and make more money by doubling down on what’s working instead.

With this in mind, we’re now going to explore what are the pros and cons of the leading mobile user acquisition channels.

You’re probably using already or planning to use one or two of them, but having a complete picture of what your competitors might be doing already will give you an advantage. Let’s begin!

Paid Ads

The first mobile user acquisition channel we’re going to explore it’s Paid Ads; means all the platforms where you have to pay to show an advertisement enticing potential users to start using your app.

Despite the cost of running ads on some popular platforms like Facebook and Instagram it’s been recently increasing for some industries due to higher demand; paid ads can be a particularly powerful way to get more users for your app.

No wonders that a considerable chunk of the most successful mobile apps in business are relying on paid ads as a customer acquisition channel. The reasons are simple: it is reliable and consistent.

Hopper Instagram Story Ad. Source: Instagram Business


To optimize your paid ads campaigns, however, you need to track all the metrics necessary so that you know what channels are performing better than the others and you can redirect the right ads to the right page on your app.

To do so, you can use a tool like JotURL, which currently offers one of the most robust solutions for your mobile user acquisition with deep linking and retargeting of your marketing links to make sure your cost per install remains low.

From a channel effectiveness perspective, data collected from over 10 million installs shows that Instagram, Snapchat, and push notification ads can be some of the most optimal channels in terms of click to install rate, as they usually have a more significant chunk of mobile users in their apps than other platforms.

Experts say that to optimize Instagram ads; it’s crucial to create a call to action (CTA) that resonates with your objective. 

For instance, a CTA of “Install Now” will target install rate, while a CTA of “Open App” or “Use App” will target engagement rate. 

Using deep linking can allow you to directly apply to the app a promo code with the change of having better performing campaigns. 

Mobile Retargeting

Following up on your paid and organic user acquisition campaigns with retargeting can give a considerable boost to your results.

A study from BNP-Paribas showed how mobile retargeting results in a 46% higher CTR rate, as well as 13 times more sales conversions than desktop retargeting.

When you “retarget” someone who has already shown interest in your offer, you’ll go after what advertising professionals would describe as a “warm audience.” Your chance of converting these potential users into active ones will be significantly higher if you do things right.

You can quickly implement retargeting in all of your marketing links, including deep links, using this easy to use tool.

If you collected phone numbers, you can also send SMS Campaign to complement your retargeting strategy. 

Leverage Your Email List to Get More Users

With up to 70% of emails now opened on mobile, having an email list to rely on for your app launch and marketing is one of the most important assets you can have.

Of course, you should take care of your email deliverability rate, spam score, test emails before sending them to real customers but it is still a huge channel for marketing opportunities.

If some of your users will ever uninstall your app or they’ll stop using it, you will have another option besides push notifications to reconnect with them for free via email.

Uber’s email to app campaign.

This will come in great help, a study from Conversion XL in fact, reported how 92% of users will leave a site if they’ve forgotten login info.

Pairing email marketing with deep linking can give you the perfect combination of features to send your email subscribers to a specific page in your app, and provide a seamless experience. While at the same time tracking the analytics of who is clicking or not to perfect even further your campaigns and passing through custom data (like promo codes, etc.).

Setting up deep linking can be difficult, and Apple’s Universal Links break the click-tracking links embedded in emails that many brands send to their users. You can use a solution like JotURL to perfect your deep linking in minutes with one of the most feature-rich solutions on the market.

Viral/Referral Marketing

Creating a viral loop that drives referral, it’s easier said than done; however, it’s what allowed companies like Uber and Taxify to achieve an incredibly low cost per acquisition for their business.

According to a Nielsen study, 92% of people trust referrals from friends.

Source: Airbnb

The key to creating a well functioning referral campaign is offering something which will entice people to share. Dropbox succeeded in creating a viral loop by giving away free extra cloud space to the users sharing their app, Taxify gives away a discount on the first free ride, Scribd gives away three more months of free subscription when you make your friends join.

Think in depth about what would drive your ideal user to share and make it super easy for him to do so.

Offline Events

Offline events can be one of the most powerful channels in your arsenal to drive further usage of your app.

Although it’s something not particularly scalable, it can drive word-of-mouth like nothing else.

There’s nothing better than creating a sense of community and connection with your users and potential ones. The offline world will give you a better chance to connect than any online channel.

You can leverage a QR code, on a brochure, for instance, which sends directly to a particular page of your app through deep linking thanks to JotURL so that you will make it easier for everyone to start using your mobile application.

Choose the Right Influencers

Source: Promatics

A research conducted by Promatics reported how 33% of users say they downloaded an app because it was recommended to them.

Building trust and creating an active following around your brand it’s not only tricky, but it takes time.

That’s why many mobile app businesses like Headspace have been leveraging influencers in their industry to tap into their network and their influence.

When choosing your influencers, think about creating a real partnership with them. While ensuring that the right performance and common goals are laid out, you want to give as well freedom to the influencer to decide what will be the best way to work with you and drive results.

Choosing the right platform is essential as well to make your influencer marketing campaigns effective: where do your customers hang out the most? 

Once you’ve picked the right influencer, focus on storytelling, how does your app fits in the everyday life of your influencer and of your users.

Don’t forget to track your key metrics and create a better experience by redirecting directly to a particular page in your app or passing the promo code of a particular influencer marketing campaign; you can do this easily with JotURL’s Deep Linking feature.

Harness the Power of Social Media

Organic social media can be a powerful way to get the ball rolling for your app usage. 

Posting consistently valuable material for your target audience will help you create long term trust with them. It not only increases the number of people who’ll discover your solution through your posts, but it will help you as well to remain top of the mind when they are looking for something related or driving word of mouth.

The key to social media marketing is not to be spammy. You always have to have your user in mind.

Make sure to use social media marketing tools for the best results.

I’ve experienced that by driving just in the last year more than 3 million views on my posts without spending a dime on ads.

When you’re thinking about sharing something with your followers, ask yourself whether this is something that it’s helpful for them and not just you.

Very often, startups and even more established businesses only share things about the awards that they’ve won or about their fabulous team. That’s great because it can help with having your users participating in your journey. However, this strategy has to be paired with pure valuable content that your customers love.

You can only ask after you’ve given in social media.

Once you have some content ready to be published on the social media where your potential customers hang out the most, make sure to get your branded link and deep links ready. Having a branded link can drive 34% more clicks to your pages, while deep links help you to track the performance of your post and to redirect the users to the right page in your app. You can use JotURL to create both in just a few minutes.

SEO and Content Marketing

Image: Evernote’s Content Marketing in Practice

Related to Social Media Marketing there are other two acquisition channels that can not only help you get new users for your app, but that can consistently and sustainable increase the value of your brand in your market and these are SEO and content marketing.

They’re both strictly related, as Google wants to show the best result for a specific search keyword to its users, so it will show the best page, which often will be content.

This means that when you create content for your users, you want to have the best or one of the best resources on the topic. 

Everyone and their brother is creating content, and if you’re serious about it, you need to uplevel your game by giving something to read or view that it’s either more in-depth than the others available, or that implements something that has never been read before such as proprietary data.

Content and SEO require tremendous efforts, but they will give you great rewards in the long-run if you pour in the right work inputs. Not only you’ll likely see great results in terms of CAC, but your brand equity and awareness created in the market will get a boost from that.

Imagine being among the first results of Google for many keywords related to your niche. Your users will inevitably think that your app it’s something to look at and start trying allowing you to get a sustainable leading position in your market.

Smart Banner to Upvel Your Organic Acquisition

Once your website or landing page is getting visitors, you can consider adding a so-called ‘Smart Banner’ on top of your page.

It can considerably entice new users to download your app, lowering your overall cost per install and acquisition.

If a potential user has already been on your page, it will have already a touch-point with you, and if your content has created value for him, it will spark curiosity and consideration in your offer.

Should You Use PR?

I’ve heard mixed opinions about PR. Many mobile user acquisition ‘gurus’ and consultants will tell you that it’s crucial for you to launch your app on all the mass media newspapers like many big brands did at their beginnings.

The thing is, it makes sense, but only if you’re going to have your app featured where your customers hang out.

It’s not cost-efficient to get your business featured on a particular media outlet if it’s something that your potential users don’t read or if just a few of them might discover it.

In short, if it’s something that will just serve you to give you an ego boost, work onto something different.

If instead, there’s a good chance that many potential users will discover your app through a media appearance, it might be worth experimenting. However, always keep in mind that PR can give you a powerful short term boost, but it will hardly be a reliable customer acquisition channel in the long run due to its inconsistency.

Make App Store Optimization Your Best Friend

App Store Optimization it’s the last mentioned but arguably the most relevant mobile acquisition channel.

A study from Statista reported how approximately 561 million apps are downloaded from app stores every single day, and how the App store is the first way on how potential users discover new apps.

When considering App Store Optimization, you want to optimize for both ranking and conversions.

To rank higher, you want to research keywords that your ideal user will search for, and start from the one where you have the highest probability of ranking related to the value of that keyword and the actual competition.

Besides keywords, having an outstanding icon and description that remarks what the benefits of your app are, paired with a title which entices people to click, will surely increase your chance of ranking higher and being discovered.

Localizing your pages by translating them can be a good option as well. North American consumers generate only 31% of app revenue, and localized search keywords and welcome pages can result in up to 767% more downloads. However, you don’t want to do that if you’re not ready to give a good experience for multi language users and a proper translation as words can mean different things in different languages.

Improve your Mobile User Acquisition through Deep Links

The best way to continue gaining mobile users is to offer the best browsing experience possible.

If users can open the internal pages of an App without being forced to open the page in a browser, they will convert more within the App.

Through Deep Linking, people will be able to navigate from one App to another without being logged out, without having to go through the browser or without the need to log in a second time within the application.

The Deep Link allows you to land directly within an internal page of the App, whatever it is. You can apply the Deep Link to third-party apps such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc. Even your personal App can be configured and used with Deep Link, offering you new possibilities to gain new users and customers.

JotUrl allows you to use Deep Links to all the most popular third-party platforms through Easy Deep Link, a feature specifically designed to allow you to create your own branded Deep Link in just a couple of clicks.

Through the App Deep Link functionality you can configure your personal App and decide every single aspect of your Tracking Link.

Through these technologies you can undoubtedly improve your Mobile User Acquisition by beating your competitors and improving mobile navigation on Apps 100%.

You can find out more about Mobile Deep Linking in this article.

Boost your Link in Bio and Create Amazing Mobile Landing Pages 

To keep the attention of your users high and to attract them to your content, you need to create attractive landing pages that allow for the possibility of interaction.

Landing pages need to be mobile optimized to get more viewers, users and conversions.

Finding tools that can create a 100% customizable landing page are difficult to find, but JotUrl can also be an excellent solution in this case.

The InstaUrl feature not only allows you to boost your links in bio, it also gives you the ability to create magnificent landing pages with your logo, eye-catching graphics and buttons to redirect users to all your content or pages on your site.

mobile user acquisition

Within these pages you can also insert YouTube Videos, TikTok videos, Live Twitch with its Chat, Tracks from SoundCloud and Spotify, making your communication even more unique.

With such a tool you can improve your Mobile User Acquisition and lead users in any direction you want.

You can find out more about all the possibilities offered by InstaUrl and its latest improvements in this article.


The mobile market is hotter than ever. In 2018 eMarketer published a study which suggests that daily time users spend on mobile apps has more than doubled since 2012. In 2017 the average adult spent 3.1 hours on mobile devices per day, more than three times what adults were spending in 2012.

Throughout 2020, the use of mobile devices has gone on to increase more and more, thanks to the difficult situation we are currently experiencing. Digitization is pushing people to get closer and closer to using phones and tablets to always be connected to the Internet. Now more than ever it is important to push your Mobile User Acquisition.

However, due to the higher competition, you need to up-level your game when it comes to mobile user acquisition.

Better tracking of your data is one of the things that will get you a better understanding of your customers, which is ultimately what will make you stand out from your competition and sustainably acquire and retain more users in the long-run.

Would you like to understand How do Free Apps Make Money? Check this guide

Curious, what mobile customer acquisition channels have been working best for you?



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