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Insights & Events
3 December, 2017
One of the biggest keys to successful user acquisition is understanding and engaging the audience you’re pitching to. This is especially important for mobile apps—with different demographics and a diverse range of tastes, how you approach users with your product can make or break you.
A recent study conducted by comScore analyses app usage behaviours across different age groups and devices to shed more light on app consumption habits. We’ve pulled some notable takeaways to inform your mobile user acquisition strategy:
Most Common App Discovery Channels Among Smartphone Users
Marketing your app to a new user is getting more challenging. Although this is caused by a variety of factors, the report shows app downloads have gone down this year: 49% of users download an average of two apps a month, two points lower than in 2016.
We’ve also seen fewer users search through app stores, as well as lower influence of word-of-mouth via peers. That said, there were two discovery methods that didn’t decrease in effectiveness: word-of-mouth via news and print reviews, and ads on a device.
To win the discoverability battle, your campaign will need to have a unique hook. This will mean doubling your efforts on things like adding focused keywords to your app descriptions and experimenting with promotional discounts to set yourself apart from competitors.
Discoverability can also be enhanced by including cost-per-install (CPI) campaigns in your app marketing strategy. CPI campaigns enable you to grow your user base quickly while also reducing risk as you only pay when a new user installs your app. With CPI campaigns, a burst in installs can also lead to higher app store rankings, increasing visibility leading to further organic installs.
While mobile advertising remains effective, a growing challenge that marketers face with in-app ads is invalid traffic (IVT).
IVT generates installs from sources of traffic that the advertiser doesn’t want, including fraud. By making campaign results look better than they actually were, fraud skews the campaign data you rely on for campaign optimisation, impacting immediate and long-term ROI.
In-App Purchases in the Past Year by Age Segment
There are some unsurprising findings in the report, such as millennials (age 18 to 34) preferring apps that focus on entertainment and social media (while older users tend to sway more towards apps that focus on news, politics, and retail). As well as having the highest app usage rates of any age group—with approximately 70% of the demographic regularly looking for new ones—millennials are also the most likely to pay for an app or any additional features.
Although they’re the biggest and most enthusiastic consumers in the app industry right now, millennials are also the most demanding to retain.
Deleted Apps in the Past Year Because of Logo
Visual design is a top priority for millennials. If they think your app’s colour scheme is tough on the eyes, that’s enough reason for deletion. And although they tend to download and use new apps the most frequently, they also get fatigued with concepts just as fast. If your team has a novel, fresh idea to modify your app, now is a good time to use it.
When you’re targeting millennials in your campaign, social and display ad campaigns are effective at an awareness level. As millennials are more keen to try new apps, you need to generate social proof and word of mouth. This can mean targeting friends of your existing users, so that net new users will be able to see which of their friends have already engaged with an app to some degree—whether it’s using the app or liking its brand.
Alternatively, creating a referral program provides existing users with an incentive to introduce their friends to your app via word-of-mouth. From there, in-app mobile ad campaigns support middle to lower-funnel objectives such as driving installs.
This doesn’t mean you should ignore the interests of other age groups as well, who still make up a significant chunk of users overall. These users primarily find apps for their needs. That means it’s important to think function over form—not just in how you pitch an app, but also in how they’re going to find it. Cut the frilly tactics and get straight to the point. Search ad campaigns tailored around high-intent keywords will help increase discoverability, while also speaking to the needs of the user. Once you’ve gotten this older demographic to install your app, email campaigns are an effective way to encourage in-app purchases.
It’s also important to take into account that some attitudes towards apps are also universal across generations. The desire for better organisation and tendency to delete obsolete apps are common across all age groups. Prompting your existing users for ratings will alert you to any shortcomings your team needs to fix—a higher user rating will also push you up in app store rankings to improve your discoverability.
Like all trends and behaviours, these will definitely change with time and as consumers age. They may even take disruptive turns a lot sooner than you realise. This makes it all the more integral to keep a close watch on the consumers that you rely on and to engage a partner to help you optimise your campaigns accordingly.