Monetizing an app requires building up a user base. So, marketers’ first instinct might be to focus on getting people to notice and install their app. But it’s important to note that there’s a difference between users and installers. Installation is the gateway to engagement, to be sure. But in today’s predominantly “freemium” app market, installation alone doesn’t “pay the bills,” so to speak.
Here’s another way to think about it: Getting 10,000 people to install your app means little for your bottom line if they don’t go on to engage in other ways, like creating an account, making a purchase or enrolling in a premium subscription. This highlights the importance of focusing on user quality rather than quantity.
Keep reading to learn more about quality control in mobile marketing so you can get the users you need to successfully monetize your app.
What Makes a “Quality” App User?
As one Forbes contributor writes, “An install is just the first step toward cultivating a profitable long-term user relationship. Craft a marketing program to keep users engaged and buying.”
By this definition, quality users are those who forge a relationship with your app beyond the initial install by partaking in actions that contribute to monetization. A quality mobile user doesn’t just install your e-commerce app and forget about it; they browse your product catalog and complete transactions. A quality user for a dating app creates a profile, messages other users and pays to unlock premium features. Quality travel app users book flights and reserve accommodations for upcoming trips.
At the end of the day, quality users engage in post-install events. These conversions drive revenue. This is why quality is so integral to any user acquisition strategy for mobile apps.
Finding Your App’s Target Audience
So, how can marketers determine the quality of a mobile user ahead of time? While there’s no way to guarantee someone will engage with your app in a meaningful way until after they’ve installed it, it’s entirely possible to maximize the chances of attracting a quality user up front. It boils down to understanding your target audience: age, location, gender, income level, interests, in-app behaviors, device type, etc. Only then can you target people displaying similar characteristics, also known as lookalike targeting.
If your app’s analytics reveal your gaming app is most popular among college-aged males with Android phones in large cities, it only makes sense to target users with similar characteristics for future campaigns. Targeting 50-year-old female iPhone users in rural areas will only eat up your ad spend, as data shows they are not historically engaged users within your target audience.
Personalizing Your Ad Creatives
Once you’ve established your target audience of mobile users most likely to engage with your app, the next step is appealing to them with personalized ad creatives. Marketers are increasingly turning to dynamic creative optimization (DCO), or serving personalized ads that are programmatically assembled in real time to align with mobile users’ behavior.
Dynamic creative reflects the environment in which its viewed, as well as the mobile user, seeing it. First picture a template. Then imagine various components of this template—its background, images, content, call to action and shell—automatically populating based on the demographics, behavior, location and device type of a mobile user. The result? A personalized ad that appeals to someone already more predisposed to engage with your app.
Your app’s revenue stream depends on mobile users engaging in conversions after they’ve installed your app. Closely targeting your user acquisition efforts and serving personalized ads helps attract quality users—start there. Monetizing your app begins with how you market.