Mobile App Installs

What You Need to Know About User Acquisition

The near ubiquity of mobile apps means a user acquisition strategy is now a necessary part of any marketer’s toolkit. This report provides an overview of paid and organic app user acquisition strategies, as well as some problems related to attribution and ad fraud.

  • We forecast that there will be more than 221 million smartphone app users in the US alone this year. Mobile internet users are expected to spend an average of more than 3 hours per day with apps, making app users a segment simply too big to ignore.
  • The first step in driving user acquisition is to build out solid assets for apps on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. Well-chosen app icons, titles, descriptions, screenshots and videos can all help drive organic installs.
  • Search ads served within the Play Store and the App Store present the best way to capture bottom-funnel consumers with high intent. Marketers can use Google’s Universal App Campaigns (UACs) and Apple’s Search Ads to reach these users.
  • Video has been shown to deliver high return on investment (ROI), according to several sources. And Facebook’s app install ad offerings and targeting capabilities provide a tantalizing prospect for increasing downloads.
  • Most marketers are still stuck measuring downloads rather than using more sophisticated metrics that give a sense of post-install engagement. And attribution remains mired in the last-click model, instead of multitouch.
  • Ad fraud presents a real threat, and it is not going away anytime soon.

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Table of Contents

  1. The Mobile App Environment: An Overview
  2. Going Organic: Optimizing Your App’s Assets
  3. Paid Campaigns
  4. Video Wins Display
  5. Facebook: Too Big to Ignore
  1. Measuring Results
  2. The Attribution Conundrum
  3. Mobile App Ad Fraud Is On the Rise
  4. Key Takeaways
  5. Related eMarketer Reports
  1. Related Links
  2. Insider Intelligence Interviews
  3. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Sunil Bhagwan
Vice President, Sales
Interviewed March 26, 2018
Alexei Chemenda
Chief Revenue Officer and Managing Director, US
Interviewed April 10, 2018
Jonathan Juhn
Jump Ramp Games
User Acquisition Analyst
Interviewed April 12, 2018
John Koetsier
Mobile Economist
Interviewed March 21, 2018
Danielle Levitas
App Annie
Senior Vice President, Research, Content and Communications
Interviewed March 20, 2018
Genevieve Owyang
Director, Mobile Marketing
Interviewed March 21, 2018
Jasper Radeke
Director, Marketing, North America
Interviewed March 26, 2018


Rahul Chadha


Tricia Carr
Managing Editor, Interviews
Sean Creamer
Chris Keating
Director, Research

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