User Acquisition: The Complete Guide

Aug 2, 2023
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Read this complete guide to learn the fundamentals of user acquisition, best practices, and how to find the right channel for your next campaign.

Find everything you need to know about where and how to build your brand’s next user acquisition campaign

You’ve got a great app and the ideal value proposition. You know the audience it’s perfectly suited for, and now all that’s left is to get those potential users to actually try it. The essential next step is to focus on your user acquisition, so all that hard work gets in front of the people most likely to reward your investment with their time and attention.

But what is user acquisition, what makes it so important, and what are some key practices to improve your own strategies? Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

Start With 4 Essential User Acquisition Metrics 

What is user acquisition as it relates to a performance marketing mindset? It means basing your campaigns on measurable results that are well-suited to indicating success or failure based on the unique goals you’re targeting. Here are four such key performance indicators to help track the results of your next user acquisition campaign:

  • Cost Per Install (CPI): This metric measures how much ad spend a campaign takes to get one user to download and install your app, and is calculated by dividing your total ad campaign spend by total app installs during the campaign. While this remains a crucial KPI, it’s best to consider it in light of the other metrics in this list.

  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Measuring how much money it takes to gain a new customer, you can calculate your CPA by dividing total ad spend by total number of acquisitions. This metric is a foundation for minimizing ad costs while better understanding users’ overall lifetime value. 

  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): As opposed to overall return on investment, this metric measures the direct relationship between money going out in the form of money spent on a campaign against the revenue coming in as a result. To arrive at your campaign’s ROAS, divide the revenue generated by ads by the total cost of those ads.

  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): This user acquisition KPI measures how many people click on or otherwise engage with the ads you pay for; if your CTR is low, it likely means your ads aren’t engaging enough. You can arrive at your CTR by dividing total number of clicks or other engagements by total ad impressions.

If you’d like to learn how to apply these industry-standard user acquisition metrics and other modern advertising strategies to one of the most promising growth marketing channels available today, read our CTV Advertising Playbook.

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Find even more helpful KPIs in our full guide, “9 User Acquisition Metrics Marketers Need to Know.”

3 Best Practices for User Acquisition Strategy

More brands and advertisers are vying for user attention than ever before, which can make connecting with your target audience both challenging and expensive. But if you’re willing to take a fresh approach to user acquisition, one that focuses on more than just the old standbys of mobile and social media, you may find better results at lower prices than you previously thought were possible.

Here are three best practices to follow for a future-proof user acquisition strategy:

  • Identify your user: First things first: Shake off the instinct to always cast as wide a net as possible. With all the brands simultaneously competing for any given person’s attention, you need to get specific about who you’re looking for in order to connect. Surveys sent to existing users and other forms of market research will go a long way in strengthening the rest of your strategy.

  • Use advanced targeting: With detailed information about your ideal user in hand, you can use the in-depth targeting capabilities of advertising platforms such as tvScientific to create custom segments based on interests, geographical location, age range, and beyond.

  • Optimize your creative: The same piece of advertising that worked well on a pocket-sized mobile device probably won’t make the most use of the attention-grabbing power of a full-sized TV. Make sure your creative is always adapted to capitalize on the unique strengths of its medium.

Find more helpful tips in our full guide, “7 Ways to Master User Acquisition Strategy with Connected TV Ads.”

3 Potent Paid User Acquisition Channels

If you’re spending money on paid user acquisition, you should be able to feel confident that you’re getting your money’s worth. The first step in making your paid user acquisition work out to a net positive for your brand is identifying the overall benefits and drawbacks of paid user acquisition, such as the potential to quickly reach new audiences balanced against the risk of overexposure through repeated advertisements.

The second step is to choose the paid user acquisition channel that best meets the goals of your current and upcoming campaigns. Here are three candidates to start with:

  • Television advertising: TV ads have long been a way for big companies to connect with consumers, but recent shakeups have made it more accessible to all manner of brands. For instance, 94% of households are reachable via CTV advertising, which makes connected TVs a great way to reach audiences both broad and narrow.

  • Mobile app advertising: After years of massive growth in the medium, US consumers have seemingly settled on spending about four and a half hours on their mobile phones every day. Even if that swift growth has finally slowed, the potential user acquisition impact of getting your brand’s message in popular apps and games is undeniable.

  • Influencer campaigns: Projections point to 86% of US marketers using influencer campaigns by 2025. The reason? People listen more to public figures they already trust, and influencers offer a ready-made audience of receptive potential users — if you can find the right one to work with.

Find more benefits, drawbacks, and ways to measure success in our guide: “What Is Paid User Acquisition: An Introduction for Digital Marketing.”

3 User Acquisition Platforms to Kickstart Your Campaigns

Choosing the right user acquisition platform is a crucial step for finding your target audiences, refining your campaigns based on key data, and pursuing a diversified approach across organic and paid advertising initiatives. These three platforms are well-equipped to bring your brand to more users transparently and cost-effectively:

  • tvScientific: Connected TV combines the robust performance marketing tools modern marketers rely on with the attention-grabbing potential of linear TV. At tvScientific, we’re proud to have created one of the best user acquisition platforms for reaching this massive audience through a brand-safe inventory, powerful targeting tools, multi-touch attribution, and more.

  • Mistplay: For app marketers focused on maximizing lifetime value from their users, Mistplay’s unique approach to bridging a loyalty program with an AI-powered recommendation system delivers high-value results.

  • Gummicube: App store optimization is one of the best ways to drive organic installs, and Gummicube’s proprietary ASO technologies deliver. Its detailed, real-time insights into app store performance and built-in testing tools make it an ideal partner for building a more-performant app listing.

Find more details about each of these services, including notable clients, in the full article: “3 Gaming and Mobile App User Acquisition Platforms That Belong on Your Shortlist.”

Find Better Results You Can Trust on CTV

Now that you know the fundamentals behind user acquisition and where to go next, it’s time to start building a strategy that will meet your brand’s goals by delivering actual value. tvScientific is the most sophisticated performance TV platform for growth marketers, with the capacity to increase, reach, lift, and ROAS through a patented outcome-based CTV advertising technology.

Our platform was built on the fundamentals of trust. We strive for trust in everything we do by delivering data, transparency, and control to our clients. If you’d like to find out how to join the growing list of top brands running CTV campaigns with tvScientific, request a demo today.