Mobile app marketing 101: A step-by-step roadmap

In the vast digital landscape of today, where smartphones have become an extension of our lives, mobile apps have transformed from mere tools to indispensable companions. Yet, with millions of apps vying for user attention, how do you ensure that your app stands out among the crowd? The answer lies in the science of mobile app marketing.


What is mobile app marketing?

At its core, mobile app marketing is the strategic process of promoting and positioning your app to reach the right audience at the right time.

It involves a combination of techniques and strategies to increase app visibility, drive installs, foster user engagement, and ultimately propel your app to success. More importantly, it entails the continued optimization of these techniques to stay on top of current trends and continually ensure the best possible return on investment.

Speaking of return on investment, often referred to as ROI in the marketing world, let’s start by covering a few basic terms.

Key terms for mobile app marketing

Attribution: The matching of two points to determine the connection between a marketing effort (such as a campaign or channel) and a user action (such as an install or engagement).

Call to action (CTA): A prompt in marketing materials that urges the audience to take a specific action, such as clicking a link, making a purchase, or signing up for a newsletter.

Campaign optimization: Improvement of marketing efforts using data analytics and strategic adjustments aligned to KPIs (see below).

Churn: When users stop using an app.

Key performance indicators (KPIs): Metrics that measure the performance of marketing efforts.

Mobile measurement partner (MMP): A third-party company that attributes, collects, and organizes app data to provide app marketers with a comprehensive and unbiased overview of their campaign performance.

Monetization: Strategies used to generate revenue for an app.

Return on investment (ROI): How much revenue or engagement you are getting in return from the resources and budget invested in marketing efforts.

User acquisition (UA): The process of enticing new users to install your app.

Check out our full, comprehensive mobile marketing glossary for additional terms.

The vital role of marketing for mobile apps

Picture this: You've developed an innovative, feature-rich app that could revolutionize its niche. But, how do users find your app? Without effective marketing, your app risks being buried in the app stores, lost among millions of others. Mobile app marketing is the beacon that guides users towards your creation, ensuring it reaches the right hands.

Key goals of mobile app marketing

Your unique amalgamation of marketing goals collectively forge a roadmap for your app's journey to success. Here are the four most common objectives.

  1. User acquisition: The first step is getting users to discover and download your app. Effective marketing ensures your app gets noticed in a sea of options.
  2. User engagement: Beyond downloads, your app must engage users to become an integral part of their lives. Engaged users are more likely to become loyal customers.
  3. Retention: Keeping users coming back for more is essential for sustained success. High user retention leads to increased app longevity.
  4. Monetization: Whether through in-app purchases, subscriptions, or ads, a well-marketed app can become a revenue-generating machine.

Mobile app marketing at a glance

Alright, so what does this process look like? The journey of mobile app marketing is a strategic voyage that spans various stages, each with its unique significance in propelling your app towards success. We will explore each of the following four stages in depth:

Pre-launch phase: Setting the foundation

In this crucial phase, you lay the groundwork for a successful launch. This is the time to gain a deep understanding of your competition and your target audience in order to craft a compelling brand identity, user-friendly experience, and strong organic presence. You are setting the stage for a grand entrance.

Launch phase: Creating buzz

Your app makes its debut from a soft launch to gather feedback and fine-tune for the hard launch which introduces your app to the broader market. Marketers’ efforts are focused on amplifying visibility.

Post-launch phase: Growing

Centering on user acquisition strategies makes way for a focus on maintained engagement and retention in the post-launch phase. Iterative updates and enhancements based on user needs ensure your app remains relevant and valuable, while content marketing and community building create a sense of belonging for users.

Maintenance and sustainability phase: Scaling long-term growth

While data-driven optimization is important throughout every stage, in this phase the devil is in the details. Having crystal clear analytics becomes vital, enabling you to fine-tune your strategies based on real-time insights.

As you journey through these phases, it becomes evident that mobile app marketing is not a linear process but a dynamic, interwoven strategy. Each stage contributes to an app's overall success, forming a continuum of effort, adaptation, and innovation. By navigating mobile app marketing with a combination of data and creativity you can ensure your app makes a splash and continues to shine in the ever-evolving mobile market.


Navigating the foundation for app success in the pre-launch phase

Your app’s journey to success begins long before hitting the app stores. The pre-launch phase is a critical period that sets the stage for a successful launch and subsequent growth. Let's delve into the intricacies of this introductory phase and explore the key steps that pave the way for a remarkable launch.

Setting the stage with thorough market research

Before embarking on any venture, a thorough understanding of the playing field is essential. Dive into the competitive landscape to identify gaps, trends, and potential opportunities for your app. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of similar apps, and pinpoint what sets your app apart. This intelligence is the cornerstone upon which you'll build your app's marketing strategy.

Piecing together your perfect users

But who are you building this app for? This question brings us to the next crucial step–defining your target audience. Create user personas that encapsulate the characteristics, preferences, and pain points of your potential users. Consider demographics, behaviors, and psychographics to craft a comprehensive profile of your ideal users. This detailed insight will guide your marketing efforts in effectively reaching and engaging the right audience.

Deep dive: Target audience development.

Establishing a consistent brand for instant trust and recognition

Branding is more than just a logo and color scheme; it's the essence of your app's identity. Establishing a consistent and compelling brand identity helps your app stand out in a crowded marketplace. Your branding should resonate with your target audience and convey the unique value your app offers. Ensure that your brand identity is reflected in all aspects of your app, from visuals to messaging.

Deep dive: Mobile app branding.

Mapping out a stellar user experience

A seamless and intuitive user experience (UX) is non-negotiable. Users expect apps that are easy to navigate, visually appealing, and responsive. Invest in designing a user interface that aligns with your brand while prioritizing functionality. A positive initial experience sets the tone for user engagement and retention.

Deep dive: UX design for mobile apps.

App Store Optimization (ASO)

In the digital realm, visibility is key. App Store Optimization (ASO) is the practice of optimizing your app's presence on app stores to increase its discoverability. Carefully select relevant keywords that align with your app's features and purpose. Craft a compelling app title, write an informative and engaging description, and create eye-catching screenshots that showcase your app's functionality. A well-optimized app store listing significantly improves your app's chances of being found by potential users.

Constructing a conversion-optimized website

Your app's website serves as a virtual gateway to your app's world. This platform enables you to present your app's features, benefits, and value proposition across a number of tailored landing pages and keyword-optimized blogs. Visual elements, such as screenshots and videos, provide a glimpse into what users can expect. Consider including a clear CTA that encourages visitors to take specific actions, such as signing up for notifications or learning more about the app.

Leverage this opportunity to collect email addresses from interested users. Building a mailing list enables you to notify potential users about your app's launch and updates, nurturing a sense of anticipation and engagement.

Deep dive: Landing page creation for mobile apps.

Creating a teaser campaign

Human psychology thrives on anticipation, and a teaser campaign masterfully harnesses this phenomenon. Teaser campaigns build excitement and curiosity around your app's impending launch. Teaser videos and sneak peeks offer tantalizing glimpses into your app's unique features, leaving users eager for more. Use social media platforms to share teaser content, and consider employing countdowns to generate a sense of urgency.

Deep dive: Tips for crafting a compelling app teaser video.

Crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s with testing

Before launching your app to the world, it's crucial to ensure it's polished. This is where alpha and beta testing come into play. Alpha testing involves a limited release of your app to a small group of internal users. Their feedback helps identify and address any glaring issues.

Beta testing expands the testing pool to a larger group of external users. This phase gathers insights from real-world users, helping you uncover potential bugs, usability issues, and areas for improvement. Beta testers provide invaluable feedback that shapes your app's final iteration before launch.

Deep dive: Alpha testing.

The pre-launch phase of mobile app marketing is akin to laying the foundation of a grand architectural masterpiece. Thorough market research, meticulous user profiling, captivating branding, seamless UX, thoughtful ASO, and well-executed teaser campaigns create the groundwork for a successful launch.

Pre-launch app marketing strategy steps


Launching into the public domain

The culmination of months, even years, of dedication and hard work is upon you as your mobile app nears its launch. The launch phase is your grand moment to shine, a crescendo that echoes throughout the digital landscape. From soft launch to hard launch, this pivotal phase is where strategic efforts and creativity intertwine to propel your app toward triumph.

Soft launch: The prelude to greatness

Before unleashing your app to the masses, the soft launch provides an opportunity to fine-tune your masterpiece. Your app is ready for a soft launch once all key features are functional, it has a polished look and feel, and a strategy and resources are in place for user support, debugging, and optimization.

A soft launch, in essence, is a limited release of your mobile app to a select group of users before the official launch. It's akin to a dress rehearsal before the grand performance. This controlled release allows developers to gauge how their app performs in the real world while minimizing the risk of bugs or deficiencies impacting its success.

Some questions you may wish to answer using a soft launch include:

  • Is the onboarding process effective?
  • Where might users churn?
  • Does the app align with user expectations?
  • Is the chosen monetization model fit for purpose?

Often, a soft launch is geographically restricted, focusing on a specific region or market. For example, a developer might choose to debut an app in the United Kingdom before expanding to North America and Europe. A phased approach allows you to gather feedback, identify any lurking issues, and make necessary improvements. This initial feedback loop ensures that your app is primed for a successful entry into the market.

Deep dive: Soft launch strategies.

Hard launch: The grand unveiling

The hard launch marks the moment you've been waiting for–your app's official debut. Once your soft launch has successfully identified (and resolved) any outstanding issues and has answered any remaining questions your team held, it’s time to bring your app to the masses.

This is the moment when your creation is broadcast to the general public and it typically involves a well-orchestrated marketing campaign aimed at acquiring users swiftly and effectively. The hard launch is your opportunity to make a lasting impression on your target audience. It's not just about releasing your app; it's about introducing it with flair, creating a buzz, and captivating users' attention.

However, this is the stage that really sets successful marketers apart, as acquiring the right users is far more valuable than acquiring the most users. To accomplish this, here are a few guidelines to follow:

  1. Establish a True North at the outset. True North represents the core purpose, values, and mission of your app, acting as a compass that steers all strategies and decisions. It's the foundation upon which trust is built and long-term relationships are fostered.

Everyone on your team should be aligned with this objective in order to work as a cohesive unit. KPIs should be oriented around your True North, and benchmarks allotted to each KPI for clear performance analysis as you traverse your hard launch.

  1. Craft purposeful marketing campaigns. Your strategy should be diverse in its use of channels. Although it’s easy to equate this approach to driving broad reach, it’s important to keep each of these channels fine-tuned to your desired end user.

Your use of copy and assets should also be tailored to the unique needs and usage of each channel. After all, material that is relevant on LinkedIn is unlikely to be relevant on connected TV (CTV), but may be altered slightly to work for email. Approach each channel methodically and with care. Deep dive: Strategic channel diversification.

  1. Leverage robust analytics regularly in order to stay agile. Select a mobile measurement partner (MMP) who will provide the analytics you need to continually tweak, optimize, and succeed. A good MMP like Adjust will help you cut down on manual constraints with the automation of tasks like audience segmentation and bid optimization on ads.

After all, you will be able to identify and narrow down high lifetime value (LTV) users with robust analytics. These insights will allow you to regularly redefine and adapt the audience that you are targeting.

The hard launch is a pivotal moment in your app's lifecycle, and its success hinges on a well-structured strategy that combines marketing prowess, user-centricity, and adaptability. It's the stage where you transform your app from a hidden gem into a shining star.

Building your app's launch strategy

With the right strategy in place, your app's launch can be a moment of triumph, capturing the attention of your intended users and setting the stage for enduring success. Here are a few of the building blocks for a well-rounded approach.

PR: Crafting a resonating message

Industry expert Joe Zappa recommends, “To craft an effective PR campaign for your app launch, ideally begin the campaign months before the hard launch of the app itself. Reporters and other industry influencers who can get your app in front of large audiences of potential users may see an initial approach asking them to cover an app launch as self-serving. But if you reach out months before, consistently providing value to the reporter in the hopes of receiving nothing more than a mention, the reporter is far likelier to write an entire story about your app when the time for the launch comes.

“Building a rapport with reporters and influencers ahead of your app launch rests on providing value. This can be as simple as building a list of 10 reporters and influencers who are active on social media and engaging thoughtfully with their content. But at its best, it would also entail offering them exclusive data or expertise that will provide rare value to their own audiences.

“For example, let's say you're launching a hyper-casual game app, and to develop the app you did research into the performance and install patterns for other hyper-casual games, or you conducted focus groups that informed the development of your own app. Sharing the data or insights you've gleaned from this research can help influencers see you as a provider of value who then becomes a more authoritative source and worthy subject of your own future story.

“The press has its own rules and norms that are very different from those of corporations and marketers. To communicate most effectively with journalists, consider enlisting an adviser or PR freelancer who is experienced at navigating the media.”

Reaching the right audience at the right time with compelling campaigns

The heart of the launch phase lies in crafting campaigns that reach your audience on various platforms. As mentioned above, this strategy should encompass a variety of channels and formats, each with bespoke copy, assets, target audiences, and timings. Although you may need a bit of testing and learning at the outset, your data will pinpoint these finer points of your campaign as you continue to run marketing materials.

Here are a few of the most common channels and formats to use as building blocks for your campaigns.

Display ads: Advertisements that are strategically placed across various digital platforms to promote mobile apps. These ads utilize eye-catching graphics, engaging visuals, and persuasive messaging to capture the attention of users while they navigate through mobile apps or websites. Display ads can take various forms including banners, interstitials, native ads, and video ads.

Deep dive: Mobile ad formats.

Social media: From the visual storytelling prowess of Instagram to the real-time interactions on X, formerly Twitter, each social media channel offers a unique avenue for marketers to showcase their products or services. The unparalleled ability to target specific demographics, leverage user-generated content (UGC), and harness the power of influencers makes social media an indispensable tool in the arsenal of mobile marketing.

Deep dive: Social media advertising, influencer marketing, and how to promote an app on social media.

Email campaigns: Email serves as a direct and highly personalized channel through which brands can engage with their audience. Mobile-optimized emails ensure that messages are easily accessible on smartphones and tablets, where end users will be installing apps.

The versatility of email allows for various campaign types, from newsletters and product announcements to drip campaigns and abandoned cart reminders. The integration of mobile-responsive designs, engaging visuals, and compelling CTAs ensures that email continues to be a vital tool for reaching and captivating audiences on the go.

Deep dive: Email marketing for apps.

Connected TV: CTV remains a game-changing platform for mobile marketing campaigns. As consumers increasingly shift their viewing habits to streaming services accessible via smart TVs, CTV’s expanding ad formats provide a unique avenue to reach audiences in a high-impact and engaging manner.

Celebrating and incentivizing with launch events and promotions

Your app launch isn't just about releasing a digital product; it's an event that deserves celebration. Hosting launch parties or webinars provides a platform to engage directly with your audience, sharing insights into your app's development journey and future potential.

Likewise, limited-time promotions and discounts create a sense of urgency, enticing users to take action swiftly and capitalize on the excitement of the launch.

App launch marketing strategy


Nurturing longevity in the post-launch stage

Congratulations! Your mobile app has made its grand entrance into the digital world, you’ve acquired some initial users, and now it's time for the next phase of your marketing journey to begin. The post-launch period is when you shift your focus from app development to nurturing and growing your user base.

Mastering winning user acquisition tactics

UA is the cornerstone of app growth. Whether through paid advertising, organic methods, or a combination of both, your UA strategies should be finely tuned with next-level tactics.

The content connection

Content marketing is a multifaceted strategy that can elevate your app's presence. It’s the perfect chance to add value for your end user, build an online community, and increase awareness through search engine optimization (SEO).

Create content calendars that align with your app's value proposition and user interests. Having a regular schedule will benefit algorithms that factor in recency, and will also give your audience a reliable timeframe for new content. Consider collaborating with influencers with a similar audience who can amplify your reach.

Establish online forums and communities where users can share their experiences, exchange ideas, and provide valuable feedback. As your online presence grows, you’ll also be able to tap into a thriving resource of user-generated content to further foster interaction, engagement, and a sense of belonging.

Deep dive: Content marketing for apps.

Diversify your channel mix

As mentioned above, CTV is the platform for methodical, innovative marketers. AI-driven technologies now enable the delivery of highly contextual ads on connected TVs, where advertisements are tailored to the preferences, behaviors, and viewing habits of individual viewers.

Think: Your grocery app being advertised while a user watches The Menu. Or, your e-commerce app displaying an ad for the latest young adult clothing while a user pauses The Summer I Turned Pretty to grab a snack.

The expansion of AI in CTV has opened up a myriad of ad formats for marketers to leverage, from interactive ads that allow viewers to engage with content in real-time to shoppable ads that enable direct purchasing through the CTV interface. This expanding array of ad formats empowers marketers to create more engaging and immersive ad experiences, fostering deeper connections with their target audience and ultimately driving better results in the ever-evolving landscape of CTV advertising.

Gijsbert Pols

Director of Connected TV & New Channels

Deep dive: CTV insights for marketers or channel mix diversification.

Similarly, by strategically tapping into the gaming world via PC and console, brands can access a highly engaged and diverse audience. In-game advertising, whether through product placements, banner ads, or interactive experiences, allows marketers to seamlessly integrate their messages into the gaming environment.

Mobile marketers can leverage these opportunities to promote their products or services to a captivated audience, often during moments of heightened engagement. The synergy between PC, console, and mobile devices offers cross-platform marketing potential, providing users with a cohesive brand experience across various screens and channels. This multi-dimensional approach opens doors for innovative campaigns that blend the realms of traditional gaming and mobile advertising, delivering impactful and memorable experiences to a tech-savvy and entertainment-seeking audience.

Deep dive: PC and console advertising.

Take your display ads up a notch

Taking mobile app advertising to the next level involves embracing innovative formats like playable ads and rich media ads. Playable ads allow users to interact with a gamified ad. Currently, this is leveraged most often by gaming apps offering a mini-version of the app itself as a trial of sorts. However, an increasing number of app categories are leveraging playable ads to provide a more immersive and convincing user experience further down the funnel.

In the same vein, rich media ads go beyond traditional static images or text. They incorporate dynamic elements like video, animations, interactive elements, and even 360-degree views. Rich media ads captivate users with visually appealing and engaging content, making them more likely to click through and explore the app further. These ads are particularly effective in telling a compelling brand story or showcasing an app's unique features. They offer endless creativity and storytelling possibilities, making them a powerful tool for elevating the impact of mobile app advertising.

Deep dive: Playable ads and rich media ads.

Facilitate word-of-mouth marketing

There’s a reason they say that birds of a feather flock together. Once you begin acquiring the right users, it’ll be easier to identify and attract similar users. Create a frictionless path to referral for your users, encouraging them to invite their friends to join. After all, they’re highly likely to be connected with individuals similar to your target audience. Think of referrals as your real-life lookalike audience without the need for opt-ins and marketing budget.

Word-of-mouth marketing can look like social media sharing when a user reaches milestones, a discount on in-app purchases (IAPs) when a friend successfully signs up to the app, or a prompt to leave a review on an app store, the app’s website, or Google.

Deep dive: Word-of-mouth marketing.

The art of user engagement

As you acquire users, you want them to interact with your app and stay engaged, rather than churning. Interaction and engagement are the lifeblood of your app. It's not just about attracting users; it's about keeping them actively involved.

Employ techniques like push notifications to re-engage users with personalized messages and updates. These timely, personalized messages are a direct line of communication with your app's users. In the post-launch phase, push notifications enable you to re-engage users who may have become less active or churned. Whether it's highlighting new features, promoting special offers, or providing relevant content, push notifications rekindle the user's interest and keep them coming back. They also play a pivotal role in delivering crucial updates, bug fixes, and announcements, ensuring that users have the latest and best version of your app.

Deep dive: Developing a successful push notification strategy.

In-app messaging, on the other hand, is delivered while a user is in-app. They can guide users through your app's features and functionalities, ensuring a seamless experience. These communications can be strategically timed to appear when users are most active or when specific behaviors are detected, ensuring relevance and impact. In-app messages serve as a valuable channel for re-engaging users, encouraging them to explore deeper within the app, make purchases, or complete desired actions.

Deep dive: In-app message best practices.

Stepping up your game with gamification

Consider implementing gamification elements to incentivize user interaction. Gamification injects an element of fun, competition, and achievement into the user experience, making it a potent tool.

By incorporating game-like features such as challenges, rewards, badges, and leaderboards, app marketers can encourage users to stay active, explore more app features, and return frequently. Gamified elements tap into users' intrinsic motivations, providing a sense of accomplishment and progression, which in turn fuels continued app usage and loyalty.

Moreover, gamification can be used strategically to drive specific behaviors, such as social sharing, referrals, or in-app purchases, thus contributing directly to the app's success metrics. In the later stages of mobile app marketing, gamification is a dynamic strategy for creating a more enjoyable and sticky app experience, ultimately leading to enhanced user retention and increased ROI.

Foster relationships with loyalty programs

Loyalty and rewards programs are designed to foster a sense of loyalty among existing app users by offering incentives, perks, or exclusive benefits in exchange for continued engagement and loyalty. For users, it's an opportunity to be recognized and rewarded for their ongoing support and usage of the app. They can earn points, discounts, access to premium content, or other enticing rewards.

For marketers, nurturing a loyal user base increases retention rates and user satisfaction while providing valuable data insights that help refine marketing strategies. Additionally, these programs can boost user advocacy and referrals, further expanding the app's reach and impact.

Post-launch mobile app marketing strategy

User acquisition strategies, measurement, and optimization is a fine art. Delve deep into the topic with our comprehensive guide.


How to measure app success and ROI

Measuring the success of your app marketing campaigns is not merely a matter of tracking installs; it's about understanding user behavior, engagement, and the impact of your app. The ability to quantify success and ROI offers app developers and marketers a clear roadmap for improvement, enabling them to refine their strategies, allocate resources effectively, and, ultimately, build sustainable and profitable mobile apps.

Listening to user feedback

Start with the basics–user feedback is gold. Set up efficient feedback channels to gather user opinions and bug reports. Being prompt and graceful in your response to user feedback demonstrates your commitment to the user.

A good approach to driving as much feedback as possible while safeguarding your public ratings is to launch an in-app prompt asking for a rating out of five stars. For those rating the app four or five stars, direct them to leave a review on the relevant app store or Google. For those rating the app one through three stars, initiate the support journey or encourage direct feedback through chat, email, or other in-app communication with your team.

Deep dive: In-app feedback and app reviews as a UA channel.

Monitor critical app marketing metrics

KPIs are your compass. Monitor metrics relevant to your app to gain invaluable insights into the health of your app and its financial performance. Depending on an app’s category and primary objectives, its KPIs will differ. Here are a few common KPIs of focus:

Monthly active users (MAUs): Represents the number of unique users who engage with your app in a given month.

Helps measure the app's popularity and user retention over time.

Customer acquisition cost (CAC): Indicates how much it costs to acquire a new app user, typically calculated by dividing marketing expenses by the number of new users.

Measures the efficiency of your user acquisition strategies.

Average time to first transaction: Represents the average time it takes for a new user to make their first in-app transaction or purchase.

Provides insights into user onboarding and conversion effectiveness.

Churn rate: Refers to the percentage of users who stop using your app during a specific period.

Measures user retention and helps identify potential issues with your app's value proposition or user experience.

Lifetime value (LTV): Represents the total revenue a user is expected to generate throughout their entire relationship with your app.

Helps in understanding the long-term value of acquiring and retaining users.

Sessions per user: Indicates the average number of times a user opens and interacts with your app.

Measures user engagement and app stickiness.

Session length: Represents the average duration of a user's session within your app.

Provides insights into how deeply users are engaging with your app and the quality of their experience.

Average revenue per user (ARPU): Calculates the average revenue generated by each individual user over a specific time period, usually a month.

See how effectively your app monetizes its user base.

Return on ad spend (ROAS): Evaluates the efficiency and profitability of advertising campaigns by measuring the revenue generated compared to the cost of running those advertisements.

Assists advertisers in identifying the most profitable campaigns, channels, or platforms, and makes data-driven decisions to maximize return on investment (ROI).

App marketing metrics by KPI

Deep dive: Essential KPIs for apps.

Lean on your measurement partner

Using the above metrics, and any additional KPIs relevant to your app’s needs, leverage analytics from your launch phase to identify the most effective channels for acquiring users.

This is when an MMP helps to provide streamlined, non-biased data in one dashboard. Otherwise, you’ll be running yourself ragged flitting moving from platform to platform, comparing data that isn’t like for like, and relying on dashboards that boast insights that make the platform look its absolute best.

After all, if you were selling ad inventory on your platform, you’d want advertisers to see that it's performing better than any other platform and invest in more inventory. Unfortunately, as the advertiser, you need the impartial truth so that you can truly fine-tune your strategy and squeeze every bit possible out of your marketing budget.

As you continue to run marketing campaigns, you’ll also be able to trace users with high retention and engagement back to certain channels and strategies, enabling you to continue to fine-tune your future campaigns to attract similar audiences.

Deep dive: Finding a reliable MMP in the privacy era.

Identify the true value of your marketing campaigns

The complex problem of measuring marketing activity is increasing. Increasing privacy compliance, and the loss of user IDs make it harder for marketers to know the value of their initiatives. The answer? Incrementality. Incremental testing reveals the real impact marketing activities deliver. This testing unveils what occurs beyond users’ organic activity.

With incrementality, a marketer can know if a marketing action has a positive, a neutral, or a negative impact. Plus, it allows them to see how much of an impact there was. For example, a positive impact could be more revenue generated. A neutral impact would be neither helping nor harming your bottom line. A negative impact would be turning potential users away or cannibalizing organic activity.

Deep dive: Incrementality measurement.

Innovate, iterate, and elevate to greatness

Mobile apps are not static entities; they evolve. Regularly release updates, including bug fixes and performance improvements, to ensure your app remains reliable and user-friendly. Additionally, stay attuned to user needs and market trends. Introduce new features and functionalities that resonate with your audience. User-centric app development is a never-ending journey.

The post-launch phase of your mobile app is both a rewarding and a challenging journey. It's a period of growth, refinement, and adaptation. By employing these strategies and continually engaging with your user base, you'll not only nurture your app's success but also build a community of loyal users who are passionate about your product. Remember, it's not just about launching an app; it's about launching a vibrant and enduring relationship with your users.


Sustaining excellence with long-term growth

The journey of mobile app marketing doesn't culminate with a successful launch–it's an ongoing voyage that extends far beyond. The phase of long-term growth and scaling growth is where you evolve from being just an app to becoming an integral part of users' lives. Let’s explore some of the tactics that drive perpetual success.

The art of collaboration

Collaborations with other apps or brands are like forming alliances in a digital realm. By collaborating, you tap into a broader audience base and bring fresh value to your users.

These partnerships can take various forms, from co-developing features to cross-promoting each other's apps. The key is finding partners whose audience aligns with your app's target demographic in order to successfully amplify your app's visibility and user engagement.

Cross-promotion: A win-win strategy

This technique involves promoting each other's apps to your respective user bases. For instance, if you have a fitness app, partnering with a nutrition app is a strategic cross-promotion opportunity. Cross-promotion can also be done “internally” by developers with a wide portfolio, between each of their apps. When done right, cross-promotion can drive more organic downloads, increase user retention, and expand your user base.

A cross-promotion bonus when marketing on iOS is that you can access the IDFV.

Co-marketing campaigns: Strength in numbers

Co-marketing campaigns take collaboration a step further. It involves jointly running marketing campaigns, which can include social media campaigns, email marketing, or even events. By pooling resources and expertise, you can create more impactful and cost-effective marketing initiatives that benefit both parties.

The science of growth

Data-driven optimization is the key to fine-tuning your strategy down to the smallest detail. Dig deep into your attribution data to extract invaluable insights into user behavior throughout your marketing funnel as well as in-app through to the point of churn, re-engagement, and even re-attribution.

Connecting the dots with attribution analytics

The type of in-app events to analyze can vary across app categories and business/monetization models. Here's are just a few examples:

  • E-commerce apps: Purchase, cart abandonment, products saved.
  • Gaming apps: Level completion, in-app purchases, character customization.
  • Social networking apps: User connections, messages sent, profile creations.
  • Fitness apps: Workouts completed, goals achieved, achievement shared.

For instance, if users who complete level five of a game are 30% more likely to make an in-app purchase, you can prioritize features, actions, or messages within the user journey that prompt users on level four to progress. Similarly, if level five commencement has a high interaction level but level five completion does not, level difficulty can be fine-tuned or tips can be implemented to help users advance.

Pinpointing the “it” factor with testing

Variables can be tested to determine what, exactly, impacts these in-app events, as well as which variables impact the effectiveness of marketing. A/B testing, also known as split testing, allows you to compare two different versions of a marketing element to determine which one performs better.

For mobile apps, this could involve testing variations of app store listings, ad creatives, or messaging strategies. For example if the second iteration of a campaign creative has a negative incremental lift, you can revert back to the first, successful creative and make note of the variable and its impact for future marketing efforts.

Deep dive: A/B testing tips and best practices.

Precision is paramount in long-term growth. By continually fine-tuning your strategies and understanding user behavior, you can adapt to evolving market dynamics and deliver a superior mobile app experience that keeps users engaged and satisfied for the long haul.

Embracing global diversity

As you continue to expand and grow, you’ll need to make sure you’re mindful of varying local needs. App localization involves systematically adapting your app's content and features to cater to specific geographical markets, ensuring it resonates equally in various regions without fundamentally altering its core purpose or appearance.

Elements like keywords, language, currency, symbols, and more should be tailored to align with regional preferences. Localization is vital as it demonstrates respect for diverse cultures, ensures a consistent user experience, and provides a competitive edge. To measure your localization's effectiveness, utilize existing analytics and consult with native users throughout the process to ensure your efforts yield a favorable ROI.

Deep dive: Mobile app localization.

Immersion and innovation with AI, AR, and VR

Staying ahead of current trends and emerging technologies is not just an option but a necessity for long-term success. As your app grows and expands its user base, remaining relevant and maintaining a competitive edge becomes increasingly challenging.

Technology trends, user preferences, and market dynamics can shift rapidly, making it crucial to adapt and innovate continually. Keep a keen eye on emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality. These immersive technologies enhance user experiences and position your app as an innovator in the field.

Deep dive: VR and AR for mobile marketing.

Keeping the flame alive with robust retention techniques

Retaining users is as crucial as acquiring them. In this phase, it’s arguably more important, as it becomes much more cost effective. Implementing strategies that keep users coming back ensures your app's longevity.

Loyalty is the bedrock of sustained retention. A loyal user base becomes your strongest advocate, attracting new users through positive word of mouth. Loyalty programs, exclusive content, and special rewards for long-term users deepen their connection with your app. Further this commitment to your long-term users with hyper-personalized experiences. Adding a user’s name and catering the experience to their wants and needs will go a long way in retention efforts.

Deep dive: Retention benchmarks and hyper-personalization for mobile apps.

The long-term growth phase of mobile app marketing is where you establish your app's legacy. By forging strategic partnerships, optimizing through data-driven insights, and prioritizing retention and engagement, you create an ecosystem that sustains user interest. Stay adaptable, stay innovative, and continue delivering value that resonates with users across time zones and technological trends.

Privacy considerations

Navigating privacy considerations in mobile app marketing

Device-level attribution and first-party data have long been the gold standard in marketing measurement, offering unparalleled accuracy. However, the winds of change took the form of privacy regulations and shifts in user data access. These developments have created substantial data gaps and hindered the ability for marketers to make rapid decisions.

Shifting privacy paradigms

As a response to these growing privacy developments , industry leaders like Apple and Google have introduced, and continue to roll out, robust privacy frameworks around user-level data.


Prior to the launch of iOS 14.5, Apple permitted advertisers to automatically access a distinct and resettable identifier known as the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). This device-level ID was openly accessible to all apps installed on the device.

Although the option to restrict ad measurement existed within Apple device settings, it often went unnoticed or was un-utilized by most users. This almost complete access to the IDFA was invaluable for marketers, enabling them to clearly attribute installs and in-app events, a process largely managed by MMPs.

However, with Apple's announcement of iOS 14 and App Tracking Transparency (ATT), the entire mobile marketing industry underwent a seismic shift, as users would have to opt-in to allow apps to access their IDFA. Although opt-in rates have been more optimistic than initially estimated, this change ignited a thorough and largely necessary reassessment of user privacy practices. The concept of 'measurement' evolved significantly, expanding beyond a narrow focus on ID-based attribution and deterministic data to encompass a more comprehensive analysis of aggregated data.

Now, strategic conversion value mapping for SKAN 3 and SKAN 4 plays a pivotal role in measuring and optimizing mobile app marketing efforts on iOS. At a very basic level, a conversion value is a representation of user actions within an app that developers use to assess marketing effectiveness and is the only attribution data that SKAN provides. When a user performs an action it triggers a pre-defined event mapped to a conversion value. Apple then sends the data in the form of a postback to ad networks and or developers, who can then send it to an MMP for unpacking.

Delve into the full history of iOS privacy announcements with our guide, iOS 14.5+: From day one until now, or stay up to date with the latest iOS announcements on our blog.

Android: Privacy Sandbox

Google's Privacy Sandbox on Android further propels the ongoing quest for enhanced user privacy within the mobile advertising sphere. Designed as a multi-year initiative, this Android-based endeavor will roll out privacy-first technologies and solutions similar to, but also distinct from, what we’ve seen on iOS.

Privacy Sandbox stands as a natural progression from the original Chrome Privacy Sandbox, which sought to address cross-site use cases for relevant advertising without relying on third-party cookies or other tracking mechanisms. In the context of mobile, the primary focus revolves around minimizing reliance on device identifiers, aligning harmoniously with the mobile privacy paradigm ushered in by iOS 14.5.

For both users and app publishers, this initiative brings a new era of active participation. Users are empowered to opt into beta testing, providing them with a tangible means to engage with these privacy features. Upon enrollment, individuals are empowered to selectively curate their ad experiences by handpicking specific categories and topics of interest. This, in turn, offers advertisers an invaluable opportunity to connect with precisely targeted audiences who are genuinely interested in their products or services, ultimately enhancing the quality of interactions within the mobile advertising ecosystem.

Katie Madding

CPO, Product & Engineering

Learn more about Adjust as an official partner and early tester of Privacy Sandbox.

Privacy solutions you can rely on

As privacy regulations continue to evolve, staying compliant has become a top priority for mobile app marketers, shaping the future of the industry. Adjust has wholeheartedly embraced these changes to safeguard user privacy and uphold stringent data protection standards with our suite of next-gen measurement products.

Conversion value mapping: Conversion Hub, Adjust's innovative solution for conversion value mapping, offers mobile marketers a dynamic toolkit to excel in the ever-evolving iOS and SKAdNetwork (SKAN) landscape. Smart setup simplifies the measurement process by providing tailored, machine-learning generated conversion values, aligning them with app characteristics and user behavior.

Meanwhile, Advanced setup caters to seasoned SKAN experts, allowing intricate CV setups with complex conditions, time intervals, and bulk mapping, facilitating in-depth insights and powerful iOS campaigns. Conversion Hub is now also fully set-up with SKAN 4 functionality, allowing for mapping to coarse conversion values, measuring the application of lockWindow, and more.

Support for increasing ATT opt-in: Adjust is here to help you in the journey to secure higher opt-in rates. We have accumulated significant insights into how to effectively optimize for opt-in rates, as well as a view of ATT opt-in benchmarks. Whether it's A/B testing, predictive modeling, or understanding user motivations, Adjust stands as a dedicated partner in ensuring the success of opt-in strategies in the realm of data privacy.

Multi-touch attribution (MTA): With the growing recognition of various touchpoints' significance in marketing, MTA addresses the need for a bigger picture by considering all interactions in the user journey when assigning credit for conversions. Unlike traditional single-touch attribution models like first-touch and last-touch, which attribute the entire conversion credit to the first or last interaction, MTA provides a holistic view across the full mobile marketing ecosystem.

Privacy is an ongoing commitment

Remember that app marketing is an ever-evolving landscape. Stay adaptable, stay informed, and continue nurturing the delicate balance between innovation and privacy. By doing so, you not only shape your app's success but also contribute to a digital ecosystem built on trust, respect, and user-centricity.

Case studies

Real-world triumphs in mobile marketing

These real-world stories showcase how developers and marketers have navigated the challenges of a highly competitive landscape, capturing the hearts and minds of users. From ingenious user acquisition campaigns to engagement-boosting tactics and monetization mastery, these case studies offer a roadmap for others looking to make their mark in the mobile app world.

Category App Results Case study
Education IDP Education Grew MAUs by 25%, improved D7 retention by 10%, and reduced eCPI by 50% Get the case study.
Astrology GaneshaSpeaks Increased overall marketing efficiency by 15%, grew ROAS by 25%, and improved budget efficiency by 20% Get the case study.
Gaming Widogame Increased installs by 4,900%, grew revenue by 2,200%, and expanded from one to 10 advertising channels Get the case study.
Finance SeABank Acquired 1 million new users, achieved over 80% of users completing registration by removing fraud, and increased DAUs by 200% Get the case study.

Read up on even more mobile app marketing case studies.


Finding sustainable success in continual optimization

One thing about mobile app marketing is abundantly clear:  Success is not a finish line; it's a horizon that keeps shifting. App marketing is a realm of constant innovation, adaptation, and growth. What works today might not be as effective tomorrow. With dedication, creativity, and an unwavering commitment to delivering value to your users, you can navigate this ever-evolving landscape and carve out a path to enduring success.

To learn more about how you can apply these tactics to your app’s unique journey, set up a demo with Adjust today.