3 Tips for Measuring Mobile User Acquisition

Building a user base is essential to the success of any mobile app, but just as important is looking beyond simply acquiring these users to deriving value from them. Here are a few quick tips to measure the success of your mobile acquisition campaign, from start to finish.


Tip #1: Drive Downloads

The first thing to consider if you're running an acquisition campaign is if you're driving downloads of your app. If your application isn't being downloaded, you need to go back to the drawing board to design a more alluring acquisition campaign.


Tip #2: Compare Organic vs. Acquired Users

The corollary of the downloads situation isn't always true; just because users are downloading your app doesn't mean your campaign is a pure success. Take your analysis the next level by understanding how users are coming in from your acquisition campaign- the paid users- and how they compare to the organically acquired users.

The users that are coming in from your paid acquisition channel, downloading the app based on links, should be behaving the same way in-app as your organically acquired users. In some cases, you may even see that paid-to-acquire users are doing awesome things in your app, becoming powerful influencers. If instead, your paid users are under-using the app or failing to capitalize on core features, you may need to analyze which groups your acquisition campaign is targeting and spot less effective audiences.


Tip #3: Graduate To ROI Analysis

Once you've got a sense of how the two user-sources compare, it's time to graduate to complete ROI analysis. In thinking about ROI, it's important to poll lifetime value tracking (LTV). We get a lot of questions like, "I'm a streaming media app, is there a real way for me to measure lifetime value"? If you're an app like Hulu or Netflix, you want to think about LTV not in terms of dollars spent, but rather by other metrics.

LTV can become a metric like movies watched or number of minutes streamed. Review the average lifetime value of your acquired users first. Find this value from the average cost of acquisition and then divide that by the average cost of acquisition to get a sense for what the return on investment is for the acquisition campaign. ROI can inform your decisions around whether you invest with that network or on a campaign path again. It can also give you a sense for how much value these users actually bring into your application.



To recap, we hit on three key things to look at when you're trying to take a measure of success of your acquisition campaign. The first is if it's driving downloads. If your acquisition campaign is not driving downloads, it's not working; full-stop. Once you're getting the downloads, you can step up the analysis. Look at how your organic users are comparing to the users that you're paying to acquire; ideally they'll behave similarly. In some cases, your paid acquisition users will behave in completely different ways.

Finally, once you have a sense of lifetime value in your application, you want to look at the ROI. Track average lifetime value of those users who you've paid to acquire, taking the average cost of acquisition and dividing the entire number by the average cost of acquisition to get a good sense of the return on investment for a particular campaign.