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Tips for Starting a User Acquisition Campaign

Posted Nov 6, 2019

After creating your exciting and innovative mobile game, it’s time to get people to play it! Whether this is your first or hundredth title, your game’s audience always starts at zero so you will need to develop a unique, strategic plan for user growth. With so many media and advertising options out there, it’s important to look at what best aligns with your marketing strategy and budget.

Earlier this year, we published a step-by-step guide on how to run a successful user acquisition campaign. But how do you even get started on a UA campaign? This time we’re sharing tips on how to get your UA plan in place by reviewing media types, comparing short and long-term campaigns, and looking at the benefits of a soft launch. Let’s get those users!

Choose A Media Type
When you’re getting the word out on your new gaming app, there are several media types that could be used to launch your marketing campaign. Between paid, owned, and earned media, you’ll need to create the right mix that suits your needs and budget. Although paid media is the most likely to consume your budget, it could also be the most effective, especially when it comes to promoting games.

Ads for mobile games are most effective in other games. A survey revealed that 41% of U.S. mobile gamers said that ads within games get their attention compared more than game ads seen on TV or YouTube. Publishers have caught on to this resulting in 80%-90% of in-game advertising is being bought by other games, the majority of which are ads for app installs. 

Pick Between a Short-Term or Long-Term Campaign
Once you’ve decided your media type, it’s time to choose between a short-term and long-term campaign. While both can be effective, your budget will be a major factor in the success of either type. In a short-term campaign, a large portion of ad spend would go toward the first days and weeks after the launch to drive installs immediately. Mobile games coming from a well-known brand or property might want to use this method if there are high expectations on first-week download numbers. Short-term campaigns are also best suited for app publishers with larger ad budgets because they can really spend top dollar to reach a high ranking.

While short-term campaigns can expand user bases dramatically, that does not guarantee the right users are acquired. A long-term campaign allows a publisher to scale over time to build an audience of high-quality users. Titles with tighter budgets would be able to spread their spending over time as they acquire users and hopefully monetize them. Long-term campaigns are also easier to optimize based on data gathered since the launch.

Test it Out with a Soft Launch
Paid media can be expensive so publishers can do a soft launch before committing to a wide-scale campaign. A test group of users can experience the app and report feedback on bugs or features they don’t like. The mobile game can then be updated without putting off a massive audience. Users can also share what they really enjoy in the game, allowing the publisher to promote these features in upcoming ads.

During a soft launch, you can also identify your users with the best potential for lifetime value. The test group will be created by user personas but the actual audience interested in your game could be different. Test ad campaigns on a smaller, more affordable market will provide valuable data that won’t break the bank. Launching UA campaigns during a soft launch will also show which strategies are more successful for conversion. Testing out different types of ads like rewarded video or playables can ensure they are working properly and to determine which see the highest engagement.

A fun, inventive mobile game deserves a loyal and engaged audience, but first, they have to find your app. Crafting a user acquisition strategy that works best for your resources and budget can produce a successful launch that will set the tone for your app’s performance for months to come. Choosing the right media types, using a short-term or long-term campaign, and starting out with a soft launch will be just the beginning of your ongoing UA efforts. But when you’re just getting started, these three steps can lead your game on the path to long-lasting success.

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Jean

Marketing Communications Specialist at AdColony
Writer of blogs, planner of case studies, maker of content, poster of social media

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