15 expert tips to improve the performance of your UA campaigns

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November 24, 2021 - Sukey Miller
“The last 12 months have been a bit of a roller coaster, but then it’s constantly a roller coaster in UA! I’ve seen some of the best results I’ve ever seen in the last 12 months, but I’ve also seen some of the worst results in the last 12 months.” - Uptime

To optimize your campaigns and improve UA performance in this rapidly changing landscape, Bango held a User Acquisition Masterclass webinar where some of the savviest app marketers discussed the secrets of the trade.

Here’s the top 15 practical tips and tricks to improve the performance of your UA campaigns from our expert panel of app marketers: Alexei Chemenda, CRO at Adikteev, Brett Orlanski, SVP Audiences at Bango, Hannah Parvaz, Head of Marketing at Uptime and Hagop Hagopian, CEO at Appvertiser.


Shift your focus to Android users and use Purchase Behavior Targeting

“iOS privacy changes have raised a lot of questions and caused shifts in priority so that’s been our number one struggle, all of a sudden you need to experiment. You need to understand, what’s your Android strategy vs your iOS strategy? You need to understand, how much do I want to invest in predictions vs deterministic data? How large is my data set and is it accurate and large enough to be able to make predictions” – Adikteev

iOS users are becoming more expensive to reach with increasing CPM, so having a strategy in place for Android is more important than ever. However, Android is beginning to see increased CPM costs too, so use Purchase Behavior Targeting to reach users that are proven to pay for similar content so you get the highest ROAS.

Purchase Behavior Targeting is a way to focus on acquiring users more likely to pay in your apps. If your budgets are being stretched and audience sizes are decreasing due to IDFA deprecation, then this is a good tactic to increase revenue.


Use your first party data

“Rely on first party data. You have data about your users that is not related to the device, how can you take that data and use it in your marketing strategy?” - Appvertiser

You have first party data that‘s been collected over the entire period of your app’s life. This can be used not just to retarget but modelled to predict behavior and confirmation on what has worked in the past (creatives, response rates, pricing etc). 


Experiment incrementally

“What are the things that people really want and really need and then monetize based on those.” - Uptime

Try different things incrementally and observe the effect on the results and prices. The Facebook ads landscape is volatile, so things continue to change. Build up your ad sets with different audiences and settings, see which one is performing best and shift your budgets accordingly.

Put more marketing focus on testing different creatives to see what works the best. Test gently and in a structured way to help you understand success. Look into some of the new AI technology available to run and analyze your creative campaigns the most effectively.

“Even if you don’t have much design resource, start with the same image with just the text different so you can test out your different messaging.” - Uptime


Creative first, audience second

“I am always rabbiting on about the creative first approach that we should be doing now. Whereas previously it was all ‘audience first’. Who are the people into ballet? Let’s target them with ballet ads or people into bowling, let’s target them with apps about bowling. But now you target everyone with bowling and ballet apps – you hit them with the same ad and you see what works with broader audiences and then you’re learning more about your audience rather than trying to segment people based on something that they might have liked 10 years ago.” - Uptime


Put the ATT (App Tracking Transparency) framework in place 

“You still have an opportunity to collect the IDFA, your user level data. That’s going to be very key for you to understand how your attribution is working for different channels, so I highly urge if companies haven’t put the ATT framework into place, do it.” - Appvertiser

Even though a smaller percentage of users will opt in to tracking than before, this is still valuable data and can be used to model and predict behavior.


Use the ATT prompt wisely 

The later you show the ATT prompt, the more invested a user will be in your app and the more likely they are to opt in. Let the user know why they should opt in by amending the text in the sub heading section.


Download time is particularly important 

It’s not all about acquiring the user i.e. getting them to install the app with great creatives and advertising. Make sure the user has a great journey once they use the app for the first time. Focus on how you can engage and retain your users to increase LTV. 

Don’t overlook download time as this is particularly important to get users in your app for the first time. Also look at ways to incentivize usage i.e. retarget existing users with ad campaigns to encourage them to sign in to your app.


Give everyone, everything – then restrict to monetize!

“I’ve been working with subscription apps for a while now and what we’re doing is testing a lot more around giving everyone a free experience right away, give unlimited access to everything, let them come in and experience everything and then really sell to them once you start to restrict things from them.” - Uptime


The surprising regions with growing revenue potential

It’s easy to just go Tier 1 but there are lots of big opportunities outside of T1 countries. Now is a good time to explore opportunities in these upcoming regions, especially as CPM in the US is expensive due to the iOS changes.

“There’s a lot of uprising countries and regions that it’s surprising to see from a revenue perspective and also a marketplace growth perspective. Some of the upcoming markets in the top 20 are Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Russia, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands and Switzerland.” - Appvertiser


Release a Spanish version of your app

“Here’s an interesting one, releasing an app in Spanish. I know it’s not the kind of opportunity most people were thinking about or anticipating, but the US alone has something like 40/41M Spanish speakers, 10 to 12M bilingual speakers. Having not just creative in Spanish, having an app, porting everything that you do into Spanish and releasing it in the US. I think that’s a really big opportunity that I have not seen done.” - Bango

Localizing the creative and messaging for each region is key. Cultural localization is highly important to get the best results. For example, not every country in Latin America is the same, each one has a different way of speaking, they have different ways of interacting with messaging so different strategies are needed. Be sensitive to cultural nuances e.g. some countries are not tolerant towards gambling or even mildly sexual content.


Break out of the bubble and look at new social ad platforms 

“There’s a lot of new emerging channels coming out in the market such as Reddit, TikTok, Telegram, Pinterest, always, always, always test.” - Appvertiser

TikTok is the big one. Although the capabilities are quite far behind Google and Facebook, the growth is phenomenal. It also requires a different approach to creatives on this platform. The use of sound and video are key and require rethinking the way you advertise your products. Always test, even if you think it won’t work, there may be some hidden gems.


Talk to your customers

Understand your customers’ psychology, talk to them and find out why they are using your product. If they don’t use your product, why aren’t they? What were they doing when they found out about it? Really dive in and pull out your themes. What are their anxieties and their motivators – tie this in with your messaging to strike the right chord with your users.


Exploit the organic opportunities 

“Organically there’s a lot of opportunities on the table that you can take advantage of – ASO is a big one. Work on making your product visible in the marketplace to help you drive your growth organically and find other creative ways where you can organically bring in more users and incentivize those users.” - Appvertiser

ASO, organic search inside app stores, is still one of the biggest ways to acquire users. There are also lots of other organic opportunities to take advantage of - increase awareness through your own social channels and promote via word of mouth. Find other creative ways of bringing users in organically and incentivize those users.


Break the dependencies from app stores 

Owned streaming platforms present an opportunity for app developers to break the dependencies from app stores and gain more control.

“What we see on the UA side now as an upcoming opportunity is how do app developers break the dependencies from large platforms? So one example is streaming, we’ve seen that Epic decided to partner with NVIDIA to stream their titles and they have much fewer restrictions and rules to play by so they can be free to develop whatever experience they want to provide to their users.” - Adikteev


Know what success looks like 

“Make sure before you ever begin paid user acquisition campaigns that you have really clear and defined KPIs that are relevant for your app at your lifecycle.” - Bango

Before you begin a UA campaign have clear and defined KPIs for your app lifecycle. What should a day D1, D3, D7, D14 and D30 ROAS and retention look like. How much are you willing to pay for a user to install your game based on LTV? Understand what you should be achieving, speak to people in the industry, Facebook marketing partners or speak to Bango to get a sense of what others are achieving in your app category. 


Watch a recording of the webinar.