What is user acquisition?

Get Fluent in Performance Marketing

Plain language explainers to help you keep up with the evolving digital landscape.

User Acquisition

What is user acquisition?

User acquisition is the strategy of attracting new users to an app or service, a vital step for any business that wants to make money by keeping a large, engaged group of customers.

How does user acquisition work?

The goal of user acquisition is to attract and convert potential users into active users. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as:

  • Creating a compelling value proposition: The app or service must offer something of value to potential users, such as convenience, entertainment, or education.
  • Targeting the right audience: It is important to target potential users who are most likely to be interested in the app or service. This can be done by using demographic data, behavioral data, and psychographic data.
  • Using effective marketing channels: The app or service must be marketed through channels that are used by its target audience. This may include paid advertising, social media, content marketing, and event marketing.
  • Making the user experience easy and enjoyable: The app or service should be easy to use and enjoyable for users. This will encourage them to continue using the app or service and refer it to their friends and family.

Types of user acquisition:

There are many different ways to acquire users, but some of the most common methods include:

  • Paid advertising: Running ads on search engines, social media, and other websites to target potential users.
  • App store optimization (ASO): Optimizing an app's listing in the App Store and Google Play Store to improve its visibility and ranking.
  • Referral programs: Incentivizing existing users to refer their friends and family to the app or service.
  • Content marketing: Partnering with publishers to share high-quality content that is relevant to potential users.
  • Influencer marketing: Leveraging partnerships with influencers to promote products or services and build trust with their audience.
  • Offerwall campaigns: Incentivizing users to take a specific action in exchange for rewards such as gift cards, cash, or virtual currency.

How to measure user acquisition:

  • Cost Per Install (CPI): The cost per each app download.
  • Active Users: The number of users who have interacted with an app or service in a specified period of time, such as the past 30 days.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): The average cost of acquiring a new user.
  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU): The average amount of money that each user spends on in-app purchases (IAPs) within an app over a period of time.
  • Return On Ad Spend (ROAS): Money made for every dollar allocated to ads.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV or LTV): The profit a company expects to generate from a customer over their engagement period.

Why is user acquisition important to marketers?

User acquisition allows marketers to:

  • Grow their user base and reach more potential customers.
  • Increase brand awareness and loyalty.
  • Generate more revenue.

Who needs to know what user acquisition is:

  • Performance marketer
  • Digital marketer
  • Paid search specialist
  • Social media marketer
  • App store optimization specialist
  • User acquisition specialist
  • Growth marketer
  • Ecommerce manager
  • Retail manager
  • Marketing manager
  • Agency owner
  • CMO

Use user acquisition in a sentence: “User acquisition is everyone’s goal — from startups to established brands — but as a mobile app, churn is a constant battle and the best way to keep growing is to add new customers every day.”