What’s the real cost of acquiring app customers?


3 minute read
Alumni: Kieron Gurner

Alumni: Kieron Gurner

UX & Design Lead

Digital Insights

There’s been a gradual increase in the amount of money it costs to get people using your app since smartphones became popular, but new figures show that this could be about to change, and it’s encouraging apps to become more targeted and engaging.

App marketing isn’t easy

Getting users to download your app is difficult. With the quality of app store search engines being reasonably poor (compared to the kind of search results we’re all used to from Google), and so much competition in the app market, even getting people to see your app can be a challenge.

After all the work that goes into marketing, selling and maintaining your app, you need to make sure that your users aren’t leaving your app to gather dust once the initial novelty has worn off. If you put a longer-term goal in place with your app strategy, you can help ensure your users become loyal followers and customers of your brand.

Loyalty in Customers

App marketing firm Fiksu measure “loyal app users” based on a given user opening an app at least three times, and correlate this with the cost of acquiring that user in the first place. Since smart phones have become more affordable and available, this figure has been gradually increasing, as users become less interested in the novelty of apps, and more interested in having experiences through their devices – such as socialising, shopping or being entertained.

Fiksu reported a drop in this “customer acquisition cost” in January 2013, even though the volume of downloads was consistent with the previous month, and Fiksu think February could continue this drop in acquisition costs too. The drop is, in part, due to advertising campaigns ending after the holiday period, but it could also reflect that marketing tactics are changing.

Instead of apps being widely targeted at anyone who can access the app stores, as they were previously, the market is maturing and more refined campaigns are being launched with better end results. What this suggests is that more focused efforts on reaching your specific audience can give you a set of loyal users, rather than a vast number of people who open your app only once.

The moral of the story? Spend your time and energy targeting the right people, not all people.

Make the most of your opportunity

Once you’ve done the hard work to get someone to download your app, it’s time to show them why they should keep opening it up and giving it their attention. There are a few tactics to securing loyalty in your app users:

  • Don’t think of your apps as products to sell by the unit, but a way to connect to a user and get them involved and interested in your other services, products or brand
  • Give your users something useful or exciting, whether it’s functional or entertaining – give them something to use again and again – and to spread the word to their social networks about
  • Find ways for your users to convert to “real world” or online customers – taking their attention out of the app, and into your wider business

If you think of your users beyond their touchscreens, you can maximise the value that their interactions, and your marketing, ultimately has.

Want to know more about mobile app marketing? Read our ‘Top 7 Simple Tips for Marketing Your App’ blog.

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