If you’re interested in mobile app marketing, you might be familiar with this stat: the average mobile user now spends four to five hours on apps every day.

It’s hardly any wonder the mobile app industry is booming! 

And yet… 

Creating a high-quality app is only the first step to success. Established mobile apps and start-ups alike must compete against some 1250 apps uploaded to Google Play daily.  

So, how do you cut through the clutter to get your mobile app into the hands of new paying users?

Paid mobile app marketing is a brilliant place to start — if you know how to set up your campaigns for lasting success. 

Paid mobile app marketing: The secret to campaigns that drive results

You know you need new users to download your app if you want your business to succeed.

So, you create an acquisition campaign — a paid app marketing strategy to drive new installs. You’re thrilled when you see a surge in app downloads. 

Many digital marketers would call it a win and stop here. 

That would be a mistake…

New app installs are only one success metric. We don’t just want users to download our app — we want them to actually use it, too! 

An engaged user base is the foundation of any thriving mobile app business: the actions users take and the time they spend inside the app matter. 

You can think of mobile apps like a CRM channel — a way to build relationships with your customers to build loyalty and boost retention. 

Improve your relationship with your users, and you will improve your profitability. 

So, what’s the secret to wildly successful mobile app marketing campaigns? 

Begin to run acquisition (install) and remarketing (engagement) ads simultaneously. 

How to boost mobile growth with install and engagement ads

Let’s explore how to deploy high-performing acquisition and remarketing campaigns so that you can sustainably grow your mobile app user base. 

Paid Google mobile app marketing gets your app in front of your target audience by promoting it across a range of Google properties like Search, Google Play, YouTube, and the Google Display Network. 

It’s simple to get started with mobile app promotion. Just provide text with relevant keywords, a starting bid and budget, and locations/languages for your ads. 

You can (and should) include images and videos as well. Google will do the heavy lifting to test and serve different asset combinations for you. 

The greater variety of creative assets you provide, the greater the chance that Google will match the right creatives to the right people.

We'll talk about two types of Google mobile app ads today: app installs and app engagement.

App installs: Ads that encourage users to download your mobile app. 

App engagement campaigns: Ads that re-engage existing users by encouraging them to take a specific action inside the app. 

As previously mentioned, I recommend a hybrid campaign that includes both ad types.

Let’s explore how to get wildly successful results from each ad type.

Mobile app install

App install campaigns are relatively simple to set up. Once you provide the basic information outlined above, Google will adjust your bid to display ads that drive app downloads. App install ads operate on a CPI (cost-per-install) basis. 

Consider that Google can decide which elements it displays from your app listing. So, before you invest in paid mobile growth, take a few moments to optimise your Play Store and Apple listing. 

Mobile app engagement 

Mobile app engagement campaigns can seem tricky, but remember, much of your app value lies in user engagement. 

Imagine you are marketing a gaming app. Perhaps you want users to make more purchases within the game. Your engagement campaign could be an exclusive discount or free offer. 

Or maybe you’ve noticed that users have stopped launching your app. So, you run a campaign to improve retention and re-engage existing users. 

Whatever the in-app action you wish to promote, engagement ads can effectively build customer relationships. 

Before you get started with engagement ads in your mobile app marketing strategy, you’ll need a few things:

  • 250,000 app installs
  • Deep links
  • A supported app attribution partner
  • A defined target audience
  • Text, image, and video assets
  • A remarketing privacy policy and to comply with the EU user consent policy

5 KPIs to improve your mobile app campaign success today

Before you hit publish on any paid mobile app marketing, you’ll want to determine your campaign goals and marketing KPIs. 

Remember, to make smarter decisions (and improve your app growth), you’ve got to know your numbers

Here are five essential mobile growth KPIs to set and track:

1. Retention rate: How many users are engaged with your app compared to a past equivalent date range?

2. Churn rate: The percentage of users who uninstall or stop engaging with your app.

3. Monthly active users (MAU) and daily active users (DAU): The number of users who launch your app in a given month/day.

4. Stickiness: How often users come back to your app and perform an action. To calculate stickiness, use the equation DAU/MAU * 100. 

I love looking at stickiness as it reveals how memorable your app is to your average user. 

5. Average session length: How much time your average user spends in the app.

Of course, this is not an exclusive list of marketing KPIs. Like any intelligent digital marketing strategy, you’ll want to consider other common metrics that inform your Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI) like:

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): How much do you spend to acquire each new user?

Customer Lifetime Value: What is the average lifetime value of each user to your mobile app? The longer a user stays engaged with your app, the greater your profits. 

As you build your mobile growth strategy, remember there is no such thing as “set it and forget it.” 

So, use your KPIs to inform your paid mobile app campaigns — and continually obsess over testing and optimising your digital strategy so you see both immediate and long-term results.