User Acquisition - Do or Die. User Segmentation

Once upon a time, there lived a fairy-tale app developer who invested $30,000 in app development and not a single dime in User Acquisition. And he earned his billions and lived happily ever after. Sounds good, right?

Time to wake up, honey. In real life you can invest all your fortune in app development, but if you ignore User Acquisition... Bad news, mate. You’re *crewed.

According to Mobile App Report for 2017 by ComScore, over 51% users download less than 1 app a month.  And the one and only challenge is to be that one app they do download.

So, what do you do to get users to discover your app, engage and retain them?

In this series of articles, we shall review the most popular mobile app marketing and user acquisition techniques and summarize a step-by-step guide of DO’s and occasionally DON’T’s of UA.

Devise Your Strategy

So, your team is working day and night to develop a fantastic product. What do you waiting for the release?

You start working out your user acquisition strategy.

Determining your course of actions in store optimization, targeted paid advertisements, organic user acquisition and many other aspects of marketing is crucial and may drastically affect even the way app design goes. Remember, waiting for the product to be launched to start marketing it is the first step toward failure.

So, what do you start with?

Start by drawing up your app marketing funnel. The further you research your market, the more information you’ll be able to add - methods, tools, even people, who can help your app get noticed will end up here.

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Now, your first goal in successful User Acquisition is to make your app easy to discover.

Will you just throw your masterpiece to the sharks and see if it swims out alive? Not likely.

If you want to give it a chance to survive – first look at the pool you’re throwing it in. Think about user segmentation and decide who your target users are.

Choose several parameters that will be most crucial for your app and compile a list of questions based on them. For instance, if you’re planning to launch a dating app, here’s an approximate list of questions for you:

  • ‍Where do my users live?
  • What languages do they speak?
  • How old are they?
  • Are my users male or female or both?
  • Are they single or married?
  • Which devices do they use?
  • What types of apps do they use most frequently?
  • Are they paying users or free-apps-only type?
  • Do they prefer in-apps or periodic subscriptions?
  • Do they tolerate in-app advertisements?
  • How do they search for stuff online?
  • What are their hobbies and interests? 

Can you answer them all? Great, in that case you can start building your user portrait:

Sample User Portrait
Keep it rational! Don’t try to come up with too many unnecessary details and avoid oversegmentation. Oversegmenting is just as bad as no segmenting at all.

Ok, you’ve done a good job with user segmentation.

How will it help you?

Now that you have a clear vision of WHO your user is, you will get a better understanding HOW to discover them (or rather let them discover you). It will help you determine your course of actions in:

  • ASO (App Store Optimization)
  • SMM (Social Media Marketing)
  • Content & Blog Marketing
  • Press & PR
  • User Community Engagement
  • Ad Marketing

Think that’s all?

No, it’s not.

User segmentation will form a solid basis for your user retention activities after app launch. Based on user segments the developer can create personalized app contents and push notifications, determine ad & banner spaces within the app, run personalized recommendations and special offer, design community engagement events and much-much more.

Segmenting users is an important step. But unless you process all incoming data and use the analytics to constantly update your strategy, you risk to run outdated and miss new app marketing opportunities your competitors are bound to notice and incorporate. Do you want to be outrun by someone who was just more observant than you? Not likely.


App stores have become immensely crowded. To be able to stay afloat an app needs to be discoverable and engaging, in its own unique way. It’s a long way to go that starts with basic strategy and user segmentation.

What’s important to keep in mind is the fact that segmentation may have various aspects and multiple parameters. Keep it clear, keep it rational, and make sure to watch out for what your competitors do.

It may take quite some effort, but remember, when done right, segmentation will be your first step to recognition and will lay basis to further marketing and User Acquisition activities.

Coming next: App Store Optimization - 101