Breaking Fixed Thinking: Mobile App Growth Strategies That Actually Works

Breaking Fixed Thinking: Mobile App Growth Strategies That Actually Works

Many individuals are very superstitious concerning the AARRR mannequin and apply it to all advertising situations. However in 2022, app development entrepreneurs would possibly know that you must prioritize activation over acquisition if you wish to see constant development in your cell app!

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Customers Acquisition? Activation!

Most regularly, companies that are not mobile-first or advertising managers who do not grasp different fields like product design, development hacking, or advertising analytics exhibit siloed pondering concerning Consumer Acquisition (UA).

We regularly have to clarify the “Leaky Bucket” drawback to our shoppers and help them in fixing it. It happens as a result of advertisers regularly fail to acknowledge the basic concern inflicting the flat and even declining consumer development curve of their cell app, which is often introduced on by the product reasonably than acquisition.

When in comparison with Activation, Retention, Income, and Referral (AARRR), the opposite parts of Dave McClure’s famend pirate metrics mannequin, Acquisition is admittedly the easier facet of constructing a cell app.

The consumer movement is mirrored in and represented by these 5 metrics. The reality is that the primary one, acquisition, tends to take priority for almost all of companies. This framework’s elementary flaw is that it focuses on how customers have interaction with cell apps reasonably than how the enterprise ought to prioritize its duties.

The Full Funner app development technique

I often counsel the Full-Funnel Method when requested for my opinion on one of the best cell app development technique. One in every of two outcomes outcomes from analyzing the consumer expertise utilizing the information already accessible:

  1. The cell app is practical, retains customers, and brings in cash. It may be scaled.
  2. There are activation, engagement, and/or monetization issues with the cell app. These should be rectified earlier than investing in consumer acquisition.

Situation 1: A strong app that’s ready for scaling.

Sturdy metrics for cell apps are unusual, so the one remaining concern is how a lot they’ll scale.

The ratio of Lifetime Worth to Value Per Set up (LTV to CPI) and the dimensions of the addressable market are two variables which can be straight associated to the reply to the query.

The cushion towards rising consumer acquisition prices earlier than the UA lastly turns into unprofitable is indicated by the (optimistic) ratio between LTV and CPI. Three levels ought to be adopted when starting to spend on sponsored UA on advert networks like Fb:

  • Excessive CAC(Buyer Acquisition Value) on the launch part on account of restricted information of one of the best concentrating on, creatives, forms of optimization, and lack of information for look-alikes, amongst different elements.
  • Low CAC that features studying and reaches probably the most pertinent shoppers, corresponding to Early Adopters, for the most affordable worth.
  • Rising CAC introduced on by the gradual exodus of the highest customers. In consequence, the relevancy and high quality of the consumer base decline, ultimately rendering your consumer acquisition plan nugatory.

AA growth graph

The emphasis of your product is straight tied to the second issue—the dimensions of the general addressable market. On the one hand, a extra specialised cell app or recreation will draw extra engaged customers, however the potential consumer base shall be smaller. The eye of a a lot greater viewers that’s much less more likely to actually work together with you and fewer more likely to wish to pay in your good or service is being competed for by cell apps with a broad enchantment, alternatively.

When you select a small phase, the small measurement of the addressable market could possibly be a major drawback. In sure circumstances, the potential market could also be so restricted that you simply will not be capable to entice sufficient customers or gamers to make up for the prices of making, sustaining, and selling your cell app.

If you wish to have a giant hit, undertake the technique utilized by SGG’s creators. This very modest workforce of 45 people exemplifies the potential advantages of a methodical and data-driven method to cell enterprise. They had been in a position to scale a recreation that, on the time Zynga introduced its acquisition of the Finnish enterprise, was producing an incredible $400K in every day earnings.

Situation 2: A cell app experiencing points isn’t prepared for scaling

Some product issues are easy to resolve. Even vital adjustments to the product proposition will not all the time be adequate to maintain it alive. The toughest facet for any product supervisor is figuring out whether or not or not your app will be saved.

Activation is a very powerful key measure, and luckily for you, resolving flaws at this stage is often cheaper than coping with issues with long-term retention or monetization. If you’re unable to deal with the discount in conversion on the activation stage, the worth proposition should be considerably altered—or the product should be killed.

With out getting customers to understand the worth of your product, they will not come again, which can make retention, referral, and income almost inconceivable. Probably the most leverage comes within the activation stage of the shopper lifecycle; in the event you may increase your conversion charges there, it might be a lot easier to decrease your value per acquisition and supply them with a optimistic expertise that encourages them to come back again.

You must solely focus on retention in the event you can clearly see that your product/market match is favorable and there’s a wholesome activation ratio (no less than 80% of accomplished onboarding; nonetheless, this determine drastically is dependent upon the app class and the acquisition supply).

Retention optimization ought to be approached progressively. Repair Day 1, Day 3, and Day 7 retention points to extend really long-term involvement. Within the cell sector, your possibilities of efficiently monetizing are considerably elevated in the event you can maintain customers engaged at a excessive charge. It gained’t occur in a single day—it took 8 years for Fb and over 3 years for Snapchat to develop monetization fashions. However in the event you method it appropriately, you will get unimaginable outcomes. Amazon is one such occasion, with analysts estimating that Prime’s yearly retention charge is over 90%!

The brand new cell development handbook

I discover it attention-grabbing to wonder if McClure’s well-known metrics are within the right order after contemplating the Full-Funnel method. Sure, in the event you method it from the standpoint of the buyer journey. If you’re targeted on the corporate’s priorities, I might enterprise to say the reply isn’t any.

As a marketer, I is perhaps taking pictures myself within the foot by suggesting that rising the consumer base, or acquisition, ought to be the CEO’s last precedence. However that is what I feel. I’ve efficiently promoted and made cash from greater than 50 cell apps, which has brought about me to reorder the pirate stats as follows:

Whereas activation is the place you can also make probably the most vital will increase in consumer retention and all associated metrics, excessive retention means you are not merely renting customers but additionally turning them into die-hard followers. All the things else, corresponding to cash and buying cost-free referrals (typically referred to as the “magic virality”), could also be sorted out when you’re successfully conserving your shoppers.

This technique will yield the utmost potential return on funding for each greenback, euro, or pound spent on acquisition and is by far probably the most cost-effective in your price range. It does not suggest you’ll be able to’t conduct any acquisition campaigns until the product is completely optimized, which you by no means shall be as a result of the method is unending.

You clearly want a statistically vital variety of customers to gather knowledge and assess adjustments. However it’s essential to spend it intelligently so as to be taught, modify, improve, and – solely then – scale. And as an alternative of losing cash on paid-for UA, spend money on cheaper methods like ASO, cross-promotional actions, or options if it’s good to develop even with a leaky bucket.


The aim of this piece is to clarify how startup CEOs and founders ought to think about development priorities. The message is: “If you wish to develop, activation ought to be the place you begin, not acquisition.” The largest enhancements in all the next indicators, together with a large affect in your value of acquisition, are made by retention and activation, respectively.