Mobile App User Acquisition

Mobile User Acquisition – New Channels for Acquiring Mobile Users

Clash of Clans and Boom Beach have TV commercials.

Candy Crush has tv ads and outdoor ads.

Candy Crush Outdoor Ads

(see more here:

A feature length movie can’t be far off – right?

Mobile User Acquisition in 2015

Between banner ads or interstitials in other mobile apps, and Hollywood blockbusters is an undeveloped mobile user acquisition opportunity that will serve as a huge competitive advantage for creative mobile app marketers in 2015.

Consider the average cost per install in 2013 was around $1.60 according to Chartboost, and just under $1 per Fiksu.

Each is measuring data through their networks – but both show same trend.  Chartboost primarily focuses on gaming app advertising and publishers – driving their #s a bit higher.

The standard ad was an interstitial ad promoting a mobile game in other mobile apps.

In 2014, the Chartboost shows a 50% increase in CPI, Fiksu shows 33% increase.

What happened?

Why is CPI increasing so much?

    • More competition at the top

Facebook Mobile Ad Growth

    • Mobile is extremely under-represented in global ad spend compared to usage

Internet Trends 2014 Slide 15 copy

Mobile Video ads started to be used by top brands and adopted in mobile apps as smart monetization strategy.

2014 was the year Facebook ads became an effective channel for mobile user installs, and the top mobile brands (King and Supercell) started to invest heavily in traditional advertising .

So what about 2015?

Already in 2015 we have our 1st viral hit due to an insanely famous YouTube personality – PewDiePie and the app Crossy Road.

Holey smokes – have you seen PewDiePie?  It is an animated guy (a real guy who is energetic, not a cartoon), playing video games.

And he has more subscribers than the #1 Comedy in the US – Big Bang Theory.

If Youtube subscribers and weekly TV viewers are close to similar measurements – then TV is so last decade. PewDiePie has 30m subscribers to his Youtube channel, with original videos released several times a day with 2.5m viewers each.

He showed himself playing Crossy Road (around the 2 min mark) and the app hit #1 in the games category in the Apple App Store in 23 countries, hitting #1 overall in 5.

Crossy Road may have been a viral hit due to its unique monetization model – but they spent $0 on advertising.

Since the best monetizing apps can afford to locate a channel and bid the price up – apps that have are not monetizing as well as games can still find a unique competitive advantage by locating new channels.

Youtube Stars and what else?

Part of the challenge for mobile app marketers in finding advertising partners is the opportunities are everywhere.  From podcasters to YouTube stars, to (gasp!!!) Vine and SnapChat stars.

Yes – that’s a thing and they are growing like crazy.

Let’s take a look at the biggest Social Networks, and the fastest growing to get a sense for the lay of the land.

Now this graph is limited to only those 18+, so the platforms are familiar assuming you are not a 14 year-old mobile app marketer or investor.

Pinterest grew 86% from 2012 to 2014.  Instagram doubled.

Considering social networks are communities – finding communities where your app solves a problem or is of specific interest – either by participating or working with a leading personality has worked for many consumer products brands.

Social Media by Percent

Just to dig a bit deeper, users are everything (as we all know!).

Engaged users are what matters.

For social media – frequency of visits is one good way to measure user engagement and user engagement growth.


Taking a look at growth  – we see 2014 was Tumblr’s year.


Going back 2 years, the fastest growing social network in 2013 was Instagram.

2014 looks like it was Pinterest and Tumblr, with bronze going to Instagram.

If those social networks are not fits for your mobile apps, or you know all about the options there and want to get on a new trend…

Early favorites for “Fastest Growing Social Networks of 2015”:


Instagram and Pinterest


“Dark” Networks – Ello and other anonymous networks (is this the end of Snapchat?)

Ello – the growth of Ello

Whisper – or maybe not

Facebook Rooms

Cyber Dust – Mark Cuban wants to take over text

What channel will be your competitive advantage in 2015?

For more – see this Insanely great Slide Deck and Post on Social Media Trends and Stats

Better than any advertising campaign as measured by engaged users acquired – app store optimization using modern ASO tools and app store data from Gummicube.

Want More Data-Driven, Mobile App Marketing Content?

Android vs iOS Super Bowl Matchup

The Super Bowl is Feb 1st, Apple just released their earnings for Q4, Google said they just passed Apple in # of apps.

Let’s take a look at Android vs iOS – and which is best for mobile app publishers (and why).

Both teams brought their “A” games in 2014, and we have all been expecting this matchup!

Let’s check out the lineups!

We are evaluating each mobile OS (Android vs iOS) coupled with it’s store from the perspective of a Mobile App publisher/marketer/investor. iOS is evaluated with Apple’s App Store and their iPhone and iPad devices.  Android with Google Play.

# of Devices

1.3 billion smartphone devices were expected to ship in 2014. Heading into the holiday season in 2014, Apple had been steadily losing market share – to Android.  Blackberry was down as well.

OS Market Share

But Apple’s Q1 (Oct – Dec ’14) was a record in more ways than one. They reported shipping 74.5 millions devices – besting their previous record in shipments by 50%.  iOS share jumped to 15%.  Apple generated $18b in profit – the most ever reported for a public company.

Is that Tim Cook in his playing days?  By any measure, and with any dance – the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been smash hits…home runs…touchdowns…

Mobile OS Market Share

Developer Revenues

Apple reports paying out $10 billion to  developers in 2014.

Between announcements at Google’s I/O conference and data from App Annie and others, we can estimate the Google Play Store generated roughly $9 billion in revenues, paying developers around $6.3 billion.

android vs ios

These payouts do not include any ad revenues or off-app revenues generated from the mobile apps in these app stores.

Android has 5x the market share of Apple but only 60% of the revenues for two primary reasons:

  1. Android is the primary OS on <$200 devices
  2. Android has a far greater reach in emerging markets

Two, overlapping groups that are less interested in buying lives in Candy Crush than in Messaging Apps.

# of Apps

Having a high number of apps available in the app store could be seen as a positive – as more apps is more choice for users and a sign of strength for the platform.  Or more apps could simply mean more competition.

2014 was the first year that Google was able to report that their Google Play store was home to more apps than the App Store.

Apple and Google Apps

Thomas Husson, principal analyst at Forrester. “To me [apps] are the glue that sticks the whole ecosystem together because they offer brands and developers a direct opportunity to connect with their customers.”

Given that both stores host over 1 million apps, the data rather shows the divergence in each company’s app store management strategy.

Apple reviews and approves apps in a process that can take weeks. Stories of inconsistencies in Apple’s review process are abundant. Denials, incoherent responses from Apple reviewers, contradictory statements and then reversals of denials are shared often among developers and publishers.

Google Play, on the other hand, works more like creating a website on a platform like Blogger or Tumblr. Submit and your app is live in 24 hours.

# of Downloads

While Android has garnered around 80% market share globally, Google Play only accounts for 60% more downloads.  Now we are talking  60% more of a huge # – around 25 billion for Apple vs 40 billion downloads for Google Play.

Android users download around 50 apps annually to Apple users’ 75.


With mobile app advertising spend estimated at $35b in 2014 and predicted to grow to $75b by 2018, downloads matter.  App store payouts is only part of the story.

So who wins?

Just like this year’s Super Bowl – we all do.

Of course it depends on your target market, but having two of the largest companies competing (not to mention Facebook and Amazon), is good for the marketplace and great for those invested in this explosive growth.

Seahawks 24 – Patriots 17.

Want More Data-Driven, Mobile App Marketing Content?

Advertising Mobile Apps

Mobile App Advertising Costs and ASO

Chartboost, a leading Mobile Advertising Network, reports Cost Per Install (CPI) has increased from $1.66 to $2.69 over the last 12 months – a rise of 62%. The cost per install is often lower than competing traffic channels, and advertisers often wonder how much they should expect to pay per mobile app install. There are six primary factors that influence an advertiser’s CPI.

As mobile app advertising costs rise – demand increases for quality ASO tools and data.

We know download volume and velocity is highly correlated to rankings for top keywords.  So publishers with high user LTVs can and do buy their way to the top of the charts.

Blockbuster studios have optimized lifetime value (LTV) for their gameplays, and are happy to compete with each other for relevant downloads. 

Consider – 4 publishers account for 70% of app installs.

Top Mobile App Publishers

Now we add brands to the mix – who have started to invest in mobile app advertising in earnest. Moving advertising budget allocations away from TV and Print to Digital, increasingly Mobile. Mobile app advertising spend accounted for 7% of global ad spend in 2014.  By 2018, several sources predict 22%.

The competition for mobile app advertising space is increasing and expected to continue to push both mobile app advertising costs, and specifically costs per install, even higher.

This is great for the monetization of ad-supported apps. For these apps – the LTV of a mobile app user increases, because of the increased app advertising revenues. But apps need users while broad mobile app discovery has become “pay-to-play”.

For the 99% of apps that don’t monetize installs (aka: User LTV) at $2.50+, app discovery takes on increased significance.

Optimizing your App Name and Keywords fields for a wide variety of relevant phrases is an essential exercise. Getting your description nailed is key.

Most top publishers have apps that don’t have an LTV of $2.50+, and for those apps – ASO is an extremely attractive, if not primary, marketing investment.

Does this describe your current mobile app advertising effort for each of your apps?:

  • you are buying downloads as part of a launch hoping for organic traffic due to increased visibility from the “paid download” push, or
  • your user average LTV is greater than $2.50 

If not – then having access to the best tools and app store data, and allocating time each month or each app update to a formal ASO process can be your least expensive CPI campaign.

We’ll talk more about “ASO CPI” in this blog. But – let’s start here:

Rising CPI costs means a strong understanding of ASO, and access to accurate app store data is critical to a mobile app’s success.

Let’s say $1k is allocated to ASO per month, per app. That’s assuming a cost for the tools, data and your time.

To match the performance of paid acquisition – a $1k/month App Store Optimization effort would need to generate only 13 new downloads per day.

Mobile App Publishers need a strong grasp of how ASO works, access to accurate data and tools, and a routine focus on keyword (or target phrase) optimization.

At Gummicube – we believe in identifying and ranking for relevant keywords and phrases over trying to land in top 5 of high estimated volume keywords regardless of relevance.  We believe in app store data instead of web data. We provide tools based on real data for measurable app store results.

Want More Data-Driven, Mobile App Marketing Content?

iOS App Description Writing Tips

iOS App Description Tips and Tricks

Creating a great title, icon and screenshots are critical to your app’s success in the App Store. However, don’t overlook the iOS app description. If a user is interested enough in your app to read the description, it could make or break their decision to tap “get.” If you’re not sure what you should put in your description, we’ve listed some tips below.

In an iOS App Description your first five lines are the most important 

When a user is looking at your app in the iTunes App Store, only the first five lines are displayed before they have to click “more” to read the rest. This makes the first 5 lines the most important part of your description.

Treat these first five lines like your first screenshot; this area should be able to stand on its own as something that gets the user excited about your app. Put enough information here to let the user know what your app is about, but keep it short and sweet.


Say hello to your target audience

Make sure to tailor your iOS app description to the target demographic for your app. Is your app an educational game designed for children ages 2-5? Write about how your app is great for the classroom or perfect right before bedtime to target teachers and parents. If you have a virtual puppy training app, the vocabulary in your description should very be different than an app that helps graduate students studying to get their MBA.

If applicable, use a bit of esoteric language that shows your target audience you really get them and their community. This can help communicate what’s great about your app in an engaging way that keeps their attention. Your description is the perfect area for you to show your target audience that you’ve designed this app specifically for them.

Add a short, concise feature list

Apple recommends including a bulleted list of main features. Remember- your features should highlight the benefits of your app to your users as well as stating what your app does.

List your features in a way where users can instantly understand what your app offers them. If a user has to stop and think about how your app’s features work or how they are useful, you may have missed a download opportunity.

Use testimonials to your advantage

After your “first five” and feature list, add some positive feedback you’ve gotten for your app. If your app was featured by Apple, definitely let the users know. If you’ve gotten positive reviews on blogs or iTunes app reviews, let them know as well. This kind of information gives your app credibility and plays into their consideration to download your app.

Keep in mind that your description should still be a description, and not just a wall of testimonials. Only include a few, and put them near the end of your description after the features list.


Close the deal

This is an important piece that many descriptions lack. If a user has read your “first five,” your features list and your testimonials, you should close with an exciting call to action that tells them to download the app now.

If applicable, you can also use this area to list a support e-mail, company website or privacy policy page. This communicates to the user that they can trust your app and reach out if they have any problems.

Don’t forget- Apple is reading your description, too

Apple has a team that reviews every submission before it goes live in the App Store- it’s not done automatically. This means any nefarious activity like keyword stuffing is a bad idea. It will be seen, flagged, and will likely cause your app to be rejected. Even if it passes Apple, it may be a turn-off to users.

That doesn’t mean you can’t put your keywords in your description! If you use keywords correctly and naturally in your description, you should be fine. Spread keywords all throughout your description in a way that reads naturally; use each one a few times throughout your description.

If you need to force the keywords you’ve selected into your sentences to explain your app, you may need to choose better keywords that are more relative to what your app does.

Other things to keep in mind

  • Your app description has a 4000 character limit
  • Proofread your description- a few typos or grammatical errors can ruin your credibility
  • Avoid walls of text– try to keep each paragraph to less than 4 lines
  • Don’t do anything bad! Don’t put up fake testimonials, don’t keyword stuff and don’t falsify your features

Basically, a great intro, concise feature list, glowing reviews and sure-fire call to action will be interesting for users to read and could greatly help  increase conversion.  Having your targeted keywords appropriately distributed throughout your description can help increase your ranking and is OK in Apple’s eyes.

If you want further insight into how users are responding to your app description, try running it by an App Focus Group.  You may find some great tips right from the users to help you improve even more.

App Preview Videos: Tips for iOS App Previews

You’ve perfected your description. Your icon looks great. You’ve uploaded all of the screenshots you need in every required size. Now all that needs to happen is the end-user tapping “GET.” Is there anything else you can do?

You can increase your odds with Apple’s new App Preview, a 15-30 second video you can create to get users excited to try your app.


Why do I need an App Preview?

In today’s App Store, the App Preview video shows up before your screenshots. App Previews are one of the first things you see when you search for a new app in the App Store.

As a developer, the App Preview gives you a chance to make a much more engaging pitch to get users to download your app as opposed to static screenshots or sifting through a description. Once a user taps to play, a 15-30 second video will be far more powerful than a few screenshots and lines of text.


How do I make one?

Creating an effective App Preview doesn’t have to be hard! It’s easy if you follow this basic guideline:

Once you have a video captured of your app in action and open in your video editor:

  • Incorporate interesting art assets or instructional text overlays to both excite and educate the user
  • Be sure to include a frame or text overlay that discloses In-App Purchases
  • Ensure transitions between scenes don’t imply functionality that your app doesn’t have

When exporting, don’t forget:

  • Your App Preview can’t exceed a file size of 500mb.
  • .mov, .m4v or mp4 format only.

Doing this for one device and dimension is simple enough, but be sure to include feature & gameplay videos for all dimensions of the devices you support.


What dimensions should I use?

Just like screenshots, App Previews must be in different sizes for different devices. You are allowed to upload a preview for every available device, except for the 3.5-inch iPhone 4 and 4S.

  • 5 Series: 1080 x 1920 or 640 x 1136
  • iPad: 900 x 1200
  • iPhone 6: 750 x 1334
  • iPhone 6 Plus: 1080 x 1920

Don’t forget to ensure your App Previews are up to Apple’s basic video specifications.


What should I say with my App Preview? 

What’s in the video is up to you as the developer: Choose what you want your users to see and experience! It’s important that the content you do choose to use shows the user how the app looks and works.

Apple also requires developers to disclose In-App Purchases in the preview, either through the video itself or as text superimposed on the video.

Screenshots do provide some sense of how your app works, but App Preview could entice the user into their next download or purchase.

As with screenshots, be sure your App Preview is honest to the app’s features or gameplay.


What shouldn’t go in an App Preview?

Everything featured or seen in your App Preview should be your own content or things you have the rights to. Be careful not to use music or footage from other apps or videos that do not belong to you.

There are also some basic things you shouldn’t do for your videos:

  • Only use touch hotspots (not animated hands) to demonstrate touch gestures if necessary
  • Avoid objectionable content, violence, adult themes and profanity
  • Previews may not contain ads, platform logos, pricing or timelines.
  • Stay within the app! You don’t have to show people interacting with the app, or show over-the-shoulder angles or fingers tapping the screen.

App Previews you upload for your app are seen across all region iTunes stores. It’s recommended that you avoid voiceovers and including a lot of text in App Previews so that other users from other territories aren’t deterred.

Unlike apps in the “Games” category, which can have action and art packed in every second, text-heavy categories like “lifestyle” will be under a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to creating an exciting preview video. Don’t fear though- as long as your video is informative, engaging and educational, you can create a great App Preview.


What does a good App Preview look like?

The developers of Geometry Dash used the App Preview to show off the gameplay with short captions while at the same time some of the character options users have in the game.


Another example of a great App Preview is the preview used for FaceTune. Instead of animated hands floating around the screen everywhere to show you where things are, the preview quickly goes through the basic functions of the app with a single touch hot spot for the user to follow.


Most importantly, these videos contain the necessary information to get a user excited about the app- they aren’t too fast and they don’t drag on too long.


What does a bad App Preview look like?

One of the App Store’s more popular games, Blek, released a trailer through YouTube that uses a real hand to show the user how the app works and also does not disclose In-App Purchases.


Apple wants to keep all of the App Previews uniform. It’s important to show how your app works, but without other distracting factors like having animated hands or real hands use the app for you in the video.

Keep in mind- if you lose a user’s attention for even a second, they may turn off your preview video and leave without downloading your app.


What else should I keep in mind?

App Previews could be the final factor that pushes a user to tap “GET” on their mobile devices. Just as how your app’s description and screenshots play a huge part in how your app is seen in the App Store, the App Preview could be what pushes possible users to download your app.

For better insight into how users feel about your App Preview, try showing it to an App Focus Group. Whether it’s A/B testing a few videos you have in mind or simply gaining insight into the video currently live, users may have some insightful feedback about how to improve your video.