Mobile Acquisition 101: Test, Analyze, Iterate

By Arsenia Nikolaeva, Sr. Communications Manager EMEA
Tuesday, June 14, 2016 / 3 min read

Mobile Acquisition 101 is our blog series that covers the basics of mobile user acquisition (UA).

Last time, we debunked some myths about the kinds of people that play mobile games — offering a new look at the wide demographics available for mobile UA campaigns. This time, we’re delving deeper into the elements that make up a holistic UA strategy — specifically the process of iteration and testing — and we’ve enlisted a knowledgeable old friend to help.

As the great Yoda once said; “Iteration a right UA strategy makes…”

At least, he said something along those lines. About learning.Yoda UA centered

If the Grand Master of the Jedi Order really were a mobile UA expert, he might also say that a successful UA strategy could be summed up in three words: “Test, Analyze, Iterate.”

That’s because mobile UA campaigns can be expensive. And even with significant investment, not all of them will be successful (much like certain installments of the Star Wars franchise, although I’m sure that there’s plenty of disagreement on which episodes those were).

With mobile acquisition, you have to pay attention to factors like campaign creative, budgets and ad formats, sort of like how Hollywood studios have to make choices with character creation, storylines and liberal use of CGI. Ultimately, mobile user acquisition requires you to test, analyze and then iterate on a number of campaign variables to achieve maximum ROI.

We’re not saying that a successful UA strategy is as difficult to create as learning to defeat the Galactic Empire … but it’s close. But don’t be afraid, Padawan learner, the Fyber team is here to train you in the complex art of User Acquisition!

1) Test the creative

Different creative messages will resonate better (or worse), depending on your target audience. We suggest running a series of A/B tests to find the optimal mix across multiple creative variables, including:

  • Call-to-action copy – Make sure the call-to-action is short, topical, descriptive, and easily-digestible.
  • Button color – Seems insignificant, but can be of paramount importance. Test to discover whether users react better to green, blue, red or yellow or another option for your call-to-action.
  • Video length – Mobile video is one of the fastest-growing ad formats for user acquisition. And since the best mobile video content is short and designed for users to watch on the go, mobile video ads should follow those same guidelines. Data shows that 15-30 second mobile video ads have the highest conversion rates but test, analyze and iterate until you find what works for your specific audience.

Most importantly, remember that the mobile is not an extension of the desktop but a separate medium, and one that is used more often.  So you should optimize video assets specifically for mobile.  

2) Analyze your budget

Mobile user acquisition campaign budgets can vary greatly. (Almost as greatly as film budgets, actually). For example, the production budget for Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) was $11 million, while Episodes I, II and III (1999 -2005) each cost $115 million to bring to the big screen.

While the general consensus is that Episode 5 – The Empire Strikes Back is the best film of the franchise (let the controversy begin), it didn’t cost anywhere near the price of the latter installments. That said, bigger budgets did offer greater opportunities to create amazing special effects like hovercraft races and interstellar explosions.

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Similarly, bigger budgets translate into greater reach for UA campaigns. Other financial factors to test under the budget umbrella include whether to offer users higher payouts (for greater visibility during high-traffic hours, for example), as well as spending according to geography.

3) Iterate with multiple ad formats

There are so many mobile ad formats to choose from — including rewarded and non-rewarded video, Offer Walls, interstitials, and more — that sometimes it can seem overwhelming. But there’s one main factor to consider when it comes to choosing (and testing) the right ad formats for your UA campaign: the target app or game’s mechanics and complexity.

You may find that interstitials perform well in simple apps and shorter, casual games because they fit into natural breaks in usage or gameplay. Meanwhile, more complex apps or games that players spend more time with may benefit from more engaging formats like mobile video.

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And, don’t forget the mantra: “Test, analyze, iterate!” The goal is to always be testing to generate the highest possible number of conversions over time.

May the Force be with you and remember “Much to learn you still have…my old padawan.” … “The beginning this just is!”

You can dive even deeper into the basics of great mobile user acquisition campaigns in this white paper. Or reach out to our team at [email protected] for more info.