Did you know that 17% of app users drive 85% of global app revenue?
These are what we call high-quality app users.
If you’re struggling to attract them, you’re not alone.
App marketers often get frustrated because their app doesn’t draw enough high-quality users. This can happen due to many factors like the app’s quality, user reviews, monetization strategy, etc. But if everything else checks out, the main issue probably lies in your user acquisition strategy.
We’re here to help you with this, bringing you a list of proven UA strategies for drawing (and retaining) high-quality app users.
Who are Your High-Quality App Users?
There is no one-size-fits-all definition of a high-quality app user.
The criteria for labeling someone high-quality depends on the type of app we’re talking about. For example, users who frequently engage with ads may be almost worthless to one app, and a treasure to another one.
Let us walk you through common examples of high-value app users and the key metrics for identifying them.
If your app makes money solely through in-app purchases, things are quite simple — your most valuable users are spenders.
In this case, the key metrics to focus on are IAP metrics (total number, frequency, amount of money spent), LTV (lifetime value), and ROI (return on investment)
Spenders or Regular Ad Viewers
Your app monetizes with a blend of ads and IAPs?
In this case, your top users can but don’t necessarily have to be spenders.
Users who make in-app purchases are likely your most valuable users. However, users who stick around for a long time and frequently engage with in-app ads can become almost equally valuable.
Considering this, the key metrics that define high-value users in these apps are ROI, ARPU (average revenue per user), and LTV.
Elite Ad Viewers
In ad-monetized apps, high-quality users can be defined as those who interact with ads in a meaningful way.
But what counts as meaningful?
To understand the value of these users, it’s important to keep track of both monetization and engagement metrics. On top of ARPU, ROI, and LTV, also pay close attention to metrics like retention rates, session length, and session count.
Identifying high-quality app users doesn’t stop at monetization and engagement KPIs.
The key to finding these people is to look for common patterns and shared characteristics among your top users.
Here are some additional criteria app marketers can consider when detecting the most valuable users:
- Demographic information. High-quality app users may exhibit shared demographic traits such as age, gender, or education level.
- Contextual data. Consider factors such as the time of day, location, and device used to develop personalized marketing campaigns.
- Progression pace. The speed at which users progress through your app’s features or levels can indicate their level of commitment and interest.
- Early spending. Users who make in-app purchases soon after installing the app often show a strong interest in and desire to invest in the experience.
- Social engagement. High-value users often actively engage with in-app social features such as chats, teamwork, or social media sharing.
Top UA Strategies for Attracting High-Quality App Users
Alright, now you have a clear understanding of how to recognize valuable users within your app.
But what can you do to make sure you’re not wasting money on low-quality users?
The secret is figuring out how to get the right message in front of the right audience through the right channel.
Here are some strategies that can help you make this happen.
1. Lookalike Audiences — Superb Targeting
You’re using Meta to advertise your app? You’ve been using this same ad network for a while now?
Get the most out of it with lookalike audience targeting.
This option allows you to target audiences that are similar to your existing high-quality app users (e.g. by demographics or interests).
Let’s say your app’s most valuable group is 25-year-old women interested in fashion who typically use your app for 15 minutes on day 1. By using historical data and learnings from previous ad campaigns, the ad network will target users who closely match this profile and predict their in-app behavior.
Meanwhile, don’t neglect the power of ad creatives.
Besides optimizing targeting, it’s equally important to adapt ad creatives to match the interests of your lookalike audiences. Well-crafted ad creatives, combined with well-optimized lookalike audiences, can be a game-changing combo.
Bonus tip: Meta allows you to control lookalike audience size with a percentage value. Higher values target broadly, while lower values narrow it down. Typically, 2-3% works best for most campaigns (Mistplay).
*Note: Lookalike audiences were affected by Apple’s iOS 14.5 updates. Even though they still work for iOS, they deliver much better results for Android audiences.
2. Offerwalls — User Quality Renaissance
If you’re sticking to the familiar territory of traditional video ads, you might be missing out on untapped UA opportunities for your app.
One strategy we recommend exploring is offerwall advertising.
Why, you wonder?
Offerwalls are getting rediscovered as a valuable UA solution.
In the past few years, this ad format has significantly evolved in terms of appearance and functionality. Today, offerwalls are focused on meaningful engagement and attracting high-quality app users at scale.
Because they are willing to devote their time to the things they enjoy, offerwall users tend to be more loyal than others. They will invest their time in an app that they enjoy, just as they do with completing goal events in offerwalls.
Moreover, today’s offerwalls provide top-notch targeting options, allowing advertisers to show ads to the most relevant users based on their behavior and interests.
A great example of this is how a mobile gaming studio, Midnite Games, turned to MAF’s MyChips offerwall to address their UA challenges. The result was a remarkable 170% global ROAS and 3.5x higher retention rates. Check out Midnite’s case study for a detailed overview!
Bonus tip: For acquiring top-tier app users, leverage multi-reward offers. This offerwall ad format encourages users to engage with the advertised apps for longer, proving especially valuable for mobile games.
3. Predictive LTV — Like a Crystal Ball
When it comes to attracting high-value users, LTV is the “holy grail” metric.
For this reason, it deserves some extra attention.
Predictive LTV (pLTV) modeling uses AI and machine learning to predict future events based on historical data. Thanks to this technology, advertisers can get an estimate of the lifetime value of their potential users.
These predictions can be a great helping hand for campaign optimization.
PLTV insights help you better understand user behavior patterns and predict future campaign performance. Not only that, but they also help optimize for other KPIs like predictive ROAS (pROAS).
Advertisers get to make more informed campaign decisions, helping them target potential high-quality app users.
Predictive models have become especially popular amid Apple’s privacy restrictions. Since they are completely privacy-friendly, many advertisers use this strategy to optimize their iOS campaigns.
There is a wide range of predictive modeling tools available, so pick the one that suits your needs best. These powerful tools can process data from any advertising platform, including Meta, offerwalls, and others.
Bonus tip: To maximize the impact of pLTV, segment your users based on their expected lifetime value. Then create unique marketing strategies for each group to optimize the LTV of users with different traits and behaviors.
4. Referral Programs — Power of Recommendations
Never underestimate word-of-mouth marketing.
People put great trust in suggestions from their friends and family.
That’s why referral programs have become a popular strategy for attracting high-quality app users.
The key to successful referral programs lies in offering enticing incentives, often in the form of in-app discounts, bonuses, or other benefits. In non-gaming apps, they often appear as codes or links built into apps that users can copy and send or share directly via social media (e.g. delivery apps, finance apps).
Gaming apps, on the other hand, usually offer players a generous amount of in-game currency for their friends joining the game.
One game that makes great use of friend referrals is Coin Master. For the player to earn the promised reward (spins and coins), their friends need to accept the invite and complete the in-game tutorial. By requesting this engagement event, the developer filters out transactional referrals, ensuring new players are genuinely invested in the game.
Bonus tip: Instead of chasing a large number of referrals, target your high-quality app users. When these users refer their acquaintances, they are more likely to become quality users themselves. You know how they say: “You are who you hang out with”.
5. App Store Optimization — High-Intent Users
Last but not least, let’s not forget about the good old ASO.
App users obtained through ASO are typically more valuable than those acquired through video ad networks.
It all comes down to intentions.
ASO typically attracts users who are actively searching for and are interested in an app like yours. As a result, they are more likely to have higher engagement, retention, and ultimately — lifetime values.
In comparison, users acquired through video ad networks might be less targeted and may not have the same level of intent, leading to potentially lower-quality users.
Bonus tip: Regularly update your app’s metadata and visuals based on user feedback and performance data to maintain a strong ASO strategy. You can also benefit from updating your ASO elements around popular real-world events. For example, Christmas or Halloween.
Final Thoughts on Attracting High-Quality App Users
Ready to embark on your quest for high-value app users?
Check out MAF’s advertising solutions, designed specifically to attract high-quality app users. We’ve helped numerous app marketers reach (and surpass) their goals, and we’d love to talk about how we can do the same for you!