Setting up your first User Acquisition campaign


So… it is your first day as a User Acquisition Analyst at this super cool start up and you are really excited with everything, which is GREAT! After getting to the office early in the morning and being introduced by the CEO – that you already met during the interviewing process – to all the 3 remaining employees (the company is comprised basically by 3 tech guys plus the CEO and now you), your CEO calls you to a meeting and tells you that the company needs to start doing paid user acquisition campaigns for the app that was approved in the App Store and Google Play just yesterday ASAP! 

You obviously get really excited with the mission even though you didn’t understand completely what your CEO wants neither how to do it.

Having faced similar challenges in the past, during the following items we explain what are the steps you MUST go through in order to overcome this challenge and amaze your boss!

1. Have a clear goal for your campaign

As people often say… first things first! Before doing anything else, you must decide what is the goal of your user acquisition campaign. What do you want to achieve with it? Do you want to get a certain number of downloads to test your app’s performance live and with a decent amount of traffic? Do you want to do a soft launch in a specific country to understand user behaviour inside your app? Do you want to buy enough installs to scale your app’s ranking in the store’s charts and get more visibility for it? Or do you want to validate your app’s monetization model?




No matter what is your campaign’s objective, if you don’t have it crystal clear, you’ll find it very hard to go through the other steps explained below.


2. Decide how you will measure results

Once you define what is your campaign’s goal, you must also decide how you will measure it. As a general rule, you must define KPIs that (1) you are able to measure accurately and (2) accurately reflect your campaign’s goal.

To illustrate what I mean, below are a few examples:


User Acquisition Campaign Goal KPI to measure results
To acquire a specific number of users to test the app’s live performance Number of users acquired (i.e., number of app installs)
Improve the app’s ranking in the stores New ranking position
Acquire loyal users Percentage of acquired users that remained active 7 days after installing your app
Verify if monetization with ads is a viable monetization strategy Ad revenue divided by campaign’s costs


KPIs are highly dependent on the campaign’s goal and it is hard to affirm that a specific KPI is right or wrong. It is also common to measure more than one KPI to analyze your campaign’s results.


3. Define your campaign’s budget

Unless you work at Google or Apple, your company is probably not sitting under endless money 🙂 You must define a budget you will invest in your campaign and stick to it. Discipline here is very important especially because, at this stage, you are not able to tell whether your campaign was successful or not.




4. Choose the ad networks where you will run your user acquisition campaign

Since there are plenty of options available today, be aware to chose a trustful ad network – it must be able to truly help you achieve your goals. Good things to check here are:

  • Is the ad network relatively new in the market or is it a recognized brand?
  • Is it a blind ad network or does it disclose information about its traffic sources?
  • Does it have/had issues with fraudulent/bot traffic?
  • Does it have direct relationship with its publishers (through its SDK) or does it buy traffic from third parties?
  • Can the ad network optimize your campaign based on the KPIs that you need?
  • Can the ad network deliver your campaign goals within the budget you have?
  • Does it provide in-depth analytics so you can have meaningful insights about your campaign?
  • Does it provide top quality customer support?

Do this homework carefully. Without a trustful supply partner, the chances of running a successful ad campaign are really low.


5.  Make sure to correctly set up your campaign

After choosing your supply partner, the next step is setting up your campaign. This step looks simple at a first glance but it has some tricky things to consider.

The main decisions you’ll have to make here are:

  • What countries and regions do you want to target? Are you looking for installs in several different countries? Should you target specific cities only?
  • Is your app designed to run in specific devices? Do you want tablet users only? Do you have restrictions in terms of operational system versions where your app cannot run?
  • Is your app bandwidth consumption heavy enough to require users to be on wi-fi to download it?
  • Do you want to run a CPM, CPC or CPI campaign? Will you monitor any post-install event?
  • What ad sizes and types do you want to use? Is the creative you designed attractive enough to call the user’s attention?
  • What should be the payout of the campaign? Will this payout be competitive enough to drive traffic to your campaign?
  • What should be the pace of your campaign? Is it fine if you run a one-day only campaign or do you want to use daily spend caps to guarantee you invest your money in a one-week length campaign?


Last but not least, after going through all those steps , you will need to make sure your tracking is set up correctly, especially if you want to measure installs and/or post-install events. Without it, you will not be able to measure with accuracy your campaign’s performance.

Once the tracking is adjusted, you are READY TO GO!

Now… I don’t want to disappoint you but after you’ve done all these things that we just discussed above, your job is actually only STARTING 🙂

To really amaze your CEO, after running this campaign and deploying all the budget you had, you must ANALYZE results and LEARN with them. Questions such as: “did I achieve my campaign’s goal and why?”, “what could have been done better?” must be answered (at this moment, choosing an ad network with top notch support and analytics will prove its value).

Running user acquisition campaigns effectively is complex and is an iterative process that is improved with time. As a Performance Marketer, this is only the first of an uncountable number of campaigns you’ll manage in your career.


Note: To download Revmob’s user acquisition campaign setup guide, please log in our platform and go to Support -> Advertiser -> Campaigns -> How do I create an advertising campaign?

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