AdTech trends

Combining ASO and Paid User Acquisition for App Growth

The era of pure organics is over - check out how combining ASO and paid user acquisition can boost your app marketing in competitive spaces.

The era of pure, organic growth is over! If you want to level up your app marketing strategy, you need to consider combining organic actions with paid user acquisition to boost your mobile app growth. Keep reading to discover why and how to combine ASO and app store advertising to scale your app user acquisition.

What is ASO vs. Paid User Acquisition?

ASO and paid UA are well-known terms in the app marketing industry. Both stands for acquiring mobile users, however, ASO focuses on your organic actions, and paid UA acquires users through paid promotion.

What is App Store Optimization?

Let’s start with the basics. App Store Optimization (ASO) is a way to make your app more visible to potential users by using tools to help it rank higher in the app store search results. By making your app more discoverable, you improve your opportunity to secure more downloads, increase your mobile app growth and appear at the top of the pecking order above your competitors. In other words, ASO is like SEO for app store search engines. 


What is Paid User Acquisition?

Paid user acquisition (UA) is a paid advertising channel that lets you promote your app directly through the app stores or other advertising channels. There are different advertising methods and objectives that you can use, for instance:

Mobile advertising methods & channels:

  • App store advertising (Apple Search Ads, Google App Campaigns, etc.)
  • In-app advertising (SDK for Ad Networks)
  • Social media advertising (Meta, Snapchat, TikTok, etc.)
  • Digital marketing (email, content, video marketing, etc.) 
  • Traditional marketing (printed brochures, banners, etc.)

Mobile advertising objectives:

  • Acquire specific mobile users (segmentation through Custom Product Pages)
  • Retarget uninstall mobile users
  • Increase traffic to the product pages on app stores
  • Promote new mobile features
  • Increase brand awareness of mobile app

3 Reasons to Combine ASO & Paid UA Strategies

To maximize on your app’s potential, combining App Store Optimization and app advertising strategies can help you boost your user acquisition. Here, we’ll go through the top three reasons why you should incorporate ASO and paid UA into your app marketing strategy.

  1. With a blended ASO & paid UA strategy, you get all the advantages of paid and organic marketing. Utilizing both gives you the opportunity to reach a broader audience, increasing your chance of success. ASO will provide the building blocks of your campaign, which in turn will be enhanced through mobile advertising by helping more users find you. The unique advantages of each are also a great way to mitigate the weaknesses of the other, giving you a more balanced and well-rounded strategy.
  2. Adding paid promotion of your mobile app to your marketing strategy can also help you generate more organic app installs. By driving more users to your app and increasing your installs, app store algorithms will reward you with a higher ranking!
  3. Using both ASO and paid UA can tell you more about what is working in your strategy, and the correlation between both. This will help you identify weak and strong points of your user journey. As a result, you can effectively optimize users touchpoints and drive more installs. Knowledge is power!

How to Combine ASO and Paid Acquisition?

Enough of theory, it’s time to take a look at the actual steps of the app growth framework. The following framework was developed by App Radar’s app marketing experts. It combines organic downloads, paid downloads and in-app store conversion rate optimization to enable a constant stream of new users while hitting performance targets. So, now let’s go through each of the steps.


Step One : Start with ASO

As the bread and butter of your campaign, you want to start with ASO. Through optimization, you can position your app to rank higher above its competitors on the app store search results. This will provide a consistent stream of traffic to your app and ensure you are reaching highly engaged users who are looking for an app like yours. This will mean tailoring your keywords to best fit your users’ journey and choosing stand-out visuals to promote your brand and showcase your app’s best features.

Remember, that ASO should always go first! The reason is quite simple: if your product page is not optimized to convince mobile users to download your app, you will waste your ads budget. Therefore, always make sure that you have persuasive messaging and screenshots on the page where you drive traffic. 

Step Two : Test Your Paid UA

Next up is developing your paid acquisition strategy. This will build on all your hard work optimizing your app and help you attract your target audience and a wider demographic of users you might struggle to reach organically. To perfect your paid promotion, you’ll want to test your ads and refine them based on what the data is showing you. This means you can funnel your budget into all the right ads places and channels, and maximize on installs.

Step Three : Analyze, Analyze, Analyze!

Analyzing the performance of your organic and paid activities is absolutely essential to make sure you are consistently achieving your goals. Adapting to changes will keep you ahead of the game and ensure you’re making the most of your budget. Keep checking which keywords are working well for you, look at which messaging is bringing you the most conversions, and listen to feedback from your users – all of this can help you maintain your campaign’s success and boost your mobile app growth.

Step Four : Deepen Your Strategy

One thing is certain, and that change is inevitable. Don’t be afraid to change up your campaign based on what the data is telling you, and don’t be afraid to take risks!

Take advantage of industry trends and make moves that will set you apart from your competitors to keep your campaign fresh and engaging.

You don’t need to jump in head-first though. Making small and smart changes to keywords, creatives and budget choices can help you make more bold choices later down the line with the confidence and data to know what you’re doing is working well.

Step Five : Keep Analyzing

With your strategy in place and your campaign up and running, you’ll want to analyze your results. Tracking your app store performance and ads performance will help you to avoid mistakes in your app marketing strategy. Therefore, automate app performance tracking with tools like App Radar, and be ready to scale up your app growth.

Key Takeaways

Both App Store Optimization and paid user acquisition have the ultimate goal of helping you increase your mobile customer base. It is important to remember, that ASO is your basis and paid acquisition channels come to the game to help you scale. So blending them seamlessly into your app marketing strategy can be your golden ticket to success. However, remember to analyze your growth steps and adjust your strategy according to the data results! 

If you seek further insights into Apple Search Ads and full-funnel integration, we offer a comprehensive article on the subject.

This article has been contributed by Iryna Lukashuk. Iryna Lukashuk is marketing team lead at App Radar - mobile app growth platform. With a passion for empowering app marketers and developers, Iryna thrives on crafting insightful content to fuel success in the ever-evolving app business landscape.

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