UA - 5 min read  - April 24, 2019

Programmatic User Acquisition: How to Make the Most Out of Your UA Strategies

With so many rivaling apps out there, finding your loyal audience is a strenuous task. Now the question is how to do user acquisition at an affordable cost and with no team resources wasted needlessly?

It’s plain as day that efficient user acquisition paves a way for maintaining your app successful. However, retention that is tied to user acquisition strategies is increasingly difficult to attain due to the amount of distractions in today’s digital world.

With so many rivaling apps out there, finding your loyal audience is a strenuous task. Now the question is how to do user acquisition at an affordable cost and with no team resources wasted needlessly?

UA is not just Google and Facebook

It’s logical to start your user acquisition campaigns with Google and Facebook Ads—two indisputable ad powerhouses. For most companies these two are the only UA channels that are continuously employed, yet at some point these channels eventually get exhausted.

After reaching a certain level of app fame and recognition, mobile app publishers need to start searching for new ways to attract and retain high-quality users that will stay longer than ordinary users. Moreover, since the duopoly reigns in the market, almost everybody else out there uses the same technology and mechanisms for user acquisition.

So how do you stand out and give your business a push to get the edge?

Programmatic channels – Why turn to Programmatic?

Programmatic buying is slowly but surely marching ahead and winning over publishers’ trust.

One of the biggest advantages of programmatic buying is the real-time bid data that is more accurate and efficient than historical performance data. With real-time bidding publishers pay for the results. Thus, ROAS optimization of ad purchases becomes a process based on the current data and not on the campaign results of buying in bulk.

Programmatic speed and efficiency are now being accompanied more and more often with improved ad fraud techniques and brand safety — these two were extensively questioned in the past.

And what are the challenges of programmatic?

Starting to work with a new UA channel is always challenging, because you don’t immediately trust a new solution and you don’t have a good understanding of how it works either. However, the risks with programmatic user acquisition are quite low since trying new tactics with UA can be limited to one or two campaigns.

It’s important to understand that in order to make the first-party data work and take advantage of machine-learning mechanisms, you need to allow enough time for the technology to adjust campaigns and identify the right audience targets.

Experimentation is vital for determining what works best for your particular app, for your particular project and your business on the whole.

Positive ROI faster with automation

With Stack’s user acquisition solution, Appgrowth, we made it our mission to prioritize the publisher’s needs. Our ultimate goal is to perfect the UA solution by synthesizing the automated processes with custom features and account support to help overcome the challenges of attracting and retaining new users.

The Appgrowth UA platform uses business intelligence data to improve ROI-driven targeting in real-time. The machine-learning process essentially consists of the following:

  • It operates with the predictor that you may feed the data you deem important to consider before the campaign (for example, the list of devices that already have your app installed).
  • In case there’s only second- and third-party data available, the predictor needs time to analyze the targets and so this is why a learning campaign always precedes a full-fledged one.
  • Once the predictor identifies users as the most ideal for your app according to your specification, it gives scores to every user and after optimization targets only the users above a certain score.
  • That way you target those who are most likely to make a purchase, subscribe, become a loyal user and generate high ad revenue. Before launching the campaign it’s up to you to decide what are the results you’d like to track and optimize.  

One of the important functions of the machine-learning process is targeting profitable users. Because growing and scaling your app is not about just acquiring new users.

Successful publishers also prioritize retention rates over incessant acquisition. Why? Sooner or later a portion of the users will inevitably leave your app, especially the ones who were a random target and therefore barely interested in your app in the first place.

According to statistics, 71% of users churn after 90 days.It doesn’t mean those new users are not important, however, they do not necessarily impact your app growth. That’s why the Appgrowth database uses machine-learning to constantly take in new user information.

As the data grows, Appgrowth churns out better and better insights that deliver an invaluable understanding of what user segments are worth putting your energy and resources into.

With Appgrowth you can track the following results: retention rate, in-app purchases, installs, subscriptions, and activation.  

Targeting parameters include:

Machine-learning technology creates vast opportunities for effective use of data that is specific to your app and is geared towards real results.

Our UA expert, Linda Hong, explains that, “The goal of a predictor and machine-learning mechanisms is to learn from installs that are generated during the learning period and help buy users that convert at a positive ROI. The predictor’s ongoing learning logic leads to better buying through time.”

Fraud is considerably mitigated by Appgrowth carefully choosing the attribution partners and exchange platforms. Till this day ad fraud is something that cannot be fully eliminated which pushes us to actively collaborate with our partners to fight fraud together and make sure its numbers decline. Our attribution partners include the best in the industry, such as AppsFlyer and Adjust.

Effective ad formats

There are a variety of ad formats available to run the campaigns: native ads, banners, videos and rewarded videos. However, playable ad format is one of the best when it comes to user acquisition.

Playable ads are akin to a demo of your app that lasts no more than a minute and allows the user to see the most attractive/useful elements of your application. The user experience remains positive, because with a thought-out playable ad you get an interactive content and can play around with it, while still having an opportunity to close the ad at any time.

Creating this kind of ad can be a strain on the app development team, so Appgrowth helps with identifying the aspects of an application that will connect with its audience and with actually producing engaging playable ads for free.

Our account manager Natalia shares, “Our team is able to experiment with different settings. For example, different card backs, text, animation, sizes and colors of the install button, different backgrounds and so on. It takes us about a week and a half to make creatives. The playable ad format is special, because it allows users to directly interact with an ad which makes it much more appealing. And if users choose to install, they know exactly what they are installing.”  

The bigger picture: aligning UA with overall mobile growth

Appgrowth is an independently strong tool. However, everything that plays a role in elevating your app is strongly interconnected. Ad monetization, analytics and user acquisition should be in unison to produce efficiency and profits.

Aligning our UA platform with Stack monetization and business intelligence is the step towards creating a powerful engine that can scale users and profits. When used with the rest of our Stack solutions, Appgrowth can be even more robust.


Appgrowth strives to support mobile app companies in their ambition to grow and scale their business, using an additional channel that narrows down to the strategies for acquiring users that are relevant for your app.

There’s a clear understanding that the industry is in need of more affordable quality ad tech tools. At Stack we recognize this need and develop our products for publishers to run better campaigns, target users that bring value and optimize more effectively.

If you’re ready to scale your app business, now is your chance to get onboard. Let’s talk about your business needs — reach out to us here.

Ekaterina Kupidonova
Product Marketing/Content Manager