Burst Campaign for User Acquisition: Is it a Gamble With no Guarantee?

4 min read
Feb 5, 2021

Most app developers and publishers compete with millions of established competitors operating within the same market. At the beginning of 2018, approximately 3.8 million apps populated the Google Play store, while the Apple App store included more than 2 million. Windows, Amazon and BlackBerry platforms combined offer more than 1.3 million apps for their smaller user bases. It’s often difficult to decide which app store is the best for you to post your app onto, but both have their pros and cons.

Attracting the attention of billions of potential customers can either sink or swim most mobile projects. Burst campaigns can come with a variety of risks, but the methods remain as a valid and mostly successful option for boosting your app’s user base and engagement levels, despite the occasional protest against incentivises.

Burst Campaign acquisition strategy offers a path to rapid growth

In an ideal world, the sheer quality of your app would spark a word-of-mouth campaign, which would help lift your mobile app to be featured on the top of the charts. While Organic growth is a terrific and natural goal for most people, there are some that may benefit from a more proactive marketing approach.

Burst campaigns for user acquisition often involves a focused advertising spend within a limited time frame, with the aim of attracting as many valuable users as possible. This type of campaign may take place across multiple mediums, with the biggest app companies spending huge amounts of money on a coordinated burst of traditional and digital advertisements.

Considering the proliferation of multi-million £ apps like Snapchat, Uber, WhatsApp and Candy Crush Saga, burst acquisition campaigns may appear as an easy method to spark even more gains within your market. However, this type of campaign isn’t necessary for all apps as they can often carry a significant risk of wasted advertising money, which isn’t ideal for smaller businesses.

User Acquisition isn’t a guarantee

On the surface, user acquisition appears to be a straightforward process – the more users the better. Rapidly gaining users also has the positive effect of boosting your app’s position within app store listings and search algorithms. With a solid burst campaign, you could most definitely increase the number of signups you receive through advertising and organic search methods.

The type of users attracted also plays an important role when considering the types of campaigns that suits your goals best. Those who install your app due to incentives, advertising or other types of coercion ultimately costs money. Acquiring users through organic search and app store rankings usually requires less of an investment. In fact, when burst campaigns lead to greater organic growth, the return on investment (ROI) for the ad burst increases dramatically.

There’s never a guarantee that an ad spend will increase sales or engagement levels, which gives burst acquisitions the reputation of being a risk for most businesses. Consuming a large chunk of an annual advertising budget in a small period of time could hinder the rest of your marketing efforts – especially if part of your plan relied on a successful burst! 

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The risks of Burst Campaigns

Not all apps should develop their user base strategy through burst campaigns. Certain apps feature a niche audience instead of mainstream appeal. As such, attempting to sign up as many new users as possible might be a waste of money and time. Instead of leading to a sustained increase fuelled by a parallel rise of organic installs, all the new users you paid for may simply uninstall the app and have no urge to use it again. Even worse, they may be compelled to leave a negative review, which could ultimately hinder your app’s overall reputation. Campaigns must focus on an end goal to ensure that they can achieve maximum effect. Creating an installed base of users for new apps tends to be one of the more popular goals.

What are the best Burst Campaign practices?

Take into account the timing – When launching a relatively new app, it can often be an exciting time, leading to you and your business wanting to run a burst campaign to help start your app off in the right direction. But, if your app has been available for a while and it’s considered a ‘niche’ app, a burst campaign could lead to a high volume of installs, but over time you could see a high number of uninstalls. So, make sure you time your campaigns accordingly.

Using multiple advertising networks – By spreading your burst campaigns out amongst several advertising networks, you are able to increase the probability that your adverts are reaching unique users. By working with multiple networks/channels, you’re ultimately giving your app the best chance of reaching unique users.

Take full advantage of analytics and data tracking – Prior to running a burst campaign, it’s important that you have a valuable marketing and evaluation strategy put in place. It’s best that you ensure you are equipped with the best and appropriate analytics tools to ensure you gain valuable insight into your app installs and your user engagement levels.

Rotate your advertising plan/strategy – Put yourself in the shoes of your users. Imagine constantly seeing the exact same advert over and over again for 2 months straight. Would you feel the urge to download that app? Probably not. By not creating a variation of different adverts for your app, you could risk having a negative impact on your campaigns and your app’s download performance. We’d advise you to prepare at least 10 different advert options that rotates frequently to ensure that your adverts stay fresh, and engaging.

Burst Campaigns – A calculated gamble

Instead of acquiring users for the sake of it, burst campaigns should fulfil greater outcomes, such as an increase in user spending and user retention.

Burst campaigns will all but guarantee a rise in new users, perhaps spurring increased engagement and spending from current users, but a solid ROI isn’t necessarily etched in stone. Gambling a big ad spend in a short period of time should be a calculated endeavour which fits into a larger marketing scheme. Consider a specific end goal before investing your money and your time into a quick burst of user acquisition.

If you have an app idea and would like to seek help on how to best market your app, Talk To Us today!

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