Mobile App Marketing: The Funnel You Need To Know

Mobile app marketing is all about your customer’s journey. It’s critical to clearly define and understand how you should interact with your app users through their whole lifecycle.

Marketers love to use fashionable words. So, they use the “funnel” term to figure out the sequence of stages that maps a customer’s journey.

You can find many funnel stages, but we love to keep things simple and stupid, yet straightforward and powerful. In a nutshell, we can break it down into 3 stages:

  • Acquisition: How to get your targeted users to download and install your app?
  • Activation: What actions should your app users do first?
  • Retention: How to keep your app users using your app?

1. Acquisition

Before entering this funnel stage, we suppose you have already conducted market research to define your target audience. The more you know about your prospective users, the more your actions in this stage will be specific and lead to great results.

The goal of the acquisition stage is to convince your prospective users that your app can solve a problem they have. So, they are willing to download and install it.

  • App store listing. Leverage this free channel and spend time crafting your ASO (App Store Optimization) will pay you back. It’s crucial to write a thoughtful listing for your app.
  • Incentives. It’s very common to incentivize for an app install. You can offer a product giveaway, sweepstakes entry, or any other tangible reward.
  • App cross-promotion. If you have several apps, you can use topic-related ones to promote your new app.
  • Content marketing. It’s a better choice when you aim to build trust and authority amongst your target audience.
  • Social media. It’s one of the most popular acquisition channels. Use your own media if you have a large audience. Otherwise, social paid ads are most effective if you have the budget.
  • Influencers. People buy from people, isn’t it? Finding the right influencers for your app can boost your app downloads in a short period. To make it a win-win and easy task for influencers, you have to do all the work and push an irresistible offer.
  • Search ads. This is another effective paid strategy. You can use in-store advertising or general search queries.
  • App review sites. Submitting your app to specialized sites in reviewing apps is a great option to get more eyeballs and leverage existing pre-qualified users.
  • Competitions. Participate in competitions is another great strategy for getting free exposure, meeting future partners, and closing unexpected deals.
  • Referrals. It’s a classic but yet powerful strategy. Let others promote your app and offer them a reward for every download they bring.

As time and money resources are limited, you must monitor your CPA (cost per acquisition) for each strategy you implement. You can then focus on the right strategy for your app.

2. Activation

Once a user installs your app, you want him to use it. Right? The next question you have to answer clearly is: what actions do you want him to do first?

The goal of the activation stage is to help you through user activation strategies to softly push your app users to perform appropriate actions just after the installation process.

  • Welcome message. You can use the power of push notifications and welcome your app user, then reinforce your value proposition or introduce a key feature.
  • Registration. It’s critical to collect emails or phone numbers, according to your priorities.
  • Conversion. As users are “hot”, you can not lose the opportunity to offer an incentive upfront. You may offer a limited coupon to get your app users making their first purchase.

3. Retention

Once your user is active, it’s time to keep him using your app for a long time. Your ability to activate and retain app users heavily impacts the lifetime value metric, and therefore the CPA. These 2 metrics combined will guide you in choosing and focusing on the right strategies.

The goal of the retention stage is to help you through user retention strategies to keep your app users engaged as long as possible.

  • Coupons. One of the most effective ways, if you sell products or services.
  • Content. Provide special and exclusive content to your users.
  • Features. Inform your users about new updates and features.


Mobile app marketing is all about understanding your audience, mapping your customer’s journey, and taking smart actions based on key metrics such as CPA and lifetime value. You’re dealing with a journey, not a destination.

Good luck 🙂

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