Having a diversified mix of user acquisition channels is key to ensuring incremental growth and dominating within the competitive landscape. While it's important to attract the low hanging fruit from traditional channels, it’s equally as important to reach new, high quality users from new channels that would be otherwise inaccessible. 

However, choosing a new channel can be daunting - there are tons of channels to choose from (social media, SDK networks, search, on-device) and even more sources (Facebook, Google, ironSource).

So, how do you select the right channels for your app and what criteria should you focus on? Start here. 

  • Set your user acquisition budget: You want to find the right balance between investing in user acquisition and investing in other areas of your business, such as product. Before allocating your budget across channels, first, set an overall user acquisition budget based on a cost-benefit analysis (whether the amount of users you’ll acquire is worth the cost).
  • Measure your risk: Next, decide how much money and time you’re willing to risk in adding new channels and how aggressive you’re willing to be. This way, you can make stronger decisions about adding new, uncertain channels to your mix. 

With a distinct understanding of your user acquisition strategy - how much you’re willing to spend and the risk you’re willing to take - it’s time to start researching new channels. 

Here are 7 questions Dor Isseroff, Senior Director of Sales and Partnerships at Aura, gets asked about whether or not to buy users on a new user acquisition channel. Scroll down to find out the answers for Aura, ironSource’s on-device advertising channel. 

1. Does the channel fit my target audience? 

Be aware of the demographics and psychographics of the users on the channel to ensure they fit your target audience, or, at least, see whether they could represent a new opportunity for your app. 

For apps that attract many different types of users, such as males and females ranging in age from 20-60, you’re more likely to test a new channel to see whether the audience will convert, rather than paying close attention to audience fit right away. For example, hyper-casual games attract all different types of users, which means they take on less risk testing out new channels with distinct audiences, such as LinkedIn, before making a final decision about audience fit. 

For apps that attract users with very specific demographics and psychographics, it’s crucial to make sure your audience is reachable through the new channel. For example, an app for photo or music creators will most likely not find their users on a professional networking channel like LinkedIn that typically attracts members of corporate America.  

2. Does the channel have global reach?

If you aren’t thinking about your worldwide footprint, you’re missing out on potential new users. This is why you should also consider whether the channel has global reach and in which countries it’s strongest. This is where your research comes in handy - you can determine the strength of each channel globally by reading case studies, talking to contacts, or even asking nitty gritty questions in the sales pitch.

First, determine your target countries according to which countries your app is localized in - this will help you make more informed decisions about the best channels for your app by geo. If your app hasn’t been localized for Spain, for example, advertising on a channel that performs best in Spain may not drive great results.  

Keep in mind that less global reach may make sense for your UA strategy, too. For example, if your US-based food delivery app is in the process of expanding into Europe but doesn’t have enough delivery drivers yet, it may not be the right time to reach users in that geo through a global channel. 

3. Is there an overlap between my current channels and the new channel? 

With an understanding of audience and reach, the next step is comparing this criteria to the channels you’re currently running on. After all, to see incremental growth from a new set of users, you want to make sure you aren’t reaching the same set of users on a few different channels. 

For example, if you’re already running a campaign on a video sharing platform, such as TikTok, it’s likely those same users will also be on a photo sharing platform, such as Instagram. Ultimately, it’s important to consider whether you want to dedicate cost and resources to a channel where the users overlap with a channel you’re already running on. 

4. What is the cost commitment? 

Many channels have hidden fees (setup fee, management fee, etc.) and require large, upfront cost commitments. While you may be prepared to pay the price, it’s still important to know how much of your budget will be allocated to a new channel. In general, it’s best to find channels that allow you to start with a conservative approach before going all in. 

5. Is the channel a self-serve or managed service? 

There are benefits to both a self-service and managed service - a self-serve channel means you have full control and transparency into your data and a managed channel means you get personalized recommendations for optimization. Nevertheless, be aware of how much time and resources you’ll have to put into optimizing your new UA channel. If the channel is self-serve - meaning it’s entirely your responsibility to optimize the channel and analyze data - you can then determine whether the channel is worth your time commitment based on the above criteria (users, cost, reach, etc.) Many social and search channels are self-serve, while SDK networks can be as well. 

If the channel is managed, the account managers at the channel are responsible for working with you to maximize potential and drive stronger performance. You’ll get personalized recommendations without losing control of your strategy. On-device channels, like Aura, are often managed services, as well as SDK networks like ironSource. 

6. Is the channel integrated with major MMPs?

Whether or not the channel is integrated with major MMPs is one of the most important criteria to keep in mind when adding a new channel - since you want to ensure data accuracy, efficiency, and transparency. Being integrated with the top players, such as AppsFlyer, Adjust, Kochava, Singular, Branch, also signifies the channel has a good reputation. 

7. Are there creative guidelines?

Each UA channel will have guidelines for the types of creatives you need and what you’ll be responsible for providing - such as, design specifications and technical requirements for different ad units and placements. 

This is less of a make or break and more of an important criteria to keep in mind in terms of the resources you’ll need to put into the channel. Many channels rely heavily on creatives while others, like on-device platforms and search solutions, don’t need rich visual ads. 

Adding a new channel doesn’t have to be daunting if you know what criteria to look for. Ask yourself these 7 important questions before going all in on a new channel and feel confident in the decisions you make for your UA strategy. 

The Aura answer key

Now let’s apply this approach to Aura. If you were in a demo with Dor, these would be his responses. 

1. Does the channel fit my target audience? 

Because every type of demographic owns mobile devices today, you can reach your specific demographic on more than 1B devices. 

2. Does the channel have global reach?

Connect with users on more than 1B devices across 77 countries, through partnerships with premium manufacturers and carriers like Samsung, Vodafone, Orange, and Boost.

3. Is there an overlap between my current channels and the new channel? 

While different audiences prioritize different platforms - for example, Gen X uses Facebook as their leading social platform and Gen Z uses TikTok - the common denominator is that everyone reaches their social channels on their phones. With Aura, you can reach a diverse audience in one place, which leads to less overlap from specific demographic platforms such as TikTok or Snap.

4. What is the cost commitment? 

Aura doesn’t require an up-front payment and has no hidden costs, which means you can test out the channel before going all in. With Aura, you pay on performance. 

5. Is the channel a self-serve or managed service?

Aura is a managed service, which means you’ll get personalized recommendations and support from the Aura team about which touchpoints you should be leveraging. That said, you also get real-time campaign analytics on a dedicated advertiser dashboard.

6. Is the channel integrated with major MMPs?

Aura is integrated with all the major MMPs - AppsFlyer, Adjust, Kochava, Singular, Branch, and more.

Further, looking at MMP reports such as the latest Singular report or AppsFlyer performance index, you’ll see Aura in many top spots. Some notable achievements from Singular’s ROI Index 2022 are top 5 global ad partner, top 5 non-gaming ad partner, and top 5 gaming ad partner. 

7. Are there creative guidelines?

Aura uses the traditional assets used on Google Play, requiring no extra effort from you on the creative side. 

Let's put these tips to good use

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