Everything You Need to Know about Paid Mobile Marketing

Is attracting (and retaining) high value users top of mind?

Interested in learning the keys to building a rock solid mobile user acquisition campaign to reach the right audience at scale (even on a tight budget)?

You built and launched an app – congratulations! Maybe you’ve found some organic growth, landed an app store feature, or are looking to acquire new users right away. Regardless of your stage, to maintain that growth you’ll need to think seriously about your mobile user acquisition (UA) strategy.

There is a lot to consider from your budget to target channels, but first you need to understand the foundation of UA. In this post you’ll learn the basics to launching an in-app ad campaign including bid types, creative formats, acquisition channels, and measuring what matters most.

Know your bid types

First, it’s important to understand the types of paid user acquisition. Mobile app advertising uses several bidding models but the most popular models are:

• CPI (cost per install) bidding lets you specify the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for installs resulting from clicks on ads promoting your app.

• CPC (cost per click) bids represent the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for clicks on ads promoting your app.

• CPCV (cost per completed view) bidding lets you pay a defined maximum amount for rewarded or interstitial video views.

• CPM (cost per thousand impressions) bidding lets you pay based on the number of times your ad is shown.

CPI and CPA are performance-based as you only pay when a user installs your app or takes a specific action inside your app.

Know your creative ad formats

Creatives are extremely important to nail down. One of the best ways to know how well a campaign is resonating with your audience is to look at the click through rate (CTR).

Things like button placement, copy, and even assets used can impact CTR. Check out this article on optimizing vertical video creatives or interactive ads here.

Let’s review some of the most common mobile mobile ad formats below?

Static interstitial mobile ad via chartboost.com/blog

Static Interstitial

◦ Interstitial ads are full-screen static promotions that pop up in a mobile app, usually when there’s a transition between activities in an app.GIF mobile ad pearlsperil via chartboost.com/blog


◦ Interstitial ads are full-screen static promotions that pop up in a mobile app, usually when there’s a transition between activities in an app.

mobile video ad example via chartboost.com/blogVideo Interstitial

◦ Interstitial video plays a video ad creative during a transition between levels or activities in an app. Video is definitely taking over the mobile UA world as it’s a top performing format.

playable interactive mobile ad example via chartboost.com/blog
Playable / Interactive Ad

◦ A growing new ad format that allows a user interact with the ad like it was a game itself. It’s built on engagement and performs with a huge increase over static for ROI and retention.

native mobile ad instagram trunkclubwomen via chartboost.com/blog


◦ This could be a banner or video ad, either built into the theme and functionality of the app itself. For example, a newsfeed sponsored content.

[Placement shoutout] Rewarded 
/ Opt-In

◦ Rewarded placements are opt-in engagement. They let users earn in-app items or virtual currency in exchange for a completed view. Users actually prefer these types of ad experiences (69% prefer it according to Unity) and the ad itself can be a video or playable ad.

[Honorable mention] Banner

◦ Banner ads are the oldest mobile ad format, making its debut on mobile web. The biggest downside of this format is its low engagement rate. The average CTR is just 0.23 percent and only gets 0.1 installs per thousand ad impressions (YIKES!)

Choose the right paid acquisition channels for your audience

You have a lot of options when it comes to mobile UA: Facebook, Google, mobile ad networks, and ad exchanges. In the beginning you might need to do some testing to figure out which channels work best for your apps.

As you’re launching campaigns across different channels, be sure to keep an eye on return on investment (ROI) and which channels are performing better than others. Knowing this will help you identify the most effective (and non-effective) channels and where you should spend your budget. A word of advice, focus on just the one or two that bring valuable users at a lower cost.

Depending on your goals you can choose one or many of these channels to reach your target audiences – check out this comprehensive overview here.

Measuring the results

Top 6 Mobile Metrics to Measure Success

The metrics you track will depend on the campaign objective; for example increasing app installs or brand awareness with the most views possible. Let’s dive into the metrics you should be tracking in your UA campaigns day 1.

1. Retention: Retention rate indicates the percentage of users who visit your app after the initial download. Its great to acquire new users, but that only matters if you can keep them coming back to your app again and again. Related to churn.

2. Customer acquisition cost (CAC): CAC refers to the price you pay to acquire a new customer.

3. Average revenue per user (ARPU): This is easily found by dividing the revenue per user by their lifetime in the app.

4. Return on Investment (ROI): ROI measures the how much money an acquired user spends relative to the cost of those ads. It’s a business-centric metric that is most effective at measuring how ads contribute to an organization’s bottom line.

5. Return on Ad Spend (ROAS): ROAS is a metric used to determine how well ads are performing overall, and specifically which campaigns are performing the best. By taking the revenue you received from advertising and dividing it by the cost of the ad, tells you how much money was generated per dollar spent.

Pro Tip: To have a better understanding of how your ads are performing, you will need to be able to trace new customers back to their source.

6. Lifetime Value (LTV): LTV is your #1 revenue metric. This metric is the financial value of your app in relation to how much each user is worth in his or her lifetime, or the forecasted value of acquired user. For this, you have to pay attention to the actions that users are making inside the app, then look to improve the user experience in those specific areas.

Wrapping it up

For mobile advertisers, deciding how to effectively market to your target audience can be intimidating. But with a little research, mobile ads can be a huge revenue booster. Keep in mind you should continuously monitor key metrics like number of installs, CTR, ROAS, ROI, and LTV to ensure your paid campaigns are reaching the highest value users.

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