There Are Users, and Then There Are Users That Matter by Innu Nevatia

high quality users

Innu NevatiaIn her former role as “VP – Global Revenue Delivery, Performance Advertising” at InMobi, Innu Nevatia was responsible for managing the global revenue delivery team on the advertiser side of the business. She was also directly responsible for establishing, growing and managing end-to-end relationships for the largest strategic clients in gaming, music & entertainment, retail, travel and social, globally. Today in her guest post she shares with us insights on why high quality users must be at the core of everything you do in order for your app to succeed in the app world.

So you’ve created a brilliant app with stunning graphics and amazing features that you know your audience will love. Your next step would be to get those users to your app and ultimately keep them coming back for more. But did you know that an average app retains only 23 percent of its daily active users (DAUs) within the first three days of install? That’s quite a handful, especially if you’re just starting out. Not only that, but daily user engagement drops 9 percent (3 percent for gaming apps) within 3 months of using the app, and only 5 percent of users still use the app after 6 months. That doesn’t sound like a much at all, especially when you may be spending a lot to get users to install your app in the first place.

As a result, the most important question you should be asking yourself is “what should I be doing in order for my app to not tank”? The answer? Pinpoint your most valuable users. Identifying, acquiring and retaining high quality users is the cornerstone of user acquisition today.

Remember, there are users, and then there are users that matter! Let’s take a look at why high quality users matter, how to identify them, and how to acquire them.

Why should you care about high quality users?


Your users are everything. It doesn’t matter if you have a great app (which I’m sure you do) if you don’t have the right users to continue using it. As such, high quality users are key as they help you measure user retention over time, forecast growth, and measure revenue and profitability.

These valuable users will allow you to build a loyal user base. As your app becomes a brand, having a critical mass of loyal users who can become your app advocates is important. They are the ones who will go on to spread the word and create virality to fuel the growth of your app.

These loyal users will also allow you to determine how you’ll allocate your marketing budget. The lifetime value of a user (LTV) is a crucial input for deciding allocation of your marketing budget and user acquisition costs. The product roadmap for an app is influenced by user acquisition, re-engagement, and cross promotion strategies.

How do you identify a high quality user?


There are several ways to identify a high quality user, some of which include the following:

  • Identify the post-install events within the app that matter the most.
  • Define the key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmark values for each of the KPIs.
  • Integrate the right analytic tools or platforms to capture real-time data.
  • Actively analyze the data to identify user groups that meet or surpass these defined KPI values (in both the organic and non-organic user base).

If you have a game app, it’s important to define critical points within the game, which are lead indicators for favorable user engagement and higher in-app purchases in the future. These include engagement events such as tutorial completion, level completion, retention events, and purchase evens such as in-app purchase event or purchase values.

Regardless of the type of app you have, identifying your valuable users will allow you acquire new users, which will help your app grow and become successful.

How do you acquire additional high quality users?


Yes, of course you want more high quality users, who doesn’t? But how do you get them?

Geo-location, Operating System and Device

First and foremost, LTVs should be measured and analyzed based on the geo-location, operating system and device. In order to do so, you need to do two things first. One, segment users into groups, measure LTV of these groups and pinpoint the highest quality batches.  And two, work with mobile advertising partners to target and find similar users.

Below are various ways you can target to acquire high quality users:

    1. Geo targeting: target users based on the country, city and or zip code. You can even drill it down further and target user at points of interest (i.e. tech parks, malls, airports etc.).
    2. Device targeting: high end handsets and newer device models yield higher LTV, which uplifts the order of 50 to 60 percent in LTV metrics when compared to broad brushed campaigns targeting all users.
    3. Lookalike targeting: build a custom audience profile from your top 20 to 30 percent of users. Work with mobile advertising partners to identify user groups that have similar characteristics or, in other words, that “look like” users in your audience profile. Keep in mind, creating an accurate lookalike model is an iterative process and very often it can take up to 12 to 15 iterations to arrive at a lookalike model that works best for your app. Be patient! (Quick tip: always a good idea to speak to a mobile ad network about the expertise of their data science team.)
    4. Demographic Targeting: gender and age targeting result in a 20 to 30 percent uplift in LTV across retail, fashion and gaming apps.
    5. Interest and Behaviour targeting that targets audiences on the basis of their interests, purchase behaviour, travel preferences etc., are used extensively by social media networks to boost acquisition of higher LTV users.
    6. Retargeting (with deep linking) highly engaged, non-paying users, can lead to better monetization.


Second, the power of creatives cannot be underestimated while planning mobile campaigns. Each app has many different value propositions to brag about. As such, creatives should be leveraged for getting the message out. Instead of using CTAs such as “Download Now” or “Play Now”, try to use three to four creative variations for optimal campaign optimization.

Culturalizing creatives (characters, fonts, colors, messaging) is an art and science in itself. Ad networks are increasingly staffing creative teams that design creatives that resonate with different user segments. Experimentation and A/B testing different creatives tailored to the targeted audience will help identify the right combination of creative and targeting.

Optimize and Test

Third, measuring these campaigns requires ad networks to have self-learning real-time optimization algorithms, which will determine the cost of acquiring users. This in turn will help you identify and scale user groups that matter with the correct creatives.

Although your app may seem better than its competitors, more entertaining, provide more bonuses and/or offer more features that potential users may find useful, not having the right type of user will kill your app’s success. Always remember, your users are key! Without the right ones, the loyal ones, the ones that will keep coming back for more even after 6 or 8 months past the install date, all your efforts will be worthless. As such, you must identify your high quality users in ever state of your app in order to acquire more of them. In order to do so requires dynamic targeting, creative ad designs, optimizing and testing—again and again. Once you’ve acquired your targeted users, don’t stop there! Continue to tweak and iterate and soon you’ll see your hard efforts morph into successful realities.