A Perfect Match. How to Run UA and Engagement Together.

By Alexandra and Victor | August 30, 2021

Alexandra Blaisse is a Senior Performance Display Specialist at Just Eat Takeaway.com, a leading online food delivery app connecting users and restaurants. Alexandra initially started in data analytics at Google, later craving a more creative and strategic angle with her work. Alexandra now manages user acquisition at Just Eat Takeaway.com and found a balance between data-driven strategic plans and project management. 

Victor Hernandez is a Senior Performance Display Specialist at Just Eat Takeaway.com, a leading online food delivery app connecting users and restaurants. After generating millions of installs at shopping and travel apps over the last 8+ years, he has extensive knowledge in attribution, fraud prevention, and deep linking. Victor is currently managing the user acquisition growth and engagement activities at Just Eat Takeaway.com.

Learn more about Mobile Heroes Alexandra Blaisse and Victor Hernandez.

As mobile marketers, we have the responsibility of improving efficiency over time. Find the best channel mix, the best creative approach and optimization to meet business needs. Here at Just Eat Takeaway.com, we offer users extensive restaurant options to choose their favorite meal at each moment of the day. Using the right asset at the right user lifecycle moment is one of the most efficient—and challenging—strategies we use to interact with users. We cover our approach to these challenges and share tips on how to improve your app marketing strategy: from user acquisition to engagement to creative strategy to seamlessly combining the two. 

Acquiring Quality Users

Mobile app usage has exploded, with users spending more than 4.2 hours per day in apps. And if we compare the year-over-year growth, we see some countries experienced growth over 50%.

Observing this trend—user behavior and the number of new apps downloaded per year (over 114.9 billion in 2019)—User Acquisition (UA) is the main driver of a company’s growth. It is your source of installs and the first point of contact with users—where they may or may not know you and will consider installing your app. So, how can we ensure efficiency and the best quality users? Below are a few starting tips. 

  • Exclude existing users to avoid audience overlapping between those who already have your app installed. 
  • Keep a close eye on your fraud metrics.
  • Understand the different UA phases before reaching any conclusion.
  • Make sure the Machine Learning (ML) has enough data to learn and optimize based on your key KPIs.

Boosting User Engagement

The number of smartphone subscriptions worldwide today surpasses six billion and is forecasted to grow by several hundred million in the next few years. Not only is daily activity growing, but the sheer volume of individuals with a smartphone is multiplying. This provides a simple view of how powerful and important user engagement is. Engaging with users is a valuable lever for building positive brand experiences and long-term relationships. 

To boost user engagement:

  • Understand your business needs before deciding which users to engage.
  • Make sure the audience is big enough for machine learning (ML) to learn efficiently.
  • Be careful with audience overlapping. To avoid this, you need to exclude segments already impacted by other audiences.
  • Be creative, and use all data points available to find the best moment to interact with your existing users.

Adding It Up: User Acquisition and Engagement

Running user acquisition and engagement might sound like an easy job, but complexity starts with combining them. What happens when audiences overlap? How should you approach different segments? What budget and KPIs do you allocate to various stages? Here are some points to consider.

  • Finding a balance between UA and engagement will become necessary once the volume of installs starts growing month over month. Look into different bids, audience strategies across the board, and the visualization of your ads.
  • Avoid comparing user acquisition and engagement as the same campaign type. The goal of each campaign needs to be clear to optimize performance properly.
  • Depending on your business needs and seasonality, ad spend will differ. For many e-commerce companies, the Christmas season is the best time to acquire new users. Conversion rates improve because everyone is looking for gift ideas and presents.

Let’s Talk Creative Strategy

The average person is exposed to 6,000 to 10,000 ads daily. As such, your marketing assets are the very first touchpoint with a user, and why it is important to tailor your creatives. But how do you capture the attention of an audience constantly exposed to so many ads in a day? To make sure your ad stands out—and actually impacts the person you intend it for—think carefully about creative strategy.

What are the needs of your audience? What is it your app can solve, or help the user with? Why should a user download your app? To shine in a sea of apps, show your app’s relevancy and craft the right messaging. This can be done by showing the benefits of your app, for example, unique features, user reviews, and practicality. Instead of telling potential users, show them the promotions, new filters and items available. This can trigger attention from your audience and guide them to your app.

Checkpoints we keep in mind when looking at creatives:

  • What does our app offer our customers? When users order food through a mobile device, it saves time on a busy day or provides food variety within a few clicks at their next dinner party.
  • How can we communicate it with strong and effective messaging? For a user who has never seen or heard about your app, explain in more detail why your app is relevant.
  • How can we focus on different needs for specific audiences? For customers who engaged with your app before, you could show them new ways to engage with your app. Newly-added restaurants or a new loyalty program can spark the user to place their next order.
  • Will we fulfill the message we are communicating in our ad? You do not want to misinform your users, which in turn damages brand identity. 
  • Keep a clean and straightforward design, especially on mobile devices.
  • Show visuals that tell the story. No one can resist tasteful food, right!?

Test and Automate to Optimize Performance

Combining user acquisition and engagement into one creative strategy is time-consuming. This is where testing and automation come in. Let the algorithms work for you. You don’t have to know everything about the customer (but dive deeper to find out!)

When creating a creative set that has various visuals and messages, you have the power to test all assets in different setups. Algorithms will help with deciding which creative to show to which audience at what moment. Then, bring in your data-driven marketing skills to evaluate ad creative performance.

The next time you review your app marketing strategy, think about your app from a user perspective. How can you design a banner to show users your app provides a benefit? Different types of users require different means to make the conversion happen. It’s okay if you don’t get the right strategy from the start. A test-and-learn approach gives you new insights to continue building on an optimal method for combining user acquisition and engagement campaigns.

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