How to Incentivize New Users and Scale Downloads

By Constanza Alvarado Bernard | February 1, 2021

Constanza Alvarado Bernard is User Acquisition Manager at Albo. Before joining Albo, Constanza was Headway’s Client Services Executive, working with the programmatic team on user acquisition strategies and solutions for clients from all over Latin America. After traveling around Europe over the past year, Constanza settled in Mexico City and currently leads user acquisition at one of the hottest Mexican tech companies,

Learn more about Mobile Hero Constanza Alvarado Bernard.

It’s a given that consumers want apps that add value and convenience to their lives. With the app store busier than ever as more people stay at home, an amazing, well reviewed app is often not compelling enough for users to take the step of downloading it. So I present a question, how can mobile app marketers catch user attention and interest

More often than not, an incentive will prompt users to try an app out. Incentives include offering a free trial, providing discounts off a first purchase or offering free shipping. Rewards have many benefits, such as:

  • Driving product adoption: after users receive a promotion available only via mobile app, the promise of future benefits keeps users around in the long-run.
  • Brand differentiation: provides an opportunity to showcase an app’s benefits and distinguish against competitors.
  • Brand positioning: partnering with other brands increases users’ perception of reliability.

To get you started, below are some ideas to consider when building an incentivization strategy to attract new users to your mobile app. 

Offer a relevant incentive 

Does the incentive make sense to users? Mobile finance app users might be interested in cashback, while a gaming app user prefers free extra lives before purchasing. App marketers need to understand the context, the type of product being offered and user preferences. For instance, if you target mid to low-income users, it makes sense to avoid high-end deals.

At albo, one of the hardest steps with user onboarding is the “first funding”—getting consumers to deposit their hard-earned cash into the app. Users might not have the funds at the exact moment after downloading, or they want to learn more about the product before doing so. We learned early on how initial financial incentives like cashback are well-received by our users. 

If you aren’t sure whether an incentive is relevant to your audience, start by tapping into your users directly. Try surveying a small and casual social media pool to receive quick answers, or conduct a focus group where you get more granular preferences and details. Either approaches work well in understanding your target audience needs and wants—just avoid spamming users with tedious questions which might push users to give poor answers. 

Spur user interest

Consumers are inundated with ads and deals on a daily basis, so think hard about what you can do to catch your audience’s attention. A great place to start is offering users something different from your competitors. The challenge here is that apps within a category often have similar offerings. To spur a user’s interest, you will need to communicate the incentive effectively. I’ve seen marketers accomplish this by:

  • Making the discount or unique offer distinctly available only for mobile app users to acquire.
  • Expressing time or redemption limitations, such as “only for the time of the Super Bowl” or “the first X people that reply.” The lure of a limited incentive motivates users to take action now, rather than later.
  • Pointing out the simple process to receive the incentive.

An incentive becomes juicy and attractive enough for consumers through a combination of messaging and channels. 

Make your budget work for you 

As a startup, we make every dollar (or peso) count. This means that, although some expensive gifts are appealing, be realistic to get the most out of your budget. 

At Albo, we start by looking at all the options within our budget. We consider all costs (media, incentives and others) and focus on having a total cost lower than our usual cost per user. This way, we guarantee a sustainable strategy in the long term. 

Ensure brand identity match 

Never compromise your company’s values to acquire more users. Albo’s mission is helping users build and maintain healthy money management habits. And with every promotional launch, we reference our goals and make necessary changes to preserve our values. In order to accomplish this, here are several points to keep in mind:

  • When collaborating with other brands, ensure their values and businesses align with your own.
  • Avoid misleading or false advertising with incentives by carefully communicating and being clear with the terms and conditions.
  • Align messaging that is reflective of company values. As a financial services app, we offer deals during the sales season but also share tips on spending wisely, or raising awareness on the importance of saving for unexpected expenses.

Assess the risks early-on 

Incentives can increase the possibility of bringing deal hunters. In our case, we had a referral program that brought on low-quality users. Although we acquired a ton of new users, we were dissatisfied with the type of users we added. 

Taking this as a learning opportunity, we adapted how we implemented referral strategies by:

  1. Improving our onboarding process
  2. Changing the rewards and the time users were offered the promo.

Now, instead of receiving a reward immediately, we expect the user to take a prior action, such as a purchase or a deposit. In general, you can minimize your risk by taking quick action to optimize your incentive program.

That’s all from Constanza! For more key pointers from our Mobile Heroes, check out the latest blogs. Want to chat directly with our Mobile Heroes? Join our 2,000+ community of mobile marketers to talk all things mobile.