The Critical Questions Every Successful User Acquisition Manager Should Consider

By John Koetsier March 16, 2017

The goal of any successful User Acquisition Manager is to spend smarter, faster, and more wisely than their competition. To get there, User Acquisition Managers need to have substantial experience in pulling app data and generating advanced Excel reports. They need high attention to detail and exude expert analytical skills with the ability to make data-driven app user acquisition decisions. Not to mention, they should have proven experience in testing and optimization, lifetime value modeling, budget forecasting, and budget management.

So, it is clearly an understatement to say that Mobile User Acquisition Managers have to work in a world with a lot of moving parts. A world that comes with many questions for consideration before even taking a single step.

In this series, we have gathered some of the most important questions and considerations that App User Acquisition Managers ask themselves daily. All with a mind to shed light on how you can keep ahead of your competitors and deliver against your core app KPIs.

Where and How is User Acquisition Data Collected?

Singular’s customer acquisition marketers are collecting data daily from across their marketing channels through their dashboards from 5–6 different formats (API integrations, FTPs, S3s, web dashboards, email, excel). Multiple formats are leveraged because media providers and platforms use different approaches for making your user acquisition cost and ad performance available to clients.

With so many moving parts there is a lot of room for error in mobile app user acquisition measurement. This can include a network not entering a spend cap and running through monthly budgets in a day. Or an app developer accidentally updating the SDK and suddenly causing app user acquisition campaigns to no longer pass back information.

Additionally, many User Acquisition Managers are relying on “copy and paste” of install and spend data into massive Google Docs and manually creating pivot tables of their KPIs broken down by app, OS, Network. To protect against app data reporting errors like this, consider monitoring all your user acquisition marketing campaigns across all your sources often. This will help prevent errors, blowing through budgets, ruining tests, or simply failing to adjust bids competitively.

  • How often do you collect user acquisition data from each network?
  • What sources and channels do you collect data from?
  • How many hours do you spend in Excel manipulating user acquisition campaign data?
  • How many user acquisition campaigns are you running on each network at any given time?
  • How often are your making optimizations on each network?

The average marketer using Singular is spending on 16+ networks at any given time and testing at least 2 new networks each month.
Your user engagement occurs across dozens of different networks everyday across Facebook, Twitter, Tapjoy, Chartboost, and hundreds of others (see the best performing networks by ROI), so you should be too. Leveraging a dispersed user acquisition strategy is not only to be everywhere your customers are but to ensure maximum reach across your segments as each network addresses a different audience.

  • How many networks do you currently advertise on?
  • How often are you testing new mobile user acquisition networks?
  • How are you ensuring marketing data integrity?

Singular’s proprietary mobile marketing technology auto-detects dozens of discrepancies every day for each customer as a result of integration errors, network updates, false manual inputs, and failed data combining.

When collecting and analyzing data manually from multiple sources, mistakes and mismatched data are inevitable. This is in addition to the hours of daily work it takes to manually manipulate Excel sheets and auditing data. User Acquisition Managers are only human after all.

If you are relying on cost-tracking links, for example, there are many downfalls. For one, it is an extremely manual requirement to update the tracking link every time a change is made to the campaign — which can be as often as daily. Another downfall to cost-tracking links is the networks tend to report different cost information (and potentially lower cost data) due to install postback drop-off.

Without connecting to your direct source of cost, you are likely not receiving your true data. Adding insult to injury, the data is typically passed from a lookback window of up to 30 days. This in itself is not a problem, but if the app data is altered after that window, either because of an update made by the network or the account manager, for example, the data you are receiving may not be retroactively updated.

  • How are you QAing user acquisition data for anomalies, human error, and mismatched or missing data?
  • How often do you find errors in your user acquisition data?
  • Does your data retroactively reflect updates past 30 days?

Singular’s Thoughts on User Acquisition

As a User Acquisition Manager, it’s crucial that you are collecting all data from all sources in all formats, checking for accuracy and completeness. All while analyzing regularly for trends, quality assurance, and scale. This is not an easy feat, and with more apps, more networks, and more spend reported in different formats you inevitably need more supporting resources from marketing, engineering, and business intelligence; especially without a reliable tool for unifying data, ensuring data integrity, and automating workflow.

During our next post we will discuss mobile customer acquisition considerations as it relates to acting on this data, including testing, analysis, optimization, and strategy. In the meantime, please comment below with additional questions you need to address as a successful user acquisition Manager.

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