Organic and paid user acquisition: 26 insights from 6 experts

By John Koetsier August 10, 2023

1400 people signed up for our recent webinar on aligning organic and paid user acquisition. Of those who answered our polls, 11% have zero organic user growth and 38% have minimal organic growth: less than 25%.

So how can you maximize your organic user acquisition?

Here’s a start: go sign up for that webinar and watch it right now.

Also, given that we have the recorded insight from 6 experts on maximizing organic growth, aligning paid and organic user acquisition, and maximizing the organic multiplier of paid user acquisition, let me summarize some of the best pieces of advice they provided.

Organic and paid user acquisition panelists

Our experts have decades of combined experience in running paid UA campaigns and fostering increased organic growth. They are:

  • Eva Juretić, Growth Marketing @ PocketWorlds
  • Mary Kim, Head of Growth @ GameHive
  • Ben Shore, Senior Customer Success Manager, Strategic Accounts @
  • Mike Grguric, CEO @ Udonis
  • Stuart Jarvis, Sr. Partner Manager, Solution Architect @ Luna (Unity)
  • Emre Bilgic, Senior Sales Engineer @ MobileAction

Top advice and insights on maximizing the synergies between organic and paid user acquisition

There’s far too much in the webinar to summarize in one blog post, but these are a few of the highlights …

  1. Sometimes you hit a home run with a viral ad
    “We once made over $300,000 on a $300 spend during a three-day span.”
    – Mike Grguric, Udonis
  2. Privacy is a key driver of focusing on organic
    “I think the key reason we see marketers switching focus to organic in the last couple of years is … the switch to iOS 14 and the whole privacy thing.’
    – Eva Juretić, PocketWorlds
  3. Better organic presence = higher ATT opt-in
    “We also started because we wanted to build trust within our players to convince them more to consent to ATT. And the thought process behind that is if you have a better brand, probably players will be more willing to share their data.”
    – Mary Kim, GameHive
  4. Organic multipliers can be massive
    “When we first started UA on Tap Titans 2, we saw a large uplift on organics, almost about 3-to-1 …”
    – Mary Kim, GameHive
  5. But organic multipliers are more commonly in the 25% to 50% range
    When we polled attendees on organic multipliers …
    1. 54% said they achieved a 25% organic multiplier
    2. 30% said theirs was 50%
    3. Only 7% achieve an organic multiplier of over 100%
  6. App Store optimization teams and paid acquisition teams rarely chat
    “There are some surprises from the ASO folks when I show them reporting that indicates they’re also bidding on some of their top organic terms.”
    – Ben Shore,
  7. And acquisition teams for sister apps often make the same mistake
    “We often see other apps within that brand’s portfolio bidding on top organic keywords for their sister apps, and the organic team doesn’t even know about it. They’re caught off guard.”
    – Ben Shore,
  8. Leading organizations are consolidating ASA and ASO teams
    “We made the switch because ASA performs very differently than other UA networks. And so, we decided to make that switch to be handled by our ASO manager, and I see some great synergies.”
    – Mary Kim, GameHive
  9. Tracking and measurement is a challenge (of course)
    “The main challenge with organic is that it’s not directly trackable as paid user acquisition is.”
    – Eva Juretić, PocketWorlds
  10. Creative fatigue differs by channel
    “TikTok is kind of unique, you know, we see creatives fatigue a lot faster.”
    – Stuart Jarvis, Luna
  11. Paid is quick, organic is slow
    “Organic typically takes longer, but it tends to be more cost effective and more sustainable over time.”
    – Eva Juretić, PocketWorlds
  12. Today, you usually have to pay to go viral
    “My experience with going viral is mostly on the side of paid ads going viral … you can actually engineer for it, not in a sense that you can force it, but in a sense that you can actually position the ads and do small things to kind of leverage it if it happens.”
    – Mike Grguric, Udonis
  13. Your best users are your best organic marketing channel
    “Engaged and loyal users are an important part of our organic contribution, through word of mouth and the buzz and user-generated content.”
    – Eva Juretić, PocketWorlds
  14. Live in-app events can be huge, especially on Google Play
    “We’ve been seeing a lot of success with LiveOps cards and, yeah, we actually saw that some of our LiveOps cards that actually got boosted really saw a huge impact.”
    – Mary Kim, GameHive
  15. Ad integrity matters for both paid and organic UA
    “You need to make sure that the ad that you’re showing and generating the interest with … when they come to the store specifically and see your page, they should not be disappointed.”
    – Emre Bilgic, MobileAction
  16. TikTok rocks
    “What channels are working for us? So big one for us … end of last year and this year has been TikTok, for sure. Significant growth driver for us.”
    – Eva Juretić, PocketWorlds
  17. Good ASO drives both organic discovery and paid conversions
    “ASO is important to us because not only does having an optimal ASO page really benefit UA when it comes to increasing conversion rates, but it helps us to rank for keywords, which also is important when it comes to visibility on the app stores.”
    – Mary Kim, GameHive
  18. Influencers can be very … flaky
    “A lot of influencers are interested in promoting your product, making a quick buck without real engagement.”
    – Eva Juretić, PocketWorlds
  19. But influencer marketing is still growing fast, hand-in-hand with UGC
    “We’ve seen a significant rise in the past 12 to 18 months looking across multiple channels, multiple clients … UGC is winning and graduating it cross-platform.
    – Stuart Jarvis, Luna
  20. Organic vs paid user acquisition quality: it’s complicated
    “We’ve noticed whenever we run a MAI campaign, usually organics outperform UA. And when we switch that to an AEO or even a ROAS campaign, UA performs far better.”
    – Mary Kim, GameHive
  21. Deep is good, when it comes to events to optimize on
    “The deeper you go end-of-funnel, in terms of which event you’re gonna optimize for, the higher the quality is gonna be.”
    – Mike Grguric, Udonis
  22. Vertical really matters for organic user acquisition
    “We do see for games which are heavier, the RPG, strategy, and in general, more complex games … organic can be very, very strong.”
    – Mike Grguric, Udonis
  23. Organic is … unpredictable
    “Organic is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get, though it still plays an important role in app growth.”
    – Mary Kim, GameHive
  24. Communication is critical in boosting organic and paid user acquisition
    “Make sure these teams aren’t operating in complete silos. Bring them together. Make sure everybody’s sharing their learnings. Create a holistic optimization strategy. Make sure that you’re not missing any key takeaways from either side.”
    – Ben Shore,
  25. If you’re making ads, you’re doing it wrong
    “I think my number one advice is don’t create ads, create content.”
    – Eva Juretić, PocketWorlds
  26. The best creative is a data-driven mash-up
    “Allow the UA team and the creative teams to have left brain and right brain conversations driving better creative production that is based on data and has a better chance of success.”
    – Stuart Jarvis, Luna

Get the context and the details

Get the context of each quote and the details — including how Udonis made over $300,000 on a $300 spend in just 3 days — by checking out the webinar

It’s available on-demand for instant access.

Also: interested in future webinars? Check out all our near-future webinars here.

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