For many app publishers, paying to advertise an app to generate downloads seems like something only the big names in mobile apps do. I know that was how I thought when I first started. But that is a misconception. You can benefit from paid advertising for your app, and I’ll explain how.

First here are a few things you need to realise about paid advertising.

1. You don’t need to spend a fortune on ads for the campaign to be effective.

2. ‘Getting more downloads’ isn’t the only reason to use paid advertising campaigns.

3. Paid Advertising is an investment in your app business. You should invest in paid advertising to achieve specific goals, 3 of which are the focus of this post. By setting specific goals you can better measure your return on investment (ROI).

The truth is, paid user acquisition can have a huge positive impact on your business and it is well within reach. And as I discovered, you don’t have to spend a fortune to reap the benefits either.

Here are 3 ways that a paid advertising campaign can give you the edge over your competition.

Collect that data!

We’ve all read about how important it is to use analytics in our apps. And it’s true. Data is the key to building a better, more profitable app. It helps us understand our users and build an app that meets their needs, which leads to higher retention, more engagement, better reviews, more downloads and more revenue.

The problem is, often an app doesn’t get enough organic downloads to provide a useable amount of data. There is a large influx of new users immediately after launch, but this soon drops off and you are left with very few new users and not enough data to make intelligent decisions.

The solution? A Paid User Acquisition Campaign!

A low-budget paid advertising campaign can be a great way to get just enough users to generate the valuable analytical data that you need. Even at a cost of $5-10 per day, you can get enough users to start measuring all of the important metrics.

To read more about which metrics you should be measuring at a minimum, see my previous post here.

From there you will be able to use those metrics to improve your app and figure out where the best development Return On Investment (ROI) can be found. The idea is to figure out exactly what your users want using this data, and then build the highest value features. Follow the data. It will tell you exactly what to do next. It’s a much more reliable indicator than you taking guesses at what changes to make.

Get Valuable Feedback

User feedback is one of the most valuable tools available to an app publisher. You should be collecting as much feedback as possible (good or bad) and paying close attention to it.

One of the most common channels for feedback is App Store / Play Store reviews. You should be regularly looking at the reviews left by your users and acting on it.

We also know that reviews contribute to your app’s search ranking in the major app stores. Having more positive reviews for your app will lead to higher rankings and therefore more downloads.

But it can be hard to get feedback/reviews for a new app, especially when you haven’t built a large user base yet. And if you aren’t getting feedback you are missing out on the benefits that come with it.

How an investment in paid user acquisition will help

An investment in a paid advertising campaign can put you ahead of the pack by attracting more new users who may leave reviews. Again, it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can start with a very small $5-10 per day budget and work from there. If you aren’t getting as many reviews as you would like, you can increase the budget until you do.

Be careful though, if you aren’t getting as many reviews as you need it may be because you aren’t doing a good job of asking for them. If you aren’t finding success getting reviews and increasing the budget doesn’t help, take a look at your review request system before you invest any more money.[/text_output]

Climb the Charts and Watch the Organic Downloads Increase

Another factor that contributes to app store/play store search rankings is the number of downloads an app receives over time.

More downloads have a positive effect on search rankings. This is particularly true during the first week after launch in the App Store, or for the first month on Google Play.

You could just launch an app and rely on organic downloads or any press coverage that you get. This will get you some extra downloads during the launch phase and increase search ranking. But the reality is unless you have an instant hit, these increased downloads will fade out quickly.

If you are already getting a search rank boost during the launch phase, why not leverage that to its fullest? By using an advertising campaign as part of your launch strategy you will get even more downloads, which will then push your app even further up the charts!

This is where you start to really see a benefit in the form of more organic downloads. ‘Organic downloads’ just means downloads that don’t come from an advertising campaign or any other external marketing. They are downloads that come from people finding your app in the store by search or on the featured or top charts pages.

So when you use an advertising campaign to generate more downloads it creates a snowball effect. The extra downloads increase search rank and that means more people find it organically and download it. Like I said, it works any time but is particularly effective during the launch phase.


I hope these 3 benefits will convince you to re-think using paid advertising as a user acquisition method. It really isn’t just for those with huge advertising budgets or fancy marketing teams. Any app publisher can use advertising to increase their chance of success.

If used properly, and you have a clear understanding of what your goal is for a paid advertising campaign it can be one of the best investments you make.

Is $10 per day for one week really too much to invest in trying this out? If you are serious about building an app business this should be a no-brainer. Set a goal for your campaign and give it a try.

I’ll make it even easier for you. If you want some free help getting started, reply in the comments or send me an email and I’ll happily help you out!