Gone are the days of pure organic growth for apps?

30 second summary:

  • Has it become nearly impossible to cut the noise of six million apps in the app stores?
  • For app marketing to be effective, it needs to consider the entire ecosystem that affects your app’s marketing performance
  • Whether it’s app store optimization (ASO) or the combination of organic and paid user acquisition, marketers need to holistically look at data and ask the right questions when analyzing app performance
  • A successful app marketing strategy includes the correlation between ASO and paid user acquisition efforts
  • You need to understand how your paid funnel affects organic growth and vice versa

Like it or not, apps have become a daily standard for businesses and consumers. There is an app for everything, be it shopping, banking, travel, or gaming. In fact, a recent survey found that 88% of mobile time is spent within apps.

According to Statista data from the second quarter of 2022, there are more than six million apps on the Google Playstore, Apple App Store and Amazon Store.

App data Q2 2022 - Number of apps in the Google, Apple and Amazon stores.

Source: Statesman

That’s why proper app marketing has never been more important and has become an integral part of a company’s marketing strategy. But to be effective, app marketing needs to consider the entire ecosystem that affects your app’s marketing performance. Whether it’s app store optimization (ASO) or the combination of organic and paid user acquisition (for example, via Google app campaigns and Apple search ads), marketers need to look at the data in holistically and ask the right questions when analyzing an app’s performance.

Here I will share some of the knowledge I have gained and the tricks of the trade I have learned over the past 10 years in the field of marketing.

Organic growth alone won’t get you far

While ASO may have been the most important part of your app marketing strategy a few years ago, to stay competitive in the fast-paced app marketing landscape, you need to power up your user acquisition (UA) strategy. This doesn’t mean ASO isn’t important anymore – it definitely is – but it needs to be combined with your paid user acquisition strategy for sustainable app growth. Both organic and paid UA has the primary goal of driving quality conversions while maintaining a low cost per conversion.

To begin with, you need a solid ASO foundation to maintain high quality user flow across channels. It is essential as the user will eventually land on the app store listing. You’re literally wasting your money if you haven’t invested time in ASO and optimizing your store listing.

Acquiring paid users can lead to more organic app installs. The ads will draw new attention on the App Store listing. The more installations your app generates, the higher your app ranking will be in the app stores. As a result, visibility between search results and navigation sections increases. Due to the increased visibility, more and more users will land on your organic store listing and download your app. So the growth cycle continues!

A successful strategy is to understand the correlation between ASO and paid user acquisition efforts. You need to understand how your paid funnel affects organic growth and vice versa. At GAMEE, we used App Radar’s all-in-one platform which helped our team work together within a single system and understand, as well as maximize, the impact of organic and paid user acquisition for the Google and Apple app stores.

App performance analysis

After putting a lot of effort into optimizing your UA, don’t just sit back and hope to see perfect results. Throughout the campaign, you should analyze your app’s performance and ask the right questions. You’d probably like to know how much growth your ASO efforts have brought. Or was it your paid UA traffic that led to a rise or fall? It can be difficult to answer all of these questions, especially considering many factors that can play a significant role. As an example, let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios.

Scenario one: a drop in app installs

Do you see a drop in installations? It might be worrying at first glance. However, the good news is that there is most likely an explanation for each decrease in installations. And for every problem there is also a solution.

A crucial impact factor you need to consider is paid user acquisition efforts. When you notice a decrease in downloads, you should first check if the ads ran during that specific period. Ads can bring a significant amount of traffic to your app, and once you stop or reduce them, this could have a substantial effect on your results. Check the correlation between organic and paid conversions, then analyze how paid conversions affect total growth and understand if an increase in installs could be due to a decrease in activity through paid channels.

What should you do now?

First, try to get a better picture of the situation by looking at the time frame of the past 30 or 90 days and understanding how significant the impact has been. For example, if the suspension of your Google app campaigns has significantly reduced your installs, you should consider re-enabling ads.

Scenario two: an increase in app installs

This is the result we all aspire to. Ideally, you would like this to continue throughout and beyond your marketing campaign. But for that, you need to know what influenced the increase. Transferring and attributing success from one place to another can be tricky if you don’t know where the success comes from.

Your best bet would be to look at the conversion breakdown to help you find the answer. Is it Google Ads, Apple Search Ads, another paid channel, or ASO? If you are running a campaign through a paid channel at the same time as your installs increase, it is very likely that this has influenced the overall growth of your app. It is also worth considering which advertising platform is the most efficient. Get a better cost per conversion with a paid channel? To get an idea of ​​how your app is performing better or worse, you might want to compare the data with previous campaigns: how did impressions, conversions and costs perform compared to the previous period? Taking all of this into account will help you determine if you should change your focus or make changes to your campaign.

Three takeaways from the GAMEE experience

In GAMEE we have learned that there are three elements that every app marketer should never stop working on:


It is the end point of all app activity. Every dollar and hour invested elsewhere can be multiplied by a good ASO strategy and approach. This is where our use of the App Radar platform has been invaluable in maximizing our campaigns.


Use custom app store listings (where possible), various combinations of paid ad networks, and app store A / B testing for best results.


Choose the audience, markets, regions and / or demographics you need to win and focus your ASO and paid channels on them.

While analyzing the impact of organic and paid user acquisition is not an easy task, the one thing you don’t want to do is put all your eggs in one basket. You can’t just rely on organic UAs or just paid UAs. For a successful app marketing strategy, both areas must work in tandem. Your campaign should also allow room for testing. This allows you to tweak and rotate the strategy as you go and adapt it to your target audience. Believe me, if managed correctly your app will soon reap the rewards of your strategy.

Jan Gemrich is Chief Marketing Officer of GAMEE, a highly engaging gaming platform that attracts over 30 million users. GAMEE is part of the Animoca brands, a leading blockchain game company. Previously, Jan worked for over 9 years at Google, based in Prague, London and Toronto, where he was responsible for user growth (Google Pay, Android, Search) and the launch of new products (Pixel, Stadia, etc. .).

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