The App Market’s Most Common UA Challenges | AppsFlyer
user acquisition challenges

Chapter 2

The App Market’s Most Prevalent User Acquisition Challenges

Organic app discovery is broken. It’s a sobering reality of the app business. Any one app is now a needle in the gargantuan haystacks that are the two dominant app stores. To seize control of your destiny is to embrace the notion that non-organic traffic is key. But it’s not like you flip on the paid marketing switch and users come pouring in. The cost of paid UA keeps rising while user retention and monetization, unfortunately, continue to pose significant challenges.


Challenge 1: Churn burns

It’s no secret an app’s retention rate is another all-important mobile marketing metric. Loyalty means money. Churn burns. Users are demanding, finicky, and painfully fickle.

A study of retention benchmarks for days 1, 7, and 30 based on 1.6 billion installs makes clear retention is hard to achieve and progress comes slowly. However, a close inspection of the data presented above reveals loyalty is up to 20% higher with non-organic users. Although retention numbers are still painfully low, this increase is encouraging as even small gains in retention have been known to have a significant impact on lifetime value.

Want to dig deeper into retention data and analyze it based on geography and vertical markets? Help yourself to our free 2018 App Retention Benchmarks Report.


Challenge 2: Fragmentation

Welcome to the world of mobile, where the following are forever part of the immensely fragmented fray:

  • A load of device types
  • Two (dominating) and completely different operating systems: Android and iOS
  • Environments for both the mobile web and apps
  • Multiple identifiers

Clearly, the fragmentation of the mobile landscape poses a series of challenges for strategy, targeting, and measurement.


Challenge 3: Omni-channel measurement

In mobile marketing, you have to broach the subject of omni-channel attribution and measurement. But it tends to make heads spin. How do you connect the dots and craft a unified user experience across multiple devices and touchpoints?  


Challenge 4: Escalating media costs

As you would suspect, increased demand causes UA costs to rise. Acquiring users that complete in-app purchases can be even more costly. The most important thing to understand about rising costs is that marketers who rely heavily on data have confidence to invest in marketing and drive profitability.  


Challenge 5: Monetization

The share of app users who go on to make an in-app purchase (IAP) stands at a mere 5-7%. In a freemium-driven space where most apps make money from IAPs, finding revenue-generating users remains elusive. The use of in-app advertising — another important revenue stream — is on the rise, but it is mostly relevant for gaming and utility apps.

user acquisition challenges

Challenge 6: Fraud

Mobile app install fraud is more prevalent than ever. Why does the level of attempted fraud remain so high? Beyond the obvious financial incentive for fraudsters, there are many marketers who are still unaware of the threat.

user acquisition challenges

App marketers without fraud protection are exposing themselves to potentially catastrophic results. Not only are they wasting their budgets on fake or organic users, they are basing their entire optimization efforts on data that is completely wrong! To better understand this threat, take a look at this report.



User acquisition challenges continue to mount. App marketers must stay on top of the latest with paid marketing trends to reduce wasted spend and address fragmentation. Throughout this guide, you’ll gather important tactics for overcoming these challenges.