How to Grow Social Apps: The Latest Strategies Every Mobile App Marketer Should Know

How to Grow Social Media Apps with AdAction |

Social apps are some of the most popular for users. It’s also a category with high competition and veterans that own market share. However, new social apps are coming to the ecosystem with a twist on how they socialize digital interactions. There is an opportunity to grow social apps with reward campaigns that help you acquire and retain users.

Let’s look at the state of social media apps and specific campaigns that will help you increase downloads and customer lifetime value.

The Current State of Social Media Apps

We’re all aware of the big players—Facebook is still dominant. TikTok had the highest user growth at 39% in 2020. Instagram gained the most new users with 445 million.

While some consumers have turned away from social media, the industry is thriving. As of Q2 2021, people have downloaded 74 billion social apps. Most social media apps are free, but users are big spenders. From 2010 to Q2 2021, people have spent $22.2 billion on social apps. The forecast for 2025 is $78 billion.

They also dominate a user’s attention, with 44% of time spent on them across all mobile interactions. The time spent has been steadily growing for the past few years.

The Types of Apps and Activities Favored by Social App Users

In looking a how users spend their time on social media apps, there are a few data points worth discussing:

  • Time spent on app growth is primarily on live-streaming apps versus photo and video.
  • Live streaming apps account for $3 out of every $4 spent on apps.
  • TikTok average monthly time now outperforms YouTube in the U.S. and U.K.
  • In-app purchases on social media apps are now mainly in the form of “gifting” content creators with in-app currency, which they can exchange for funds.
  • Support for live streamers and content creators will fuel the substantial in-app purchase growth expected by 2025.

With all these trends and shifts occurring, let’s look at how you can capitalize on these to acquire more users for your app.

Growing Your Social App: Key Strategies to Consider

To break into this market and get your share of time and in-app revenue, you’ll need to develop campaigns that drive engagement. Your app should be unique and deliver a quality experience. However, you won’t get people to that point without attracting them first.

Social App CPI Campaigns: Tailoring Ad Tactics to Attract Ideal Users

CPI (cost per install) campaigns have one purpose—to drive new users to download. While they have a singular focus, there are many ways to execute CPIs.

Long-Tail Keyword CPIs

Keyword campaigns can be critical to finding users. They already have a different level of engagement since they are actively seeking something. However, broad keywords shouldn’t be the strategy here; you want to use long-tail keywords that describe your specific app. That could be a feature like “live streaming” or “group messaging.”

What we know about searchers is that they have a “problem” and are looking for a “solution.” Your app can answer that when you put your dollars toward more specific keywords. You can execute this as a traditional CPI campaign or a burst campaign. Bursts are short, concentrated spends that often correlate with a season or event.

For example, lots of people use social media apps to find products for gift-giving. If your app showcases live streams of product reviews, you could capitalize on the potential spike in searches.

Targeted CPIs with Unique CPPs

iOS 15 introduced CPPs (custom product pages). You can create up to 35. If you want to target a demographic with CPIs in various channels, a CPP is necessary to provide better conversion numbers.

First, you need to align with a mobile marketing network that has the ability to execute CPIs in a variety of places that reach a high volume of users. Second, you need to develop ads that speak to the targeted group. They shouldn’t be generic. Third, set up your CPP to continue to tell that story so the user realizes the value of using your app.

Case Study Highlight: Snibble Achieves 3X User Growth

Snibble combines the short-form video entertainment of TikTok with the closed social and messaging functionality of Snapchat. Their primary demographic is Gen Z. They came to AdAction seeking hypergrowth after launching in 2020. We recommended a CPI approach using rewarded traffic offerwalls. They exceeded their goal number for users and experienced organic lift in the app stores, allowing them to gain more new users.

Read the case study to see how we supported their goals.

Social App CPE Campaigns: Gain and Retain Users

Along with CPI campaigns, growing your social app should include CPE (cost per engagement) tactics. CPEs technically direct post-download activities, but they play a big role in UA (user acquisition) and retention.

Install Campaigns That Push Engagement

One popular way to use CPI and CPE campaigns together is simply about ad language. Most CPIs include action verbs about downloading, getting, installing, etc. However, you can take the ad content further by integrating actions. Yes, you want them to install the app, but what do you want them to do next? What is something that, if they do it, they’ll likely stick around?

You can identify that action by looking at your user data. Here’s a possible scenario:

Your data finds a correlation between users who create groups more likely to stay on your app and increase time spent. Knowing this, you could launch a CPI/CPE campaign with this content:

  • Install now and create your first group to share memories.
  • Download now and build your first group to find users with similar interests.

With these ad types, you direct the user on what to do next based on data. You’re also showing them how they can use your app to connect.

Offerwall CPEs: An Engaging, Not Ad-Like Option

One of the most impactful ways to use CPEs for your social media apps is via offerwalls. They don’t look like ads, and users must initiate the interaction. They are ideal for scaling campaigns and are also cost-effective, as you don’t pay until they complete the action. Additionally, they reward the user, making them more apt to download and use the app after installation.

Here are some examples of using offerwalls for UA.

Feature placements

These are standalone reward ad options that can capture attention with relevancy. You could use this “feature” to highlight the app’s distinct features or options. Live streaming could be an option here, considering its popularity. Not all networks can offer these, so it’s important to understand the capabilities of their offerwalls.

Data-backed higher offerwall bidding

Bidding on placement is part of offerwall campaigns. You can maximize your ROAS (return on ad spend) by improving visibility around specific times of the year.

For example, there are trends around when consumers seek out social exchanges. That could be at the beginning of the year when people decide they want to be more social and connect with people. Data around traffic can validate an assumption like this. Then you can execute a UA offerwall strategy to capitalize on this trend.

Grow Your Social App with AdAction

If growth is your priority, you’ll want to take advantage of a diverse mix of CPI and CPE campaigns. In taking such an approach, you can meet goals and optimize your ad spend. You’ll want a partner to support you with access to many channels and unique users. Get that and more when you work with our team of experts. Connect with us today to get growing!

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