A thorough user acquisition strategy is essential to scaling up your game and business. UA is the process of acquiring new players and direct installs, with the goal of maximum growth and a positive return on investment. We explore eight ways to improve your UA strategy.

Understand your players. Identifying the common characteristics of your players can help you to optimise your game and most effectively promote it. Avoid thinking of your players as “everyone”. While you might want to reach and appeal to as many players as possible, you are most likely to reach the ideal players for your game if you think in terms of specifics. The process of understanding your players will evolve as you grow. The more players you acquire, the more data you will have to understand them. So keep updating your player profile!

Test and improve with a soft launch. Both indie developers and big publishers soft launch their games. It’s an effective way to get valuable feedback to help you improve your game, which will inform your ad spend strategy. For indie developers, it is a crucial stepping stone in finding a publisher, but also a good strategy if you are self-publishing.  One approach is to focus on a limited international market, such as Canada before Europe or the US. The best test market will depend on genre.

Harness the power of social media. In 2020, the average person spent 144 minutes on social media per day. Paid UA channels include Facebook Ads, Apple Search Ads, Google’s UAC and Snapchat Ads. Effective social advertising means understanding and defining your target audience, and tailoring your advertising to the platform. Find ways to test before increasing your spend. Learning what doesn’t work is as valuable as learning what does.

Empower players to share. Consider social media integrations so that your potential players can move easily between the platform and your game. Interactive and playable ads have the edge over video in terms of conveying the experience of the game. They have been proven to be the best way of attracting long-term players. Within the game itself, offer ways to provide feedback so you can keep learning from your players. Enable social sharing so players can share their achievements and highlights, which will fuel word-of-mouth.

Increase your discoverability. App Store Optimization (ASO) is a valuable and cost-effective way of attracting players. This is the practice of optimising your app store entry to improve your store ranking. This will make it easier for players to discover your game. Use keywords in the game’s name and description, localise content and select the most appropriate primary and secondary categories. Make a habit of updating your app store entry, and consider seasonal changes. Learn all you can about best practices through documentation and by observing those in the highest ranks. Analytic services like AppAnnie can help you improve your ASO.

Prioritise teamwork and transparency. Game developers can learn a lot from those working on UA, and vice versa. Establish effective communication lines and foster a healthy working environment. Sharing information and being open about results, good or bad, will lead to better decision making.

Manage your community. UA doesn’t simply mean attracting players. Effective UA is about retaining them for the long term. Create a positive environment around your players. Be responsive via your website and social channels. Enable players to connect with one another in spaces like an official Discord. Think carefully about how to moderate these spaces as your community grows. These spaces enable you to see the game from a player perspective. They can be the most effective place to promote company news and developments, game updates or related products.

Take a holistic approach. The most effective UA strategy for mobile games involves multiple approaches. You should combine paid and organic methods, and keep experimenting and testing. Keep a long-term mindset while regularly analysing the data.

As your game grows and you acquire more players, SugarFlow can help you quickly unlock revenue from the app stores, giving you more flexibility to grow your game and your business. If your game is demonstrating impressive metrics, this is a sign that you should scale up. SugarBoost offers funding specifically for UA — you can significantly increase your marketing budget so that you can scale up your UA campaigns and expand your community.