Organic Users vs. Ad-Driven Users – Why Not both?


Organic users are every app developer’s wet dream. They are enthusiastic users who find out about your app on their own accord, and download it willingly. They tend to be more loyal than paid or ad-driven users, and have higher retention and engagement rates. On the other hand, they are also much harder to come by, as traction for new apps tends to be slow, and the competition over users and attention in the App Stores can be quite brutal. In addition, although organic users are by definition unpaid for, they tend to have high hidden costs, as app developers invest much effort and money in PR, social media, and various ASO optimizing techniques to encourage users to come “organically” to their app. In fact, organic “non-paid” users are often more expensive than paid-for ad-driven users. So which to choose – ad-driven users or organic ones? But why choose at all? Ad-driven advertising can easily be used to generate not only paid-for users, but also a large tail of organic users!

Here are three methods to generate organic methods via ad-driven routes:

Creating an Organic Uplift

eaca5d_c363dd9c841449a48be31a55afb9c97cBurst campaigns are often known as a low quality method for driving a large (and largely cheap) mass of users to your app in a short time. The users are rewarded for downloading and opening the app and tend to have low retention and minimal engagement. But the real goal of these campaigns is not the incentivized users themselves, but rather the influx of new users to the app and the resulting rise in the app store ranking. Once the app reaches a high ranking in the app store, it will also gain increased visibility, which will help attract many new organic users. The amount of new users is dependent on the length of the burst campaign, the virality of the app, the playability/usefulness of it, and the genre it belongs to. On average, gaming apps tend to generate a larger organic uplift than non-game apps.


RunKeeper-Inside-ImageLeverage your existing user base to gain more traffic by employing effective virality engines and social viral loops within the app. Encourage your users to use the app, to tweet, share, post, and talk about it to their friends. This is one of the most effective ways to generate highly-engaged organic users. A good case in point is that of RunKeeper, the running app, which quickly went viral and reached over 46 million active users, and the top rank in the running app category. The app used effective word-of-mouth marketing by employing in-app references which allowed users to add their friends to the app, to post their scores and achievements on social networks, and to receive comments and encouragements from friends.

AppStore Reviews

drawsomethingManage your app rating and reviews by asking loyal users to rate and review your app at the App Store. Make sure to ask for reviews only after positive interactions, like completing a level, a workout, and etc. You can also reward users for rating your app with in-app bonuses and coins. Your prompting should be as unobtrusive as possible to avoid alienating users with annoying popups. You should make sure your app is free of bugs before employing this method as it can backfire dramatically if you get a bunch of low reviews. You can avoid bad rating and reviews creating a two-step review prompt: First, asking the users for their opinion on the app (on a range of 1-5 for example), and second leading them to either contact the team or complain if they rate the app low, or directly to the app store to rank and leave a review if their opinion is favourable.




Have more ideas of how to generate organic traffic via ad-driven one? Let us know!


Blog post originally written for MobCo Media.