How Top Mobile Companies Measure Their Ads

Hey there, mobile expert!

Today I want to show you a top-notch measurement tool. Before I do that, let’s talk about why you even need to have a measurement tool. If this is a no-brainer to you, skip this part and head over to the “Adjust: Pros & Cons”.

Let’s get started. Ready?

Why Do You Need A Measurement Tool?

Top-grossing apps measure their ad results. Cream of crop companies know exactly who their customers are. The next big hit of the mobile app industry measures its organic downloads and purchases.

Broke, dying, close to shutdown companies skip these.

Now think for a second: do you think there “might” be a connection between transparency and growth?

Hell yeah there is.

In order to scale effectively, you SHOULD rely on clear numbers about how your different ads and campaigns on different channels perform. You have to test different audiences from different angles.

You should know your organic numbers of downloads and purchases too. Measuring is the one and only holy grail of learning who your buying users are.

Otherwise it’s like building a house on sand.

Pick your best-performing ads on your best-performing audiences and scale’em to the sky on the right channel for hefty profits.

Now that you know why measuring is vital, let’s see how Adjust can be your best pal in it.

Adjust: Pros & Cons

„What’s Adjust? Isn’t that a verb?”
Well, it is. But between mobile marketing experts, like You and Us, Adjust means a top-level measurement tool. It helps you to:
  • Track every traffic channel, so you know where your users come from and see what your best-performing channels are
  • Track how your ads performed, right down to the creatives seen by your potential users, so you can see which ad delivered which type of user
  • Tracks the in-app activities of your users, so you can work on your retention numbers effectively
  • Prevents ad fraud. Unlike many other software, Adjust not only detects ad fraud but also helps you prevent it, so it saves a lot on your ad budget.

Now let’s dive into their PROS:

  • They are very flexible on pricing. Normally you can choose from fixed plans, but as you get on a sales call with them, they will not force anything that’s not suitable for you. Instead, they consider your company’s size, your goals, the number of your users, and then customize a pack that fits perfectly for you. Depending on our experiences, this is a competitive edge on the market.
  • They are cheaper than most of their competitors. Calculated roughly, choosing them over competitors means about a 35% saving, which is pretty cool.

So after all, it’s a pretty neat solution. It does everything that’s needed for a standard measurement tool. And does it on a low budget too.

Now let’s see their CONS:

  • They’re super nice, but their acquiring system & customer support are better at some of their competitors – we had sales talks earlier, and they didn’t follow up on us.
    So how do you know if they will stand by when you need quick help?
  • Reporting is their weakest point – they don’t offer custom dashboards. Just a few premade data tables where you can filter & might change a column or two.
    It’s important to have custom reports at all decision-making levels.

    Now if you use Amplitude or something similar, it shouldn’t be a problem as they have direct integration with them.
    However, if you don’t, it’s better to have something that offers proper analytics too

So that’s it. Adjust is kinda cool for both basic & expert levels too, but if you want to utilize its total strength, you’ll need to have an additional reporting tool that’s integrated with it.

We recommend trying Adjust if you solely need measurement on the lower end… They even have a demo version for new users, so you can see its performance for free, and decide if you like them or not.

8 Vital Points You Must Check Before You Begin Working With a Mobile Marketing Agency

Let me ask you something personal (and rough).

Have you ever worked with a looser agency that did sh@!t for your app?

I’m talking about real useless agencies now. The ones that you gain ZERO growth from, yet cost you a fortune and are a pain in the @ss to work with. Got it, right?

Hell, we’ve seen a lot of them for sure. Rookies make incredibly BIG MISTAKES sometimes.

The worst of them all?

They usually WASH AWAY the line between Pushy Marketing Techniques and App Brand Image.


The results?

TOTAL DISASTER. Brand identity gets flushed down the toilet. Users are sick to death of plummeting sales – and will delete your app. Not just some of them, trust me, MANY of them will.

Let’s just not get too driven away with this horrifying vision.

What if You knew exactly what crucial points you needed to check before choosing the right agency for your App?

The one that generates you quality users. The one that keeps you updated, makes you feel secure, helps you grow, and drives your users into a buying frenzy.

We’ve got you covered – here are the 8 EXTREMELY DECISIVE points EVERY APP FOUNDER should know about before committing:

1.) Compelling website

„Well, their website wasn’t that compelling, but that doesn’t matter, maybe they just hate to brag. They can still make my ads compelling, right?”

Let’s face it.

If their page is boring, how could they?

Guess you know the answer already. They can’t.

Does their website look great?

How do you feel reading through it? Engaged and interested? Or you just scroll while trying not to yawn?

Just so you know: your users will feel the same seeing their ads.

Anyone can claim they can do paid advertising or conversion optimization.
And unfortunately, many DO claim it.

This problem mercilessly hits App founders over and over again.

What can you do to prevent being ripped off of your money?

Make sure you check the agencies’ website, blogs, case studies (next up).

Decide how good they are for yourself.

If you find out they aren’t, do not hire them – or else you gonna loose BIG MONEY.

2.) Case studies and testimonials

„So their website is great, what should I check next? I’ve heard about case studies a lot, are they a thing?”

Sure they are!

Having an awesome case study lets you check 2 things:

In which industry did the agency gain experience before.

How good results they achieved.

Not having a case study most probably means that the agency has never worked with anyone before. Or even worse: they did, but they sucked.

Testimonials: this is a no-brainer. It’s always a good point to see what their partners from the past say about them. However, testimonials can be easily manipulated.

One more thing you MUST keep in mind:

Strategy Dies Without Implementation

Strategy and tactics are important for sure.

But these are just parts of the greater picture.

Your agency must not only know how to CREATE a kickass strategy that will crush your goals. They must know how to thoroughly IMPLEMENT that strategy too.

Otherwise, your App growth will be nothing more than a great sketch on a piece of paper.

How do you reveal the truth then?

Ask the companies they’ve worked with before about how good they’ve performed.

This might sound too pushy first.

Worry not – our experiences show otherwise. Much more do this than you’d think.

3.) Communication

„I think the most effective is to communicate 1-on-1 with their CEO only. After all, we are the real experts of our companies, the weights are on OUR shoulders!”

Eeeehm. Actually no.
But I’ve gotta admit:

Communicating directly with the agency CEO must be nice.

You feel valued. Your business is in good hands. Everything is in peace.

This feels ideal.

Let’s face the truth tho…

Having a tight connection only with the CEO is dangerous.


Cuz CEOs have a LOT going on. They attend conferences, handle business calls, etc. just take a look at yourself and expand the list.

Where’s the sweet spot then?

It’s comforting to know that someone who takes care of your stuff specifically is ALWAYS in the office.

Ask the agency if you’ll have a dedicated team led by an account manager, including designers, copywriters, and expert media buyers.

Almost any well-functioning system or team that cannot operate on its own will FALL APART, sooner or later.

And the headache will be all yours. Period.

The secret of outstanding agencies is THIS:

NOT only the CEOs are experts.

Everyone who’s working at the agency should be very good at some aspect of the company.

If the only person you can communicate with is the CEO, you’ll probably end up outdated. Sooner or later, but you will.

Solving even the simplest of problems will take long hours.

You don’t want that.

Who would?

Solution: ASK to get the BEST!

4.) Size & fit

„Woah, these guys worked with BIG PLAYERS before. They’re gonna make my APP go BOOM too, right?!”

Not really.

It is necessary to know the volume of the agency you’re planning to work with (how many people work there, what process are they implementing).


Because their PROCESS might currently run successfully with a (let’s say) 200- people company.

But that same process will SURELY end up in DISASTER for a smaller partner.

To make it clear:

What works for Calm, will not work for Vimage.

Why? Because implementing their processes requires YOUR PEOPLE too.

Let it be creating creatives, sharing social posts, or simply attending a call.

The lesson:

Choose from agencies who worked with Apps the same size as yours is right now.

5.) Your goals

„Ok George, now I understand, and I think I’ve hit the jackpot! These guys not only fit our size but also promised me all time-low CPIs when we talked about my goals!! That’s awesome, isn’t it?”

Goals are a HIGH PRIORITY area.

When they mention Cost Per Install too early, it’s a RED FLAG – say goodbye IMMEDIATELY.

„WUT George, why would I do that? Low CPA means CHEEEAP DOWNLOADS, and that should be a great goal!”

Well, you’re right. Cheap downloads are great of course – but never as strategic goals.

Having cheap downloads often just means bad targeting. This heavily depends on your Customer Personas (we wrote a blog about this too, check it out here).

Lower-income countries usually grant great numbers first, but in the long run, those users are gonna wreck your brand image – and generate zero profits.

Lowering CPIs must be a target – but not part of the big picture strategy.

Make sure the agency knows what your long- and middle-term goals are.

Let them know what You’ll need from them.

It’s important to know if they can help you in tasks like creating content, creatives, etc., and whether they charge you extra or not.

How could you be sure you’ll reach those goals if the communication between you isn’t clear?

First of all, you should talk about long and middle-term goals, like:

  • fixing current problems
  • meeting investors’ expectations (if applicable)
  • easing current processes
  • making a measurable (!) impact on brand image

6.) Their requirements

„Okay-okay. So we’ll set the right goals. Now we’re good to go, right?”

Not yet, but hang on. There is not much left until you’re ready to CRUSH IT.

After they know what you expect, there’s one more thing:

Make it clear what THEY’LL need FROM YOU for the campaigns to run smoothly.

The communication between you two must be swift & solid, and you have to work on this, too!

They will most certainly need your help in creating your content. Be ready to send them any details or must-use logins too.

Let them know which measurement tools you’re using. This is super important for both of you.

Here’s why:

Measurements → Clear Numbers → Improvements are Fast n Easy → PROFIT & SCAAALE

Ideal, right?

These require reports too, so:

Ask them how often (weekly or monthly? daily is pointless) are they going to send you reports, and which tools they’re using.

More on the tools later.

7.) Price = ???

„Got it. Now here’s this agency: they work super cheap. I should choose them, so I can spend more on ads, right?”

Hell no.

Digital Marketing, therefore Mobile Marketing as well is a really saturated market right now.

I bet you already stumbled upon several so-called marketing experts.

Rookies seriously try anything to make the deal.

What’s the most common strategy novice marketers have up in their sleeves?

I think you guessed it…


UGH….well… could they race with real experts other than that?

Don’t you love your App and your money much more than to take it into the hands of amateurs?

Consider the well-being of your brand image, userbase, profits and reputation in the long run.

Isn’t working with a professional agency FAR BETTER by ANY MEANS? (even if it’s more expensive)

8.) Shady tricks

„Yo George, look what I’ve found! These guys are pricey, but hey! They promised me numbers I’ve never even dreamed of before!! I’m finally gonna buy my Lambo, SIGN THE CONTRACT NOW!”

Come on, mate.

Don’t be fooled by tricks & magic.

Let Allie make it clear:

„MARKETING IS ALL DATA.” (Alexandra Borbely, 2019.10.06., while drinking her morning coffee on the office sofa)

There are NO magical solutions and no magical results without decent preparations and data knowledge.

I’ll let that sink.

LESSON: agencies that promise you close to unbelievable results are just tryna RIPP YOU OFF OF MONEY.

“Guys, thank you. You really made it clear. There’s just one thing I want you to answer me:

Hey, don’t worry pal.

That’s not particularly on YOU, but we must admit something.

We’ve worked with some of Europe’s most outstanding App Startups and gained invaluable experiences.

And bet me, we’ll keep on learning until both of us become unable to read or hear.

-(otherwise, we can still teach each other)-

Our knowledge is a gem in the marketplace right now.

We love our job, and we’ve put our lives on to help our clients reach their app goals.

But that made us super picky.

Tons of marketers reach out for partnership weekly, so we made a solution.
A solution that helps US sort the clients we can GUARANTEE SUCCESS & positive ROI.

We cannot guarantee it for everyone. That would be impossible.

That’s why we created the well-known „good-fit form”.
Check it out, and see for yourself if we are a good fit.

Customers Are Your Future So Know Them Well – The BAD ONES Too

Hey Mobile Pro!

It’s a pleasure to have you here.

And it’s also a pleasure to drop my thoughts and knowledge on Customer Personas.

Now, if we talked 1 on 1, I would be super interested in what YOU already know about them.

Why? For 2 things:

  • You might have experienced something we haven’t yet – and that would be awesome
  • I’m curious if you also have your ANTI persona described accurately
“Ehm, George, I thought it would be You giving me handy tips. Not me telling you about my experiences and data.”

Well, don’t worry.

I promise I will, but here’s the thing:

Something just pisses me off.

I speak a lot with App Founders who have past experiences working with mobile marketers.

Guess You’re one of them, right?

Well, almost every one of them tells me the same when I ask them about who their business’s ANTI persona is…

They usually answer:

„I don’t know what an anti persona is. Why is it even important? I know my customers well, so I know how to target my audiences. That’s enough, right?”


Knowing who your good customers (aka. your PRO Personas) are a crucial point of course.

But that’s just one half of the cake.
You still need the other half. And who’d want to skip the icing too, right?
(in fact, why would anybody want to skip icing?? Sorry, cakes are my thing)

The other half – they are your ANTI Personas. The ones you don’t want to pull in.

Actually, these are the users you want to AVOID at all costs. The ones who slowly ruin your brand image and generate you close to zero profits.


Hell, these users can be deceiving.

They come very easily flooding in – and for a really cheap price too.

Rookies usually adore them first.


Because CPI (Cost Per Install) numbers look great on the measurement tabs.

Unfortunately or not, I’m talking from experience now. I was a rookie too – and I have no reason to deny I’ve made serious mistakes too.

The difference is that I’ve made them on my dollars, haha. (at that time it wasn’t so “haha”)

„I don’t get it. Yeah, these users might not actually generate me revenue… but they still increase my user base, right? And you said they are cheap. Where’s the problem here?”

No problem here YET, my friend.

The REAL problem’s gonna hit you in the long run – and it’s about to destroy your App like a wrecking ball would destroy a glass wall.

Shiny shards of glass covering the ground.

These users generate each other organically, constantly growing and creating crappy content.

Your user base will slowly turn into a wasteland – just like your social feeds.

Strange comments under your Facebook posts. Your App tagged on nonsense and whacky Instagram photos.

The deadly blow comes when their user base grows so big your brands/App’s image gets identified by them.

This is the point where even your faithfully remained quality users gonna leave your App because it feels embarrassing to them to use it anymore.

Huh. This is what I call darkness.

Fear not. We won’t let this happen to you and your App.

In fact, we’re giving you this FREE TOOL that is 100 % sure to keep you safe from these problems.

All you have to do is this:

Go through EVERY point. Do not skip any of it. Put in the work. Seriously, people hate to do the extra work – that’s why YOU should do it. You’ll leave your competitor behind like a skyrocket leaves the station. Period.

What’s on the table?

We gathered every crucial point you must know about them. And you must know these data very well.


Because data guarantee that you’ll easily push their buttons later on (and hard too).
Let’s see what’s in the packet:

  • 7 + 6 points to fill out in Demographics. We call the first 7 “Basic Identifiers”, and “Monetary Status” the next 6.
  • 7 + 2 BUY -DECIDER points in Psychographics you must know to tap on those pain points – or say goodbye to your profits

Don’t forget to record the info of your Anti Persona too.

As I mentioned above, this is super important.

In fact, why not do it right now?

It’s safe to say this will be one of the most, if not the MOST REWARDING marketing research activity you’ll EVER do.

Having those data guarantees constant growth, transparent results, and sustainability regarding the future.

Growth & Transparency & Sustainability

These three look awesome together, don’t they?

and start the engine of that skyrocket right ahead!

CleverTap Brings Home Extra Profits For You – But There’s A Twist

Do you know how to take an unfair advantage over your competitors?

Well, actually reading these blogs already puts you way ahead of the average mobile marketers.
But now we’ll show you that one tool that’ll have great effects on your retention & profit numbers.

For those of haven’t heard about CleverTap before, let’s once again go through what it does – and why is it SOO good for your App.

CleverTap is a complex system that allows you to bombard your users with scheduled, targeted and personalized push notification campaigns. It’s capable of sending e-mails, In-App notifications, and even SMS too.

Cool, right?

“Yea. I know what these are, I’ve seen a lot of them. But what does CAMPAIGN mean here?”

Your users go through different journeys until they get to the point of actually buying your product. CleverTap let’s you build these funnels inside your App.
That basically means you can monitor their behaviours at each stage – and send them the right notifications automagically.

So summarized, CleverTap helps You in following your users through their whole experience from the moment they download your app till deletion (or even after).

Well, it’s a great tool, but be careful. If not utilized, it’ll just drain your money with no profits in return:

I was sitting at a meeting the other day and I asked the client: “Do you still have CleverTap?”

They’re like: “You bet!” – I was quite surprised as I knew they haven’t used it in a while for virtually anything.

So I asked them: “Why did you keep it?”

The answer got me like: “WHAT.”

They kept is because it has nice segmentations features. And they like to see their segments growing or whatnot.

Come again?

They use it for basically nothing.

That’s like throwing money out the window, right?

And there are soo many other app companies out there doing THE SAME.

I know because I heard some of them telling me about how awful and useless CleverTap is:

“George, we spent thousands of dollars on CleverTap but only a fraction of it got back in profit. Think we’ll just cancel our subscription.”

Here’s my answer to all of you who tried & failed or just about to dive in:

do your research before spending a dime on CleverTap.

Before your minds start racing… do NOT research CleverTap’s competitors. I mean it’s pointless. They’re a fine company and a great choice in their field.

I’m talking about the research of your app, your customers, your target market.

More specifically: create your App’s Customer Journey (if you haven’t done yet).

“Why the hell do I need that for CleverTap?” – you might be thinking.

To have a clear vision of course.
A clear vision of how your users feel, what they think, and how they would react at certain stages using your app.

“How do I do such a detailed journey? I don’t even know where to start…”

Fret not.

We’ve made you a spreadsheet that covers the stages of your users’ journey, packed with questions you only have to answer.
Filling this guarantees you’ll be able to utilize CleverTap to its maximum potential.

Oh, and it’s FREE:

The life cycle it covers is one app’s Customer Journey or User Journey.

Whatever you call it’s the same thing.
While waiting to get our awesome spreadsheet to your inbox (I promise it won’t take more than a few mins)…

Here are 5 important traps you should look after when filling out the Customer Journey Spreadsheet:

Don’t just guess what their heaven & hell look like. Get your team to dig deep in reviews, forums to figure out their fears and desires.
If you feel stuck, do interviews with users. Get them on the phone & ask – you’ll be surprised how much it helps
One stage comes with many CleverTap opportunities – keep that in mind
Don’t forget about UX needs – are there any features that need to be explained/taught at the beginning?
If you can do this on a more granular level you will do better than 90% of App Companies out there.

In the right hands, with the right strategy, CleverTap is an extraordinary tool for mobile marketers who pursue growth.

And so do you, right?

Discover Calm’s Billion Dollar Marketing Strategy

If you’re in the mobile app space you can’t help but hear about Calm’s massive growth and how they became a Unicorn Startup over the past few years.

They’re the #1 Meditation App in the World and yet they have more to offer to their users day by day.

They are a major player in the Mobile App market.
Source: MobileAction

It is my ultimate goal in this article to show you what’s truly working for Mobile Apps by giving you a sneak peek into strategies and tactics used by one of the World’s most profitable Mobile App Company.

These are not made-up theories about how they might have become successful. This article relies on pure data and facts about the strategies they used, and the tactics they implemented.

About Calm

Calm was founded in 2012 by Alex Tew & Michael Acton Smith.
In 8 years, they grew from Startup to a $1 Billion valuation company.

Perhaps best known for becoming the World’s First Mental Health Unicorn. And for their unique approach to marketing which resulted in steady growth.

Michael was in the mobile gaming industry before Calm. He felt the stress of keeping companies afloat and the pressure of being a successful entrepreneur.

Meanwhile, Alex started his journey creating the Million Dollar Homepage. That brought quick success to him – got a glimpse into what an online entrepreneur’s life looks like.
Fast forward, he maintained a true passion for mindfulness and neuroscience, and he taught Michael about meditation.

Eventually, the two teamed up and they created Calm.

Even though Calm started as a meditation app they have grown to something much bigger and seems like they’re planning on to become even much more:

“We started as a meditation app, but have grown far beyond that. Our vision is to build one of the most valuable and meaningful brands of the 21st century. Health and wellness is a $4 trillion industry and we believe there is a big opportunity to build the leading company in this fast growing and important space.”

Michael Acton Smith, Co-founder & Co-CEO
Now let’s dive in and see what strategies they use to achieve this next level of success…

Summary of Their Strategy

Paid Advertising is definitely not the only tool in their marketing arsenal, they do a bunch of other things quite alright. But this accounts for a tremendous part in their success.

They know their target market incredibly well – this is why they are able to be specific about every little detail of their communication. You will see more about that when I take a closer look at their ads.

Facebook is the main channel of their user acquisition with more than 300 creatives running. They use message sequencing and fully enhance retargeting.
Which basically means they follow users through their Customer Journey with ads as well.

As unbelievable as it is, these are the things that differentiate cream of the top from average Joes in 2020.

Paid User Acquisition

Source: MobileAction

They’re arguably one of the biggest advertisers in the Mobile App Space right now.

In fact, they’re the number one on iOS in their industry.
This isn’t much of a surprise considering they earned $6M in January 2020 solely from iOS.

But what about Android?
Well, it falls far behind.

It only counts for $1M of their profit (from mobile) which is a fraction of the iOS revenue.
This simply means they figured their conversion rates are much higher on iOS compared to Android.

Their target customers more likely to use iOS devices and they’re more eager to purchase at the end of the day than Android fellas.

Source: MobileAction

Now we know more about who they target, let’s take a look at where they reach their potential target market.

This was their ad spend distribution on iOS in 2019.
Android is pretty similar as well when it comes to the structure.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ll take the example of iOS from now on – considering this platform comes with more robust numbers.

Obviously, Facebook is the biggest player in their paid traffic arsenal. They counted for more than 80% of their ad spend last year. A portion of their budget was diversified between some of the biggest mobile ad networks.

Some of their most popular ads appeared on TapJoy,
like this one the right. This is a single image, most probably used for retargeting – reminding you of Calm.

Instagram took less than 1% of their budget which is interesting to see from a brand that relies so heavily on social ads.
I personally saw some of their retargeting campaigns in Instagram Stories – it’s safe to assume they buy more traffic in Stories than they do on the Instagram Feed.

Some of their most popular ads appeared on TapJoy,
like this one the right. This is a single image, most probably used for retargeting – reminding you of Calm.

Instagram took less than 1% of their budget which is interesting to see from a brand that relies so heavily on social ads.
I personally saw some of their retargeting campaigns in Instagram Stories – it’s safe to assume they buy more traffic in Stories than they do on the Instagram Feed.

According to MobileAction, they have more than 300 creatives running in the last 30 days. I saw at least 15 different creative concepts that focus on new user acquisition. Most of their acquisition campaigns promote Sleep Stories and less is focusing on the meditation part.

Some of their videos start from a real-life experience that brings you to the app – I could count at least 5 of them.

Then there are ones that give you a sneak peek into one of their Stories. Like this creative with an actress on the front.

Notice how Eva Green’s soothing voice starts by saying “hello” at the beginning.

Imagine seeing this on your feed next to 100s of posts & ads trying to capture your attention with loud & vibrant visuals.

This surely grabs attention – it would grab mine!

Some of their videos start from a real-life experience that brings you to the app – I could count at least 5 of them.

Then there are ones that give you a sneak peek into one of their Stories. Like this one on the left.

Notice how Eva Green’s soothing voice starts by saying “hello” at the beginning.

Imagine seeing this on your feed next to 100s of posts & ads trying to capture your attention with loud & vibrant visuals.

This surely grabs attention – it would grab mine!

They visualize Eva’s voice so you know something worth listening to going on. Plus, the copy increases credibility and makes them look more reliable.

This is a brilliant example of a well-crafted ad. It doesn’t give too much, it gives just enough.

They often partner with influencers like Eva Green. I saw LeBron James, Matthew McConaughey and even Game of Thrones star Jerome Flynn narrating.

I’m sure they strategically pick their influencers keeping in mind who can speak well to their audiences. All these familiar faces give Calm the opportunity to work on new targeting angles among their potential customers. And eventually, get to know them even better.

Welcome Journey

Once you download the app, the very first screen says “take a deep breath” and there’s literally nothing else on the screen.
It is actually the starter screen every time you open the app.

This simple message gives you time to slow down, give yourself a moment and ease into the tranquility the app offers. It feels like a reminder to your mind that it’s me-time, it’s time to let go of everything else.

The background also has this gradient color they always use – it’s part of their logo as well. I noticed a lot of their creatives are purple too or have something purple-ish.

So I looked up what psychology says about this color.

Here’s what I found: it “can have calming effects over the mind and nerves, it can be uplifting and can trigger creativity.” You see, all little things matter, don’t overlook them.

The next screen asks you a simple question about what’s your goal using Calm. It allows them to personalize each and every feed and even if they don’t, you’ll feel more special and valued, simply because they asked.
Plus, they have even clearer results about why anyone chooses their app.

Then there are 3 more screens: one asks you to sign up, a sales screen and a last quick question about which marketing channel brought you to Calm.
There are quite a few screens before you get to use the app but it feels a smooth experience.

You can skip whichever you want and cut to the chase.

The feature that brings big bucks

Sleep Stories are quite big hits of Calm which makes it look more like a lifestyle/mindfulness app rather than a simple meditation tool. These are usually 30-min long stories that are like the “fairytales of adulthood”.
They are always narrated by someone with a super smoothing, calm voice which makes the story and experience even better.

They asked a few stars & influencers to narrate some of their stories.

I like how Matthew McConaughey or LeBron James starts with personal experience and then ease into the story they narrate. It’s potentially a huge market they tapped into by solving a real problem. Surely takes credit for a huge amount of their revenue these days or else they wouldn’t use mostly Sleep Stories to acquire new users.

How they emphasize on virality

We know virality is a huge factor in one app’s success and asking users to share their experience with their friends at the right moment is just as important. And Calm does this just about right.

This screen (on the right) shows up once you finish your meditation. You clearly feel the value, even got into a better mood as a result of using the app.

So what’s a better time to ask you to share your experience, right?

And they won’t let you share a boring one-liner about how great Calm is.
No, they added a nice quote that is directly connected to the session you just finished.

How they emphasize on virality

We know virality is a huge factor in one app’s success and asking users to share their experience with their friends at the right moment is just as important. And Calm does this just about right.

This screen (on the right) shows up once you finish your meditation. You clearly feel the value, even got into a better mood as a result of using the app.

So what’s a better time to ask you to share your experience, right?

And they won’t let you share a boring one-liner about how great Calm is.
No, they added a nice quote that is directly connected to the session you just finished.

You truly can share something meaningful with your friends while having a great time using the app.
This is genius timing and very well-crafted.

The habit of Calm

Once you finish a session or two, this screen on the left shows up.
It lets you set a reminder to integrate mindful habits into your life.

And this is actually a reminder to use Calm daily.
Great combo, huh?

I’m sure this tiny tool increases retention rates for them significantly.

Another thing that probably has a great impact on their retention rates is Daily Calm.

The habit of Calm

Once you finish a session or two, this screen on the left shows up.
It lets you set a reminder to integrate mindful habits into your life.

And this is actually a reminder to use Calm daily.
Great combo, huh?

I’m sure this tiny tool increases retention rates for them significantly.

Another thing that probably has a great impact on their retention rates is Daily Calm.

They offer a new session daily, created only for that day. As far as I can see, it is available for 7 days only.
By producing new content every day, there’s more reason to come back and listen to brand new sessions daily.

Retargeting & Special Offers

Now that I have downloaded the app and haven’t paid yet, I’m basically at the top of their sales funnel or with other words I’m at the beginning of Calm’s Customer Journey.
Since they don’t have any ads inside the app this also means I haven’t brought in a dime yet for Calm.

We all know, acquiring new users is nice but it doesn’t add a whole lot to revenue unless users become paying customers.

So the question is what Calm does to get your attention once you downloaded the app?

To dig deeper, I took a closer look at their special offers & retargeting efforts.

I found a few re-install campaigns that remind you of Calm without special offers or discounts. They targeted me with one that promotes one of their Sleep Stories. Then there are ones that offer huge discounts to make users buy.

Now, without further ado here’s what I found:

Once I downloaded the app, I got an immediate 40% OFF.
But the thing is I’ve had the app before and then after a few months break, I reinstalled it.

So I think this is part of a win-back campaign. I don’t think they offer an immediate 40% OFF to all new users, that wouldn’t make much sense.

However, this could be perfect to win back long lost users and convince them to subscribe.

This is one of the ads promoting the 40% off deal.

For obvious reasons, they use a “Subscribe” button instead of “Install Now”.
And then at the beginning, there’s a short part about Sleep Stories. That quick video is my personal favorite.

There are those certain movements and clips that have calming effects on the mind and this is surely one of them. It is simply nice to watch.

After the 5-seconds long calming video 5 testimonials follow.

This is one of the ads promoting the 40% off deal.

For obvious reasons, they use a “Subscribe” button instead of “Install Now”.
And then at the beginning, there’s a short part about Sleep Stories. That quick video is my personal favorite.

There are those certain movements and clips that have calming effects on the mind and this is surely one of them. It is simply nice to watch.

After the 5-seconds long calming video 5 testimonials follow.

I saw another version of this video when they skipped the Sleep Story part, and the video started with testimonials right at the start.

They might test the first few seconds of the creative – which is always a clever thing to do.
Or they might track if you listened to Sleep Stories before.
And based on that, you’ll see ads including Sleep Stories because that might be a trigger for you.
Either way, it’s very well-done.

As for testimonials, there’s a rainy effect in the background. It appears on a lot of videos so I’m sure that is a winner for them. And it’s needless to say, they increase social proof and one will feel more confident about subscribing.

They have a whole bunch of other offers promoting 25% OFF as well. As I can see, they also use message sequencing which means they retarget those who saw a certain amount of a video ad.

It’s obvious they enhance the capabilities of retargeting. And well, that’s the clever thing to do in 2020.

What the Future Holds

I saved the best for last.
Calm is surely in a rapid growth pace right now but the question is:

What’s their ultimate goal for the future?

Here’s how Smith thinks about the future of Calm:

“We’d love to do Calm hotels,” he said. “Our real ambition is to eventually buy an island and create Calm Island, the world’s most relaxing resort.”

Does it sound quite exciting and inspiring at the same time? It does for me. I can’t wait to see what their next move is.


If you are a competitor of Calm, you probably have your marketing strategies in place. However, I hope in this article you might have learned a thing or two about what areas they’re strong and where they might be weak.

If you are in any other market you should be thinking about how to implement these working strategies to YOUR app, in YOUR market.

A lot thinks their app is unique and they need marketing tactics no one used before.

Trust me, after working with the most exciting App Startups in Europe, I can truly say no App is that different. These strategies work in all App markets.

Don’t go after strategies just because gurus say you must use this and this. Take a look at what big dawgs do and think about how you can implement them to your business. If you can tweak them to an even better version, you’ll rock. 💯🔥

The User Acquisition Playbook for App Growth Marketers

Do you need thousands of low cost, highly targeted, cheap installs?

Our user acquisition playbook will be your guide. It’ll give you an action plan you can put into use right after you read it.

“How exactly does it help me?” – you ask.

The plan shows you how to scale your monthly users, and to take advantage of the rising digital advertising trends.

The best part?

Most of this will get your installs below $0.20 CPI!

Now you might think it’s too good to be true. Let us tell you what’s this all about.

Before we dive in, let’s talk about who’s this study made for. We all know there are a bunch of pricing models for apps out there. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll take the example of apps using in-app purchases. That usually covers a wide variety of industries so it felt like a good fit.

You may be present in the lifestyle industry, or have an awesome car-rental app, or help discover the World for travelers – it really doesn’t matter. Now, we’re not saying it’s not useful if you have a paid app or your main revenue stream is from in-app ads… but you may need some modifications to this strategy before implementing.

The upcoming sketch might look a little strange or complicated first… but no worries, we’ve got you.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Man, I just wish I knew what works,” then this blog post is going to be the best blog post you read all year.

It starts with Google Ads [AC], Facebook [FB], and then AppLovin [AL].

These three networks are commonly used by top media buyers because they provide massive traffic at a great CPC with precise targeting.

Expert Mobile Marketers Love These 3 Networks Because Of Their Cheap Traffic Combined With Hefty Scale

Next, is still a little bit of untapped water, mobile retargeting.

By using Google Remarketing lists, Facebook’s custom audiences and Criteo you can use deep-linked ads to retarget your app users with personalized ads. Is it good for your business?

Using retargeting, we’re seeing a 25% uplift in retention rates.

Kinda great, right?

If you’re reading this, you probably put great effort into UA. Put the same effort into retargeting too. Use it to bring back customers who have stopped using the app and to communicate with active users to drive more sales. Hit two birds with one stone.

Quick tip: you should create audiences by using the RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) technique – at least this one worked out the best for us. So take a closer look at:

  • how recently they visited your app (more specifically a high-converting screen in your app)
  • how frequent visitors / action-takers (again, on a high-converting screen/action)
  • did they purchase already?

And then test all the above examples as you see fit.

We discovered these best practices while working with some of the most exciting App Startups in Europe.

We also use competitive intelligence tools like AppAnnie, Mobile Action, AdEspresso (etc) to analyze your trends and competitors. 🕵️

Based on all of our experience and the data that we saw last year, we believe this playbook is the strongest media plan for modern mobile marketers.

”Aw, if I had a penny for every digital marketer saying this about his stuff, I wouldn’t need to read all these pages…”

Familiar thoughts?

To make you sure we’re not just making this up, we’ve brought you proofs. Below you’ll see screenshots showing ad spend by network for a few of the world’s largest mobile advertisers…

Did you notice that Admob, Facebook, and Unity are the only three that all 3 companies had in common?

Listen, we’re not just making this up. We have access to an astounding amount of data that makes sure this is a collection of the “most sought-after” digital ad strategies.

The best part?

You can either be a one-man shop, or you can have a team of in-house media buyers – it doesn’t matter. Following this strategy, anyone can drive millions of clicks – profitably. (Providing you have a proper app that users love)

Obviously, some customization might be needed based on individual needs, but we felt this is a good template for companies to start with.

What You Need To Know About
Google’s App Campaigns To Get Started

[AC]: Google’s Universal App Campaigns

It’s an automated ad type, similar to Dynamic Creatives on Facebook. After you submit a couple lines of ad copy, some visual assets, choose the campaign objective, set the budget, and bidding, Google automatically generates your ads and optimizes them for each network. When you find the winning recipe, it can scale MASSIVELY. It works best if your market is more Android vs iPhone.

[FB]: Facebook Ads

While Facebook is getting more saturated (and costly), they do have arguably the best traffic sources for Mobile Apps. Period. We still urge you to not rely on one network only but that’s been a rule of thumb since there’s more than one out there.

They are not easy on compliance for sure. You have to be careful around how you’re crafting your ads. You can read their guidelines here. (We live and breathe these as well.)

Also, use as many videos as you can. They work like a charm. (Best ads blend seamlessly into its surroundings. Meaning, you might think it’s a regular post on your feed.)

Another titan ahead.

[AL]: AppLovin

They have a very solid position in the Gaming app space right after Google and Facebook. It’s more about unconventional ideas that can bring success. You can be bold… but testing and optimizing based on data are the basics here as well. Besides AppLovin, there’s a vast number of mobile ad networks out there, just to name a few – Vungle, Unity, TapJoy, Fiber. You should take a look at Unity as well – especially if you have a lifestyle or utility app.

What You Need To Know About
Mobile Retargeting

Just because it works on the web, you can’t assume it will work on mobile too. On the web, it’s about “pushing people down your sales funnel with ads” – it’s definitely not the same here.

How do I do it then, should you ask. Let’s see.

You can’t take your eyes off the goal – which is to make more revenue. But on mobile, you also can affect their whole experience with your app in a way you’d never be able to on the web.

Sounds exciting, right?

You can help them learn the basics, discover new things inside or eventually get them to buy. It’s not rocket science, you just need rock-solid research on your customers before you dive in.

Ready for the next one?

[FB]: Facebook Retargeting

As we said, Facebook has the best traffic for mobile and that stands for retargeting as well. With their custom and lookalike audiences, you can create an audience from all your users and then serve them short video ads later on while they are on Facebook or Instagram. Put the same effort into these ads as you do with your UA campaigns, and you will be fine.

Or even more than that.

Imagine a user who was on the fence about your offer all of a sudden seeing video testimonials, user demonstrations, or short teasers for days after they leave your checkout page. Surely, you see how this is way more powerful than simple banner retargeting.

We hope you love these so far.

[AC]: Google Remarketing

Google is a whole different from Facebook and adjusting can be a bit tough at the beginning…but it’s actually kinda nice in the end. You should focus on creative and bids first. Then when you find the winning recipe, it can scale MASSIVELY.

Criteo is also worth taking a look at if you’re in the ecom space.

It was an adventurous, full-o-expertise, and fairly long drive.

“Man, that’s a ton of new information. Where should I start? How can I make sure I won’t mess it up, and end up losing my hard-earned money?”

We’ve got you.

Wrap Up:

The best part about the roll-out strategy is that it works for a one-man shop or a company with its own team of internal media buyers. It’s simple enough for the amateur and strong enough for the veteran.

However, if this looks overwhelming to you, or if you don’t have accounts in these networks, or if you don’t have the time to learn how to use each of these networks, then you should let us make it hands-free for you.

Our enthusiastic team of media buyers specializes in User Acquisition ad campaigns. We can guide you through the scary maze of compliance rules, and help you scale your campaigns to the moon (we LOVE to do that).

What we need from you…

  1. Proven/tested application that is capable of converting the precisely targeted clicks we send towards your app. (Note: we do not work with newly built Apps)
  2. Tracking already set up – we work with all 3rd party tracking solutions that are capable of attributed ad tracking. However, other solutions (like using deep links for measurement) are not acceptable tracking solutions for our services.
  3. 1 day of your time to plan and build your digital marketing strategy.
If this is you, fill out our appointment setter form and one of our colleagues will be in touch with you in 24 hours to set up a strategy call with you.

Again, this is for serious App marketers only.

For everyone else, we answer every e-mail (as soon as possible), so if you have questions, drop us a line here. We’d love to hear your opinion about the article too. Also, if you found the information above helpful, sharing it on LinkedIn or Facebook helps us a lot in producing more content like this. If it wasn’t for the shares, we just couldn’t afford to keep producing free content like this.

Thanks for reading. Have an awesome day!