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Start Getting New Users_Timing and Cost of UA for Mobile Games

Start Getting New Users: Timing and Cost of UA for Mobile Games

User acquisition—or UA—is how you bring new users to your app. It is a strategy for generating the kind of interest in your game that keeps inspiring more people to install and join the fun.

UA videos—often referred to as creatives—are the most common tool but an optimal approach will also include social media campaigns, influencer collaborations, and a killer app store optimization strategy to drive players from first impression to installation.

In this article, we’ll get you started with the what, how much, and when of successful UA campaigns. For more game optimization guides, as well as important industry updates, follow Yodo1 on LinkedIn.

What: Keys to Successful UA Videos 

UA videos are an excellent tool for attracting new users, so let’s take a look at how you can optimize your creatives with topics and themes that will appeal to your audience—taking into account their behavior and psychology.

To attract new players and recapture those who have lost interest, here are some examples of videos that can be interesting and useful:

  • Game guides for new players

  • High-level gameplay for master players

  • Level-up videos

  • Live-action videos that tell a story

To succeed in UA, you’ll also need:

Product knowledge. Your marketing team must have a solid understanding of the game, its selling points, genre, and potential audience, before starting any UA efforts. 

Creative thinking. To appeal to the users you are trying to attract.

Player psychology. To make creative videos based on the players’ preferences and pain points.

Localization: To make your game design and content fit your target markets.

Data analysis. To monitor performance throughout, adjusting and optimizing your UA strategy as needed.

How Much: Understanding UA Cost 

When it comes to profitability numbers, UA boils down to one simple formula: making a user’s CPI (cost per install) lower than their LTV (life-time value). 

To build your UA strategy, we’ll first concern ourselves with CPI. How high this ends up being depends on multiple factors: 

  • Quality. If you offer a high-quality mobile game, you can attract a lot of organic users at a relatively low CPI. For example, you can gain free exposure and recognition when app stores pick up and feature your game.

  • Creativity. The CPI of top-performing creative videos is much lower than that of poorly performing creatives. In other words, the better your UA video, the less you end up paying to get seen by your audience.

  • Target audience. More relevant and accurate targeting comes with a higher CPI than broad targeting because it leads to more valuable users.  

  • Genre. There is a direct relationship between the genre of your game and how much money players will (or won’t) spend on and in it. Similarly, CPI will vary by game type. Hardcore games that monetize with in-app purchases are likely to have a higher CPI than casual games that monetize with ads.

  • Media channels. The most-used global UA channels are Facebook Ads, Apple Search, Google’s UAC, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat. And the more advertisers there are competing on a UA channel, the higher the CPI. Consequently, when a market is saturated with user acquisition videos but the audience remains the same size, the CPI will steadily increase.

  • UA markets. Tier 1 markets such as the USA, Japan, and China will have the highest CPI. Because people in these countries are bigger spenders, there is more competition to get their attention. Of course, with an effective advertising strategy, your return on investment in these markets will be significantly higher.

When: The Right Time to Invest in UA

UA isn’t cheap, and the best way to make sure you’re investing wisely is to get other aspects of your game ready before the launch of your next ad campaign.

1. Improve Your Retention 

Before trying to acquire new users, you need to make sure the ones you already have are staying. If the players you attract organically are downloading your game, playing for five minutes, and abandoning it, the money you invest in UA will end up wasted. 

In other words, without retention, your ad spend is more likely to generate a negative ROI. But when you achieve a good retention rate—for example, by engaging your players in a community or by using game mechanics that keep players coming back—you’ll be in a good place to start a UA campaign.

2. Optimizing Your Monetization Strategy 

You’ve got to spend money to make money, but you’ve got to make money to spend it.  Alongside retention, you have to optimize your monetization strategy if you want a worthwhile UA budget. 

Maintaining a game’s cash flow is critical to sustaining UA efforts, especially for small studios—because you won’t see the full return on investment in the form of LTV until the first 12 months have passed.   

With rising user acquisition costs, mobile games that aren’t optimally monetized will run out of cash and the ability to attract new players through ads. 


How Yodo1 can help

Yodo1’s gaming services platform can help you achieve the metrics you need to start successful UA campaigns. 

Our Managed Ad Services (MAS) system combines fully automatic AI-powered ad optimization with the advantages of manual customization to help developers stabilize and increase cash flow. 

This frees up time to invest in retaining users through community management, which is what our KTplay platform is all about.

Once your retention and monetization are where they need to be, our global UA experts will guide and advise you in the selection of channels, users, and ad formats, as well as help in the creation process—so you can successfully acquire new users in a myriad of markets.

Contact us at for help elevating your game.

About Yodo1

Yodo1 is a game platform company that helps developers better market, manage, and monetize their games. Our AI-powered tools and global expertise in areas such as mobile advertising, community management, and digital IP licensing enable partners to increase playtime, revenue, and retention. Our vision is to open the world of gaming success to anyone with the talent to develop. To learn more, visit and follow us on LinkedIn.