Why Automation Matters More Than Ever for App Developers

The mobile app industry exploded in 2020, with consumers spending a record $143 billion in 2020 and mobile ad spend reaching $240 billion

The market is not only competitive, but it has also become more sophisticated, with developers utilizing tools and solutions to help market their apps faster and more profitably. 

Building high-quality apps and balancing a strategy for user acquisition (UA) are getting more challenging as the market grows increasingly more saturated, which is why automation has come to the forefront. 

Automation is vital to having a solid and successful UA plan so developers can use their time to focus on testing, improving, and scaling their apps.

How automation helps teams

Developers typically create more than one app, so managing multiple UA campaigns for each can quickly become complicated. A strong UA team campaign often has marketing channels with multiple ad campaigns per channel, buying on different sources, with a variety of creatives. 

As many developers know all too well, having to manually optimize many campaigns and work on app development at the same time means something will inevitably fall through the cracks. Sometimes due to the high complexity of multiple campaigns, companies limit the channels or target fewer geographies (or “geos”), which could mean missed opportunities.  

Automation has become increasingly complex yet incredibly useful for helping developers save time and energy. It allows developers to set up UA campaigns in just a few clicks, so they can instead focus on what they love doing most—making apps. 

Automation’s impact on UA strategies 

These days, companies build systems to predict the lifetime value (LTV) of their users based on early indicators, this can even be done in the first 24 hours. This allows them to buy based on these goals in an automated way on a platform like AppLovin.

By relying on automation, developers can have peace of mind that their goals will be achieved. Developers simply pick an ROI goal early in the planning process and let the system find users that fit the parameters of their goals. To do this manually, developers could easily spend hours on end replicating this process for just one campaign — imagine trying to do this for hundreds of campaigns! 

Eliminating this manual work allows developers to focus on how they can work more efficiently on their apps or marketing strategies to improve retention and lifetime value, for example. 

With the information gathered from automating UA, it is easier for developers to make predictions about how much to spend and budget. This helps them better understand their cash flow management. For example, they would be able to easily map out this formula: “I can spend X amount now, assuming the user will spend Y dollars in X number of days.” 

Through automation, developers can take these predicted values and bid accordingly. They can bid more with more granularity and according to complex projections, based on campaigns, countries, sources, and creatives, for example. The biggest value is that doing this manually would take a lot of time, with a large margin for human error.

Being able to scale means potential for global expansion and potential for more users discovering and engaging with developers’ apps.

Automation, creative testing, and improving confidence

Automation provides more granularity and allows developers to test a larger number of creatives with more confidence. Developers can optimize an app’s creatives per campaign and geos while testing a higher number of creative variations (from a few to hundreds) that can achieve smaller scale improvements. Automatic adjustments to each campaign can lead to incremental changes—even a 5 percent improvement, for example, across several campaigns can make a big difference and yield positive overall results. 

“Good” UA and scaling 

Without automation, good UA boils down to timing—bidding at the right time on the right user and receiving the best value, plus optimal creatives. The heavy lifting for this is done through automation and integrated solutions to help developers analyse important test results, market, and monetize their apps. Without automation, a strong UA strategy requires these to align and lots of time to manage them.

Through automation, developers can confidently refine their UA strategies to scale and ultimately grow their business.

About the Author

Daniel Tchernahovsky, VP of International Business Development at AppLovin is responsible for growing AppLovin’s presence across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Daniel began with AppLovin in 2015, initially focusing on Eastern European growth. Prior to joining AppLovin, Daniel worked at Succevo, where he played a key role in launching the company’s mobile business.