How to acquire App Users on TikTok during a recession

Jide Maduako
min Read
Key Takeways

In the current economic climate, it's a challenge for businesses to stay afloat and find effective strategies to reach new customers. However, one method that may work better than most is influencer marketing - particularly on TikTok. As the platform matures, influencers have become key players who can help you acquire app users quickly - even during a recession! In this post we will explore how you can use TikTok as part of your user acquisition strategy while staying within budget.

SKAN campaign strategies on TikTok

Inflation is in double figures and we're heading into a recession. The dominant business narrative has changed from 'grow the user base' to 'profitable growth only'.

These signals have been there for a while — and if you’ve not adjusted your User Acquisition strategies — you need to catch up. Apple's SKAN attribution model has compounded the risks, making it harder for advertisers to accurately track performance.

In this article, I’ll explore a couple of our strategies that have helped Yoke Network lead the industry at overcoming these issues and tapping into TikTok’s growing and diverse audiences.

TikTok’s vast content library spans hundreds of thousands of topics. From trendy teens to golden oldies, if you know where to look you can find nearly all demographics. Some of the largest issues our industry has faced — with the adoption of SKAN — isn’t just the fact that attribution is mainly limited to the first 24 hours after install. It’s adapting to the privacy thresholds, postback delays, and lack of ‘converted audience’ data.

 ‘As technology advances we must choose to adapt or be left behind’ 

To succeed we can’t just expect creatives and identified demographics to drive performance, as we are increasingly forced to rely on machine learning and other blackbox technical solutions. At Yoke, I've spent most of the last year spearheading projects to overcome the difficulties arising from SKAN and figure out how to continue optimising towards ever deeper in-app events and value.

I’m going to share one of my favourite success stories, occurring shortly after iOS14.5. Over a 3-month period we spent more than $70,000 on ads on a premium iOS utility app. Working directly with TikTok — as one of the first to trial their App Install technology at scale — we greatly impacted their current best practices and helped define the rule book.

‘If it’s broken, fix it’

Here at Yoke, we don’t repeat things that don’t work. Our tried-and-tested methodology had encountered difficulties with the mainstream adoption of ATT, so we had to pivot and recreate our paid strategy to make the most out of SKAN and stay ahead of the competition. After multiple iterations, we discovered a 3-stage test system that allowed us to take full advantage of the available technology and mitigate risks for new brands finding success on TikTok.

[The dataset above was from our initial ‘tracked link’ campaign that suffered severe attribution issues. Since then, all current Concept Tests are launched fully compatible with SKAN.]

Our App Install journey has always begun with the first stage: our concept test. We exclusively target the client’s identified audiences, test a broad range of creators/content/messaging, and identify audience affinity and any early scalable opportunities. Our focus is on analysing the data, iterating our content, and preparing the foundations for our CPI-focused Stage Two. 

As we enter Stage Two the focus is on lowering CPI by using data to refine our concepts, creatives, and audiences. In order to effectively target further down the funnel, we need to start by exploring different traffic sources and work on constantly improving our content. Targeting CPI at this stage is essential, as it allows us to focus on the most frequently triggered user metric. This allows us to pass the campaigns’ learning & optimisation thresholds more effectively, and evaluate a variety of CPA traffic sources.

With a wealth of data in our systems, we have now unlocked Stage 3. Our focus switches to finding cost-effective CPAs and scaling our success. Armed with vital audience data, our experts are able to use TikTok’s tech to its full potential. We pivot our messaging, targeting, and visuals to focus solely on reducing CPA, all whilst continuing to explore new creatives and traffic sources to fend off Ad Fatigue.

This may sound simple — and the core concept is — but the difficulty is in the proper execution.

‘To preserve User Privacy we’ve been told to spend more money on Tests’ 

You should already be well aware of SKAN’s current Privacy Threshold, and that if a campaign falls under 100 installs per day it can result in Apple withholding all of that post-install data (at least until SKAN 4.0 takes over).

Apple’s Privacy Threshold forced us to adopt larger minimum budgets, whilst associated data delays caused us to introduce scheduled breaks to compensate, but it was being limited to only 2 Ad Groups per Campaign that forced us to be the most ingenious.

The data delays, coupled with TikTok limiting advertisers to 2 groups per campaign is an issue we have faced and I will discuss this in my next blog. 

I plan on revealing more behind-the-scenes  knowledge on our strategies, tactics, and observations as TikTok’s most successful App Marketing Network. 

Please stay tuned for next time, as we explore:

  • How to find your Audiences on TikTok
  • Balancing Ad Performance and Ad Fatigue
  •  Users want Benefits not Product Features
  • And many more…

In the meantime, if you think you’re ready to acquire new users through Influencers then take full advantage of our specialists team and book in a chat HERE!

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