Can You Really Scale Your Mobile App User Acquisition Without AI?

By Ran Milo

Artificial Intelligence is today’s biggest buzzword. Is AI as monumental as the industry makes it out to be or is it just a hype? Moreover, is AI going to replace mobile-app user acquisition managers and growth managers, or is it the best apprentice we can have, enabling fast adopters to scale user acquisition and gain a competitive advantage?

Traditionally, media buyers have excelled thanks to their attention to detail and their ability to make fast decisions that involve lots of input, but managing mobile user acquisition for top-grossing apps today involves far greater scale and higher complexity than before. It usually means running countless campaigns simultaneously across different mobile platforms, social networks, placements, audiences, ad types, creative sizes and so much more. Manual data analysis is much more difficult today. meanwhile, we can have access to advanced AI machines with a click of a button. No wonder  UA managers, s turn to AI for a competitive edge.

Can Mobile App Marketers Succeed Without Using AI?

The industry is still divided on this question. Essentially, there are those who are intimidated by AI and those who run to embrace it.

Those who are intimidated by artificial intelligence might say the following:

  • I don’t get the hype or what this is all about. There’s a lot of excitement about AI because it all sounds new and cool, but I don’t think it’s really going to go anywhere, nor have I seen any AI-based UA miracles. Why waste time looking into it?
  • AI-based systems are way too expensive for me. Artificial intelligence is a cutting-edge technology. It’s bound to cost a lot to access that kind of capability.We don’t need it. We’re already doing really well at our user acquisition rate using human beings. We’ve got enough working hands, thank you. It’s not likely that AI could have a substantial impact on our ROAS, so the cost of integrating won’t be worth it at the end of the day.
  • It won’t work. I’m all for automation, but there is a limit to how far you can take it. You simply can’t replace human judgment with AI machines when you do mobile app marketing. Period.

The Case For AI in App User Acquisition

First, let’s answer an important question:

How are Artificial Intelligence technologies superior to humans?

It’s a truism that no robot can ever replace human intuition and judgment, but I have to admit that technology has managed to wow me more than once. That said, at the moment I agree that robots (you can also call them AI-based machines) still lack some important human capabilities.

But that doesn’t mean that humans are entirely perfect, either.

Remember that we all have some type of cognitive biases, quite apart from our natural memory and processing limitations. Humans tend to make many irrational decisions, sometimes entirely unconsciously, and then seek out opinions and information that justify the decision they already made. It’s like shooting an arrow and then drawing the target around where it went.

Daniel Kahneman received a Nobel prize in Economics for proving the patterns behind inherent flaws in human decision-making processes. By the way, if you’re considering opening an insurance company, I recommend that you learn all you can about his theory.  

Time to Evolve you User Acquisition

Machines Don’t Care!

Let’s not forget that AI technologies are designed to be “bias-free” to help us minimize cognitive flaws when making decisions.

Think about discussions you must have heard about native ad creatives that go something like  “I like red, so let’s try this color for this ad, I feel it looks better” or “Surely housewives prefer warm and cozy home images”. These are cognitive biases. We all have them. Well, it’s not the best way to run decision making for marketing campaigns.

You know those colleagues who have to win an argument at all costs, whether backed by numbers or not? They make you sweat running endless manual tests. AI comes to the rescue. AI can run multiple tests, with almost no limitations to the memory or processing abilities and at almost no effort. Let the robot work.

AI doesn’t have to keep on proving itself right; it can stop campaigns immediately when KPIs or ROAS goals are not met, and winning campaigns are expended just as instantly. There’s no sentimental attachment or unconscious cognitive bias when AI is involved.

AI is Not Necessarily Expensive

When it comes to mobile user acquisition, AI can actually save more money than it costs. When you acquire users at scale, you spend significant sums on media buying. For some apps we are talking millions. Even saving a few cents on every CPA or CPI unit, using AI, adds up to serious money. A few cents on every single install can actually far exceed the cost of advanced technological solutions and automated media buying services. Also, don’t forget that AI automation helps you keep your human resources expenditure lean.

AI Multiplies the Processing Power

Endless UA experiments, here we come! AI allows you to run an infinite number of experiments on any number of parameters effortlessly. Of course, you can still run age experiments manually using Facebook ad manager dashboard, for instance. But can you really test every possible age group in parallel? Even if technically you can, does it make sense?

Adding AI increases your testing abilities exponentially. Would you upload 50 different ad sets to test all possible ages? Probably not. How about running a test for age times gender times interest? Unlikely.

AI can Change the Way Marketers Deal with Creatives and Copy

It’s not just automated testing and unbiased decisions that can be achieved using AI. User acquisition creative and copy management can be powered by AI too.

Ok, we know what you are thinking: If we let artificial intelligence control our creative, we’re likely to end up with embarrassing ads.



Well, right. This could be a problem, but only if you gave AI total control of creating your ads. As long as humans continue to stay in the driver’s seat, embarrassing freak ads are not a concern.

Using AI in the right way like we do in Bidalgo makes AI your apprentice, running multiple tests, taking your entire day to day maintenance off your shoulder, learning on the go and getting back to you with results VERY fast. It helps you take strategic decisions and stay in control.

Conclusion: If you Can’t Beat AI, Join It!

After considering all the benefits, I have to vote for AI and automation. (Also, working at Bidalgo helps).

I vote for AI, not because I think that it’s going to replace us at our jobs, but because it helps us do our jobs even better. AI helps businesses evolve faster. Our customers can testify:  Using Bidalgo AI, they have seen an average of 49% increase in ROAS, and a 58% decrease in CPI.

Take Booksy, for example, that improved CTR by 40%, or Playstudios, that increased ROAS and doubled their advertising scale while using Bidalgo AI. What can be more convincing than solid numbers?

Basically, AI is here to stay, whether you like it or not, so we’ve put it to good use to amplify and scale up user acquisition. AI can be your ultimate media buying engine. It can fully take your media buying management for you and allow you to focus on your marketing strategy and creative.

If you can’t beat AI, you might as well join the party using it, especially since your competitors already enlisted AI to keep ahead of the curve.

Besides, whenever a new technology emerges, who learns all about it faster than mobile marketers?

Published on September 12, 2017
Written by
Ran Milo

VP Marketing @ Bidalgo.

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