How to get mobile users with NO advertising budgets

At a glance: Use AppsFlyer to increase your mobile user base without spending any money on advertising.


User engagement is the lifeline of any mobile app. As a mobile marketer, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to increase your mobile user base with little or no advertising budget.

In this case, AppsFlyer supplies powerful tools to help you achieve your goals.

With the following cost-free following strategies, you can use AppsFlyer to:

  • Acquire new mobile app users
  • Retarget your past users back into activity

Convert non-mobile users into new mobile users

A high-potential and cost-free source of mobile users is any source of non-mobile users you own. Examples of these owned media sources include:

  • Your website (see below)
  • User email and/or telephone lists
  • Your social media content subscribers
  • Posters or billboards containing your app's attribution link behind a QR code

OneLink is AppsFlyer's free-of-charge tool for redirecting, converting, attributing, and even deep-linking these users. By enabling you to create unique links for different user journeys, you can take users directly to specific pages or activities within the app.
In this way, you can create free owned-media campaigns that engage mobile users.

Get started with the OneLink guide.

Convert website visitors into mobile users

If you own an active website or landing pages that get user traffic, you can convert and properly attribute these users into mobile users using 2 powerful OneLink-based tools: Smart Banners and Smart Scripts.

These OneLink-based tools allow you to promote your app on your website or landing pages, and attribute new mobile users directly to your website or to the sources that originally brought them there.
Best of all: setting up Smart Banners and Smart Scripts doesn’t require any coding knowledge.

See the Mobile web-to-app solutions guide to decide which solution works best for you.

Convert users of your other apps

Another great free source of mobile users is the users of other apps you own. After all, these users are already familiar with your brand and are, therefore, more receptive to your new apps.
With AppsFlyer's cross-promotion feature, you can attribute installs for your new apps that were promoted within your other apps.

Learn how to run Cross-promotion campaigns.

Reward your mobile users for inviting their friends

There’s no better free advertising than word-of-mouth! Users at a peak point in their journey (for example, finishing a quest or ordering a discounted flight ticket) are more likely to recommend your app to their friends and family, especially if they're incentivized to do so. With AppsFlyer, you can use the User Invite feature to attribute and record new, free-of-charge installs when existing users refer others to use your apps.

Learn how to get new users with User Invite attribution.

Retarget your app users

A major potential source of getting engaged users is your app's past users. Since these users are already familiar with your app, they may be easier to reacquire. As a result, retargeting past users can be an effective strategy to increase the app's DAU and MAU.
Additionally, re-engaged users from retargeting campaigns often are more engaged and likely to perform purchases and other important actions, as compared to new users from user acquisition campaigns.
AppsFlyer provides a comprehensive retargeting attribution solution that allows you to retarget users across various platforms and devices. Use retargeting to effectively re-engage inactive users who already have your app installed on their mobile devices.

Learn how to perform Retargeting attribution.

Reach the users

You can reach inactive users for free, by deploying push notifications or other in-app messaging methods to reach users who still have your app installed. A well-targeted message (often containing an incentive) can convert many inactive mobile users back into active ones.
You can also use push notifications to encourage users to take specific actions in your app, such as making a purchase or completing a survey.
AppsFlyer supports the measurement of push notification campaigns from all push providers, including free campaigns implemented directly on top of Firebase Cloud Messaging or Apple Push Notification Services (APNS).

Learn how to measure push notification re-engagement campaigns.

Segment user audiences

Creating and targeting audiences is a powerful way to increase the relevance of your retargeting campaigns and reach users who are more likely to re-engage with your apps. With AppsFlyer Audiences, you can create custom audiences based on a variety of criteria, such as user behavior, device type, and location, and refresh them on a daily basis. You can then use these audiences to run effective cost-free retargeting campaigns on your owned media.


A marketer for a Travel app uses Audiences to create an audience of users who purchased flight tickets 11 to 13 months ago. Re-engaging these users has a good chance to find them when they are likely planning their next vacation. At this time of year, offering a discount on flight tickets can drive an easy conversion.

Learn how to segment audiences using AppsFlyer Audiences.