What Is: User Acquisition Marketing



Name: Anna Lindow (@AnnaLindow)
Occupation: General Manager – Campus, General Assembly

1. In 140 characters or less, what is user acquisition marketing?

The science that complements the art of building an audience and a brand. A quantitative approach to marketing with a specific goal of gaining customers.

2. If a website were a for-sale house, user acquisition marketing would be ______?

The real estate agent. A very data-savvy real estate agent.

3. What’s your favorite part about user acquisition marketing?

  • It’s measurable. You can turn to data to know what’s working and what’s not.
  • There’s a short feedback loop. When you try something new, you can see whether it will be successful fairly quickly.
  • Experimentation is not just welcomed, but required. You never “figure it out.” There’s always something new to optimize or test.

4. How would you explain the difference between “user acquisition marketing” and “brand strategy marketing” to a 5 year old?

Imagine you’re trying to get people to come to your lemonade stand. You recruit your best friend, who has a 96 box of crayons, to draw an awesome sign. You ask your parents to help you tell neighbors that they should come buy lemonade. That is brand strategy marketing.

Then you try swapping out the sign for a sign with different colors and words, and you test which sign got more people to stop riding their bikes and buy lemonade. You give each of your parents a coupon to give to neighbors, and test which parent brings in more coupon users. That’s user acquisition marketing. The science behind the art.

6. What are some of your favorite books, links, resources, for someone interested in getting started in user acquisition marketing?

  • HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Blog — Hubspot is a company that builds cool marketing software. Their blog has good tips on the industry.
  • Quick Sprout — by the founder of CrazyEgg and KissMetrics. Even his blog itself is optimized for user acquisition.
  • Danielle Morrill’s blog — Danielle ran marketing for Twilio, and knows how to grow a user base.

7. Any advice for an aspiring user acquisition marketer?

  • Get good at manipulating data. Brush up on using Excel and learn SQL if you can.
  • Embrace the student mindset. There’s always a new technology or tool to try in the world of acquisition marketing. Start playing with a tool you don’t yet understand — Google Analytics is a good option. Comfort with picking up new tools quickly will prove useful.
  • Notice what works on you. Pay attention to the ads you get served when you’re on whatever websites you normally read. Pay attention to the emails you open — and the ones that get you to click. Make a mental note of any situation in which you’re in the process of paying for something and get annoyed. Keep a file of the ads and marketing emails you see that make you take action, and the sites that you’ve shared with your friends. Chances are, they’re doing something right.

Get started at GA. Learn from top practitioners in our 8-week Digital Marketing long-form course.