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User Acquisition tips for apps similar to Instacart, Runkeeper, and Slack (Part-4)

This is the fourth part of the blog series. I hope you have been following the series and have gone through the first, second and the third post already. In this part, I picked up a delivery app, a health and fitness app and productivity/enterprise app.

It is necessary to understand app discovery before you roll out any acquisition plans. If you are aware of that, good, if not, you may go to the first post.  

Let’s go to the first app.

Instacart Instacart


Delivery services have been disrupted by apps a lot. No wonders, these apps are drawing in a lot of investment from angel investors. It is no surprise that ride-sharing apps such as uber, or restaurant listing (Zomato) apps are also extending themselves into the delivery market. Their business models have intersecting areas that makes these companies gain intel on the delivery market as well.

Food can trigger recurring demands, which is another cause for numerous apps fighting it out in this space. This is where Instacart differentiates from the rest. Instacart shoppers are skilled at shopping. Selecting the right vegetable or fruit is also a skill and Instacart trains their shoppers to pick the best one possible. This is a major differentiating factor in my opinion.

Instacart Shopper Job Resposibilities Instacart Shopper Job Responsibilities. See complete JD here

If you also have a differentiator embedded within your app, it is good. Try and make use of that.

I have been writing answers related to user acquisition on Quora since some time and I have come across a lot of similar ideas. However, I always press for things within the entire business model that leads to retention for the app.

One such Idea from a gentleman was to deliver alcohol on demand. Since many grocery stores are already delivering goods at the doorstep, this did not seem to be very promising. My suggestion for him was that, that he should instead focus on mocktails that need specialized skills to be made or, can only be bought once you step outside your home.

Here, specialization is necessary as it will make users buy often and create retention for the app.

User Acquisition tips for an app like Instacart

  • Make sure your business model has got something valuable within the internal value chain. For Instacart, the delivery time, ease, and shopping right veggies does the trick. However, I think the last one is the most important. It makes people order again. What is yours?
  • If the items you wish to deliver are consumer products then Visual Merchandising and Packaging has a large part to play. You can take cues from Amazon’s art of appreciation packages. Think, of ways you can package your goods like that. Focus on celebrations and holidays. Let people order these as gifts. Apply offers on the app. This will lead to a lot of word of mouth in the end.

Art of Appreciation baskets on Art of Appreciation baskets on

  • Run AdWord banner campaigns for the app. These will push your app at the right spots.You can also go for FB feed ads. If you have come up with some cool visual merchandising, flash them on FB ads. If you are delivering food, give coupons like KFC does. If you are dealing in something like movers and packers, highlight price, safety, and ease.

KFC Wednesday offer KFC Wednesday offer on Facebook

  • Look into AdWords. See if your app solves a popular problem. If yes, make a website to highlight that. For example, if you are dealing with something connected to movers and packers, you may look for local queries related to that. Ascertain the search volume from AdWords and dump some good content on the site.
  • Face to Face interactions can be frequent in such a business model. If your business model is more on the consumer side, then you may use that to your benefit.
  • Collaborate with other sites for Affiliate Marketing. Instacart ran a campaign with Figure out potential partners and intersecting interests.

Instacart collaborating with Instacart collaborating with


Slack Slack

Corporate communication is important to organizations and a lot of resources are spent globally by firms to ensure its effectiveness. On the other hand however, internal communication is often overlooked. Job portals hardly feature jobs that deal with internal comms. And this is where Slack found a market.

Slack understood that internal communication needs, and wants to be more spontaneous.

It is not really about stuffing more humans on internal comms teams that could change things. If it was possible, it would have been solved that way by now. Slack created a cross-platform app that attracted $340m of funding and a huge userbase.

Now, to acquire users for an app like Slack, one must target CEOs and opinion leaders straight away. The reason is, individual users scattered across the network do not mean a thing. Slack is about smoothening productive group communications. And they are what your app needs and the leaders are people who will make way for that.

As far differentiators are concerned here, these would mostly be execution and design based. Hence, I do not really qualify to suggest much here.

Pre-requisites would include 24by7 technical teams. If you really wanna go all out and get users for a project management and app like Slack, you must have that ready to be able to patch things fast during a troubleshoot.

Also, have a video ready to highlight the utility of the app.


User Acquisition tips for an app like Slack

  • Email Marketing should work wonders here. You can  employ an email automation tool such as Marketo or  But before you do that, you need leads and Linkedin is the best place to dig for that. You can hire people who are experienced with lead generation on Linkedin.
  • A lot of questions and topics related to start-ups and entrepreneurship are always trending on Quora. Write apt answers for those telling your entrepreneurial story. You can also create internal groups for specialized topics on the app and dump some cool content to begin with. Then, you may brag about those on quora.
  • Paid Ad campaigns can include LinkedIn ads. Choose between the types of ad you want to focus on.

Linked In Ad options Linked In Ad options

  • You can also conduct webinars. Spread the word through emails and have people listen. However, do not literally sell your product. Instead, discuss design or attributes such as big data. Cleverly put animations and videos within the presentation to market the app.


Runkeeper Runkeeper

Runkeeper is one of the finest fitness apps out there in the market. It is known for its accuracy and a great UI. Attracting three rounds of funding, the company is valued at $11.51m right now. Health and fitness has a vast market and a lot of things can be sketched out.

Here, differentiators often include quality of programming, UI design, and support services around the app. You can also make specialized apps based on workout types (just the way Runtastic did).

Now, as far as prerequisites are concerned, I must suggest that fitness apps come with a mandatory need for social integration. The best way to acquire new users is to allow existing users to flaunt their achievements on FB or Twitter.

From our experience of making a myriad of health and fitness apps, we can definitely say that the ones lacking social integration did not go any further. Almost all of them died soon.


User Acquisition tips for apps similar to Runkeeper

  • Recommendation from family and friends often works for this kind of apps. Hence, it is suggested that a referral program within the app ecosystem be created.
  • Running, Exercise and Healthcare connect to the well-being of people. It is no wonder that tons of searches are made for exercising, medical condition, beautification, and various other related terms. You can attract all that traffic to your site with great content. This site should also have the app link. If you are lucky enough to pull some seed funding, you may hire health experts, preferably popular ones for blogging. People will listen. Fitness Model Lunden Michelle Souza works for Runtastic Rusntastic roped in Fitness Model Lunden Michelle Souza
  • Success stories work wonders when it comes to health and fitness. Create success story blogs and push them as sponsored stories on FB. Their headline may sound similar to stories from Viralnova or Storypick.

A Viralnova story posted on FB A Viralnova story posted on FB. The headlines of ViralNova stories are always catchy

  • Do the same on Twitter as well.
  • You can tie up with popular fitness experts at the local level. These people may visit the best of gyms or sports clubs and conduct something cool. Water bottles, Dry Run Tees, and sweatbands with your app branding can be given to participants at these venues.
  • Hack into Facebook groups of other fitness apps and suggest advantages of your app instead. Participate frequently.
  • If you are able to pull some funding, you may sponsor local level games and events. This is more of mainstream branding that may come afterward. 

So here were few tips to drive user acquisition campaigns for specific categories of apps. I would write about more apps picked from different categories in the 5th part of this blog series.

Part ONE- User Acquisition tips for apps similar to ZOMATO, UBER, AND PRACTO (Part-1)

Part TWO- User Acquisition tips for apps similar to SPRING, PARENTHOOD & MINK (Part-2)

Part Three- User Acquisition tips for apps similar to POCKET, DWOLLA, & BUMBLE/TINDER (Part-3)

Arup Dey

I am passionate about Games, Content Marketing, NLE apps and Videos. In my free time I Read, Eat and Code. I see life around me as interconnected subsets of small events. Helps me learn a lot!

1 comment
  1. Piyush Aggarwal
    Piyush Aggarwal
    April 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    How to re-target a user if he has come to the app store but not installed the app?

Comments are closed.