Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Why your marketing funnel might have a leak 

Sep 20, 2021

Many marketers are focused on new customer acquisition. Teams develop new awareness campaigns and seek to improve share of voice so that new users, readers or customers are able to more easily transition into the deeper parts of the conversion funnel. 

For many, the Pirate Funnel is a great tool to focus marketing strategies around. But the Awareness, Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Revenue, Referral (AAARRR!) model can miss key moments that are critical in the life cycle of key customers that mobile publishers value. It is crucial that mobile publishers utilize a funnel that is optimized for mobile audience life-cycles. We have created the DREEF model that we encourage publishers to implement. 

Inverted pyramid graphic showing the phases of a mobile marketing funnel

The DREEF Mobile Funnel is composed of the following steps: 

  • Discovery
  • Registration
  • Engagement
  • Earn
  • Fidelity 


For publishers and operators, the key to growth is adding new users. Getting people into the application is a key component, but keep in mind that getting the right new users is even more important. If your user acquisition tactics are off, you will find that a high percentage of the audience you are reaching is not moving to the next step in the funnel. 

Whether it’s an influencer marketing campaign, virtual preloads or other methods of discovery, optimizing your audience is crucial. Engaging a small base of customers is also not enough. Before they are in the app and after they are in the app, a marketer must make sure that the audiences they are targeting are converting to the registration step. 


One important note about a mobile marketing funnel is that all steps must be a positive experience for the user. This is especially vital for the registration step, which is the first two-way interaction a user has with your application. If your shopping cart system is difficult to use or does not interface with mobile payment methods, users will leave. If your sign-up system is difficult or contains too many steps, users will leave. If you don’t deliver the expected experience, users will leave. 

Users are already inclined to leave. In fact, around 90% of users are already inactive in an application within one week of downloading. This means that publishers need to ensure that users understand the value of the application and get the needed value from their first experiences. Otherwise they’ll leave and your team is looking for the answers as to why.

High churn rates can leave marketers chasing down problems and many are quick to look at audience profiles, ad copy and similar variables, but oftentimes the product itself needs to be assessed. The importance of the overall brand experience also includes how you communicate with your users. The wrong communication can create a negative experience and cause additional churn. The app gives people a reason to convert to a user. The communication is what gives people to continue to engage with the app and proceed to the next steps. 


It is easier, more efficient and cheaper to focus marketing efforts on customer retention rather than new user acquisition. It is up to you as the publisher to keep giving users a reason to keep the application installed. Engaging with a user based on behavior points or data analysis will lead to an overall more positive experience. 

This means that marketers can turn to data such as contextual engagement, or in-app events, which maps the user’s behavior on their phones and combines that information with data the company already knows. 

App owners can create behavior-based audiences, develop contextual messaging programs or utilize in-app messages to help boost engagement with their users. For example, a grocery store can utilize loyalty card and shopping data to identify how often a family needs to purchase laundry detergent so they can offer a reward to encourage them to buy a new package. And this is when the next step of the funnel is reached. 


By having an active user base that is finding true value of your application’s core function, you can begin to seek additional ways to interact and reach your users. You likely have an ecosystem of goods or services that you provide and your users are interested in. This could mean the clothing brands a retailer carries, the stereo accessories a car dealer recommends or the investment strategies a bank offers. 

This ecosystem opens additional revenue channels for publishers that they can utilize to expand their overall footprint. Whether it is leveraging the traffic and volume of installations to sell ads or adding additional product lines and partnerships, you can continuously seek to add value to your users and revenue for your application. This keeps users consistently coming back and even recommending your application to others. 


The final step in a mobile marketing funnel is fidelity. This incorporates traditional KPIs such as in-app revenue and new installations, but it also incorporates metrics that better align with the overall customer experience such as customer satisfaction, customer service metrics and revenue growth per customer. 

This step in the mobile marketing funnel is a great opportunity to reward your users and turn them into evangelists for your application. Providing special incentives for bringing in new users, for example, can cause people to proactively recruit new users for you. 

By focusing your marketing strategy on a funnel that is optimized for mobile publishers, you can scale your offering faster and more efficiently. If your company is interested in implementing a solution that delivers every step in the DREEF funnel in one product, contact us and we’ll show you user cases that should inspire the next step of your marketing strategy