Developing a Holistic Mobile Growth Strategy with a Lightweight Framework

Do you have a marketing framework for your app?  

Did you know how the Mobile Growth Stack framework can help you develop a holistic mobile growth strategy?

Mobile growth marketing combines classic marketing activities (paid and organic channels, messaging, campaigns, creatives etc.) with technical elements (e.g. attribution, analytics, app store optimization). With so many potential activities and technologies to keep track of, it can be hard to maintain an overview. 

In this lesson, you will learn how a lightweight framework lets you plan out and scale your entire app marketing strategy from scratch, tailored to your needs. 

The Framework 

The Mobile Growth Stack is divided into several horizontal layers. The first three layers are mapping the potential activities that could be levers for growth through the funnel: 
  1. Acquisition, 
  2. Engagement & Retention, 
  3. Monetization. 

The lower layers cover the tech to enable these activities: 
  • Analytics & Insights, 
  • Tech.  

The column on the right-hand side represents the Channels that can be used for mobile growth.

Key Steps of Developing a Mobile Growth Strategy

Step 1: Start With High-Level Business Objectives

Take a moment to consider what is most important for the business at this stage, for example, user growth, revenue growth, short-term opportunity, or raising funding. The high-level objectives will determine the areas of the Mobile Growth Stack that you need to focus on first.

Step 2: Review Current Growth And Trends

With the high-level objective in mind, take a quick health-check on your current growth rate and how those KPIs are developing over time. Pay particular attention to KPIs relevant to your objective, but not to the exclusion of others, in case there’s actually a much bigger problem going on that requires urgent remedial effort.

Step 3: Identify Opportunities & Gaps by creating a Growth ‘Report Card’

Auditing the effectiveness of current growth activities and channels is straightforward and can easily be completed in under an hour. It’s designed to be a quick health-check of what’s working, what isn’t, and what hasn’t even been tried yet (it’s essentially the first stage of a gap analysis).

Work systematically through each element of the stack and apply color-coding to each element:

Green — The activity is executing well and producing strong, measurable impact.
Yellow — The activity is executing with some difficulties, weak impact or suboptimal measurement 
Red — The activity is failing to deliver satisfactory results or isn’t measured properly
Grey — The activity is not applicable at the present time (and may never be)
Blue — More information needed (either because analytics is insufficient, or because the opportunity hasn’t been fully explored).

Perform this exercise for every activity (channels can be trickier since it’s possible that the same channel may be performing well for one activity and badly for another).  

Example of a report card for a reasonably mature mobile product

Step 4: Select Focus Areas For The Next Period

A typical report card for an early-stage product will contain one or two green cells, a few yellows and reds, and probably a lot of blues and greys. In particular, the analytics layer will have plenty of gaps (reds) that are impeding execution in the rest of the stack. As the business and product mature, the report card should fill up slowly with greens and yellows.

Wrapping it up

“Printing out the framework and coloring it really helped us focus. I have the growth stack printed and posted on the wall in our office just above my desk”, reports Gabor Papp who uses the framework in his growth marketing role at Shapr3D. “Just recently I also started to create little playbooks for each marketing activity and have a colored framework attached to it. So when I need to run a new campaign I instantly see what layers and boxes I have to utilize to get the most out of that campaign.”

This example shows how little work on the growth stack may pay off and facilitate the work of mobile marketers.

Helpful Resources

Phiture is the industry-acclaimed framework for mobile growth based on the Mobile Growth Stack. They help businesses analyze their mobile growth strategy. From acquisition topics such as App Store Optimization, Viral loops to retention topics like onboarding and lifecycle marketing, Phiture helps you identify the right tactics & channels. Learn more at,

Author: Andy Carvell
Partner at Phiture, Editor at Mobile Growth Stack

After years of developing games, Andy earned an MBA (specializing in Marketing Strategy) and joined SoundCloud in Berlin in 2012. He published the Mobile Growth Stack, widely adopted as an essential tool for marketers. Now, as a partner in Phiture, Andy consults clients on mobile growth topics, helping them to build and execute on a holistic mobile growth strategy.

Follow Andy on Twitter.


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