SmartNews found profitable scale and optimized retention with AppLovin

Popular news aggregator SmartNews needed to grow in the US. After partnering with AppLovin last year, they successfully hit KPIs on iOS during Q1 2022 and had a 20%2 better retention rate when compared to other performance marketing channels.



Marketing Objective

User Acquisition



Founded in Japan, SmartNews launched the English version of their news-aggregator app in the U.S. in 2014. After their latest funding round in September 2021 SmartNews’ valuation reached over $2 billion.


Shibuya, Japan & San Francisco, CA

Company Size





The Challenge

Acquire new high LTV users and expand in the US market

After years of rapid growth, SmartNews needed to explore new networks to reach more users and further expand in the highly competitive news space, particularly in the US where they faced stiff competition from large news aggregators like Google, Yahoo!, and Flipboard — as well as heavyweight social media platforms like Facebook. As an ad-driven app, SmartNews makes money through in-line advertising, video ads, and content syndication — so acquiring new users they can retain beyond 7 days is a critical metric for success.

The Solution

AppLovin CPE campaign optimized for D7 retention

Partnering with AppLovin, SmartNews used AppDiscovery’s advanced automation campaigns to drive installation growth and acquire high-value users at an optimal price point. This in turn enabled them to optimize towards and increase day 7 retention, which is predictive of a high LTV user based on SmartNews’ ad monetization model.

The Results

SmartNews exceeded KPIs on iOS and outperformed the majority of acquisition channels during Q1 2022.

Results stats
While scaling spend and optimizing retention rate by more than 25%1, SmartNews saw AppLovin traffic perform better than a leading social media platform on iOS and outperform other performance marketing channels by 20%2 in terms of retention.

Having an additional source of high-value new users allows them to continue growing and scaling in the U.S.

In Summary

Exceeded retention rate KPI

Day 7 retention from AppLovin traffic improved by more than 25% through AppDiscovery’s advanced automation campaigns.

Top performing channel

AppLovin traffic outperformed the majority of acquisition channels and allowed them to expand the acquisition mix and target big growth in the U.S.

The flexibility of AppDiscovery CPE campaigns has really helped us to find new, high-value users and scale profitably.

Applovin traffic is outperforming other performance marketing channels on iOS with 20% better retention, our main performance KPI.

Andrew Kim
Growth Manager
SmartNews, Inc.

1AppLovin Platform: 01/01/2022 - 03/31/2022
2Adjust Platform: 04/01/2021 - 03/31/2022

Acquire new users.

See real results.

Sign up today
Resources Company