Subscription Marketing 101: tips to drive acquisition and retention with Adrien Miniatti (Luni)

Subscription Retention Podcast Acquisition

Luni is a true self-made success story. In the 7th episode of Subscription League, Adrien Miniatti, founder of the Bordeaux-based app empire, shares some practical step-by-step tips for startups on growing subscription apps from acquisition to retention. Listen to the end to learn about Luni’s love for influencer marketing.

A true self-made success story - Luni

Luni’s journey as an app empire started out only about four years ago as developers of utility apps such as Scanner. Their business extended to creativity and wellness apps, including Fitness Coach(wellness), Omada(social sports betting), Meditation Nest(wellness), and Photo Studio(creativity). Luni boasts all together over ¼ million daily downloads. The company’s success is essentially based on providing gratifying app content and continuous improvement through frequent testings and optimizations. Luni is also a big advocate of influencer marketing. About 60% of Luni’s users are based in the United States.

User acquisition - what is it

User acquisition (UA) is a fancy word for gaining new users for a product or service. If your app’s revenue depends on user spending through subscriptions or In-App Purchases, attracting new users is the most basic precondition for success. Only once you have users on board, can you attempt to convert them for profitability. 

Customer acquisition in the mobile world is a revenue battle. As individuals can only spend a limited amount of money in making new purchases while all app stores are booming with an increasing number of apps, the battle to get users’ attention first is becoming more fierce, leaving app developers and marketers with the challenge of building a user acquisition strategy that actually works and brings app installs.

Speaking of which, what’s Luni’s acquisition strategy?

Luni has benefited from paid and organic acquisition strategies for utility apps. Investing in AppStore Apple Search Ads campaigns for keywords such as “document” “scanner” “weather” has been the most straightforward way to attract users who are already on the hunt for an app with precise search objectives in mind. 

For content applications such as wellness and creativity apps, a combination of paid and organic campaigns on classical social networks such as Snapshot, Tiktok, and Facebook brought good acquisition results. 

Organic acquisition over paid acquisition

Many new subscriptions consider betting 100% on organic acquisition over paid acquisition. Adrien’s verdict? It’s not a scalable, scalable strategy. Going organic by leveraging keyword-focused marketing, apps can reach a certain number of users with the matching intent. But once this milestone is hit, scaling further becomes extremely difficult because this kind of impression is limited to the keyword search volume. 

Advice for early startups

For early startups to kick off with a successful acquisition level, Adrien advises targeting both paid and organic traffic. In rare cases, perhaps by one out of thousands chance, a 100% organic traffic-based acquisition strategy could work if the app offers absolutely gratifying value and content that rule out the need for any additional marketing effort. 

Startups might have a chance to successfully kick off with organic traffic only if their app is featured by reputable names like Apple by immense luck. 

In real life, paid traffic plays an inevitable role in launching an application in stores populated by countless apps racing to pay more to win traffic. 

The secret recipe for starting from scratch to reach success

  1. Have a well-made application with good, fresh, and content, engaging content - it’s the basics

  2. Kick off with paid traffic to gain the first user base. This will help generate data to leverage for future testings and optimizations.

  3. Once users start sticking around, perform frequent A/B testings on paywalls and onboardings. Luni uses many tools, including Purchasely, Amplitude, AppsFlyer to flexibly leverage testings without overloading the resources.

  4. In the meantime, build a branding strategy and gradually switch to targeting organic traffic. Also, leverage influencer marketing.

Influencer Marketing

Paid ads like pop-ups or banners can be perceived as pervasive and intrusive. One of the solutions for this is to find non-invasive, creative ways to enter people’s minds. 

Influencer marketing is one way to do that. It’s a trendy online marketing strategy whereby brands leverage “influential” individuals who endorse and evangelize products for money. Because these influencers often boast huge, dedicated social followings and commit to longer-term collaborations with brands, influencer marketing is considered a cost-effective strategy for creating social proof. 

Luni has been a big beneficiary and an advocate of influencer marketing. Adrien calls it “the most effective way to make people retain your brand.” 

From acquisition to making users pay - an example of Fitness Coach app 

Your job is not done after users download your app. To convert users to a paid subscription, try doing what Luni did for its Fitness Coach app:

  • Display paywalls early on.

  • For those paywalls to have the maximum impact, get users on board in understanding your app’s value. Make sure not to disappoint users during the trials.

  • Work on your onboarding. Test 2-3 onboardings per week with several steps.

  • Don’t be pushy. Let users experience what you want them to experience with a subscription during the trial.

Numbers! What are reasonable conversion rates to target?

  • Download to trial: A general rule of thumb - 10% (but apps with specific content targeting a specific audience generally have higher conversion)

  • Trial to subscription: The ideal rate for shorter plans is higher. If monthly 10%, if weekly target 40-45%

  • Churn: yearly subscription 40% churn will be even low, so try to have a lot churn rate as possible

Podcast Adrien Miniatti


Episode 7 Sneak Peek

On organic traffic

“it’s not scalable because you have a number of users looking for one keyword, for example, a weather application. But once you reach the maximum impression you can’t scale more because you are limited to the search volume”

“But after if you build a strong brand, you can scale your organic traffic by the reputation. For example it was the case for our app Fitness Coach. We worked a lot with influencers who talk about the brand a lot. You gain in reputation, you can in organic traffic.”

On paid traffic

“You need paid traffic to launch your application but counting only on paid traffic is hard because it’s getting more expensive with a growing number of applications so you need to work on your brand to have a strong brand and to build a reputation to build traffic that costs less.”

On paywalls

“You need to sell the value of your app even before users discover your app. You see that in every application, you have paywalls very early on because it’s what converts most. To bring paywalls early, you need to make your users understand the concept and content of your application.

On onboarding

“Great onboarding is very important. We are testing maybe 2-3 onboardings per week with several steps because we don’t want users to be disappointed once they start the trial. You need to give the experience that you sell to the customer. Don’t be too pushy or aggressive.”

On testing

“Once in the application, you need to do a lot of A/B testing about how you will convert your users through onboarding, paywalls, and several things”

On influencer marketing

“We work a lot with influencers because it’s the most efficient way to make people retain your brand. You need to work with big influencers who will talk about your application not only once but several times to make the brand sticky in the brain of people.”

About using 3rd party tools

“Data from every step over the lifetime of users is important. We use several tools to follow this. We use tools for subscription like Purchasely for A/B testing, we are using Amplitude, Appsflyer, there are a lot of tools in the market that allows you not to build everything from scratch.

More about Adrien Miniatti

A passionate autodidact, Adrien Miniatti started coding at 13, recruited engineers at 19, and today spends more than 2.2 million euros per month on marketing to take the mobile applications of the Luni empire, a mobile app publisher and developer of a wide variety of applications, to the top. Adrien founded gaming studios and launched Luni about four years ago. Adrien is also an investor in several tech companies.

Episode Topics at a Glance

  • Luni’s journey to becoming an app empire

  • Apple Search Ads

  • User acquisition strategy mixing organic and paid approach

  • Influencer marketing

  • A/B testing

  • Using 3rd party tools like Purchasley

  • Reasonable conversion rates to target

How to listen to Subscription League

Go to or subscribe to our podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Podcast Addict, Amazon Music, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.


Previous episodes:

#1: Phiture - All about Retention with Andy Carvell

#2: Babbel Live - How to create a success in a crowded market with Belen Caeiro

#3: Mojo - Strategies you should focus on for a successful subscription business with Jean Patry

#4: The Guardian - Growing the user base The Guardian way - with Jesse Wilkins

#5: Blinkist - Using transparency to increase your conversion rate with Eveline Moczko

#6: Rootd - How to bootstrap #1 health and fitness app with Ania Wysocka

Ready to increase your in-app revenue?