User acquisition in crypto is broken and underdeveloped. Most projects don’t have a clear idea on how to acquire users, how their users interact with their applications, or where their users come from. Ask a crypto project what their LTV (lifetime value of a customer) or CAC (customer acquisition cost) is and you might receive some blank stares or fluffy answers.
This post is part of Consensus Magazine’s Trading Week, sponsored by CME. Alex Topchishvili is the director of marketing at CoinList.
The reason for this is simple. Marketing is all about knowing your audience, but since crypto wallets are anonymized by design (on-chain and off-chain user identities are distinct), crypto marketers struggle to identify and communicate with potential customers.
Even those pseudo-anonymous individuals who are already your customers are difficult to communicate with as they can’t be identified among the large group of followers that projects have on Discord, Twitter or Telegram.
Luckily for marketers, the past couple years saw tremendous progress in on-chain identity and attribution. On-chain activity represents a new data set that can be used to construct user profiles and segment cohorts. Minting a non-fungible token (NFT), participating in a governance vote, using dApps on a specific chain or participating in a testnet are actions that signal meaningful interest and high intent.
In this piece, I’ll summarize the pros and cons of five user acquisition strategies that crypto projects might consider deploying.
1. Airdrops. — mass distribution but easy to game
Airdrops are a user acquisition and community building mechanism whereby a crypto project sends free tokens to members of their community in a bid to encourage adoption. In most cases, an airdrop is issued to users in exchange for completing a certain task related to the product offering or on-boarding journey like linking a wallet, following a social media account, sending or receiving a transaction, or minting an NFT.
Thanks to the transparency of blockchains, on-chain activity can also be leveraged for curating airdrop recipient selection. Most frequently, on-chain activity is recorded within a specific timeframe, after which a snapshot is taken to determine airdrop eligibility.