Using in-app events to win the race for downloads.

When competition is fierce, you need a different approach to get people’s attention – and downloads. For TwinSpires, in-app events for the Kentucky Derby were the route to ASO success.

The scenario

TwinSpires is a popular horse racing app in the United States, and the sponsor of the Kentucky Derby.  The Kentucky Derby is the premier horse racing event in the US. It’s the longest-running sporting event in the US, with crowds of 150,000 in attendance and higher TV ratings than any other race in the country.

Its popularity means there’s fierce competition between betting apps. But advertising for sports betting is highly regulated in a lot of states, and ASA around the race is incredibly pricey. Any app that can get an edge from organic installs has a huge advantage. 

TwinSpires not only wanted to boost its visibility and downloads, it also wanted to be the first to use in-app events to differentiate its offering and expand its reach. We were on hand to make sure it was first past the post in this race for downloads.

Project Information

Aug 2020 - Now
Customer Acquisition


increase in registrations


less budget spent


drop in CPA

Our approach.

We took a two-pronged approach to raise TwinSpires’ visibility. We looked at both ASO and ASA in tandem, to create a fully aligned cross-channel customer acquisition strategy.

App Store Optimization 

We needed to do something different to encourage more organic downloads. For that, we harnessed in-app events: the first of their kind for any horse racing app.  These created a sense of immediacy by taking people straight from the app listings to race streaming and live bets.

Alongside this, we also wanted to make sure we really nailed the keyword strategy. We looked at last year’s app store keyword data for the Kentucky Derby to formulate a strategy based on historic data. Then we used the prep races (warm up events) to test our potential keyword strategy. These two things together gave us a high level of confidence on the keywords to drive the maximum amount of traffic.  

Apple Search Ads 

All the keywords we’d identified as part of the ASO strategy were included as part of the paid ad campaigns, as well as a selection of long-tail keywords to maximize conversions. We monitored these keywords hour by hour for eight hours before the event, then lowered the budget for all campaigns once the race started and players’ bets were closed.

As we moved closer to the event, we paid particular attention to non-cannibalization of our ASO. How? By making sure that the brand campaign wasn’t spending too much on our client brand, and keeping a good balance between the different typologies of campaigns: Discovery, Brand, Competitors and Generic. 

By getting our strategies working together, we made sure to get the broadest possible audience reach and, as such, more downloads.

The results.

Running the in-app events with a strong keyword strategy over six days was a great success, delivering the highest organic impressions and installs Twinspires has ever had. Based on the relevant keyword ASA CPI values, these organic installs saved TwinSpires nearly $30,000.

Our ASA strategy brought in the same number of installations compared to last year, with the paid ads bringing in new users and winning back churned users. But we optimized our costs.

Registrations were up by 63%, while costs came down 54%. There was an overall budget drop of 25%, with CPI falling by 21% and CPA falling by 22%.

One of the main hypotheses for this is that we reached a more qualitative audience thanks to the appropriate keywords. Which could also be the reason that our main competitors ended up copying our titles and events.

Jockey riding race horse

The ConsultMyApp team has become a strategic partner of our marketing group. Their expertise in ASO and ASA has helped us significantly improve app performance, especially around critical events like the Kentucky Derby.

- Evan Morris, Director of Marketing at Twinspires

Person stroking horse with first place ribbon