'Tis the season for mobile retargeting and not just for ecommerce apps. Retargeting might be the most underutilized secret weapon in mobile gaming. Unlike shopping apps — which according to AppsFlyer, show at least a 51-65% share of remarketing conversions — mobile games have a 250% lower share of remarketing conversions than the shopping vertical.

What can mobile games learn from shopping apps when it comes to re-engagement? Find out in our blog below.

Mobile retargeting is a missed opportunity for games

With the low switching costs and higher price per conversion, it’s not surprising how the ecommerce vertical has embraced retargeting. Not only do shoppers have a multitude of options to choose from when it comes to retailers but they typically spend more when they convert in a shopping app versus a mobile game. For these reasons, shopping apps are more than willing to invest in strategies that stretch their ad dollars as far as possible, like retargeting.

While shopping has very much embraced retargeting, the adoption rate in the mobile gaming vertical is still very low. According to AppsFlyer, only 7-8% of casual and midcore games had adopted retargeting as of 2020. This was the case even though re-engagement campaigns resulted in significant performance. Apps running remarketing campaigns enjoyed at least a 60% uplift in retention and 105% surge in paying users. In fact, hardcore games apps that ran remarketing campaigns saw a 298% leap in revenue by paying users.

Below, we outline three retargeting strategies shopping apps use and how mobile games can adopt and adapt these practices to boost retention and ROI.

Dynamic creative optimization

Retargeted ads can be a powerful way to reduce shopping cart abandonment, one of the key issues facing brands today. In fact, more than 69% of all transactions are abandoned before shoppers make a final purchase.

One way m-commerce apps incentivize shoppers to come back is through retargeted ads that use dynamic creative optimization (DCO) to show items a shopper left behind. Brands also use DCO to show products to users personalized to fit their interests and browsing behavior. Dynamically personalized creatives are optimized and served as part of the real-time bidding process in a matter of seconds.

To take advantage of dynamically optimized creatives, brands must integrate their product feeds into the advertising servers of their DSP partners. Product feeds can be refreshed with thousands of different items, prices and call-to-actions. These feeds can be static or live. They can also be updated at any time based on inventory levels, special seasons or strategic shifts. Combining dynamically optimized creatives with deep linking is critical to lead the user to the exact page in the app where they can complete their purchase.

At YouAppi, we’ve seen tremendous results from using DCO to re-engage users. In fact, in a campaign for Acme Club, we used display creative video to show rotating images of different products relevant to users’ interests. Product images, price and call to actions dynamically changed as the video played. The resulting boost in re-engagement drove an ROI of 4000% in just 3 weeks.

Audience segmentation 

As we’ve said before, retention requires attention. If you want to keep your users, pay attention to their behavior in your conversion funnel. From there, you can segment them based on intent and serve specific messaging to push them towards conversion. Below are some examples from the shopping vertical of audience segments for re-engagement:

    • Users to be re-engaged: high value users that have made multiple purchases in the last month but have been inactive in the current month.
    • Uninstalled users to be recovered: users who made a purchase above $50 but who recently uninstalled your app
    • Users to upsell to: Users with high purchase intent (like a shopping cart with items, for example) that you can cross-sell and upsell to complete checkout on items within the same brand or category as others added earlier to the cart.
  • Users to be excluded from retargeted ads: Users that have engaged with owned media channels (push, email, SMS, other) that should be excluded from paid retargeting to limit brand burnout.


For ecommerce brands, the most important time of the year is the Q4 shopping season. It’s the time of year when many shoppers take advantage of shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday when they can enjoy discounts. For this reason, many shopping apps focus their remarketing efforts at this time on turning seasonal-only shoppers into regular customers. To do this they acquire a user and begin re-engaging them within a week of install.

How mobile games can use shopping app strategies to retarget players

Segment players based on intent

Like shopping apps, pay attention to what your players are doing in your game and whether it signals high intent to convert. Create categories of high value players to be re-engaged, recovered, served an upsell or excluded altogether from your paid retargeting.

Use DCO to re-engage players

While games do not have product feeds based on inventory, you can still leverage the idea of DCO by creatively optimizing your ads based on players’ engagement. Serve ads to players based on the level of the game they left off from or offer a power-up that’s aligned with their progress.

Leverage seasonal trends 

During the Q4 shopping season, mobile games have a significant opportunity to acquire new players during users’ extended time off during the holidays. According to ApplsFlyer’s 2022 State of Gaming report, game app installs surged 30% last year from September to December. Savvy mobile game marketers should maximize the Q4 growth opportunity with retargeting campaigns to turn new users into long-term paying players.

As creatives have increasingly become a powerful level of performance post-IDFA deprecation, create festive creatives designed to fit the holiday season.


Retargeting might be the most underutilized secret weapon in mobile gaming; even though it poses a significant performance opportunity. Apps running remarketing campaigns see at least a 60% uplift in retention and 105% surge in paying users. Taking a page from the re-engagement tactics honed by shopping apps, here are 3 ways mobile games can use retargeting:

  • Segment players based on intent
  • Use DCO to re-engage players
  • Leverage seasonal trends

Retarget and re-engage your high value players 

At YouAppi, we’ve worked with thousands of shopping apps and mobile games to increase LTV. Reach out to our team of growth and retention experts to re-engage and convert your best players.