With costs rising and attention spans falling, finding ways to jumpstart your app campaigns’ performance can unlock significant revenue for brands. From top-of-funnel ad strategies to adding new features to enhance your app’s stickiness, we’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks to unlock performance for your mobile app retention campaigns when you’re in a performance slump.

A Note about App Retention Plateaus and Seasonality

Performance plateaus are common as apps mature, but they're not insurmountable. Seasonality also plays a critical role, with certain times of the year offering unique opportunities for engagement and growth. For example, performance often dips during major holidays and on the weekends when users are less engaged with their mobile devices. Recognizing these patterns can help distinguish between performance plateaus and natural campaign progressions. It’s also helpful in making the most of seasonal peaks.

How to Identify a Performance Plateau

As mentioned above, there’s a difference between a performance plateau and natural campaign progression. Before jumping to conclusions that your campaign might be slowing down, it’s vital to collect enough conversion data and let your partner’s machine learning algorithms stabilize. Here's how to recognize when your campaign is hitting a plateau and that it might be time to make some strategic optimizations.

Monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

  • Conversion Rate: A declining or stagnant conversion rate over a significant period often signals a plateau. It indicates that your retargeting ads are not effectively converting the targeted users anymore.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): The CTR measures how compelling your ads are to your audience. A consistent drop or a flatline in CTR suggests that your ads are losing their appeal or relevance.
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): An increasing CPA indicates that you're spending more to acquire a user, which can be a sign of diminishing returns on your ad spend.
  • User Engagement Metrics: Metrics such as session length, app opens, and interaction rates can show how engaged users are with your app. A decline in these metrics may point to a loss of interest among your user base.

Analyze Audience Response

  • Segment Performance: Look at the performance of different audience segments. A plateau in one segment while others perform well might suggest that your campaign messaging or targeting needs adjustment.
  • Ad Fatigue: Over time, users might become desensitized to seeing the same ads. Monitoring frequency and comparing it against engagement rates can help identify ad fatigue, a common cause of performance plateaus.

Evaluate Market and Competitive Dynamics

  • Market Saturation: Entering a phase of market saturation can lead to a performance plateau. It's crucial to assess whether the target market for your app is becoming increasingly crowded, affecting your campaign's effectiveness.
  • Competitor Activity: An increase in competitor activity, such as new app launches or enhanced marketing efforts by competitors, can impact your retargeting campaign's performance. Keeping a close eye on the competitive landscape can help you understand shifts in your campaign metrics.

Ways to Jumpstart your App Retention & Growth

Create a Feedback Loop with your Partner

If you want to jumpstart your campaigns, you need to understand where the stagnation is occurring. This requires data. With that said, create a robust feedback loop with your DSP partner by passing back revenue data. This will enable them to identify segments, creatives, targeting parameters, etc. that are not driving performance.

Optimize Bids

One of the quickest ways to jumpstart your app retention is to optimize bids. For example, if your campaign starts slowing, a good first step is to drill down on what channel or segmenting is underperforming. From there, dropping bids on that source can enhance your conversion rate and positively impact ROI. Keep in mind that changing bids too frequently can lead to campaign fluctuations. Instead, when changing bids, make sure to give your campaign the time to actualize to see the result of your optimization.

Reinvent Your App with Fresh Features & Special Events

Sometimes campaign slowdowns are due to the basic fact that your app or product has not changed in years. In these cases, introducing new features and organizing special events can significantly enhance your app’s appeal and stickiness. What’s more, limited time eventscan create buzz, encourage community participation, and attract new users while re-engaging lapsed ones.

Segment & Market to Your Top Users at all Points in the Funnel

As noted by YouAppi’s Chief of Strategic Growth, Hilit Mioduser, “It’s great to go after the whales but it’s even better to get to these users at an earlier stage of the user flow. Why? It’s more cost effective.” Segmenting your top users and delivering personalized messaging and offers should not just be occurring at the top of the funnel in a retargeted ad. Instead, cater to these customers from the moment they’re acquired. This will save costs down the line.

Test Everything

As Mioduser says: “Don’t do anything that you’re not able to measure and evaluate.” We’ve found that more and more app developers are looking for transparent solutions like incremental uplift testing to drill down on the parts of their funnel that are driving results.


For more information on incrementality and how to undertake an uplift test, read our blog here


  • Recognize Performance Plateaus: Understanding the difference between a natural campaign progression and a performance plateau is key. Use KPIs like conversion rate, CTR, CPA, and user engagement metrics to identify when your campaign is stagnating.
  • Analyze and Adapt: Analyze audience response, segment performance, and the effects of ad fatigue. Also, keep an eye on market saturation and competitor activity to adjust your strategies accordingly.
  • Optimize for Growth: Engage in strategic optimizations like creating a feedback loop with your DSP partner, optimizing bids, and introducing new features or special events to rejuvenate your app’s appeal.
  • Focus on Valuable Users: Segment and market to your top users throughout the funnel for cost-effective retention and growth.
  • Test and Measure: Embrace a culture of testing everything and rely on transparent solutions like incremental uplift testing to identify the most effective strategies for your app.


Are you ready to break free from the performance plateau and propel your app's growth and retention to new heights? From optimizing your campaigns based on uplift testing to reinventing your app with new features, our team can help you. Schedule a meeting with us today!