Written by Sukanya Sur, Content Marketing Manager at AppTweak

In the dynamic landscape of app marketing, the role of in-app retargeting has emerged as a pivotal strategy to re-engage users and boost conversions. As users increasingly navigate through a plethora of apps, creating lasting impressions and bringing them back after the initial download is paramount. This is where retargeting comes into play, allowing app developers to strategically target users with tailored content.

A key companion in this endeavor is App Store Optimization (ASO). ASO not only helps your app get in front of the right people and increase downloads, it also plays a significant role in keeping your existing users engaged and encouraging them to return. ASO is the bridge that connects first encounters to lasting engagement.

In this blog, we will explore how ASO can significantly boost your in-app retargeting efforts.

Impact of ASO on in-app retargeting

ASO refers to the process of enhancing an app’s visibility on the app stores and maximizing its appeal to new, existing, and lapsed users to increase app downloads and (re)activations. This visibility is crucial: when users come across your app while actively seeking solutions, the likelihood of them re-engaging rises.

When users find your app through targeted keywords or personalized recommendations, they are already primed with an inherent interest in your app’s offerings. ASO ensures that your app is positioned as the solution to their needs. It also reaffirms their initial interest and sparks a sense of familiarity. As they return to your app, engaging creatives, optimized metadata, a steady stream of positive reviews, and your app’s visibility in featured stories act as gentle reminders, which build up their decision to engage with your app once again.

👉 Find out how you can reduce app user churn rate to maximize app success

1. Optimize for relevant keywords in your metadata

When users search the app stores, they use specific keywords that reflect their needs. By identifying and incorporating relevant keywords in your app’s title, subtitle, keyword field, and long description, as well as within new features or updates, your app becomes more discoverable in the search results. Apple and Google prefer to display apps that have a higher likelihood of being downloaded, so users are more likely to be satisfied with the store experience and are, thus, more likely to return to search for and download them.

Keyword optimization can extend beyond the app stores, enhancing your app’s visibility in push notifications and personalized recommendations.


With AppTweak’s live search results, we see that all the apps that rank have the keyword “jigsaw puzzle” in their title. This suggests apps that don’t have this keyword in their title have a lower chance to rank (Google Play, US). Source: AppTweak

2. Adjust the visual elements on your app’s product page

Creative optimization can go a long way in increasing the visibility of your app on the app stores. Updating your app icon to make it more appealing or refreshing your screenshots to reflect the essence of your app can serve as visual cues, reminding users of your app’s value and features. Optimized visuals create a compelling introduction, potentially offsetting any reasons users might have had for disengaging initially. If users are reminded of what they liked about your app at first glance, they’re more inclined to give it another chance.

Moreover, if your app has introduced new features or improvements since a user’s last interaction, visual assets are an effective way to showcase these changes. A well-crafted video or a series of eye-catching screenshots can demonstrate the value of these additions, rekindling user interest and encouraging them to explore updates.


Bird (App Store, US) has created a “storyline” in their screenshots to convey the app’s value proposition. This narrative approach can be effective at retargeting users who initially showed interest but didn’t convert. Source: AppTweak

3. High ratings and reviews

Positive ratings and reviews of your app signal credibility and user satisfaction. In fact, both Google and Apple consider factors like star ratings, user reviews, and the number of ratings when ranking apps.

User reviews offer insights into what they truly value in your app, which features resonate with them, and what pain points they might have encountered. By addressing these pain points in your in-app retargeting efforts, you can position your app as a better alternative and encourage users to switch back to your app.


Lifesum successfully turned around a low rating to a 5-star rating by addressing and resolving a user’s complaint. Source: AppTweak

Make sure to reply to reviews (good or bad) to maintain a strong relationship with your users. Users would likely not re-engage with a product that doesn’t care to respond to reviews. If you reach out to an unhappy customer and fix the experienced issues, it can lead the user to update a previously low-rated review to a 5-star rating and, thus, be more receptive to re-engagement efforts.

👉 Monitor your app’s reviews and ratings with these actionable tips

4. Set up custom product pages

Using custom product pages (CPPs) for in-app retargeting campaigns can be a highly effective strategy. CPPs allow you to create targeted landing pages within your app, specifically designed to showcase products or services that users have shown interest in or interacted with before. This increases the relevance of your content and encourages users to take action.

For example, suppose a user has previously shown interest in fitness tracking. Through in-app retargeting, you could design a CPP that highlights your app’s advanced tracking features and tailored workout routines. By demonstrating to potential users that your app aligns precisely with their needs, you increase the chances of converting their initial interest into active engagement with your app.


Art Puzzle has created a custom product page that highlights the relaxing aspect of the game. Source: AppTweak

5. Find valuable insights from your competitors

Regularly check up on the store presence of your most direct competitors. Studying and understanding your competitors’ strategies in ASO can provide valuable insights that enhance your in-app retargeting efforts. You can analyze your competitor’ apps and dig through their reviews to identify what features or aspects users dislike or appreciate. You can then emphasize these features in your in-app retargeting messaging to remind users of the benefits they might be missing out on. This can reignite their interest and drive them to use your app again. With the help of an ASO tool such as AppTweak, you can easily track your competitors’ metadata and visual updates.


Check how frequently your competitors update their apps and which changes they make with AppTweak’s ASO Timeline. Source: AppTweak

Secondly, if your analysis reveals that competitors offer specific deals, promotions, or discounts, you can leverage this information to create appealing incentives for inactive users to return to your app. These offers can range from exclusive content to limited-time discounts, providing extra motivation for re-engagement.

6. Leverage Apple Search Ads

Incorporating Apple Search Ads into your in-app retargeting strategy can extend the reach of your efforts to users who are more likely to re-engage.

  • Targeting: With Apple Search Ads (ASA), you can target users based on their previous interactions with your app, such as downloads, in-app purchases, or specific actions taken.
  • Keyword relevance: You can also use Apple Search Ads to bid on certain keywords that align with users’ past interactions. This helps ensure your ad appears in search results when users are looking for similar apps or functionalities.
  • Performance insights: Apple Search Ads provide performance insights, such as click-through rates (CTR) and conversion rates. Analyzing these metrics can help you understand how effectively your retargeting efforts are resonating with users and make necessary adjustments to optimize your campaign.
  • Frequency capping: Apple Search Ads offer the option to set frequency caps, which limit how often users see your ads. This ensures that your retargeting efforts remain effective without overwhelming users with repetitive messaging.

👉 Check out these Apple Search Ads do’s and don’ts to make the most of your ad campaigns

7. Use in-app events (iOS) & promotional content (Android)

With in-app events and promotional content (previously LiveOps), developers can showcase special events, such as competitions, challenges, live events, premieres, etc., to reconnect with lapsed users.

  • Time-sensitive offers: Promotional content on Google Play often involves in-app content, major updates, or time-limited events in your app/game. You can utilize these events to create a sense of urgency and encourage lapsed users to come back and take advantage of the limited-time opportunity.
  • Exclusive content: Offer lapsed users exclusive access to content, features, or rewards available only during in-app events or promotional content campaigns. This can motivate them to return and explore what’s new. For example, an update for a streaming app might add new movies or TV shows, or a gaming app may introduce new levels, characters, or battle passes.
  • Gamification: Incorporate gamification elements into in-app events or promotional content to make re-engagement more appealing. Challenges, competitions, or rewards can encourage users to participate and reconnect.


Mountain Climber runs an in-app event that encourages users to take up a challenge on the App Store. Source: Apple

8. Re-engage users with regular app updates

App updates play a crucial role in improving in-app retargeting by enhancing the overall user experience, increasing user engagement and providing opportunities for more effective campaigns.

  • Performance improvements: Regular updates that address bugs, crashes, and performance issues create a smoother and more reliable app experience. Users are more likely to engage with in-app retargeting messages when the app is functioning well.
  • New features: Introducing new and relevant features through updates can reignite user interest in your app. Through in-app retargeting, you can inform users about these features, encouraging them to explore and engage with the app again. App updates can also introduce gamification elements or other interactive elements.
  • Messaging opportunities: You can leverage app updates to notify users about the update itself and highlight the improvements or new features they can experience by returning to the app. Target users who haven’t interacted with the app for a while, informing them about the update and inviting them back.


In conclusion, ASO can be a valuable strategy in your toolkit of in-app retargeting and engagement efforts. ASO’s ability to captivate users and personalize experiences aligns well with the goals of in-app retargeting. This, in turn, fosters higher engagement, conversions, and long-term app success.