Setting up a successful retargeting campaign is what will drive mobile apps’ long term success. The global app retention rate across 31 mobile app categories averages 25.3% on Day 1 and falls to 5.7% by Day 30. Not only do retargeting campaigns bring back churned users, they also increase loyalty and revenue within the app, setting it up for long term LTV and revenue success.
Here, we break down the Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to creating an impactful retargeting plan.
The “Do’s” of App Retargeting
Do: Define KPIs
The first and most important step in any marketing campaign is defining the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the campaign. KPIs enable app marketers to understand the performance and health of a campaign so that they can make necessary adjustments to achieve their strategic goals. Knowing and measuring the right KPIs will determine the trajectory of the campaign, which helps achieve faster results.
App marketers also need to make sure they are setting realistic goals for their retargeting campaign based on the resources available, including historical data and customer behavior. For instance, any given campaign may have some initial limitations in terms of return before optimizations have taken place, but this is especially prevalent when pushing new goals that have not previously been achieved by users before. If KPIs are unrealistic and not based on the app user flow, behaviors or user history then it can be nearly impossible to achieve.
Different types of apps, and even apps in the same vertical will likely all have different KPIs. For example, one subscription app might have the goal of getting users to sign up for a three month membership — whereas another might look for a more long term strategy, aimed at a 6 month activation. A gaming apps’ goal might be to get users to play for an extended period of time or another type of gaming app might want players to spend coins while playing the game. Setting specific KPIs for an app retargeting campaign based on the specific app flow and user behaviors will help determine the right strategy, creatives, messaging and segmentation to reach the goals set.
Do: Test, test, test!
Testing is a huge part of creating successful and long term retargeting campaigns. Campaign testing is the process of creating a hypothesis and testing them for marketing campaigns to generate some kind of conclusion.
In order to create an impactful test, marketers first need to define their hypothesis, the type of experiment they will use (A/B testing vs multivariate, etc), the length of the test and of course, the KPI they are looking to achieve. Once these markers have been determined, the test can be launched.
Be sure to isolate the element that is being tested. Testing multiple variables in a campaign can get confusing and lead to misleading results. Pick one major factor and test it before moving on.
Iterating on the campaign based on the outcome of these tests will create a more robust and efficient retargeting campaign.
Do: Segment Based on User Behavior
Another key to winning app retargeting campaigns is segmenting users based on their behaviors. Behavioral segmentation connects similarities between users, groups, audiences, prospects, and customers based on their actions and behaviors. Beyond just demographics such as age and gender, behavioral segmentation considers the actions of mobile customers.
Behavioral targeting is a powerful tool when tailoring ads to audience personality traits. When app marketers start thinking about the psychology and motivations of users, they are able to attain a higher success and retention rate than if they assume that all users fall into one category, thus should be approached with one standard strategy. By segmenting users based on their unique personalities and routines, marketers can create more captivating and personal ad experiences to engage the user.
Do: Be Patient with the Campaign
Most importantly, be patient with retargeting campaigns. With only 2% of users converting on their first visit to an app, the end goal of retargeting is to bring back the other 98% of users which may take more than one ad view. Gathering user data and testing the campaign set up can take some time and app marketers might not see their best results after just one month. But by sticking with the retargeting campaign for the first few months, allowing time to learn and grow the campaign through weekly optimizations and changes will result in the campaign's success.
The “Don'ts” of App Retargeting
Don’t: Only Run UA First
Many app marketers make the mistake of running user acquisition for months before thinking about launching a retargeting campaign. Or worse, only assume that UA is all they need. While UA does establish a good initial base of users to retarget, they are very expensive and can only take hours to days to drop off from engaging in the app. How valuable can they really be if they aren't staying in the app? A well-developed app marketing campaign that looks at the whole picture, and the entire user funnel, will have re-engagement included in the app growth strategy from day one.
Retargeting drives traffic post app install, which keeps users engaged for longer periods of time and creates opportunities to monetize within the app. These returning users are usually more willing to purchase, unlock new levels, or try a newly released app feature as they are already invested in the app.
In order to improve the lifetime value (LTV) of users, retargeting is a must. Once new users install and register through user acquisition initiatives, app marketers can build a long-term retargeting strategy to keep them engaged within the app, building a loyal following over a longer period of time.
The best time to re-engage with a user is shortly after they have downloaded an app. The app will still be relevant in the user’s mind and they will be easier to entice to come back to it. Including retargeting campaigns in your initial marketing strategy will ensure long term success.
Don’t: Limit Retargeting Opportunities
There are many options when it comes to finding a retargeting partner. It is important that app marketers find the best fit for their brand and product that can provide the best possible results to reach growth goals. Don’t be afraid to conduct a head to head test in order to find the best partner for the given KPIs. Head to head testing is essentially pitting two partners against each other in order to see which provider can produce the optimal results based on specific growth goals set.
It’s also important to put marketing dollars into these campaigns. Allocating a budget for retargeting campaigns increases the chance of them performing well and gives marketers room to experiment. In 2022, 70% of CMOs reported their budgets had increased with overall marketing budgets hitting 9.5% of total company revenue. Marketers got creative with where they spent their money last year with return on investment top of mind while developing strategies.
Takeaways of The Do’s and Don’ts of App Retargeting
Setting up a successful retargeting campaign is an integral part of mobile apps’ long term success. Not only do retargeting campaigns bring back these lapsed or churned users, they also increase loyalty and revenue within the app.
Here are the Do’s and Don’ts of app retargeting:
- Define KPIs: The first and most important step in any marketing campaign is to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) early on. Knowing and measuring the right KPIs will determine the trajectory of the campaign, which helps achieve faster results.
- Test, test, test: Campaign testing is the process of creating a hypothesis and experiment for marketing campaigns or assets that will return some kind of conclusion. These tests can lead to future optimization and iterations to increase the success of the retargeting campaign.
- Segment Based on User Behavior: Another key to winning retargeting campaigns is by segmenting users based on their behaviors. Behavioral segmentation goes beyond demographics such as age and gender, and really takes a look at the actions of these customers.
- Be Patient with the Campaign: Be patient with retargeting campaigns! Gathering user data and testing can take some time, so sticking with the retargeting campaign for the first few months is an integral part of a campaign's success.
- Only Run UA First: Many app marketers make the mistake of running user acquisition first for months before thinking about launching a retargeting campaign. A well-developed app marketing campaign will also have re-engagement in mind from day one.
- Wait!: The best time to re-engage with a user is shortly after they have downloaded an app. Making sure that part of an app marketer’s initial strategy involves retargeting campaigns will ensure the long term success of that app.
- Limit Retargeting Opportunities: There are many options when it comes to finding a retargeting partner, so don’t be afraid to conduct a head to head test in order to find the best partner for the given KPIs. It’s also important to put marketing dollars into these campaigns so that there is room for experimentation.