Mobile marketing is full of over-used and confused terminology that’s often used interchangeably. One example is “mobile app remarketing”. In this blog, learn the difference between app remarketing and retargeting as well as the value of both in a robust mobile marketing strategy.

What is App Remarketing?

App remarketing is a powerful mobile marketing strategy that allows app developers and marketers to re-engage users who have previously interacted with their app. It involves displaying targeted ads to these users across various mobile platforms, websites, and apps, with the goal of encouraging them to return to the app and continue their journey. At its core, app remarketing is a form of retargeting, which is a broader term used in digital marketing to describe the practice of serving ads to users who have previously visited a website or interacted with a brand's online presence.

The Difference Between App Retargeting and Remarketing

While the terms "app retargeting" and "app remarketing" are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two: app retargeting refers to the practice of targeting users who have previously installed and engaged with an app, but have since become inactive or uninstalled it. The goal of retargeting is to re-engage these users and encourage them to reinstall or reactivate the app. App remarketing, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses not only targeting inactive or uninstalled users but also engaging with active users within the app. It involves delivering personalized ads and messaging to users based on their in-app behavior, preferences, and interactions, with the aim of driving specific actions or conversions.

App Retargeting vs. App Remarketing : Examples

The key difference between app remarketing and retargeting is that app retargeting uses targeted ad campaigns across networks, while remarketing leverages direct communication channels like push notifications, emails, and in-app messaging to re-engage users. In other words, retargeting utilizes paid channels to re-engage customers while remarketing leverages owned channels.

A comprehensive mobile marketing strategy often combines both retargeting and remarketing tactics to maximize reach and impact across multiple touchpoints.

App Retargeting Examples:

  1. Display Retargeting Ads: A mobile game app serves personalized banner or video ads across other apps and mobile websites, targeting users who previously installed their game but became inactive. The ads showcase new game levels, special offers, or incentives to re-engage lapsed users.
  2. Social Media Retargeting: A shopping app leverages Facebook or Instagram retargeting capabilities to show dynamic product ads to users who had previously browsed specific items on their app but didn't complete the purchase. These ads feature abandoned cart items and offer discounts to drive conversions.
  3. Cross-Device Retargeting: A streaming app employs cross-device retargeting to reach users who had installed the app on their mobile device but haven't used it on their connected TV. Targeted ads on the TV promote the app's availability and unique viewing experience on the larger screen.

App Remarketing Examples:

  1. Push Notifications: A fitness app sends personalized push notifications to users who haven't opened the app in a while, reminding them of their fitness goals and offering incentives like a free workout plan or discounted subscription to re-engage them.
  2. Email Campaigns: A food delivery app sets up automated email campaigns targeting users who haven't placed an order in the last few months. These emails include mouth-watering food images, exclusive promo codes, or highlight new restaurant partners to entice users back into the app.
  3. In-App Messaging: A productivity app displays tailored in-app messages to users who have completed specific tasks or reached certain milestones within the app. These messages promote new features, offer premium upgrades, or provide tips to further enhance the user's experience and keep them engaged.

The Intersection of Retargeting and Remarketing

While mobile remarketing and retargeting have distinct definitions, they often overlap in practice. Many mobile marketing strategies employ a combination of both techniques to achieve their goals. For example, a remarketing campaign may include:

  1. Retargeting inactive or uninstalled users to encourage them to re-engage with the app.
  2. Remarketing to active users within the app, promoting new features, products, or offers based on their behavior and preferences.

By leveraging both retargeting and remarketing tactics, mobile marketers can create a robust mobile marketing strategy to acquire new users, retain existing ones, and maximize the lifetime value of their app's user base.

The Benefits of App Remarketing

Remarketing offers several key benefits for mobile marketers:

  1. Increased Engagement and Retention: By delivering personalized and relevant ads to users based on their in-app behavior, app remarketing campaigns can effectively re-engage users and encourage them to continue using the app, improving overall retention rates.
  2. Higher Conversion Rates: Remarketing ads are served to users who have already shown interest in the app, making them more likely to convert into paying customers or complete desired actions, such as making a purchase or subscribing to a service.
  3. Cost-Effective User Acquisition: Remarketing to existing or lapsed users is generally more cost-effective than acquiring entirely new users, as these users have already demonstrated interest in the app.
  4. Personalized User Experiences: By leveraging user data and behavior, app remarketing campaigns can deliver highly personalized ad experiences, increasing the relevance and effectiveness of the messaging.
  5. Cross-Platform Reach: App remarketing campaigns can target users across various mobile platforms, websites, and apps, ensuring maximum reach and visibility for the brand.

According to AppsFlyer, app remarketing drives a 50% uplift in the number of paying users. What’s more, apps running remarketing campaigns have at least 15% higher share of paying users compared to those not running remarketing campaigns.


As mobile usage continues to grow and user attention becomes increasingly fragmented, app remarketing has emerged as a crucial strategy for mobile marketers to acquire and retain users, drive engagement, and maximize the return on their marketing investments.

  • App retargeting and remarketing are complementary strategies that allow mobile marketers to re-engage users across multiple touchpoints.
  • App retargeting uses paid advertising channels (social, display, video ads etc.) to serve personalized ads to users who previously installed or engaged with the app.
  • App remarketing leverages owned channels like email, push notifications, and in-app messaging to directly communicate with existing users.
  • A combined retargeting and remarketing approach is most effective for maximizing user retention, engagement, and lifetime value.
  • Retargeting drives users back into the app through compelling ad creative, while remarketing nurtures relationships through personalized messaging.
  • The two tactics enhance each other - retargeting ads can drive email sign-ups for remarketing, while email remarketing can encourage users to re-engage with retargeting ads.
  • Investing in both paid retargeting and owned remarketing channels allows apps to re-activate lapsed users, cross-sell to existing users, and ultimately increase revenue from their user base.
  • Data shows apps utilizing remarketing see 50% more paying users and at least 15% higher share of paying users compared to non-remarketing apps.


Ready to master the art of app remarketing and retargeting? Reach out to our team to start optimizing your app's performance today!