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An Idiot’s Guide to Mobile App Retargeting Campaigns

written by Shane "Geek" Lundberg January 29, 2018

Mobile app retargeting campaigns are one of the most cost-effective ways to connect with motivated users. Just consider the two biggest benefits:

  • Mobile app marketers can maximize the ROI of campaigns by reconnecting with customers who have previously expressed interest and encouraging them to move further down the purchase funnel.
  • Retargeting keeps a specific app top-of-mind. For instance, a user might log out of your dating app without completing their profile or uploading a photo. A retargeting campaign lets people back into the app, so they can engage and convert.

The added benefit of retargeting marketing campaigns is that they are easy and highly impactful for the price – if you have the right approach. Use this easy overview to help you avoid mistakes and maximize opportunities:

Step One: Plan the Campaign

The primary consideration is to plan out what audience you want to retarget. You could retarget anyone that has abandoned your app and reach the earliest parts of the purchase funnel. Or you could focus instead on abandoned shopping carts or even converted customers to reach people farther along the funnel. It’s up to you and your goals. Other targets include people who have stopped using an app or who use it more than average.

Step Two: Launch the Campaign

Once the campaign is up and running there are a few things that boost success. First, target users across channels rather than on one channel. As popular as some apps are, few online lives are lived in one location. A similar step is to target users across the operating system – such as iOS or Android.

Timing is another important consideration. During times of high interest, like the holidays, there is stiff competition from industry rivals. Raising your bid for cost per impressions (CPMs) ensures you are reaching as many people as you want to. Along those lines, benchmarks for performance should be explicitly defined.

Finally, the ads themselves should be concise, compelling, and customized as much as possible. Dynamic retargeting achieves better results without requiring extensive input.

Step Three: Evaluate the Campaign

After the campaign begins to produce performance data it’s time to analyze what is and is not working and tweak the campaign as necessary. Blocking ads from appearing on poorly performing apps is one way to avoid diluting your efforts. Resetting the timeline for how far back you target old traffic is another way to shake things up. But avoid reaching back too far.

Last but not least, rely on organic metrics rather than just download rates to evaluate how well a mobile marketing campaign is doing. If the goal is to increase conversion rates, simply increasing downloads is not enough.

This overview is far from complete, but hopefully, it illustrates some fundamental facts about mobile app retargeting campaigns. These campaigns have a lot to offer, and they are not impossible to implement, but they can also be confusing and costly if not managed well.

Most marketers rely on smart solutions to help them keep track of the details, extract the most relevant insights, and enhance their impact. Success in mobile app marketing is as much about being competent as being creative. With the right toolkit, it’s possible to make retargeting campaigns an ongoing opportunity that becomes central to how your brand is understood.