A rock-solid creative strategy makes the difference between users returning to your app and leaving for good. And while an on-target message and compelling design are the backbone of any creative strategy, there are a number of other factors that will ensure your campaign’s success.
Here are seven tips we’ve compiled through our experience working with app marketers to develop compelling creatives that help retain, upsell and activate users.
1. Don’t recycle UA creatives
Even though user acquisition (UA) and user re-engagement go hand in hand, their creative strategy differs in some key ways. Both have the goal of bringing users to an app, but one is focused on acquiring new users and the other is attempting to bring lapsed users back.
Take the example of playables. For a UA campaign, you may be used to recreating your game experience in a playable ad. With re-engagement, the user has already interacted with the app. The goal of a re-engagement playable isn’t to keep users interacting with the ad for an extended period of time. The purpose is to give users a taste of an app they already know and show them what they might be missing to encourage a reopen. Not only is this more effective, but it keeps the size of the ad file light. Furthermore, designers are free to focus on specific in-app elements rather than just creating a replica of the game in ad format.
We’ve found that clicks happen within the first three seconds of an ad, meaning creatives need to be short and sweet to be effective. The final call to action should reflect what you want the user to do and what will be expected of them at the next step: “Come back!” “Play again!” “Complete purchase!” All of these work well in the context of a re-engagement campaign, depending on your goals.
An example of user acquisition messaging:
An example of re-engagement messaging:
2. Know your target audience
As with any ad campaign, it’s essential to get to know your target audience. Factors such as gender, age, location, and hobbies can influence purchasing decisions. Establish what the brand’s user persona is and study their needs and desires. If you don't know your target audience you could be crafting the wrong message or using the wrong design, only to find out you've been wasting resources on something that doesn't resonate. It's important to have a creative that is curated with the target audience in mind.
For example, creatives that play well with audiences in France might not fare well when shown to users in Brazil. The wording of the creatives might be off, or the colors might not resonate. Similarly, creatives aimed at users between the ages of 18 and 25 will need to be adjusted if the brand’s user persona is over 50. It’s important that re-engagement partners keep abreast of trends, cultural expressions, and popular jargon in order to develop copy that resonates with the target audience. This is only possible by working closely with app marketers to ensure a consistent brand image that’s relevant to users — which we’ll get into a bit later.
3. Find your users’ motivations
What makes your users tick? Demographic information is extremely helpful when defining your target audience, but it’s also essential to define your user journey. Figuring out the users’ pain points and which situations might lead them to complete an action will make the campaign even more successful.
For example, a user is shopping and looks at a pair of shoes that they like. They decide to hold off on making a purchase. Maybe the shoes were too expensive (the user pain point). Let's show them an ad that gives them 20% off those shoes with the goal of bringing the user back to complete that valuable action.
Or, in the context of a gaming app, a common user pain point is lack of in-app currency. Showing users creatives that showcase in-app currency opportunities or special deals might encourage them to return.
4. Trigger actions
To successfully generate an action, it’s important to know where your user is along the path to a conversion. Whether these are in-app purchases or app usage, the purpose of this study is to individually target each section of the funnel, and to convert top-funnel users into bottom-funnel users.
There’s a right and a wrong way to go about it. Say a user has just downloaded your gaming app, and you serve them an ad that showcases the benefits of reaching level 15. This user isn’t likely to be incentivized to return because level 15 means nothing to them: they only downloaded the app yesterday. However, if you show that same user a creative offering a special gift they can use in level two, the user would be much more likely to return, complete level one, and use the gift in level two. You’ve met the user where they are in the app funnel, and pushed them further along in the user journey.
5. Find a partner who’s listening to your needs
None of this is possible unless your app re-engagement partner has a thorough understanding of what you’re looking for. A key component here is ensuring that the creatives are in line with the company brand. It’s essential that your re-engagement partner takes time to familiarize themselves with your brand in order to craft creatives that showcase your brand image properly.
They should be looking at social media campaigns to get an idea of how you represent your brand in addition to familiarizing themselves with your product or service. It’s also helpful to organize workshops between your creative team and your re-engagement partner’s creative team to brainstorm the best way forward.
6. Variety is the spice of your ad campaign
Employing a wide range of ad formats increases the visibility of your creative campaign. The more formats you use, the more app layouts your ads will be able to accommodate, and the higher the likelihood your ads will be shown to highly valuable users.
More users will see your ads, which ultimately means more conversions for your app. If you’re only using a limited amount of ad formats, there’s a good chance you’re missing out on showing an ad to a user with high lifetime value (LTV) potential if they’re only in an environment that shows 480x320 video.
7. Test strategically
Testing is an essential part of any campaign, but here are some key areas to focus on when evaluating the effectiveness of your creatives.
First, testing your ads’ call to action (CTA) can help you understand how comprehensible and effective it is: are we triggering the right action, is it clear and more importantly does it inspire trust? For instance, a CTA that says “Subscribe now” vs. “Learn more” can have an impact on the creative. The first one could have the user wondering, “am I going to be engaged or charged immediately?” The latter gives the user enough security to click without feeling locked into a choice. In this same vein, it’s important to test your ad copy. The message should be triggering the intended action and resonating with the target audience.
Layout is another key element to assess. There is a predetermined clickable area, but are all key buttons in the right place? It’s important to play with this last step to make sure there’s a well-functioning creative, that the CTA is not too high or not too low, and that it’s the right format and size to be easily clickable.
You can learn more about creatives and app re-engagement at adikteev.com
Margot Miller, Brand Content Manager @Adikteev
Yunuen Alvarado Escobedo, Head of Creative US @Adikteev
Kate Lovejoy, VP Operations US @Adikteev