Blog A guide to engagement marketing for apps

A guide to engagement marketing for apps


App marketers are often focused on driving installs, but with high churn rates it is increasingly clear that in order to make the most of user acquisition (UA) budgets, marketers need to get focused on customer retention. In a mobile app market defined by increased competition and customer expectations that are exceedingly hard to meet, engagement marketing is emerging as an obvious choice for marketers who are looking beyond barebone conversions to create a more engaged and enthusiastic user base out of their target audience.

What is customer engagement marketing?

Much of what you need to know about defining customer engagement marketing is right there in the name. This marketing strategy focuses on increasing customer engagement with your brand through the use of personalized messages and interaction in their preferred channels. At this point in the digital marketing game, personalization is table stakes; but using it to keep customers actively engaged is a fine art.

From suggested playlists to social media campaigns designed to encourage fan engagement to simple loyalty programs, engagement strategies take many forms. However, a key player in the customer engagement equation is content marketing — a discipline that uses the creation and distribution of valuable content (like those playlists mentioned above) to “attract and retain a clearly defined audience,” according to the Content Marketing Institute. Content marketing has a long history, but it’s only in recent years that app marketers are taking note. Content marketing is all about providing value to customers, which, in turn, keeps them coming back for more.

No matter what strategies you use to engage (and re-engage) customers, a data-driven approach is necessary to make the most of your efforts. Understanding what your users want and need — and when — is key to delivering the right content at the right time.

Why is customer engagement so important?

Companies spend a lot of time and money to acquire new users through data-driven, well-planned marketing campaigns, but it has long been known that retaining existing users is less expensive and more lucrative. In fact, way back in 2014 we already knew that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%, thanks to research from Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company.

Another way to approach customer engagement marketing is improving the customer experience as part of your overall customer service. By developing a strategy to build a base of loyal customers who are primed and ready to spend money with your brand, not only can marketers make better use of their own UA budgets, but they can help build a more profitable company.

Armed with this knowledge, savvy marketers have realized that they need to think beyond acquisition and map out the entire customer journey to better engage customers at every crucial touchpoint along the way. That means engagement efforts must begin at acquisition, continue through onboarding, and then on into the maintenance phase — which may potentially even lead to re-engagement for churned users.

So how do you get it right? Start with the four Ps of customer engagement, which ultimately provide a roadmap to building out a better engagement strategy.

The four Ps of customer engagement

4Ps of customer engagement
  1. Personal — As we have already noted, personalization is the bare minimum for apps that want to stand out from the competition. When it comes to consumer engagement marketing, brands can employ the likes of:
  • Personalized product suggestions
  • Rewards programs
  • Real-time notifications of sales that may interest a user
  • And other special offers based on what the data says about their preferences and expectations. (See the Netflix example below to learn more about how personalization drives customer loyalty.)
  1. Predictive — The great thing about existing users is that you can use their data to predict their needs to encourage engagement and optimal times. . For example, a food delivery app might know Alice likes to order takeout on Friday nights. With that in mind, it can use push notifications to offer discounts to Alice’s favorite local eateries shortly before it knows Alice is likely to be ordering.
  2. Proactive — When you combine the first two Ps in this list — personal and predictive — you get a proactive strategy that allows you to anticipate your customer’s needs before they are even thinking about what they need next. The same food delivery app may know Alice’s birthday is a few weeks away, and suggest that she order catering for a party.
  3. Pervasive — Another way of saying that your customer engagement needs to be pervasive is to say you need an omnichannel engagement strategy. Now more than ever, consumers expect to be able to engage with companies on their terms. Whether

Customer engagement marketing examples


Quite often, the product itself is at the core of engagement marketing. Every time you open your Netflix app, you are seeing engagement marketing in action. Using AI and machine learning, Netflix custom-curates personalized recommendations for every user. The more users engage with the app, watch content, and rate their favorite shows and movies, the better the algorithm gets at making suggestions — making the app stickier and stickier.


When Vivino changed its business model from wine recommendation app to wine marketplace, the company also changed up its marketing goals. Originally, Vivino spent most of its marketing budget on user acquisition (UA) strategies and app installs. As they expanded the e-commerce side of their business, they increasingly invested in driving more orders.

To boost wine sales on the app, it was essential for Vivino to segment new and existing users. The marketing team encouraged new users to scan their first bottle and give a rating or review to activate them. Next, Vivino suggested personalized wine recommendations to frequent purchasers. The importance of mapping a user’s entire journey in-app became increasingly apparent as they realized their need to properly determine cost metrics and LTV models in order to improve their retargeting strategies to re-engage users.

To help connect data from disparate systems, Vivino turned to adjust to drive a more holistic view of user behavior — ultimately resulting in a significant improvement in ad spend efficiency and eventually an increase in the marketing budget. The result? Performance channel orders increased by 500%.


PAPYLESS offers comics and professionally translated content at an affordable price on its comic platform, Renta!. To improve user experience and retention in the long term, PAPYLESS focused in on when the users uninstalled the app, as well as at which point the users lost their interest. These data points helped the team at PAPYLESS understand the stages in the funnel where the users churned, allowing the marketing team to re-engage users with useful content and offers before they uninstalled. PAPYLESS was also interested in targeting users who uninstalled the app with a re-engagement campaign. A focus on data with the help of Adjust resulted in a 21% increase in app reopen rate and an improved ROAS of 50%.

Tips and tools for engagement marketing

Ultimately, the key to efficient engagement marketing is being armed with the right data and tools to not only inform better decisions but also to automate a process that can be overwhelming when carried out on an omnichannel level. The first step is being able to consolidate your user-level data across all siloes, ensuring your campaign decisions are informed by accurate data that leads to better ROI.

To learn more about how Adjust tools can enable app marketers with the data they need to execute better campaigns and engage customers, explore our products page.

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