Blog Recover profitable customers with a win-...

Recover profitable customers with a win-back campaign


Did you know that existing customers are five times less expensive to attract than new customers? While churn is an unfortunate stage in an app user’s lifecycle, don’t lose hope. These customers are often simply dormant, and can be woken with a gentle nudge. In fact, repeat customers are 9 times more likely to convert than new customers! You can use a win-back campaign to recover these valuable customers and get them back to generating revenue in-app.

What is a win-back campaign?

A win-back campaign is a series of communications to inactive customers that encourage them to re-engage with your app. For this reason, win-back campaigns are also known as re-engagement or reactive campaigns. The campaigns are conducted using emails, push notifications, and in some instances paid social media.

Win-back communications

How do you win-back a lapsed customer?

The key to win-back marketing is to act quickly and provide enticing value. Different users will have different reasons for lapsing, so you’ll need to do a little exploration to make sure that you are delivering a personalized message that is relevant to their needs.

Show your customer that you still care about them. 64% of consumers crave a personal connection with the brands they engage with, and this is the perfect time to deliver. When you notice that a user has gone dormant, re-engage them as quickly as possible. A little win-back goes a long way!

How do I create a win-back campaign?

Let’s take a look at how to get cracking at winning back your dormant customers.

1.Pinpoint your lapsed customers

The first step is actually identifying who you need to reach out to. A lapsed customer will look different depending on the app vertical, industry, product, monetization method, and so on. To get started, you’ll need to identify your buyer cycle and lay out some criteria for what your app qualifies as a lapsed customer.

Ask yourself:

  • Do your customers buy more or less depending on the time of year?
  • Do you have one subscription offering or various subscription options?
  • How regularly does a typical customer convert?
  • How often would a “good” customer buy vs. a “great” customer?
  • Which customers are most valuable to you - those who have ordered recently, frequently, or have the highest ARPU?

2.Find out why they lapsed

Now that you have identified your lapsed customers, you need to find out why they’re inactive. There are various reasons for a customer to naturally move on. Perhaps their interests or circumstances have changed, they’ve switched to a competitor, or they’re taking a break.

The reasons can also lead to some great opportunities to leverage re-engagement.


  • Has your product offering changed and a certain segment does not connect with this new product as much?
  • Do you have some customers who had a bad user experience when your app experienced technical difficulties or before you rolled out your current customer service? How can you do right by them now?
  • Do you have a segment of lapsed customers who only buy when you have your best deals running?
  • If you have an e-commerce app or an app with a gift-able subscription, are you able to identify gift shoppers based on the time of year of their purchase and incentivize them to treat themselves, or to buy another gift?

3.Deep dive the data

With your lapsed customers identified and reasons for lapse noted, you’ve likely started to see some natural segments forming. Now you can start deep-diving into your data for more impactful user understanding and segmentation. The more granular you can get, the better. Ask yourself:

  • Is there a particular product, service, experience, or offering they liked?
  • What time of day, week, or month did they typically convert?
  • Was there a particular type of messaging that resonated with these customers?
  • Who makes up the top 10% of revenue amongst your lapsed customers?

The analysis stage can be time-consuming and resource-heavy. That’s where Adjust comes to the rescue. Our analytics solution Datascape allows you to form cohorts, visualize their conversion, and customize reports to create a clear picture of where you’re at and where you need to get to with your win-back campaign.

4.Make it personal

Now we’re ready for messaging. This is where personalizing your message truly comes into play. Tailoring copy as much as possible is key to showing your customer that you truly understand their wants and needs and are looking to match them with the right solution (be that a product, subscription, or something else entirely).

Different segments will need different approaches. Let them know what’s changed since the last time they interacted, particularly if it matches the interests you’ve already noted. Or, if you’ve made any changes that right a wrong that previously led to their lapse, shout it from the (digital communication) rooftops!

5.Measure, measure, measure!

Of course, as with any other campaign, you’ll need to measure performance and optimize along the way. You may have to adjust your approach as you go, or segment further as certain customers begin to re-engage and others need further communications. Make sure you define your KPIs at the outset. Are you aiming for high email open rates, click-through rates, or sessions?

Test different wording, subject lines, emails vs. push notifications, or even various incentives. Does one segment prefer dollar-off discounts and the other prefers percentages off? Test, learn, and document for the future! Adjust will help you visualize these meticulous results to help your team stay agile as you iterate and modify, letting you focus on creatives while we cultivate the data.

How to make a good win-back campaign

Now that you’ve got the basics under your belt, let’s take a look at how you can enhance your campaign. Here are a few tips for success:

  1. Less is more. Aim to win them back with as few communications as possible.
  2. Stick to short subject lines and catchy push notifications.
  3. Prioritize a single, strong CTA.
  4. Remind your lapsed customers why they loved you in the first place.
  5. Foster a feeling of connection.
  6. Leverage emotions, from nostalgia to guilt to desire.
  7. Create a sense of urgency.

5 win-back strategies to try today

If you’re on top of your win-back strategy, you’ll target customers early with a gentle nudge that hopefully re-engages them without a loss of profit to your business. If that doesn’t work, you’ll ramp up a bit with a small incentive. If all else fails you’ll bring in the big guns with a particularly stand-out offer, freebie, or another form of incentive.

Of course, you can also get creative with your approaches depending on your segments and your business needs. Here are five strategies to test and learn with:

Strategy: Give customers a friendly reminder that you’re still there and you miss them.

Audience: Customers at low risk of going dormant.

Purpose: Make your customer feel seen and valued.

Strategy: Incentivize their return with a small discount or freebie.

Audience: Customers at medium risk of going dormant.

Purpose: Encourage loyalty from infrequent customers.

Strategy: It’s time for a big incentive that’s outside of your normal repertoire.

Audience: Customers at high risk of going dormant.

Purpose: Go big or go home with an offer much bigger than your typical incentive.

Strategy: Find out why your customers aren’t engaging, straight from their mouth, with a quick survey.

Audience: Customers who are opening your email but aren’t opening your app.

Purpose: Give your lapsed customers a voice (and engage them in the process).

Strategy: Directly ask customers to actively choose to stay subscribed to your communications, or they’ll be removed from your list.

Audience: Customers who are giving you nothing but crickets, despite the above strategies.

Purpose: Clean up your email list of fully inactive subscribers.

Win-back campaign examples

Win-back campaign examples

How to prevent high volumes of lapsed customers

Unfortunately, churn is not completely avoidable. But there are some approaches you can take to help reduce your number of lapsed customers.

  • Pay attention to which opt-in touch points are giving you the most inactive subscribers.
  • Don’t spam your users with constant notifications.
  • Keep on top of updates to make sure your app is running smoothly.
  • Thoroughly test your app before publishing.
  • Introduce a streak element to your app.
  • Ask your consumers for feedback periodically.

Learn more about how Datascape can help you optimize your win-back marketing with custom reports and your very own cohort dashboard.

Be the first to know. Subscribe for monthly app insights.