App Marketing

Retargeting and re-engagement strategies for the future

Marne Litfin
Product Content Strategist

Last week, Adjust’s Director of Product, Katie Hutcherson, sat down for a chat with Criteo’s Director of Global Mobile Partnerships, Lucy Rogers, to talk re-targeting, re-engagement, and the future of mobile marketing.

Criteo is a global performance marketing platform that helps clients to drive sales across all marketing channels, including mobile, social, web and search. Didn’t catch the webinar? You can listen to the entire conversation here now, or read below for a recap of their discussion.

Before any talk of the future, let’s first zoom in on what retargeting and re-engagement actually are (and how they relate to reattribution!). Both terms refer to the process of getting existing users (rather than new users) back to your app.

Re-engagement is all about finding those dormant users, for example someone who used to enjoy your gaming app but hasn’t opened it in a while, and bringing them back. The goal is to get them engaging again - whether that’s completing a puzzle or working towards the next level - your metrics for what engagement means will differ depending upon the kind of app you have. For gaming apps, it can often just mean playing again.

Retargeting is more like a separate sales channel; the goal is to convert users who have already visited your app. if you’re retargeting users, you’re driving an active user to purchase an item, complete a registration or an order, or any specific action in your app. One example is an e-commerce app serving an advertisement to a user who has abandoned their cart, where the ad features the item the user had considered purchasing.

Last but not least there’s reattribution: this is the metric in your Adjust dashboard. We define reattribution as an existing user who's actively engaged with a new ad and then re-opened your app. What's key to note here is that a user can be reattributed multiple times, as they may in fact re-engage with different targeted ads multiple times.

Why are retargeting and re-engagement such a big deal? As recently as three to five years ago, the name of the advertising game was driving downloads - as quickly and cheaply as possible. But it turns out that none of those downloads are worth much if the users don’t stick around. One recent study by eMarketer showed that seven days after install, only 11 percent of users were still active in an app - a massive turnover. Adjust also found that users who are re-engaged remain active in the associate app, on average, three times longer than those who weren’t re-engaged.

The differences between re-engagement and retargeting strategies

So what does this look like in practice? At first glance, it sounds like re-engagement and retargeting campaigns can overlap quite a bit, but they differ significantly in their structure, look and goals. For example, if you have an e-commerce app, you might run a retargeting campaign amongst your most active users. This might come in the form of a coupon or a special promotion, or a targeted ad featuring an item they abandoned in their shopping cart.

A re-engagement campaign could be run simultaneously; it might be directed specifically at users who’ve lapsed in the past sixty days. It could be a special offer with ad copy along the lines of ‘we miss you!’, encouraging the user to check back in with the app. In this example, the two groups of users targeted by these campaigns don’t overlap at all. The messaging used to reach users in the two campaigns differs based on their past engagements with the app.

Which verticals work best for retargeting versus re-engagement? Anything that has to do with a transaction base, including shopping, travel, food delivery or subscription-based apps would all work best for retargeting because you're driving active users back in to make some sort of revenue action. Re-engagement would work best for gaming, and the reason for that is obviously there's not a whole lot of transaction to focus on for the gaming campaigns - it's more about bringing users in, playing and to taking on to the next level or whatever that might be. It's less transaction focused, which means that re-engagement strategy would be better for that particular protocol.

Both types of campaigns are similar in that they need to be run simultaneously (Adjust can track and measure both without compromising your campaigns or user experience). Re-engagement and retargeting campaigns must both find ways to target high-value users, the ones who are most likely to re-engage, no matter which channel the publisher may find them on. The user experience must also be frictionless as possible. Lucy added:

The ads need to be dynamic, they need to be optimized in real time, and specific and personalized to the user. Ultimately, once the user clicks the ad, they need to have a seamless mobile experience, so they need to be deep-linked directly in the app.

Lucy Rogers

Director of Global Mobile Partnership, Criteo

Using deep links in re-engagement and retargeting strategies

Deep linking is particularly important when talking about retargeting, because it allows marketers to bring users to a specific page or piece of content within an app. Think of a banner ad for a travel app, advertising a trip to Hawaii. The user is someone who already actively engages with the travel app - they click the ad and they’re taken into the app, not just to their home screen but to the exact trip advertised. It’s seamless, it saves time, and it significantly increases conversion rate. Even if the app isn’t installed on their phone, if deferred deep linking is enabled they’ll first be taken to the correct app store to download the app, and upon first open they’ll land on the page advertising the same trip to Hawaii as in the original ad.

The simplest way to set up deep links is with your mobile measurement partner, like Adjust. Deep linking can be tricky - on Android, you need to prepare yourself for fragmented browsers. On iOS, you need to know if your users are on iOS 8 or below - iOS 9 saw the advent of universal linking, which functions very differently and currently only works in Chrome and Safari.

Which KPIs are most important for app retargeting and re-engagement?

For retargeting KPIs, the most commonly used metrics focus on revenue and profit. Some typical examples are cost per order and cost per sale. When developing your retargeting KPIs, you should be asking yourself questions like these:

  • How much did a user spend when they came back into the app?

  • Did the user just buy one particular product or did they buy multiple products?

  • What was the overall cart or basket value?

With all of this information, you’re able to put together a much better profile of high value versus low value users. Return on ad spend, or ROAS, is another key retargeting KPI. How much are you spending versus how much are you profiting as a marketer?

Re-engagement KPIs tend to focus less on immediate money and more on lifetime value, which incorporates not only revenue but churn rate as well.

A Case Study: Re-engagement and retargeting with Deezer

Deezer is the world’s third-most popular music streaming service. Deezer came to Criteo having already invested heavily in driving downloads and having users utilize their premium service. What was missing was a way to engage and convert users from the free service to their premium version.

Criteo enabled them to run an ad campaign where they targeted two different segments. Dormant users and active users were both targeted with the same ad: a 30-day trial of the premium service. Deezer saw a 100 percent increase in conversion rate for the in-app versus desktop campaign. They also saw a click-through rate increase of over 200 percent. Most importantly, 96 percent of those subscriptions resulted from that particular campaign. They were able to look at two very different segments, using a tool called the Audience Builder, which was created to help Adjust’s clients create segmentations for exactly these types of retargeting and re-engagement campaigns.

Adjust’s Audience Builder lets you create precise user segments based on various types of data from your apps - users, events, countries, the list goes on. In a nutshell, you can create ‘incredibly granular audience’ based on your historical data. If you wanted to run a campaign like Deezer’s with Criteo, you need very specific historical data. With Audience Builder, could immediately create your target list in a few seconds, get those advertising IDs and send them off to your partner. Audience Builder has an unlimited lookback window, isn’t limited to one app, and the lists are updated in real time, based on whether users do or don’t meet the audience conditions you’ve set.

Audience Builder is now free to all of our clients to test out through to the end of September. Are you interested in learning more about how to measure or set up your own retargeting and re-engagement campaigns? Set up a demo with us and we’ll walk you through all of our features, including Audience Builder. And for more on how to do retargeting, check out our ebook - where we explain its ins and outs, and give you a breakdown of the 5 steps you need to implement your first retargeting campaign.

Many thanks to Criteo for partnering with us on this webinar!

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