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Beyond the Download - 5 Steps to Boost App Engagement with Remarketing

Written by Kelly Pollock, Senior Account Manager

Strategically, app marketing has shifted from focusing on downloads as the sole metric of success to considering the lifetime value of a customer. So how do marketers continually reach valued app customers after the initial download and deliver targeted messaging?


Many companies never pause to think about what happens to customers after the download. According to Think with Google, 26% of apps are never launched and 25% are used once before being discarded. With the average cost per install reported by Fisku at $2.33 for Android devices and $1.40 for iOS, the rate of app abandonment can start to develop a large gap between reported and realized ROAS.


One effective solution is to create app remarketing campaigns, across platforms, that allow for multiple touch points with customers to generate continued interest.




Similar to website remarketing, app-focused efforts can offer hyper targeted methods of reaching audiences in different stages of a sales cycle. A few common themes include:


• Alerting users of new features or upgrades

• Encouraging app launches

• Communicating with app users who completed a specific action


Custom combinations are also available on many platforms and will allow for segmentation of audiences. This level of segmentation will allow marketers to deliver more targeted messaging based on the themes above. For example, a company might want to target a customer who completed an in-app purchase with different messaging than someone who hasn’t launched the app for a specific amount of time.




Creating the perfect mix of platforms to reach your app audience will require time and testing. Depending on your final goal, we’ve found that different platforms offer their own successful measurement. Display can generate volume, while social offers a higher conversion rate.


The most common platforms include:

• Search & Display Ad Networks

• App Discovery Networks

• Social Channels


To help marketers make informed decisions when selecting platforms, Appsflyer used data aggregated across all app segments for both Android and iOS to compile a chart that compares channels using conversion rate, user quality and volume.



As mentioned above, a mix of channels can be used to achieve different goals. From the chart data we can gather that ad networks are a good fit for for increasing volume, whereas social channels deliver the highest amount of quality visitors. Testing different platforms is highly recommended as Appsflyer also states, “What is right and profitable for a specific mobile game is not necessarily right for an e-commerce app or utility.”




Just like platform selection, delivering the most targeted message to an audience can greatly effect campaign success. At this point we are marketing to an audience that has already engaged and download an app; hitting them with messaging that indicates we have no knowledge of that can hurt our chances of getting users to re-engage and take further action. An great example that can cause marketers to look foolish is putting creative with a download call to action in front of an audience that has already completed the desired action.


A great place to start when working on remarketing messages is to take the lead from Google who notes that 30% of customers who have abandoned an app would use it again if offered a discount, and 24% would reuse if offered exclusive or bonus content.



Source: Think with Google: Mobile App Marketing Insights May, 2015




App remarketing campaign success can be enhanced by integrating tactical steps prior to launching campaigns. Most common tactics to help remarketing campaigns start off successfully include:


Deep Links


As users are re-engaged with content, it is important to drive them directly to that feature within your app or from search to a direct download of the app. In order to do this, you must have campaigns set up with deep links.


Tag App Events


Much of remarketing success can be attributed to how well tracking is set up within the app. Be sure on the front end to tag app events so you can set up campaigns to market to the fore mentioned.


Without tagging marketers you can only reach all app users (iOS & Android) and users with a specific version of an app (Android).

Exclude Converted Users


An easy and often overlooked tactic that will help maximize remarketing budget and generally make marketing efforts seem more in tune with customers is to exclude converted users. This can be achieved through tagging an app to track converted users.


Set a Frequency Cap


Lastly, in an effort to gently nudge customers into taking an action, it is recommended to set a frequency cap on the allowed number of ads that can be served to individuals within a specific amount of time. This can help with ad burnout and provide higher conversion rates.




Similar to any online strategy, continued monitoring and testing is key to refining remarketing campaigns and realizing what effective messaging is across different customer segments. According to Adobe and Econsultancy, (Only) 51% of companies measure user engagement and return on investment (ROI).

The goal of measuring and testing is to provide insight into what works with an audience. Small tweaks can make a big impact in the success rate of your programs.




To maintain excitement about an app after the initial download, marketers must continue to market to customers with special offers, new features, bonus content and more. A survey led by Adobe showed that 78% of companies leverage paid media as a source to increase app downloads and usage.


By following a few simple steps when launching app efforts, companies can get a head start on creating savvy remarketing campaigns. Simplified, the steps above include:


• Defining an audience & goal

• Selecting a mix of platforms

• Creating effective messaging

• Thinking tactically

• Measuring and testing post launch


Getting customers to download only scratches the surface of how marketers should approach app marketing. As proven through research, the rate at which apps are downloaded and abandoned with little to no use makes the case that a continual strategy is key to ensure longevity in app success.