Optimizing Mobile CPI Campaigns for High Lifetime Value

CPI Optimization

Finding the most viable, cost-efficient method to acquire valuable users is the holy grail for mobile apps. While cost-per-install (CPI) advertising avoids the risk of over-spending on ads that don’t convert to downloads, inefficient CPI campaigns can result in ‘ghost’ users who never open or interact with the app. This is money down the drain for advertisers.

The key to a successful CPI advertising campaign is to optimize toward high lifetime value (LTV). Let’s look at the considerations for campaign optimization.

Think beyond the install

Success looks different for every business and it’s important to think about your CPI campaign in the wider context of your business. Whichever KPIs are used for wider business activities should inform additional metrics for your CPI campaign.

Retailers may want to employ a revenue-based metric such as average revenue per user, while gaming apps may want to measure level completion. Whatever is important to your business in the long run must be considered when analyzing the success of your CPI campaign and determining what LTV looks like to you.

Target and monitor your mobile audience

Over time, different branches of your users will behave differently and patterns will emerge. Campaign targeting can be adjusted based on these results.

For example, a travel app may see a 50-50 split in downloads between men and women yet see that women spend 5x than men over time. The app may decide that it is only cost effective to target ads to women.

CPI campaign optimization and campaign targeting is a two-way process. Monitoring campaign success can guide decisions about which users may be more valuable in the long run, allowing you to set up different CPI bids for different user profiles.

Set up an additional CPA

Not only is it important to monitor user actions and behaviors like level completion, usage patterns, social shares, and in-app purchases, it’s important to put a price on these actions. Cost-per-acquisition (CPA) should be monitored alongside CPI.

Since the time of download, the time of first opening, and the time of a user action can all be recorded, analysis can be performed to determine how long it takes for the customer action to occur. The evaluation of CPA performance should be run at different time intervals to see how CPA looks after campaign start and then again one week later, one month later, three months later, and so on. This data can be used to set up a CPA goal to measure campaign success.

Measure and optimize

Optimization is an iterative process. Analyzing campaign performance based on device, time, date, etc. may all offer insights into how your campaign spending can be tweaked for best performance. With your target KPIs in mind, test everything from creatives, to landing pages, to day-parting in order to ensure the best performance for your campaign.

As well as the monetization and retention indicators mentioned earlier in this piece, what other factors impact the success of your business? How do these feed into user LTV?

Scale up

Optimizing for LTV means investing ad spend where it has proven to yield users that interact with your app in the best way for your business. Once you know which targeting presets yield the best results, budgets can be maximized.

Campaign ROI should also be considered. For a sustainable campaign, apply optimization principles to reach an efficient CPI target that enables you to scale your user base without running at a net loss.
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