Series: How to Adjust Your Mobile Retargeting Strategies Across Verticals – Gaming Apps, Part II

Justin Michael - YouAppi
Justin Michael | March 23, 2020
RVP Sales

Part II:  Mobile Retargeting Across Verticals – Gaming Apps

All apps stand to gain from retargeting, but the strategy of your campaign should depend on the vertical. While it’s difficult to predict the exact impact Coronavirus quarantine measures will have on app usage, one fact is certain: people will be using their phones more and more to shop, play games and stream entertainment. In the second installment of our three-part series, we spotlight the challenges faced by gaming apps to retarget users to help you better optimize your re-engagement campaigns.

For Gaming Apps, Timing is Everything

Like shopping apps, gaming apps stand to make massive gains in downloads and engagement in the age of Coronavirus quarantine measures. That said, shopping and gaming app verticals face different challenges in re-engaging their target users. While shopping apps must overcome high rates of user churn, gaming apps show much higher rates of user stickiness, but within a specific window of time. According to Adjust, the average time between a player’s last session and uninstall is three days. With this in mind, the challenge with retargeting in the gaming vertical is reminding users to re-engage immediately after install. Given this small time window, waiting too long to initiate retargeting efforts is a massive missed opportunity. Thankfully, gaming apps have a particular pull with users. Adjust reports gaming apps have high rates of reinstall with over 40% of users redownloading game apps after uninstall. 

Source: Adjust


Additionally, gaming apps stand to enjoy the highest payout if they do invest in retargeting. According to Appsflyer, game apps show a 4.3x higher average revenue per paying user (ARPPU) compared to other verticals.  

Gaming App Retargeting Best Practices

The task for game app marketers is the strategic segmentation of users for hyper-relevant messaging. Messaging should differ depending on whether a user uninstalls the app or simply hasn’t logged a session in a while. Thankfully, re-engagement for this vertical is easily incentivized. Game marketers can draw users back in by the promise of extra lives, coins or level-ups. Kochava used audience segmentation to re-engage lapsed users of a casual puzzle gaming app. Players who logged a session in the past 30 days but not in the past 7 days were retargeted. This resulted in a 9% increase in overall player retention and a 24% boost in ad monetization revenue. Here are our best practices for gaming app retargeting strategies:

  • How to segment: Segment users based on whether they have uninstalled the app or haven’t had a recent session. Users who have deleted an app should be retargeted with a personalized campaign that rewards them for re-downloading and retaining.
  • How to personalize: Incentivize players to re-engage by offering coins or level-ups for those who reinstall the app. Give rewards to players who log a session every day for a week. Show retargeted ads to players who conquered a game level but haven’t been back to defeat the next one. If your game has gated features, also use retargeting to prompt regular players to unlock these bonus features. 
  • How to message: “You’re so close to unlocking the next level! Play again and we’ll give you X extra lives.” Or, “Looking for another challenge? We’ve released X new levels for $X. We dare you to beat them.”


Of any app vertical, mobile games stand to gain the most from investing in retargeting, especially in the COVID-19 quarantine measures. Since uninstall rates are highest in the three days after a player’s last session, game apps should remind users to re-engage immediately after install. Game app marketers should use the strategic segmentation of users for hyper-relevant messaging. Like shopping, it’s safe to assume that as more people “self-isolate”, game apps will see a surge in activity. U.S. video game usage during peak hours has gone up 75 percent since quarantine measures started taking effect. With this increase in engagement, marketers will have easier access to quality users than ever before through retargeting.