Stay Ahead of the Competition in 2021 with App Retargeting

Naomi Shebah | December 29, 2020
Director of Programmatic

In 2021 and beyond, our top mobile trends prediction is that app retargeting will be more important than ever.

With so much new user adoption of apps in 2020, it’s key to maximize growth through a strong UA campaign that includes re-engagement straightaway in 2021.

The average mobile user has over 100 apps on her phone. App usage frequently dwindles after the install with around 1 in 4 people abandoning apps after just one use. While these stats paint a gloomy picture, a smart retargeting strategy can successfully resolve the ongoing mobile user retention challenge. In fact, apps running retargeting campaigns see a higher increase in revenue (63%) compared to apps not running retargeting campaigns (43%).

Why You Shouldn’t Wait to Retarget in 2021

The social impacts of the COVID19 pandemic are profound. Consumers spent more time engaging with apps and spending money in-app this year than ever before. Downloads of mobile apps and games topped 64 billion in H1 2020 across iOS and Google Play worldwide, up 10% from H2 2019.

Users set new records in consumer spend, driving $9.6 billion in global app store spend in May 2020. Consumer spend in apps surpassed $50 billion in total in H1 2020, up 10% from H2 2019.

In times of crisis, there are also opportunities. Every app stands to gain from this period as more consumers spend prolonged amounts of time engaging with their mobile devices. Now more than ever marketers should be maximizing their retargeting strategies early in the new year to maximize 2020’s surge in organic installs.

Retargeting Strategies in Q1

This year’s holiday giving season was impacted by shelter in place restrictions across the globe. With consumers restricted from in-person shopping by lockdown, many consumers looked to digital gifts to fulfill their holiday shopping.

What better way to kick off 2021 than retargeting new users who received a subscription or gift card to your app during the 2020 holiday giving season? In fact, more than one-third of app conversions in early 2020 were the result of retargeting, and at least half of shopping apps have adopted retargeting. These numbers are sure to grow in 2021.

Data Source: Marketing Charts

But First, A Note About Segmentation

Dynamic segmentation powered by real-time data is the key to unlocking a sustainable and impactful retargeting strategy. Are your users engaging with your app at a certain time of day? Do specific in-app actions indicate they are more likely to convert? Identify your power users, the ones who spend in-app. Also, identify the users who haven’t made an in-app purchase but engage with your app in a way that indicates they could.

Remember, it’s important to go after the users who are mostly likely to convert rather than wasting time and retargeting dollars on the ones that are just not that into your app. Once you have segmented your highest engaging and highest spending users, you can build strategies to effectively re-engage them.

Target Pushes

Targeted push campaigns can be an impactful tool in your app marketing arsenal. Using behavioral data to segment your audience can contribute to better push engagement. In fact, targeted pushes result in 2x higher open rates and 3x higher conversion rates.

App retention is also enhanced by targeted push campaigns. Apps where the majority of campaigns (> 50%) are not targeted see a 31% abandonment rate after one use. In contrast, apps with a majority of segmented campaigns see a lower 20% abandonment rate after one use.

Furthermore, apps that send more targeted campaigns retain 39% of users who spend 11 sessions or more in-app. Apps that don’t send out targeted push campaigns, retain only 21% of users who spend 11 or more sessions in-app. Overall, apps that mostly target their campaigns see an 18% advantage in retention over apps that send non-targeted campaigns.

It’s important to note that getting user opt-in is essential to targeted push campaigns and retention. Nearly 50% of users will use an app 11+ times if they opt in to push notifications. In addition, only 8% of users abandon apps after the first session if push is enabled.

Personalized Creatives

Once you’ve defined your user segments and KPIs, it’s time to craft personalized creatives for your target audience aimed at triggering a desired event. Creatives have a substantial impact on improving click-through rates and retention. This also leads to higher user LTV and revenue. Keep your messaging diverse and highly customized. Experiment with the different creatives formats available to you.

You can create messaging that establishes a sense of urgency through promos and rewards. Offering special in-app promotions will keep users visiting the app regularly to check for offers.

Finally, our top recommendation for effective personalized creatives is A/B testing. Identify the best performing elements of your creatives and optimize from there. Use the insights from regular A/B testing to finetune your overall creative strategy.

Cap Your Ad Frequency

Remember: in advertising and in life, it’s about quality, not quantity.

It doesn’t make much  sense to run a retargeting campaign that aggressively follows the user around, whether in-app, on the mobile web or both. Don’t lose sight of your overall goal: to get users to install or re-engage with your app, rather than  to creep them out or even annoy them.

In that vein, cap your ad frequency. Also, make sure to restrict serving ads to users who have already converted.

Takeaways

In 2021 and beyond, the key to long-term app retention will be a smart retargeting strategy. With the holiday giving season this year focusing on digital subscriptions, it’s never been a better time to start thinking about re-engaging your newly acquired users to start off strong in 2021.

  • It All Starts with Segmentation:  Dynamic segmentation powered by real-time data is the key to unlocking a sustainable and meaningful retargeting strategy. Identify your power users, the ones who spend in-app. Also, identify the users who haven’t made an in-app purchase but engage with your app in a way that indicates they could.
  • Serve Targeted Pushes: Targeted pushes result in 2x higher open rates and 3x higher conversion rates. Remember, getting user opt-in to push notifications is essential for creating an impactful push strategy. Nearly 50% of users will use an app 11+ times if they opt in to push notifications. Additionally, only 8% of users abandon apps after the first session if push is enabled.
  • Personalize Your Creatives: Creatives have a substantial impact on improving click-through rates and retention. Our top recommendation for effective personalized creatives is A/B testing. Identify the best performing elements of your creative and optimize from there. Use the insights from regular A/B testing to finetune your overall creative strategy.
  • Cap Your Ad Frequency: It’s about quality, not quantity. Serve highly customized, impactful ads periodically rather than constantly. Cap your ad frequency and make sure to exclude users who have already converted.