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A Guide to Mobile Retargeting Strategies and Tactics

Best Practices How to

A Guide to Mobile Retargeting Strategies and Tactics

Ben Roodman August 14, 2014

Traditional web retargeting works as follows: if I abandon a pair of pants in my online shopping cart, a cookie retargeted ad for those pants will follow me around the web. On mobile however, cookies aren’t available to reach users once an app is closed.  The main driver of mobile revenue is the ability to reach those customers who spend $1000 monthly in-app and is not limited to those users who left their pants, and shopping cart, behind. Below are a few wise strategies and tactics to get you started in mobile advertising retargeting.

Blacklist / Suppression / Negative Targeting

When looking to acquire new users, limit waste in your ad spending by using blacklist suppression of customers that you do not want to retarget. If you’re retargeting your best customers to install your app when they are already active users, it’s almost insulting. You can also find yourself paying for ad spend to reach the same customers through multiple ad networks. If they didn’t install your app or re-engage after 10+ previous attempts, they are unlikely to change their mind through mobile advertising alone.

Whitelist / Mobile Audience Extension

Reaching your audience through whitelisting is the most basic method of mobile retargeting. As an app publisher, you own the relationship with your audience and can be in full control of your budget by only retargeting users who have already installed your app. Whitelisting can also be referred to as mobile audience extension by retargeting your customers wherever they are in the mobile universe.

Re-Engagement Tactics

The number one driver of mobile app revenue is audience retention, but how do you re-engage your customers after they’ve closed the app when 60% of a users turn off push notifications. If a user has taken a specific action in-app, you can retarget to deep link that user back to a specific point in-app. At minimum you can measure the number of users who re-open your app as a metric of re-engagement advertising.

Precision Retargeting

In a mobile monetization report released earlier this year, app testing firm Swrve found that half of free-to-play games in-app purchases came from 0.15 percent of players. Only 1.5 percent of gamers in the Swrve network spent any money at all. This is especially true for most mobile gaming companies where the top 1/10th of a percent generate 50% of the overall revenue. How would you spend to reach your most valuable customers? Precision retargeting is the most efficient way to pair your ad spending with discrete customer purchasing ROI.

Dynamic Retargeting

Dynamic Retargeting is a great choice for mobile apps with very large audiences. However in this case, we still want to be selective with ad impressions purchased within that audience. Typically dynamic retargeting is done through a Data Management Platform, or DMP for short, which takes your entire database of user information to determine the optimal outcome of ad spending. The messaging in the advertising campaign may not change with dynamic retargeting, but decisioning the list of users who are retargeted is chosen algorithmically at the DMP level.

Real-time Retargeting

For real-time retargeting we look at the user buying pants or looking at a specific product in-app, then turn that last viewed action into dynamic messaging within a mobile ad unit. Usually this is done immediately after a user performs an action or fails to complete a desired outcome in-app. Additionally, real-time retargeting is often used in combination with dynamic retargeting – bidding higher on impressions immediately after the activity has been performed, then bidding on a decaying spending curve based on a previous conversion history time limit.

Cross Network Mobile Retargeting

Still in it’s very early stage, cross network mobile retargeting is the ability to move between proprietary mobile ad networks, such as a mobile app retargeting to Facebook or Twitter, to reach a user wherever they are engaged. Cross network may require the use of multiple ad formats such as native advertising, video, interstitial, or banner advertising to message users wherever they currently are located. Some of the ways to move cross network today may potentially be against the social network’s terms of service, but matching unique identifiers outside of their networks is already happening.

If your customers abandon your app and you are not looking at mobile retargeting methods to re-engage them, you might lose your shirt when it comes to mobile revenue.

Ben Roodman

Benjamin Roodman
Senior Contributing Editor
Benjamin Roodman is an advocate for getting to the truth of what converts in mobile. Well versed in mobile advertising platforms with a notable aptitude and passion for analytics, he's currently putting deals together as head of partnerships at a mobile data startup. Benjamin has previously held Business Development positions at AOL Advertising and helped establish several funded location-based consumer startups.
Follow me on twitter @BRoodman

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