Mobile retargeting has one of the highest ROIs
Social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk once espoused on a keynote that if your company is not engaging with clients one way or another on mobile devices then you are losing. Some may find this statement ridiculous but it is far from untrue, especially when 87% of people these days claim to have at least one mobile device on them at all times. The percentage of people toying with them a laptop or desktop is unknown, but it can be assumed with a great deal of accuracy that the figure will be much, much lower. The popularity of smartphones and the apps that reside within them has exponentially increased the amount of people interacting with technology and with each other via the internet. It is therefore, unsurprising that over 50% of a user’s “digital time” (that is any time spent on a desktop, laptop or mobile device) is spent within mobile apps.
Most mobile app developers and app owners have an incorrect belief that what they need to do to make their app successful is to launch it. Yes, releasing an app into the marketplace is a big and important step, but it is only one of many. Once it is available for download in the app store, the app owners then has two goals ahead of them. The first is to get as many people as possible to download the app, this is particularly important for paid apps as it is likely the main source of revenue. The second is to get user’s to make in-app purchases once they have downloaded the app, this is important for the free app route as it will be the sole source of revenue. At this stage of the game, the developer and app owner has to switch their mindset from creator and builder (to get the app up and running and launched) to salesperson and marketer (to make sure that the app not only survives but thrives as well).
When put under a microscope the success or failure of mobile apps these days comes down to the attraction or loss of a user’s attention. So fleeting and limited are people’s attention these days that digital marketing, and now mobile marketing, have become crucial to an app’s success.
There are many tactics, tools and vehicles for app marketing but mobile retargeting has shown one of the highest ROIs (Return On Investment). When implemented, mobile retargeting utilizes cookies and pixels to track a user’s browsing, whether it be on a desktop or mobile device, and then places an add with the app, when appropriate. The caveat is that the user must have shown some kind of interest in the website or app by visiting it first. It sounds too simply and too easy to be true, but the compiled data indicates the success ratio (i.e. user’s clicks on ad, then installs app) to be fairly high.
Coupled with the industry approximation that on average a mobile app will lose 80% of its users after the first month and it is easy to see the need to always battle to get eyeballs on your product or app. In addition, in this day and age mobile ads receive a higher click through rate than desktop ads (which is only natural because users spend more time on mobile devices than desktops), and this is where mobile retargeting can be put into play.
The actual mechanism of mobile retargeting is pretty straightforward. For the mobile app developer implementation is as simple as installing a pixel onto their site and integrating an SDK for an ad network or tracking platform. A user will then visit the developers mobile or desktop site and once there the pixel will place a cookie in the user’s browser allowing it to track the user’s online activity. Working with the cookie, the ad network will then show the user ads for the app or website, for both mobile and desktop browsing.
The real challenge when it comes to mobile retargeting is not the installation or implementation, but rather the optimization of the retargeting campaigns. Like most marketing campaigns, success is rarely achieved with a single attempt. Rather it is achieved using small iterations, changes and adjustments to the campaign. Adopting and executing the changes that show improvement in metrics, and rejecting the ones that don’t.
Start with deep links. When a user clicks on an ad for the mobile app, it does not take them to a website or information page, but rather directs them straight to the install page. This decreases the number of steps and hurdles they need to overcome to install the app. When faced with this a user will either make one of two choices, they will either install the app or not.
Don’t get tunnel vision and focus on a single channel or outlet. Look to different sites and networks to get the word out about your app. Be creative and think outside the box when it comes to the traditional places that you would think to place an ad.
It cannot be overstated how important it is to capture and retain a user’s attention. To that end, the ad that you will be presenting to them need not only be eye-catching but compelling as well. Ads these days can’t just rely on bright colors or vivid graphics for success. They need to be engaging and experimenting with different types of calls to action may prove fruitful. Don’t forget to create ads that look and feel native with different browsers and device screen sizes.
There’s a difference between advertising and informing users and flat out harassing them. Cap your ad frequency so that you don’t bombard the same old users with the same old ads. When this happens, the ads lose meaning and become part of the background. In some cases, it may even leave a bad taste in user’s mouths, making it have a negative impact on your brand and app. Repeatedly test the right frequency needed to for the highest amount of click-throughs and downloads.
And while you’re at it, test other variables and factors as well. What copy works best? What colors garner more attention? On which sites do the clicks come from? Is the in-app landing page doing its job and getting downloads? There are literally dozens of elements, large and small that can be tweaked in a retargeting campaign, and it is advisable to experiment with and test all of them. What gets measured gets managed, and constantly testing and keeping an eye on the performance of the metrics is the definition of optimization.
There are numerous other optimization strategies which include the exclusion of converted users, which is logical since users that have already downloaded or made in-app purchases no longer need to be reminded or pestered about making another download or purchase. Also, when dealing with mobile retargeting advertising vendors it is a good practice to keep things simple and use a single vendor. This vendor should have the capacity to operate in both mobile apps and mobile web platforms. Segmenting users is also a basic yet highly efficient strategy. Your app may not be appropriate for every user that owns a smartphone so it would be a good idea to hone in on that specific niche or target market. Finally, ensure that your mobile targeting efforts are cross-device compatible. You may have the best mobile targeting strategy ever conceived but if it only shows up on a single device or model, then you are missing out on the rest of the market.
For developers and app owners that want to take a back seat when it comes to the mobile and digital marketing, specifically when it comes to mobile retargeting, then there are companies that exist whose sole purpose is to take tackle that task for them. Google and Facebook are on this list, of course. The Silicon Valley tech giants offers its clients a massive network in which they can launch their ads. Google is the number one search engine in the world and Facebook is the largest social media platform in the planet. The reach that can be had in either platform is enormous.
Then there’s specialists like Apsalar, which recently introduced a new feature called SmartTags which uses a single tag to redirect users to up to 5 different locations based on their install status. In effect, this lets the user run 5 simultaneous marketing campaigns with a single operation, saving them both time and money. MoPub is another such marketing company. It has recently been acquired by social media giant Twitter and allows its clients to show ads to the hundreds of millions of Twitter users as they browse their daily feed. Then there’s companies like Drawbridge and Tapad, who offer similar services which mostly revolve around the creation, optimization, analysis and management of retargeted mobile ads.
Find more mobile retargeting companies in our directory.