Attracting users to a mobile app is one of the most important tasks in the promotion. But if you only hunt for new clients without thinking about what happens to them later on, all the promotion may fail. That’s why a marketing campaign should include such a significant process as retargeting. Today’s article is dedicated to it.

What is retargeting?

Retargeting is advertising directed to a definite user, for example, the one who has already shown interest in your app.
When a user installs an app for the first time, he/she becomes an active user. The activity decreases with some time, the user forgets about the app or deletes it from his/her device. But you can try to bring the user back. That’s the aim of retargeting.

What’s retargeting for?

Active users usually bring the main income, i.e. the ones who are constantly using the app, not just only installed it. The free-to-play model is a vivid example. An install gives almost nothing to publishers, they need transactions inside the app and only active users do them.
It’s important to keep valuable users almost in any type of business as the quality is more important than quantity. Besides, it’s usually cheaper and more simple to bring back a user who is already acquainted with your product than to attract a new loyal client.



Process scheme

Retargeting has been used on the web for quite a long time, but its mechanism is built on the cookie. It’s evident that this method doesn’t suit apps. That’s why developers have to build in SDK that an advertising network provides to apps. It allows them to mark users and to show advertisements only to those who have already installed an app.
Here’s the process:

  • Firstly, you should integrate the SDK into an app. An advertising network usually provides it.
  • Further on you need to choose events on which targeting will be made. Settings are quite flexible so you can set almost any goals. For example, you can single out the users who have installed an app but didn’t launch it during the last 10 days. Or gamers who achieved the 18th level but stopped playing.
  • Then you need to make sure that SDK works successfully and all the necessary user groups are created.
  • An advertising campaign is launched after these steps (advertisements are translated for the chosen user groups only).



Means and tools

Retargeting can be done in the Facebook advertising network. A special function for Custom audience (user groups according to what actions they made) creation is provided there. A special SDK should be built. It’s available in a developer section:


Google AdWords also has a retargeting function. In order to use it, it’s necessary to create a special Google Remarketing code and build it in the app.
Besides, you can carry out retargeting with the help of Google Analytics. SDK is generated for that purposes and is built in the app:

Then you need to create a retargeting list with all the conditions for showing advertisements and connect GA and AdWords accounts.
There’s also an easier way — using specialized platforms for retargeting with the automatized process of campaign setup. Retargeter and Adroll are good examples of such services.

Lookalike by Facebook

Facebook added a Lookalike function in March 2013. You can show advertisements only to those who have qualities similar to those of your loyal users with its help. It works like this: you give Facebook emails, phone numbers, or ID of your users and in return, you get some user pool with similar profiles. It gives marketing specialists a unique possibility to appeal to a totally relevant audience.

Facebook offers 2 options for working with the tool: you can get 1% of users with the highest level of a coincidence for the most precise targeting or the higher 5% for a larger audience coverage.

It takes 1-6 hours to create a pool. Apart from already mentioned 1% and 5% of the audience, you can manually state percent of interesting people for you in a chosen country. Possible indices — from 1% to 20%. With the help of Lookalike, you can create a user base similar to those who:

  • Visited your website (or some definite section or page);
  • Showed optimal conversion;
  • Use your mobile app.

You can create only one base for one country simultaneously. But you can choose as many countries as you want.

Advice for marketing specialists

How to optimize a retargeting campaign:

  • Use deep links;
  • Use various channels for placing retargeting advertisements (mobile websites, others’ apps, mobile search, social networks, and so on);
  • Create advertisements taking into account retargeting;
  • Regulate the frequency of showing advertisements, don’t rely on intuition, make test;
  • Test all the campaigns. You should have several variants of advertisements with different text and design;
  • Exclude already converted users;
  • Find partners on both mobile apps and mobile websites;
  • Use only one supplier so that all the data were collected in one place;
  • Analyze metrics;
  • Pay attention to “empty” visits (when a user saw an advertisement but didn’t click on it but later on came back, made a purchase, or an install);
  • Segment users.

Retargeting allows users to expand significantly the database of loyal users and save some money without spending the budget on getting new users. Conversion rates of a campaign may grow manifold if set up wisely. This tool is obligatory for all the promotion strategies.

Read more about mobile app promotion