"Data-Driven Thinking" is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column is written by Assaf Suprasky, CEO at myThings.
As it becomes ever more challenging to find, retain and monetize users, app developers are fighting an uphill battle.
The statistics make for grim reading: More than 80% of downloaded apps are only opened once before being deleted, while about 90% of users abandon an app within seven days after installation.
If we consider the lifetime value of customers instead of measuring success solely in terms of steadily rising cost per installation, ongoing engagement becomes a precious commodity for app developers.
It is not, however, an impossible task. There are several ways in which app developers can convert lapsed and dormant users into loyal customers, while simultaneously reducing app abandonment and uninstall rates and driving in-app conversions.
First and foremost, developers should ensure their apps are properly optimized, lightweight and device-responsive, all of which offers a clear and concise path to conversion. Sheer will won't lead to improved re-engagement if an app doesn't offer the performance users have come to expect.
Many Ways To Re-engage
There are several different approaches to mobile re-engagement, including push notifications, email win-back campaigns and app retargeting. Some channels are more intrusive than others so it's important to consider the frequency with which each is used.
Focusing too heavily on any one method of re-engagement is liable to bring about the opposite of the intended effect: encouraging users to disengage and uninstall instead of increasing their usage and spend.
Instead, app developers should aim to find a healthy balance between these channels, analyzing and optimizing each for maximum impact.
Making The Most Of App Retargeting Campaigns
The strength of data-driven programmatic retargeting is that it enables a high number of relevant touch points with each lapsed user, without being overly intrusive.
As users move toward completion of a conversion or desired action, an ever-more-detailed picture of their behaviors and intent emerges. Once they are deemed lapsed or dormant, they are then presented with very specific messaging reflecting this insight.
Because of the programmatic nature of app retargeting, the process of purchasing impressions is being constantly optimized by advanced algorithms based on user behavior patterns, such as time of day, location and previous engagements within each app, to ensure they are engaged in the right place and at the right time.
An important consideration for app developers employing retargeting is how long a user typically needs to be retained before they can expect a desired action to be completed.
A utility provider specializing in location-based services, such as food deliveries, may begin retargeting users if they don't book within one session following installation. At the other end of the spectrum, a real estate app developer will usually need to retain a user for several months before completion of a desired action becomes likely.
Learning more about an app's user base will shed light on the sorts of incentives that are effective at encouraging re-engagement. The key is to know when precisely to offer such deals, which is where post-install app analytics data plays a huge role.
It offers a way of identifying the scenarios that are causing users to abandon an app and leveraging this insight to offer them event-driven incentives that surmount these obstacles.
A game developer might discover that, on a specific level, a lack of resources proves a major pain point, prompting players to abandon the game. It would then be possible to segment these players and offer them a specific incentive, such as a discount on the game fuel they need to buy the required resources and advance to the next level.
Using Cross-Device And First-Party Data For Greater Personalization
Many app analytics and marketing platforms now offer developers mobile CRM capabilities. Overlaying this first-party data onto display advertising campaigns will take retargeting initiatives a step further.
CRM is the richest source of user data available. It is important to stress that integrating this data is possible without sharing any personally identifiable information.
Doing so will not only enable higher levels of personalization through more granular segmentation, but further enrich the view of each user by adding to the mix records of their signed-in sessions on desktop and other mobile devices, which in turn drives further media buying optimizations.
Login IDs provide one of several ways to match the same user across different devices. Cross-device retargeting can also drive app acquisitions by expanding the pool of targeted users to include those on desktop and mobile web.
Indexing And Deep Linking
App indexing ensures that a direct link to install the app will be included alongside relevant content searches on the mobile web. Deep linking, which takes this one step further by bringing the user to a specific location within the app, has huge potential for re-engagement.
Combining deep links with the sort of event-driven, CRM-powered segmentation previously mentioned creates a very powerful retargeting tool.
Imagine a food delivery service whose first-party data gives detailed insight into the eating preferences of a specific lapsed user.
Now imagine the company retargeting this user with a special discount on a dish from a restaurant or takeout that matches these criteria in the user's vicinity. It could then use deep links to ensure the individual lands on the specific restaurant's order page within its app if they click on the banner.
With the right data powering retargeting initiatives, this and much more is possible.