TNW València is here 🇪🇸 Pre-register for 2024

This article was published on August 15, 2019

5 ad hacks for apps looking to capitalize on strong retargeting strategies

Are you looking to onboard more users for your app? Retargeting might very well be the solution.

5 ad hacks for apps looking to capitalize on strong retargeting strategies
Jordan French
Story by

Jordan French

Jordan French is a multi-media journalist on the editorial staff at and a regular contributor to top news outlets including CI Jordan French is a multi-media journalist on the editorial staff at and a regular contributor to top news outlets including CIO, TechCrunch,, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Influencive, Today Show and The Next Web. He is also the Founder and Executive Editor at Grit Daily News. Formerly an engineer and attorney he represented the "People of the United States" in energy market manipulation cases as an enforcement attorney at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. As an engineer he worked on the Mars Gravity Biosatellite Program and later co-founded BeeHex, Inc., the personalized nutrition and robotics company that popularized 3D-printed pizza. The author of forthcoming book, The Gritty Entrepreneur, he is a frequent public speaker, technology evangelist and media moderator.

If you’ve developed an app — even if you’re successfully selling it — there’s one statement that’s unquestionably true: you’re letting potential users slip through your fingers.

No matter how good your marketing is or how much money you spend on pay-per-click strategy, you’re dealing with a fickle audience. In fact, one fifth of all of your users will leave after using your app once.

I know; I’ve seen it myself.

But there’s good news. If you’re willing to put in some effort for retargeting, you can pick up some of those people you’re losing. You’ll touch hot leads more frequently, converting them into paying customers. And you’ll see the difference in your bottom line.

Don’t believe me?

Ask AppsFlyer — they did the research on over 4.5 billion retargeting conversions, and their work has to be seen to be believed. According to them, app retargeting drives up to 63 percent revenue uplift versus ignoring retargeting. One in four conversions this year come from retargeting.

Are you using retargeting to your advantage?

With these hacks, you can harness the power of retargeting and put it to work for you.

1) Employ dynamic retargeting

Dynamic retargeting does something that static retargeting can’t: it personalizes what the user sees. Say, for instance, your app is for a hotel company. Someone’s browsing for a hotel booking, but navigates away and starts playing music.

If that music app is part of the retargeting network you pay for, you’ll be able to serve live, custom recommendations to that user that will lead them back to your app to finish their purchase.

People care about personalization. One SmarterHQ report notes that 72 percent of customers only engage with messaging that targets them specifically. If you use dynamic retargeting, you can take advantage of that to reach people where they live.

2) Use retargeting for gaming apps

Gaming apps will count for over $210 billion dollars in the United States in 2020. It’s a huge market, but despite that, the AppsFlyer report notes that only 11 percent of gaming apps actually run retargeting campaigns.

It’s a huge hole, and if you’re in that vertical, you absolutely have to capitalize on it. There’s a massive market inefficiency there compared to something like shopping, where 53 percent of apps run retargeting campaigns.

Performance uplift is high for apps that put in the effort …

Why miss out?

3) Segment to find incremental value

If you’re just measuring all your marketing campaigns together, you’ll never figure out what your remarketing is doing. To really find out what impact your remarketing campaign is having, you need to use segmentation wisely.

Make sure you have a way to measure your remarketing efforts separately. That may involve running on a different network than usual, or avoiding regular marketing campaigns on the network you’re using. Whatever you do, there should be a clear delineation so you can parse the data.

88 percent of marketers use data obtained by third parties to run campaigns. That’s just as important for app remarketing as it is for any other marketing or advertising you do. Don’t neglect it.

Occasionally you might see the data indicate you should run less remarketing, not more. That usually means you’ve oversaturated your audience. To quote AdWeek, “More and bigger is not better.” There’s a balance to be found, and measuring incremental value will help you find it.

4) Target new users, not just old or lapsed ones

Remember from the beginning that a fifth of users only use your app once?

There’s a good way to bump that stat. 30 percent of users are likely to re-engage if you hit them with retargeting early in their lifecycle. That’s a significant boost to the amount of people that will use your app consistently, and it doesn’t take that much effort.

Target new users just as much as old ones.

Don’t think of them as on the hook once they’ve converted and installed the app — you’re still trying to sell them. If you’ve ever worked in sales, you understand this intuitively.

It’s not once a customer, always a customer. And that early period is absolutely crucial for converting them from one-time user to long-time customers.

5) Don’t just link, deep link

Deep linking is the key to app retargeting campaigns.

Sure, you could just bring people to the homepage of the app. But why would you do that? It’d be like creating a powerful marketing campaign for your latest product offering, then directing it to the homepage of your website.

You don’t do that, do you? (I hope you don’t.)

You can use the power of deep linking to bring users to a specific area inside your app, answer specific questions or take specific actions. This dovetails perfectly with dynamic retargeting so you can provide a powerful, customized user experience for everyone your retargeting campaign touches.

App retargeting is a powerful tool you’re probably not taking advantage of to the extent you could. Are you leaving potential users and conversions on the table? Don’t.

Instead, use these hacks to maximize the impact of your app.

Get the TNW newsletter

Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.

Also tagged with