For those of us not familiar with Remerge.io, please tell us a little more about your company and core offering.
Remerge is the first platform built for app retargeting from the ground up. We work with app developers to boost engagement and drive revenues by delivering relevant and personalized mobile ads to their existing community of users.
Our mission is to make app retargeting scalable by streamlining traditionally complex and manual processes with sophisticated technology. The platform is integrated end to end, offering an easy SDK-less solution, real-time audience segmentation, algorithm-based conversion prediction and programmatic buying.
It’s known that over 80% of users abandon their app within the first day of use, effectively increasing the average Cost-per-Install (of a loyal user) to almost $4.23. Why do you think it is so important to re-engage these non-activated users and what are some best practices for doing so?
With the ever-growing number of apps out there and so many players acquiring users across all types of media channels, the market has become completely saturated. We’ve been experiencing a period of intense acquisition fever. But when you think about it from a personal perspective – how many apps do you actually use on your phone on a daily basis?
A recent study estimated revenues per user of the world’s leading game developers and you simply can’t compete with companies prepared to pay $20 for a user across every single channel. Instead it’s time to think more sustainably about your product and how to capture users’ attention when using your app.
Obviously retention rates will be naturally high among users of apps like WhatsApp but what about the rest of the app universe? Number 1 priority should be good app design which establishes user guidelines, has a clear funnel and facilitates retention – you need solid foundations before proceeding to user acquisition and re-engagement. Afterwards there are several channel available like push notifications and retargeting which come into play.
The barrier-to-entry into the App Store is fairly low, meaning that there is a vast number of apps around which aren’t necessarily quality products. Another thing impacting this kind of behaviour is the fact that we’re being bombarded with different products and messages on a daily basis – our attention spans are shorter than ever. Unfortunately, there are few apps that really solve a problem, apps that you need. There is a good allegory for this related to product functions => better to offer a “painkiller” product that relieves genuine, pervasive problems rather than a “vitamin” product that just offers a more specialized added value. I would say 95% of apps are vitamins rather than painkillers. There are obviously many factors which influence app usage, including (again) app design, quality of user acquisition, app stickiness, virality etc.
We work with a variety of apps from all verticals: from food delivery to gaming to shopping. Our clients tend to be marketing directors from app development companies though we also work with agencies when relevant.
When setting up an app retargeting campaign we start by deciding on a conversion goal by analyzing the activity and events being tracked and taking into account typical industry practice. We provide full transparency, showing insights into audience and campaign data, including which segments are performing best and in which types of apps they’re most successfully being retargeted.
We aggregate the inventory through SSPs, allowing us to show ads only in the most relevant publisher apps and giving us access to pretty much all global mobile programmatic inventory. Establishing direct deals with individual app publishers would complicate the process significantly, and we’re big advocates for straightforward and efficient solutions.
How does deep linking play a role in app retargeting?
It is really important to support the user journey with a smooth experience when they are redirected out of one app and into another. Deep linking enables us to offer the best possible retargeting experience without any unnecessary friction. Implementing the deep link falls to the developer, but these days plenty of companies provide support with the process. We take a consultative approach, helping developers overcome any obstacles to prepare them technically before launching their first retargeting campaign.
In your opinion, what percentage of an app developer’s budget should be spent on new user acquisition, as compared to app retargeting for re-engagement? Is app retargeting meant to be an evergreen initiative?
It depends on which stage the app is at. Say you have a popular game which is widely distributed, whenever it becomes much more expensive to acquire new valuable users is the point at which it probably makes sense to focus on re-engagement rather than acquiring the remaining 5% of users in a given country. In general, user acquisition and retargeting go hand-in-hand. We’ve seen cases where 50% of the marketing budget is allocated to retargeting – and it is still a fairly new channel that’s on the rise.
Retargeting is generally highly sustainable, offering added transparency and good optimization practice. We find that in many cases once an advertiser has launched a retargeting campaign, they’ll keep it running indefinitely. Thanks to access to 1st party data, we can tell so much more about a user segment than just their location or device. Richer behavioral information enables us to bring much higher returns on ad spend and with the right infrastructure, make it extremely scalable.
What are some best practices for user segmentation, when it comes to app retargeting? Are there certain frequencies of which you should be serving ads to different user segments that have taken different actions within an app?
We aim to target the entire user funnel so we can monitor performance at the segment level. In doing so we can offer advertisers a better understanding about which users are most engaged and which ones are still affordable enough to retarget.
Regarding ad frequency, we never spam users (unlike what we’re seeing in the world of desktop) and employ sampling algorithms to balance exploration vs. exploitation. At Remerge we are driven by our technological capabilities and have several engineers continually refining bid request latencies, increasing QPS and building machine-learning-based strategies for ever-smarter bidding and optimization.
What types of offers have worked best for app retargeting? Can you share some success stories of creative, messages, or offers that helped re-engage users?
We have tested a huge variety of different features and setups, and seen great results across all verticals. What’s cool with retargeting is that it necessitates a more creative approach – we first need to understand the app’s business model and the flow of users around the app in order to create a well-developed retargeting strategy.
We have a number of case studies and testimonials available on our website but we obviously work with many other types of apps and we find that all types of apps are highly compatible with retargeting. Taking a quick look at the main categories for reference: mCommerce apps consistently achieve a return on ad spend of more than 200%; we have been successfully re-engaging gaming app users with messages to reward them with virtual currency for playing again; with travel apps, we also gave out limited discounts for flights and hotels. It’s just about leveraging an app’s capabilities and finding the right way to communicate with and engage lapsed users.
Lastly, what is your take on the future of app retargeting and re-engagement campaigns?
It’s not easy to predict the future of app retargeting, as it’s such a dynamic and rapidly evolving sector. We are constantly iterating our product in order to adapt to changing client needs. As the industry matures, app retargeting will become a much more commonplace strategic channel for apps. Our goal for now is to educate the market on its power and potential.
Remerge is the first platform built for app retargeting from the ground up.
Our mission is to provide the world’s most efficient and scalable app-to-app retargeting platform by streamlining complex and manual processes with technology.
Using Remerge, app developers can re-engage their lapsed users in other apps used around the world to increase retention and boost user lifetime value by driving active users, purchases, orders, bookings and subscriptions.
An end-to-end integrated platform, Remerge offers simple and secure data access (no SDK), dynamic audience segmentation, algorithm-based conversion prediction and programmatic access to more than 330,000 apps – leading to an average return on ad spend of 250% for app developers coming from all App Store verticals.
Remerge already processes 1.3 billion bid requests and 1.2 billion user events per month for global advertisers in all major verticals such as Spotify, Playtika, CBS and Foodpanda.