How to Segment Audiences & Optimize Retargeting | AppsFlyer
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5 Easy Steps to Segment Your Audiences and Optimize Retargeting

Sarah Helen Keeley (Guest Author) Aug 22, 2017

With nearly 4 billion smartphones projected to be in use by 2020, it’s now easier than ever to acquire new customers for your mobile apps, but harder than ever to retain them. Making a lasting impression and driving loyalty means going the extra mile. The most cost-effective way for marketers to keep users engaged within their apps is retargeting, and when coupled with a robust user acquisition strategy – marketers can reach their entire sales funnel with targeted, relevant messaging that boosts engagement and in-app conversions.

Audience Segmentation

In order to reach users in the optimal ‘mobile moment’, savvy marketers are now looking to audience segmentation to ensure the effectiveness of their retargeting campaigns. A segment is a group of users with shared behavioral patterns – these could be based on the level of activity, value or amount of purchases, or how recently they last opened your app. Segmenting your app’s audience allows you to understand the behaviors and intent of your users whilst also providing more possibilities to deliver relevant targeted ads to your users at each stage of your conversion funnel.

The Challenge
With the right setup in place, audience segmentation can provide ultra-targeted insights into the behaviors of your most loyal users, and those that are most likely to churn. But like any advanced marketing strategy, segmentation can be a complex process, whether it’s deciding on the best in-app events to measure or knowing which creatives are best for each particular segment. For advertisers looking to reap the benefits of audience segmentation for retargeting, here are five steps to make sure you’re on the right path.

Step One: Set Clear Goals & KPIs

Before deciding on which segments to target with your retargeting campaign, it’s important to establish some clearly defined goals and KPIs. Conducting an analysis of user attributes and segmenting users based on the in-app action you would like them to take is a great place to start. By measuring and analyzing key events like app opens, items added to cart, or level completion, you can define and build user cohorts that qualify to take an action that is valuable to your business. Once you have defined goal-based user segments, you can create tailored ads with custom messages that are relevant to each cohort. Using a tool like AppsFlyer’s Audiences, you can set up your audience segments quickly and sync to your preferred retargeting partner to save you time uploading CSVs and deciding which lists to send to which partners. Your audience segments will also update automatically, meaning your users will only receive the display ads relevant to their specific segment.

Step Two: Remember Audience Size is Power

When it comes to retargeting, size is power. Your campaign will be most effective once your user base has reached a decent size – 100,000 monthly active users is a good benchmark. As this base will be segmented into various sub groups, make sure that each group is substantial enough that you’ll be able to generate the results you’re setting out to achieve. Even before your app reaches this point, it’s a good idea to get proper measurement and analytics in place so you can collect all the relevant data and implement it into your retargeting strategy when your app reaches the appropriate audience size.

Step Three: Set Frequency Caps

Displaying too many ads to your users in a short period of time is a sure fire way to not only cause banner blindness, but even irritate your users to the point that you drive them away from your brand. That’s why frequency caps are a pivotal step in your segmentation strategy. Having a frequency cap in place will limit the number of times a visitor sees your ad over a period of time. It’s important to find that sweet spot, but unfortunately, there’s no set standard that works for every advertiser. There are multiple split tests you can run to find the optimal setup for your frequency caps, but perhaps the best approach is to decide on a set frequency to start with and follow with tests that decrease and increase the frequency of ads as your campaign is in process to determine which frequency delivers the best results.

Step Four: Decide on Creatives

Just like the segments you choose to target, your choice of creatives will largely depend on your app’s audience and retention goals. Creating engaging ads that encourage users to take the desired in-app action can take time and skill. However, the development of custom-creatives is worth the investment in the long run. When planning your creative concept, try to consider each element of your display ad from messaging and CTA, to the images and offers shown. All of these elements should be informed by the segment you are targeting and the action you would like the user to take. For example, a mobile game reengaging its lapsed users could deliver an ad offering an item or tool to help the player progress to the next level. Alternatively, a fashion app might choose to target previous purchasers with an ad that calls their attention to the latest clothing collection. Your choice of ad format will also be important depending on your retention goals, app vertical and audience demographics. Dynamic product ads are a great choice for retailers as they allow you to include items from your product feed and show specific ones that users may have been viewing or added to their cart before they left your app. Video ads are a great choice if you want to show off a bigger product offering than the one that could be shown with regular static ads. Video ads perform particularly well with young audiences who are drawn to the format and tend to watch them all the way through.

Step Five: Always Test & Optimize

Responding to emerging new insights is key to optimizing and improving your campaign’s performance. Retargeting campaigns have the potential to get smarter and more granular over time as you uncover new segments and identify previously untapped user groups. With a good audience segmentation tool, modifying segments and editing event parameters can be done in no time at all. You should always be testing; whether it’s the audience segments, or your creative messaging, to determine the best performing qualities of your ads and audience segments. The most successful segmentation strategies are constantly evolving as you uncover deeper insights from your performance data and gain a better understanding of user behavior.

A Practical Example

Let’s take an e-commerce app example to examine a practical segmentation setup that targets users throughout your sales funnel. You’ll first want to define upper, middle and low level activity in your purchase funnel and segment the users based on these in-app behaviors:

  • Low-level: Users who viewed a product page
  • Mid-level: Users who added an item to their shopping cart but did not complete a purchase
  • Upper-level: Users who have previously completed a purchase

Most e-commerce apps are revenue driven, so the goal is always to encourage a user to convert. However, depending on their stage in your conversion funnel and with the help of dynamically segmented audience data, you should be targeting users with display ads tailored to their place in the funnel.

  • For low-level users: target them with an ad presenting a special offer to incentivize them to continue interacting with your product page and to complete a transaction. The sense of urgency works well for low-level users as an added push to re-engage with your app. Native ads are a great way to reach users as they browse with other apps in a non-intrusive way.
  • For mid-level users: target them with a dynamic ad, or video ad with a dynamic end card with the items in their cart. It may be wise to include a free shipping offer or some other special discount to guarantee a conversion.
  • For upper-level users: as these users have already completed a purchase, you’ll want to encourage their brand loyalty by incentivizing them to shop with you again to complete more purchases. Send them an ad informing them of a special offer, a new sale, or new items in stock to encourage them to return to your app.

Set Yourself Up For Success 
Remember to leverage your retargeting partner’s expertise as to the best segmentation strategy for your app vertical, business model and in knowing what to expect from your campaigns. Make sure that your partner can support you in providing further analysis on the cohorts you chose and best practices for creatives. 

Our Pro Tips:

  1. Transparency is essential when it comes to segmentation so try to avoid ‘Black Box’ style retargeting vendors that offer high CTRs with limited transparency into the segments they are targeting. 
  2. Segmentation has the potential to be a complex process, but a tool like AppsFlyer’s Audiences will give you that crucial control over your app’s audience to ensure the success of your retargeting campaign. 
  3. Always quiz your partners on their approach to segmentation and data security as these should be a top concern to any marketing partner worth their salt. 


About Remerge
Remerge is the first platform custom-built for app retargeting, enabling app developers and mobile marketers to efficiently segment app audiences and retarget users with personalized marketing messages to increase retention and lifetime value in the most efficient and scalable way.
With an infrastructure designed to maximize reach, app developers and marketers can seamlessly retarget up to 1.3 million users per second across Facebook and 350,000 apps, globally
An end-to-end integrated platform, Remerge eliminates manual efforts with simple, SDK-less data access, stores data securely in silos and in compliance with strict German privacy regulations, and provides an analytics suite, which helps app developers truly understand the impact of their app retargeting campaigns.