The what, why, and how of remarketing for Shopping apps

By Jillian Gogel
shopping app marketing remarketing

Getting quality consumers to your Shopping app can be hard. Keeping them there over time while driving ongoing revenue with relevant and attractive offers can be even harder. 

Given increasingly high expectations, and numerous other competitors to buy from, users can easily and rapidly lapse into inactivity (or even uninstall). 

On the marketing side, rising user acquisition costs means driving new users to your app is increasingly expensive, while remarketing is much cheaper. As such, it is worthwhile to leverage intent data and advanced audience segmentation capabilities to re-engage with existing users — whether they are already inactive (lapsed) or are predicted to become inactive.

But practically speaking, what is the best way to set up these campaigns? How can marketers fully optimize the value of remarketing for their app? 

This blog post will cover the what, why, and how of remarketing for Shopping apps so that you can make the most of your marketing budgets and meet your goals.

Plus, be sure to check out the complete practical cheat sheet on shopping app marketing at the end of this post that includes: 

  • Top vertical-specific goals + the KPIs to measure 
  • Which and how many in-app events to configure
  • Selecting media sources to run with
  • Recommended segments

What is remarketing and why use it? 

Remarketing is the marketing method to re-engage existing app users through paid and owned media channels. 

As the data from our new State of App Remarketing report shows, remarketing efforts deliver strong results and are especially well-suited to Shopping apps, which had a 50-72% adoption rate and a 25-60% increase in the share of remarketing conversions (depending on the region) as of Q1 2020. 

More importantly, we found that remarketing led to significant uplift in the share of paying users across regions: US (+90%), France (+70%), Italy (+43%), to name a few examples.

Remarketing in Shopping is a natural fit because direct response campaigns encourage action, which drive purchases of products users expressed interest in.

In fact, according to Criteo, re-engaged shoppers show more than four times higher conversion rates in-app than they do on mobile web or desktop, making the app the ultimate touchpoint and a must-have channel for Shopping brands. 

Clearly, mobile web is not an alternative but rather a complimentary mobile channel whose primary role is to cater to users who land from search.


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What to measure

Running an effective remarketing campaign starts with measuring the right data to guide your analyses.

This is especially true for Shopping apps, who need to drive lapsed users to make their first purchase, while also remarketing non-paying and paying users before they lapse (usually within the week after install).  

To get you started with focused measurement for remarketing, we’ve included the following table showing some of the most common vertical-specific goals and the KPIs to support them:

First purchaseNumber and share of first purchases driven by remarketing
as well as ARPU & ROAS 
Repeat purchases# of repeat purchases driven by remarketing as well as ARPU & ROAS 
Re-activations# of lapsed users reactivated

Timing remarketing campaigns

There are multiple factors that go into deciding when to begin running your remarketing campaigns. These include the type of audience segment, the level of engagement, whether you’re seeking to recover users or simply re-engage, your budget, and others. 

Remarketing campaigns may be launched as early as immediately or 24 hours after install, within the first week, or later. Remember that one size does not fit all and choosing your timing depends ultimately on your own goals.

The same is true of stopping your campaigns, which is again determined by your expected marketing goals and the limits of your campaign budget. For Shopping apps, the most successful marketers tend to end campaigns after 7, 14, and 30 days, though one perspective suggests that all projected engagement will occur within 14 days. 

Remember it is important to avoid overexposure which could severely hurt your brand and lead users to rapidly uninstall your app. 

Audience segmentation for remarketing

So you’ve mapped your target KPIs and set up the scope of your campaign, but it’s still not time to launch your remarketing campaigns. Understanding your audience, and being able to use your data to segment audiences effectively, is critical for delivering targeted and effective ads. 

Below, we’ve included some of the most common audience segments Shopping marketers use to guide their remarketing efforts:

Remarket and re-engageImprove your re-engagement by targeting high-value users who made multiple purchases last month, but were inactive this month.
Recover uninstalled usersTarget users who made a purchase above $50 but who recently uninstalled your app with custom creative to drive re-installs.
Cross-sell and upsellEncourage users with high-purchase intent to complete checkout on items within the same brand or category as others added earlier to the cart.
Remarketing exclusionAn audience who has engaged with a specific owned media source (push, email, SMS, other) is excluded from paid remarketing.
Category mixesIf you’re a shopping platform selling multiple brands, optimize the brands displayed to high-paying users to drive more purchases of your most profitable brand(s). Use audience segmentation to find the users that aren’t already buying these brands and target them. 

For Shopping-specific UA audience segments, as well other practical guidelines for Shopping app marketing, check out the cheat sheet below. 

Jillian Gogel

Jillian Gogel is the content marketing manager at AppsFlyer. With a background in conflict analysis and resolution, she combines creative analysis and a strategic mindset to solve complex communication problems. She is passionate about building sustainable relationships between partners, marketers, and customers with data-driven content, and plans to take content strategy to the next level.

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