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Looking Beyond Traditional Targeting For App Developers

Posted on January 09, 2014
By Shringar Pangal, Senior Product Marketing ManagerSenior Product Marketing Manager

Targeting has been synonymous with advertising since the advent of advertising. Whether it is the broad guess-based targeting utilized by traditional modes such as TV and billboards, or the precise and trackable targeting used by mobile and digital advertising, targeting is the core of a successful advertising strategy. Today, with the capabilities offered by mediums like mobile, the old “spray and pray” techniques are a thing of the past.

Some of the amazing targeting features that mobile makes possible are shown in the image below:

However, you likely already knew this and have probably used these features in the past. So, as an app developer, what else can you do to take your campaign that extra mile?

Below are the top three targeting functionalities designed specifically for app developers interested in user acquisition.

User Retargeting

With user retargeting, app developers can find interested users and retarget them with ads that might convince the user to make a successful conversion (app download).

Clicker Retargeting: In general, users tend to click an ad a few times before they actually go ahead and download the app. So, advertisers can target those users who have already clicked the ad but not yet downloaded the app.

Downloader Retargeting: Let’s take the example of the app from Zynga called War Of The Fallen, a collectible card game. Zynga can make a list of other collectible card games such as I Am MT, Order and Chaos Duels, Beyond the Dead, and target all users who have a subset of these apps. Alternately, famous game studios such as Glu could also target users who have a subset of any of their previous titles and show an ad informing users of the latest app released by them.

Look-alike Modeling

Look-alike modeling is where a profile is created of a particular user and then that profile is used as a template to find other similar users.

For example, let’s say that Clash of Clans (CoC) wants to find more users who are loyal players and tend to spend money within the app. Supercell (the makers of CoC) could make a list of users on their app who fall under the category of the kind of users that CoC wants to find. They get information about the users on parameters such as:

  • The ad they clicked to download the app.
  • The device they are using.
  • The operator they subscribe to.
  • What their behavioral patterns are.

From these parameters, Supercell may form a profile that represents users who tend to have high LTV. Then CoC just needs to ask their ad network to target users who match the profile. By enriching the user data through third party data sources, such as BlueKai, an ad network can truly unlock the potential of this targeting feature.

This is a great feature to use when you are looking for more than just app downloads. If you are looking to acquire high LTV users who tend to spend more money on your app and/or tend to be social influencers, then this is the feature to utilize.

All three targeting parameters, though phenomenally successful, are also fairly new and thus, not easily available. The potential of these features has not been fully realized in the past, meaning if they are to be used incorrectly, it could be potentially dangerous for a campaign if not executed well. For example, if a profile is falsely identified in look-alike modeling, you might end up finding the wrong type of app users. Working closely with an ad network is recommended for executing on best practices throughout the campaign.

That being said, I can predict that in 2014 we will see a lot more of these targeting features that are engineered specifically for mobile app discovery. App developers have an interesting year ahead and can be bullish to what the future of targeting has in store for them.

Disclaimer: All examples mentioned in this blog are for demonstration purposes only and doesn’t imply that the advertiser has actually utilized the techniques mentioned.

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