What should I do after the app is installed? How can I keep bringing users back to my app in a sustainable method? For businesses today, remarketing is key to ensuring that active users continue to engage and dormant users re-engage with their apps, eventually resulting in increased user LTV (lifetime value). The conversation has shifted from merely acquiring new users to learning how to retain them.
On the 5th of August, InMobi, along with BHIVE, hosted an event to build on this theme. Titled “Retain and Re-engage your Mobile Users”, the event brought together app developers, app marketers and start-up enthusiasts to network and understand how best to use remarketing solutions for their businesses. InMobi Co-founder and Chief Revenue Office, Abhay Singhal, kicked off the session by highlighting the importance of remarketing at a time when app marketing has truly evolved from focusing on increasing transactions through new users to actually retaining existing users. This was followed by a presentation by Vasuta Agarwal, VP of India for InMobi, who delved into the crux of the issues pertaining to getting users to discover an app, download it, engage with it and eventually retain it. Moderated by Nivedita Bhattacharjee from Techinasia, the latter half of the evening centered around a panel discussion with InMobi’s VP and Global Head of Marketing - Arun Pattabhiraman, Director of Remarketing - Mansi Jain and Head of Marketing - Meera Iyer from Big Basket as the panelists.
Here’s a summary of the key takeaways from the evening:
1. Remarketing is the new CRM tool
While acquiring users is taking up a major chunk of mobile marketing budgets, the acquisition cost per loyal user has reached an all-time high in 2016, increasing 101% YoY. And despite the investment in acquiring users, an average mobile app is retaining only 23% of its DAUs within 3 days of it being installed. The 3-7 day period in an app’s post-install life has become critical in engaging users before they lose interest or uninstall. Clearly, it is not enough to drive installs - you need to convert existing app installers to users, make them high-value users and win back dormant users. And remarketing helps you achieve all of these goals. Arun Pattabhiraman, was quick to dismiss a common misconception that remarketing is merely to drive an increase in transactions and shared, “Remarketing can not only help users upgrade to subscription services but also drive traffic back to the app by re-engaging existing users.”
2. Measuring the right metrics
Everyone acknowledges that the conversation has shifted from Reach to LTV (LifeTime Value) and DAUs (Daily Active Users), and from CPIs (Cost Per Install) to Cost Per Action. And for markets such as India, which are very Android heavy, it becomes extremely important to focus on downstream metrics to predict LTV as limited storage space on Android devices leads to faster rates of uninstalls. Apps need to make greater efforts to retain users in a market where users have access to about 2 million apps but download and retain only about 20 apps. Mansi Jain spoke about attribution and the key issues around correctly attributing an ad unit across various events (eg add to cart) on a particular app to a specific user. The concept of multi-touch attribution is coming into prominence as marketers are realizing that users can be nudged to engage or re-engage with an app as a result of multiple ad units across multiple publishers. In the extremely deterministic app remarketing environment where it is necessary to have the right identifier for effective attribution, it becomes important to understand how we can connect mobile web and mobile app ecosystems.
3. Segments where remarketing works
Vasuta Agarwal touched upon the different use cases and their KPIs with respect to remarketing for the startups from different verticals to understand how they could leverage retargeting for their specific businesses. Remarketing can be used effectively across segments, including gaming where one can nudge users to move to the next stage of the game, commerce where one can drive transactions, music apps within which one can increase the number of songs played and social where one can nudge dormant users back to the app.
4. Creatives matter
An important factor in effective performance marketing is delivering creative and innovative media ads. Mansi Jain explained that creating ad units that recreate the app experience outside the app itself allows users to get a better idea of what the app has to offer and eventually leads to both re-engagement and retention.
5. At Big Basket remarketing starts much before user acquisition itself
Meera Iyer shared how Big Basket has managed to retain its users not only with superior customer facing metrics but also by constantly simplifying the browsing and purchasing process for users on their mobile app or website. Big Basket realized fairly quickly that they are better off by retaining existing users and growing their LTV, in addition to acquiring new users. By investing resources into machine learning, they are able to start suggesting relevant products for customers to purchase based on what has previously been searched or added to cart. She made it clear that for Big Basket remarketing starts much before user acquisition itself. Meera mentioned that fundamentally most digital marketers don’t understand that everything starts with understanding your users and their behavior - what they want and why they want it. She sounded hopeful when she talked about the direction and rate at which data sciences is developing in order to accommodate the fast evolving concept of marketing and remarketing.
6. Lessons from across the Globe
The Western world is definitely more advanced than the East. However, the East, with countries like China and India, is predominantly mobile-first and a large chunk of the mobile remarketing efforts are taking place here. “The only way to remarket in a country like India is through mobile,” said Arun. China is an entirely different market where infrastructure for mobile, for example, mobile payments, is developed to a much larger extent and people are accustomed to transacting over mobile. The biggest issue faced in the Chinese market is the advertiser’s hesitation to share user data which is necessary for advancement of upscaling efforts under remarketing.
Arun wrapped up the session by saying that the beauty of remarketing lies in the advertiser's ability to create micro-segments of users and to target the segments that matter to them. Overall, the evening ended on a high note, with both speakers and audience hopeful of the direction in which remarketing is evolving. Clearly, the expectations are around seeing great leaps in terms of innovation and efficiency of the industry.