Charting The Future of Retargeting on Mobile: Q&A With Remerge’s Maria Lannon
Matt Kaplan Content Strategist
9 min read
Posted on March 14, 2022
In light of all of the changes happening around addressability, identity and privacy in mobile advertising, especially on iOS, what does the present and future of retargeting look like? For a deeper dive on the topic, I recently chatted with Maria Lannon, VP of Account Management at Remerge. Check it out!
Top Quotes From Maria
Retargeting Explained: “Retargeting, which is what we do here at Remerge, is reengaging users through in-app advertising. Many app advertisers are utilizing user acquisition to try to get users to install an app. However, what really is important for these marketers is that users are coming back to the app and they're actually using it, and that's where retargeting comes in. So what we are doing is we are then targeting users that have the app installed. Maybe they are lapsed users. They could be users that had recently installed that we're trying to drive them down the funnel to make a purchase within the app.”
How Retargeting Used To Work: “Historically, we plug into all of the major mobile measurement partners. And so with that, we are able to then target users based off an IDFA or GAID. And so sometimes advertisers might send us user lists that they want to target, depending on segmentation that they want to use. These could be users that haven't been in the app in the last seven days. They could be users that just installed within the first three days that they want to bring back whatever segmentation that they're utilizing. We are able to target those users in real time, find those users across all of the major supply side partners that we are plugged into to then serve them a relevant ad. And so historically, that's how retargeting has worked, similar to how it works on web with cookies. So knowing this user just by this combination of numbers and letters. And that's really all we know about the user and where that user is across the app ecosystem.”
How Apple’s Changes Impact Retargeting: “It has impacted retargeting in the sense that I think advertisers need to be a little bit more strategic with the way that they're speaking to consumers.
As of January of this year for us at Remerge, we saw about 54% of global iOS bid requests actually had an ID. So still fairly healthy, right?I think now we're taking a broader look at things and saying, OK, we might have only one shot to get in front of this user, right? Because not only do they need to opt-in on the advertiser side, they also need to opt-in on the publisher side as well. So that limits the opportunities to get in front of the user. So I think what really becomes important now and how we've seen these changes is what marketers are actually communicating to users. Retargeting has that connotation of being invasive, right. But now it’s, how can we change that from becoming invasive to becoming compelling.
When thinking about opt-in rates and a lot of advertisers that I’m speaking with, I would say generally on average it’s probably around 20-25%. That’s still a percentage you can work with. Those could be really high value users to you. Especially if they’re agreeing to continue to engage with your content. It’s something we keep a close eye on in terms of the bid requests that we’re seeing. We published this post-IDFA dashboard which is available on our website where it’s updated daily and it tracks CPMs on iD & non-ID traffic to see what is working, what’s the total landscape across different geo’s. For us, what we’re seeing is that it’s been pretty healthy. ”
The Importance of Creative for Retargeting: “The ad that you show and what you're communicating to the user is more important than ever because you want to have that value exchange. You want to incentivize them to come back, and you don't want to be too invasive or they're going to opt-out. And so I think it's more about quality over quantity now.Can we serve some content that's going to be compelling for the user, so that they're going to come back? It's getting creative with different types of creative that you're using, serving different messaging based on what you see. Are there different publishers that you see higher conversion rates on and do we need to leverage those more specifically? Before maybe you wouldn't take a closer look at some of those other contextual signals. Similarly, do we see that your user base responds better to videos? Let's lean into that. Thinking about user fatigue, how can we switch around content so that users are still compelled to find the brand interesting and want to keep coming back to that app?”
Retargeting Users Without Device IDs: “The fact of the matter is you can still target non-ID traffic. It’s really just, user acquisition and retargeting become one in the same because we’re not sure if this user is familiar with the brand or the app or if they are an avid user, right? So, targeting is still possible. It's just changing the way that we think about these users. And that goes back to messaging. Can we use specific CTAs that are a little bit more generic like “shop” or “play” which seems very basic but is going to talk to a larger audience. What we could do is, do we see that users have a higher return on ad spend on specific publishers and that might indicate to us, OK, maybe a lot of the existing user base is going here whereas your newer user base is going here and then we can serve up content based on what we see.”
How to Accurately Measure Non-ID Traffic: “How do you accurately measure non-ID traffic? What's right? There will probably be a shift, especially when thinking about KPIs that marketers are setting for specific campaigns when it comes to user acquisition or retargeting. We are fully integrated with SKAdNetwork. Some of our advertisers are using that, especially advertisers that are testing this out non-ID targeting with us. Everyone I think is still getting used to it. And then of course they are leveraging mobile measurement partners to continue to be able to measure even with non-ID. A lot of what advertisers are thinking about is incrementality because in the absence of IDs, there are ways that you can measure lift if you are targeting a specific portion of the audience and you have some sort of hold out group. I think that's probably where we will see a lot more focus.”
What To Expect from Android Around Privacy and Targeting: “With Android we'll probably see a similar trend. I do think that, thinking about GAID and Google, it might not be as aggressive. I think Apple and Google have different stances when it comes to privacy and when it comes to advertising."
How Mobile Advertisers Should Be Thinking About Data and Opted-In Users: “I think what we can do today to prepare for the absence of IDs potentially on both devices, is utilize the ID traffic that we have right now. Utilize the signals that we see. What creative is working, what publisher mixes are working, are there certain geo’s the advertiser sees works well? So, utilizing all of that that we see today while we have it and then taking those learnings when we need to be a little bit more strategic. Even with the small opt-in rates that we are seeing, like 20%, you're going to learn a lot from those users, and you're going to be able to leverage that. Thinking about those users that do opt-in, how can we understand that user behavior to increase opt-in rates too?”
How A Leading E-Commerce Brand is Now Approaching User Identity: “As an example, we work with a top e-commerce brand, and they've done a fabulous job creating an opt-in window that isn't just the standard “allowed to track”. They provide information on why the user should opt-in. Of course, that's an investment, right? Because now you have to get your developers involved to create a more native prompt that might be more aligned with your brand. But it's creating a story, and it's compelling to the user because you're explaining to them what this is all about. Whereas if you just see a pop up, you're just going to say no, I don't want that. But if you can explain to the user, they're going to think about it and they’re going to say, OK, I actually love this brand, it's one of my favorite brands. And yeah, I want to see relevant content from them.”
Impact of Educating Consumers About Tracking: “For this player in particular, what we’ve seen is actually still very healthy investment on iOS. It’s equal to what we were investing on Android. Similarly, we actually see a higher ROAS on iOS users, high revenue per user as well. Si that’s just an example where putting in the extra effort probably is going to pay off in the long run.”
How Android Can Inform Your iOS In-App Advertising Efforts: “I think you can shift budget to Android and do it in a smart way where it's like, OK, I know that I have the ID. I know I have all these additional signals. If I am shifting more budget for Android maybe in the short term, I can take those learnings and apply to itn to non-ID traffic. So I think that might be a good strategy. But you know, you can't just put all your eggs in one basket.”
What In-App Advertising and Retargeting May Look Like in the Future: “I think user acquisition and retargeting will kind of become one in the same, as that's already happening. I think that advertisers will be smarter about the way that they're speaking to users in a way that isn't as invasive and it's more compelling, more relevant. I think we need to lean into all of these privacy changes because that’s not going anywhere. That doesn’t mean “OK,I’m going to just put all my investment towards Android”. These are all short term solutions. Or “I’m going to rely on probabilistic attribution”. Eventually all of that is going to go away. So what can we be testing out today that might make sense in the future?
Thinking about, 'do I need to be looking at incremental lift?.' I see that being a shift. So, leveraging what we see from more traditional advertising in terms of measurement and then applying that to what we see in the digital landscape.”
Remerge helps app businesses achieve their most fundamental goals: grow, boost revenue, and encourage user loyalty. Their strategy covers user data analysis, creative execution, calculation of the campaign’s incremental value, and continuous optimization. By developing advanced methodologies and practicing transparent communication, they refine the science of app marketing.
Since their start in 2014, Remerge contributed to the growth of hundreds of apps across all major verticals, including gaming, delivery, e-commerce, and travel. Their international team of specialists closely collaborates with clients to deliver high-performing campaigns through innovative solutions, supported by a powerful information infrastructure.
About the Interviewer
Matthew Kaplan has over a decade of digital marketing experience, working to support the content goals of the world’s biggest B2B and B2C brands. He is a passionate app user and evangelist, working to support diverse marketing campaigns across devices.