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Game Over: How To Avoid Mobile App Churn

Written by: Juliana Casale, Director of Marketing

User acquisition is often the primary focus for app developers, who are constantly bidding against hundreds of other gaming companies with the same goal: to reach users with a demonstrated interest in mobile games that are most likely to make in-app purchases. Given this intense competition for a very specific kind of customer, it’s surprising that many social media campaigns aren’t optimized toward yield or revenue. More frequently, app developers target towards Cost Per Install (CPI) and then lower their spend volume too soon because they don’t have the budget to continue accruing a large number of installs per day.

RevOpt is a strategy that many gaming companies tend to overlook, and that’s not the only thing. With all this focus on user acquisition, app developers seem to be missing a major component of digital advertising — namely, re-engagement. Think about it. Wouldn’t it be an easier conversion to get someone to use an already downloaded app than try to get them to download it for the first time? It’s already on their phone. Or, say your game’s been around for two years, and you’re running Lookalikes instead of acquisition campaigns. At that point, you need to think beyond “How do I get them to install?” to “How do I get them to spend more money?”

App retention rate

According to our Boston neighbors at Localytics, app retention was on the rise in 2014, with fewer users only interacting with an app once and more engaging 11+ times (an encouraging 5% increase from the previous year). However, their app churn research uncovered that mobile gaming apps are especially in danger of only being used once if a return visit doesn’t occur within a 12 hour window. The good news? This problem is easily solved.

When you have Custom Audiences built out for different levels of gamers and/or purchasers, customizing your ad creative and copy to the types of users that you’re retargeting becomes a snap. Here are some examples of gamers that you might want to re-engage:

  • Someone who has installed but has yet to open your app
  • Gamers who have recently completed a tutorial
  • Purchasers who have ceased activity since X number of days

Knowledge is power. When you know exactly who you’re talking to, you can make your ad messaging extremely targeted — from encouraging gamers who’ve taken a first step with your app to continue to level one, to rewarding high-level achievement with free tokens or equipment.

After all, you’ve spent a lot of time crafting an app that people will love — do you really want it to end up in a smartphone graveyard?

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