When your users are no longer your customers, you have to make a few mental adjustments. First and foremost - an install is no longer a reason to celebrate. Sure, it’s one step on the journey, but that’s about as far as it goes. An install doesn't pay the bills any more.

As even games come to resemble services. The challenge isn’t so much driving paid installs, it’s working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to encourage engagement and in-app purchases. And that’s where marketing comes in. Most of us don't think ‘marketing’ when considering a challenge like this. We tend to associate it with what we are still calling 'acquisition' (getting people to install).

But if the people using your mobile app aren't currently generating any revenue, then you’ll need to be putting the right offer, at the right time in front of them until they are. And you’ll need to be talking about it in the right way. And if that isn't marketing - we'd love to know what is!

Why You Need To Target

A key weapon in the in-app marketers toolbox is the interstitial message displayed at a certain point in the app in order to promote key user behaviors. And as with any marketing activity: more targeting means more effectiveness.

If you are delivering campaigns that are intended to change behavior, it helps to get as specific as possible in terms of who you talk to. There’s two reasons for that: firstly, the actual offer you are presenting can be customized to their needs. Secondly, the content, or look and feel of an advertising message, can be designed in a way that appeals to the type of user we are talking to.

That may seem incredibly obvious, but doesn't that in turn make it all the more unforgivable that most in-app marketers use little or no targeting in their efforts?

As with most digital marketing situations - we have huge amounts of data. We know almost everything about individual users, certainly when it comes to what they do and have done in our own app at least. That gives us many great possibilities, so ensure you use that data to the max and build in-app marketing campaigns that really move the needle.

To give just three examples, targeting makes the following possible:

  • The delivery of campaigns to users who have cancelled a purchase more than a specified number of times - perhaps with an offer that gives them a reason to return and complete the purchase
  • Campaigns targeted at engaged users who have used the app many times, who have yet to make a purchase. These can promote offers designed to maximize conversion from what we might call a ‘reluctant’ audience
  • Contextual help campaigns that support users in early life who have yet to progress (in a game) or discover key features within an app - these in turn can promote engagement and reduce churn

All these techniques, and more, are familiar to those who work in an online environment generating ongoing demand from their visitors to both turn them into customers and maximize the lifetime value of those customers. We need to do the same in the apps world. So let's get targeting!