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4 Pillars for Successful Retargeting

By Retargeting Super Wiz, Eli Hagag

“Think of your retargeting list as a VIP list. They are your most valuable players. You need to know what they like and treat them right or they’re out.”

4 Pillars for Successful Retargeting

By Retargeting Super Wiz,
Eli Hagag

Mobile app retargeting and re-engagement are core activities for companies that need to stimulate their high LTV users. The default thinking for this field is mainly focused on retargeting churned users. However, when your users are constantly exposed to numerous temptations and opportunities from direct competitors, retargeting also plays a crucial role in keeping your most valued users engaged with your app versus spending their time and money elsewhere.

Using Pareto’s law, 20% of the users on a given app are responsible for 80% of the developer’s income from that app. In most cases, especially in gaming, the value of 20% may be as low as 5%, which makes retargeting an even more essential factor for app growth. This article will describe, from a high-level view, how to lift your mobile app retargeting activity to the next level.

Data is the Bread

Think of your retargeting list as a VIP list. They are your most valuable players. You need to know what they like and treat them right or they’re out. Knowing as much as possible about them is crucial. At Bigabid, we customize our strategy and ML technologies per app using all the data events our partners are able to share. Beyond common events, such as app open and purchase, we are able to pinpoint the user’s behavior and LTV by additional events, such as session length, the number of jams before leaving, or any other milestone– including what might be considered as “meaningless” ones documented by the developer.

There is no “one solution fits all”, and each developer has their own values and thresholds, so adjusting the retargeting plan per case is a must. In gaming apps, important events could include visiting the store or reaching a level. In shopping apps, they could include products being left in the cart or a change in the price of a product that the user was interested in. For entertainment apps, subscription renewals or any new content related to user preferences could be influential events. The difference of events and thresholds for each app is the main reason we develop dedicated ML technology for each of our clients.

On top of customization, with transparency as a core value, Bigabid looks at apps as a whole, enriching developers with insights and solutions extracted by models and analysis beyond ad spend metrics. User journey, creatives, and the various explorations we run for testing new avenues contribute to the entire app as a whole. All that said, without data, this cannot happen, and the more data, the bigger the growth potential and the greater chance that your VIP’s stays in your ecosystem.

Read more about our commitment to Partnering with Transparency

Segments are the Butter
Segments make up the secret sauce for successful mobile app retargeting activity. Each user is segmentized and added to a certain audience with other users that share similar characteristics and quantifiable metrics within the app. It’s the first and most important step of the user evaluation process. To allocate users in an accurate way, we try to answer big questions as if we were able to ask a user in person.

To represent these kinds of questions, Bigabid creates an enormous amount of features to develop multi-label machine learning that ultimately matches users to a specific segment. In cooperation with the developer, each of the segments gets a different treatment. A treatment in retargeting can be related either to the ad a user sees or a gift/promotion they get after returning to the app. For, example,, a user without jams (or chips) will get jams upon returning to the app. A user with lots of coins, will get a special promotion for getting more of these.

Or maybe the users should get exactly the opposite treatment? That’s a challenging question that should be constantly tested as even within segments we can find different feedback at times. Treatments are powerful and must be used in a scientific manner. The misuse of a specific treatment for a segment can influence the entire segment evaluation, which will affect the segment allocation, and therefore, may influence our ability to determine the performance of that treatment. Any error can move the needle significantly, thus, these processes are being carefully operated and measured every step of the way, #A/BTestingLife!

Creative Operations
Another layer, above the segment allocation, is the usage and adjustments of creatives. An optimized creative can lift the probability of successful retargeting to another level, an impact that can easily be seen in the ROI. The aspects we modify and personalize in creatives are the copy, format, and the design, which are driven by the characteristics of a segment and the desired treatment it will get.

Discover more about Creative Personalization.


Along with the challenge of creating top designs and messages, is the operational challenge. For example, let’s take 10 different segments in 10 different countries, testing 2 different creatives at a time, with 200 different creatives to test!


I Have Ninety-Nine Problems but ROI Ain’t One
Retargeting is a very lucrative activity with a naturally higher ROAS than user acquisition. However, the comparison between the two is not apples to apples. User acquisition is the beginning of every user’s journey, and without user acquisition, there is no retargeting. That said, for maximizing high LTV, users must be retargeted.

Discover more about Bigabid’s user acquisition and Targeting High LTV Users.


In today’s market, we see some of the largest companies from all domains invest more money on retargeting than on user acquisition. For example, we’re all familiar with McDonalds. Those who haven’t ever tried McDonalds, will most likely try it sooner or later. But that doesn’t prevent McDonalds from constantly marketing its products and suggesting new products like new deals in the dollar menu. It seems like a waste of money for such a known brand, but data shows it increases their customer return rates. This is true for Nike, Apple, and Booking.com (yup, I have a friend there ☺).

Considering these massive brands, It’s notable how retargeting strengthens their brand, keeps their users more engaged, and convinces them to continually try their products. Of course, if your app is very small, at times, it makes sense to hold off on retargeting or to start small, but once you reached a certain user base, depending on the vertical, purchase rate, goals, and other metrics, retargeting is a must for your app growth.

Retargeting Retargeted
Retargeting includes a whole world of opportunities that involves lots of analytical, operational, and creative efforts. To summarize, the main points are:

  • Track and save as many events as possible in your app – you will and should use them.
  • Work with trusted partners, and share the data you’re able to with them, so they can help curate and stimulate high LTV users.
  • Think operationally with your objectives, usually, it’s more complicated than your initial estimation.
  • A/B test EVERYTHING.
  • Segment your users wisely.
  • If you need help, feel free talk with us at Bigabid!
  • Use incremental measurements to make sure that there is added value from your retargeting activity.

Retargeting activities are crucial for app growth. From owned media to working with DSPs, retargeting should be constantly evaluated and tailored per app. Now go find your retargeting partner or partner(s). If you’d like to discover more about the benefits of working with Bigabid please click the “contact us” button below.

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