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Elevating marketing success with app insights data

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Armed with app insights, marketers can move beyond basic acquisition efforts to leverage media and promotions to drive people back to their apps.

Today’s brands and agencies need to rethink how they’re measuring and driving success, particularly when it comes to the mobile audience understandings that serve as the foundation for their omnichannel efforts. Going forward, it’s going to be vital for marketers to shift their perspectives away from pure-play acquisition and toward a focus on engagement lift and incrementality. 

Many marketers today place a great deal of weight on app installs as a success metric, but installs are problematic as a standalone measurement. Across categories, app retention rates tend to be quite low, with less than 10% of North American users still using an app seven days after installation. In other words, marketers are consistently spending inefficiently when it comes to their acquisition efforts, with up to 90% of their spend wasted on acquiring unengaged users. 

There’s a better way. Armed with app insights — that is, deeper intelligence on app ownership and engagement — marketers can move beyond basic acquisition efforts to leverage media and promotions to drive people back to their apps. Let’s take a look at why acquisition and engagement efforts need to run in tandem in order to build the right incrementality that delivers retention — and the role that app insights play in that process. 

Benchmarking and improving success

By delving deeper into app insights, in the form of both app ownership and engagement data, marketers can better benchmark the success of their initiatives as they complement their acquisition campaigns with reengagement tactics. The importance of this dual path, and the importance of app insights in tracking success, was highlighted when T-Mobile Advertising Solutions took a deep dive into several recent quick-serve restaurant (QSR) promotions and saw how supplementing initial install-focused media with post-install reengagement efforts helped drive retention and deeper value from users.

The above graph tells the story of what it takes to achieve meaningful and sustained success with app install efforts. The QSR brand at the top (in yellow) ran multiple promotions during the time period monitored. With each promotion, there was a spike in installs, followed by a natural fall-off as users uninstalled the app or ceased using it. However, following the brand’s Black Friday promotion, the company launched a video and display brand campaign that helped continually drive new app installs and retention, both of which are key to driving increased revenue. 

Compare this to the blue graph, representing a QSR brand that launched a product discount promotion in December but then failed to nurture, reengage or incentivize customers. Thus, after a spike, the install gains fell off immediately and remained flat.

Finally, the third QSR brand (in green) launched a Thanksgiving offer in late November, generating a nice app install bump. The brand then activated a cost-per-install campaign that drove sustained new installs through the month of December. This supplementation brought new users to the app and, paired with offers for new app users, helped drive more revenue for the brand. However, if the brand had applied media reengagement alongside its CPI campaign, it likely could have retained more of its users and converted them into loyal repeat purchasers. 

Enhancing and extending campaigns

In addition to refining an advertiser’s benchmarking efforts, app insights can also be tapped to improve omnichannel performance. For example, in the above QSR example, the first brand was able to tap into app insights to identify that their app users also happened to be movie buffs (i.e., they were regular users of movie streaming apps on their devices). By retargeting new app users with video ads in strategic outlets for movie buffs, this brand was able to drive more-effective brand reinforcement, which decreased uninstall rates and increased app engagement.

Such insights can also fuel smart extensions into new, undertapped advertising channels. For example, QSR brands might be able to deduce, based on rideshare app usage, that their customers tend to be on the go and often looking to grab a quick, convenient bite. They could then choose to reach those users via video ads run strategically in rideshare vehicles in DMAs where the QSR has a particularly strong presence. 

App insights empower savvy marketers

In an industry landscape where marketers are continually looking for reliable audience intelligence sources, app insights such as these can provide the missing piece. In addition to providing benchmarks and a competitive lens into app performance from a single source of truth, app insights can provide potent directional data to better inform media planning and creative solutions for acquiring new customers and retaining them to drive lifetime value.

In a soon-to-be-cookieless world, apps are the best window into consumer interest and intent. App insights unlock new data that brings customers into focus, empowering marketers to see the bigger picture and make data-driven decisions that lead to real business outcomes that improve the bottom line.


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