How to Best Re-Engage App Customers to Increase LTV

Ready to retarget and re-engage?

Growing an app is a holistic process. Having a well-defined, paid user-acquisition strategy is crucial but marks just one puzzle piece among many. A complete strategy with the best return on ad spend (ROAS) also requires the maximization of value of the existing customer base.

User churn is unavoidable, yet app marketers have a veritable toolbox of techniques for reducing it. The best of these techniques are employed with an advanced understanding of the interconnectivity between retention, re-engagement, and lifetime value (LTV). With much evidence of their efficacy, retargeting campaigns should be one of the first tools that marketers reach for in their bid to reduce their user churn rate.

How to Combat the Worst Type of Churn

User churn can occur for many reasons. It can be caused by weak relationship building, poor consumer engagement, insufficient customer support, bug-riddled apps, or an onerous user experience. 

Criticism, Write A Review, Review, Star, Hand, Finger

As such, there are a great many retention-improving solutions, including:

  • Proactively communicating
  • Improving the app’s utility
  • Rewarding and incentivizing loyalty
  • Acting on negative feedback
  • Delivering on promises
  • Fostering community
  • Showing appreciation

The time and type of churn dictates how detrimental it is to revenue. When measured by any meaningful metric (including LTV), the most damaging type of lost users tend to be those who abandon an app before completing crucial post-install actions. In other words, the users who show their interest in an app by downloading it, then turn away before the tipping point of becoming a customer. 

To counter this churn, it is vital to identify which of the reasons provided above is causing users to drop off at this critical time. Once that data is gathered, strategies can be designed and implemented to convince users to re-engage. Yet acquiring that crucial data is not a straight-forward process and if done poorly will skew re-engagement and retention efforts later down the line.

Monitoring User Behaviour to Increase LTV

As the old adage goes, ‘knowledge is power’. No effective retention strategy can be implemented without behavioural monitoring. Naturally, this user data comes in useful for a variety of retention and LTV purposes. An often undervalued use is re-engagement; without this crucial knowledge about the aspects of your app that engage and disengage users, it becomes much more difficult to successfully re-engage them. 

We live in a world of exponentially growing data. Knowing what you are looking for is fundamental. So which data sets are worth paying extra attention to in order to know where you are going wrong?

The short answer is the customer journey. 

person in gray shirt holding white printer paper

Ask yourself:

  • At what point in the customer journey do users tend to stop using my app?
  • Why are users who downloaded my app not sticking with it? 
  • What are my app’s weakest moments?
  • What type of users persevere and what type of users give up? 
  • Am I hemorrhaging a specific demographic?

Answering these questions is the first step to keeping customers engaged for the long-haul and therefore achieving better lifetime value for your business. You will soon discover that users do not act as a single entity. After getting to grips with your funnel, you will need to segment users based on in-app events, then tailor your messaging towards them.

Re-engagement Tips to Supplement User Acquisition Campaigns

A holistic end-to-end approach to customer acquisition must involve a well-defined retargeting and reengagement strategy. On average, retargeting produces three times more sessions per dollar spent than traditional UA, driving a 48% higher click-through-rate.

Well implemented retargeting and reengagement campaigns help to retain users and turn them into valuable loyal customers, therefore improving an advertisers’ ROAS.

So what does re-engagement involve? Actively marketing to existing customers based on the data you already have about them. 

person writing on white paper

Non-Dormant Re-Engagement – It is worth remembering that re-engagement is not only for users who have proactively uninstalled or disregarded an app, but also for users who have shown some product loyalty but whose long-term commitment is anything but guaranteed. Seal the deal through special events such as giveaways, app anniversaries, new services, long-term usage rewards, and birthday bonuses. 

Push Notifications – Unlike other products, abandoning an app does not necessitate uninstalling it. This is one of the factors that can make it difficult to know when a user has been churned. However, it can also work to the advertiser’s advantage; an installed but unused app provides a direct messaging channel to would-be customers. Push notifications can be used for targeted messages to bring users back from the brink. It should not need saying that this should be done carefully, overzealous usage of push notifications will act as the final nail in a coffin rather than a saving grace. 

Rich Media, Search & Display, and Deep Linking – Tailor high-quality advertisements across relevant platforms for users you know to have previously expressed interest in your app. Rather than redirecting them to the download page, deep link to exciting pages or crucial post-install actions that are likely to convert users to customers. If you have properly studied the reasons that users disengage from an app, you should be able to find intelligent ways to shape these advertisements in order to re-engage them.

Measure, Alter, Optimise – The devil is in the details. Every app is different both in purpose, branding and voice. There is no one-size fits all push notification or re-engagement ads; tiny changes in detail can result in huge differences in success rate. Re-engagement, like so many aspects of app advertising, relies on a continual process of optimisation. You must be willing to go back to the drawing board if a re-engagement strategy is not producing the desired results. 

Identifying when and why users disengage with your app then finding solutions to prevent it is a fundamental part of increasing LTV. The most important step in any re-engagement journey is the first one. As these tips and tricks are tried out, the inter-connectivity between retention, re-engagement, and lifetime value (LTV) starts to become clear. 

For more assistance in how best to re-engage your customers, get in touch.

Marcus Waters is based in Applift's HQ in Berlin and leads the Business Development team for Europe, India and MENA.