The Most Overlooked Opportunity In Mobile Advertising Optimization

What is your first day retention rate? I’m continually surprised by how few people I speak to know this number for their own apps.

Last year, Tapstream dug into a large set of its data (ignoring apps above one million daily active users) and looked at app retention rates for a sample month in 2013 then again the same month in 2014. Average first day retention in 2013 was 25% then it fell to only 15% in May 2014. Not only is it difficult to acquire users, but it’s also becoming much more difficult to keep them.

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On the web, it’s routine to send ad clicks to custom landing pages with content geared towards the referring advertisement; in fact, it’s the defacto standard. We know it increases conversions and has a higher degree of success than sending clicks to our homepage. If this is the optimal strategy on the web, why aren’t we doing the same thing with our CPI campaigns on mobile?

Learn more about why you should be incorporating this unique mobile advertising optimization technique.

Technological Constraints

Until recently, this hasn’t really been possible. We deployed our CPI campaigns and dumped new users into the standard ‘first run’ experience of our app. Ultimately this limited the types of creatives we could deploy in our CPI campaigns.

Deferred Deep Linking has changed all of this by making it possible to send brand new users (freshly installed apps) to in-app landing pages. Deferred deep links are a mechanism that allow us to pass intent / context from an advertisement at click time through to an app immediately post install. You can use this context (or meta-data) to create custom landing pages for new users arriving from your various CPI campaigns.

Regular deep links have been limited to use in re-engagement advertising but deferred deep links allow us to use deep link technology in our user acquisition campaigns:


For example, let’s say you have a travel app and you’re about to launch a summer campaign for fantastic deals on hotels in Europe. You run the campaign and every new user who installs your app has to dig through your content to find your European hotel deals. A very frustrating experience that dramatically increases the likelihood of a new user abandoning your app right away.

Now, in the same example, imagine your marketing department tells you that people in New York state travel more to Paris in the summer months than any other geo.

We can hone in on this geo, change our creative to read something like “50% off hotels in Paris” and when a new user installs your app, they will be taken to an in app landing page (bypassing the default first run experience) where they can see the deals immediately and easily convert on your great offer.

Deferred deep links allow us to get more scientific and precise with our targeting and creative, powering higher conversions (in this case, hotel bookings) on new installs.

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re an AppLift customer (if not, you should be) spending decent sums on user acquisition. Your time optimizing a campaign is spent at the top of the funnel A/B testing creative, fine tuning targeting, etc. This is all well and good but you’re missing a key piece of the puzzle…Retaining your new users to make sure they don’t abandon your app right away!

A question worth asking is: what would the impact on my revenue be if I could easily boost first day retention by 50%? Many Tapstream customers who deploy deferred deep linking have seen massive drops of first day abandonment.

With abandonment rates growing rapidly, it is now more critical than ever to ensure your app provides the optimal new user experience. In the case of mobile advertising, this means sending new users to custom landing pages that draw them into your app, offer, and deliver the highest probability of converting.

I’m always curious to know how different apps address the issue of new user engagement. What tactics do you employ to hook a new user the first time they open your app?

Michael is CEO of Tapstream, a marketing platform for mobile apps. From analytics, to deep links, and app invites, Tapstream provides tools to help its customers measure, engage and grow their userbases. Michael can be found on Twitter @michaelzsigmond