Mobile App Remarketing — A Beginner’s Guide By @deepakabbot

Article cross posted from Deepak Abbot's blog in which he discusses how to do mobile app remarketing/ retargeting for Facebook, Google, Independent Ad-Networks

Editor’s Note: The article has been cross posted with due consent from Deepak Abbot – Head Mobile Growth at Times Internet.

Remarketing or Retargeting has proven to be one of the most useful tools to bring a bounced user back to the website. Websites use cookies to follow the visitor across the web however it does not work in Apps. Targeting on Apps requires a unique identifier like device ID, Advertiser ID, UDID (now deprecated) or combination of few attributes known as device fingerprinting. This article will help you understand the basics of App Remarketing and enable you to create your first campaign.

There are primarily three different channels (traffic sources) to retarget your visitors:

1. Facebook

2. Google Network

3. Independent Ad-Networks

Each of the above channels follows their custom methods to retarget. Lets first talk about Remarketing on Facebook.

Remarketing users on Facebook

Step 1: Integrate Facebook SDK in your app. Android SDK | iOS SDK

Step 2: Setup events that you would like to track and target. Often used events like App open, In-app transactions, level ups, login or sign up, can help reach out to users based on their in-app behavior. E.g. Retarget users who did not open your app in last X days or user who cleared a particular level in a game.

Step 3: Register App with Facebook ( and ensure that your SDK is working fine. Navigate to App Insights > Choose App > Select App Events. If the table is showing the events, SDK seems to be working as expected.

Step 4: Create Custom audience — Important step before remarketing in Facebook is to create custom audiences based on the actions people have taken within the mobile app.

How to create custom audiences: Ad Manager > Power Editor > Audiences (from left Menu) > Create Audience (drop down from the table that appears on the right) > Mobile App Custom Audience

Now you will find a table shown below to create an audience list:

custom audience from m app

Step 5: Create Ad: After creating audience list (one can create multiple such lists based on various events), now you are ready to “Create Ad” in Facebook:

You will now be able to browse the various custom audiences list created in an earlier step. Also check the complete list under “Audiences” in Facebook Ads Manager and click on “Create Ad” in front of it to target these users. Based on the budget, targeting and other parameters, your ad would be visible to your existing Mobile App users when they are browsing Facebook.

Facebook mobile retargetting audience

Custom audience method is best-used when you want to define whom to target based on user’s in-app behavior coupled with FB’s targeting.

Remarketing using FBX (Facebook Exchange)

There is another method to retarget users on Facebook using FBX (Facebook Exchange). FBX comes to the rescue when an app offers large bouquet of products and requires real time dynamic ad-creatives to be served to the granular FB audience. Access to FBX is available via DSP, and you can find the list of FB’s preferred partners here.

Remarketing with Google Adwords

Deepak AbbotGoogle network has couple of billion monthly active users and chances are all your visitors are already there. So it makes perfect sense to include Google network along with Facebook to bring the visitor back. Here is a step by step guide to set up mobile app remarketing in Google Adwords:

Step 1: Generate Google Remarketing code for your Mobile App

Open > Shared Library (in left navigation) > Audiences (from the right table) > Set up remarketing > Add email ID to receive the remarketing code details

Step 2: Add the remarketing code to your mobile App

Add the remarketing code to each of your mobile app screen or all the main screens as it will allow you to create a custom remarketing lists based on various in-app actions.

Important Tip: Integrate Google Tag Manager for Mobile in your Apps for easier integration of multiple codes including Google Remarketing tags. Details here.

To check if your code is working properly, don’t forget to validate the tag. Details here.

There is an alternate way to enable remarketing in mobile apps if one uses Google Analytics: 

If using Google Analytics in Apps, you need to modify the tracking code to collect the advertising ID. Click here to find out how to modify the code in Android SDK.

Step 3: Create a remarkting list

Open Adwords account > Shared Library > Audiences > + Remarketing list > Name the list > Define Remarketing conditions > Save

Google mobile retargeting

Create Remarketing list using Google Analytics:

Remarketing list can be created within Google Analytics and if your GA & Adwords accounts are linked then this list will be visible in Adwords directly. To link GA with Adwords, follow the instructions here.

Google analytics mobile retargeting

Step 4: Create Ad

Final step is to start creating Ads in Google Adwords.

Open Adwords Account > + Campaign > Campaign Name > Select Remarketing > Select Budget > Targeting Parameters > Save

retargeting from display network

Congratulations, your remarketing ad in Google Adwords is now created. Allow few hours before it goes live.

Remarketing with Ad-Networks

While Facebook or Google can let you reach millions of bounced visitors, however you may want to catch your visitors at places outside the range of FB & Google. Several Ad-networks hold premium, exclusive or native advertising spots for Mobile Apps and its imperative to tap them for such positions.

I will not specifically talk about any ad-network but list down the various ways in which one can work with them:

SDK based solution — Ad-Network needs a unique identifier between Apps which can be extracted from within the app using the SDK. IDFA (iOS) or Advertising ID (Android) is commonly used unique identifier among all networks.

If you are looking to tap the inventory of these ad-networks, you need to integrate their SDK that passes this ID that looks for similar users on the network and retarget them. Several networks are also offering product feed based dynamic ads (extremely useful for shopping or travel apps) which captures the in-app behavior of the user and then show him/her the relevant product ad.

Things to watch out:

SDK size — ensure that it’s easy to integrate + is not more than few KBs

Privacy — Be sure about the privacy policy of each network and how they plan to reuse the info available to them about your users

Reach — Remarketing fails if the network is not covering majority of your users. Check their direct and indirect (thru exchanges) reach

SDK less solution — If adding an SDK is not feasible, you take the onus of providing the unique identifiers back to the ad-network for them to retarget. This is possible if you are already capturing it using self created solution or a third party attribution/analytics/retargeting SDK which can then be passed back to the ad-network.

Speak to your Ad-networks and they may have few more ways to help you target your visitors.

One more thing: Work with Retargeting platforms 

If you think it’s all too complicated, there is an easier way by working with any of the popular retargeting platforms (e.g. Adroll, Retargeter). Several retargeting platforms offer a cross screen solution retargeting your users from desktop to mobile screens. Just place a simple javascript in your desktop website and rest will be taken care by these platforms. Platforms like Adroll, Retargeter, Fetchback can retarget your users on both Facebook and Twitter.

If a visitor comes to your site, then he/she is followed on Facebook desktop through sponsored feeds or regular ads. Same user is then followed from there to his/her mobile screen when they open the FB App.

Similarly on Twitter, you can retarget the user through promoted tweet and promoted account using cards.

Also, to make full use of dynamic App remarketing, make sure you have deep links enabled — You can read more about Deep linking your Apps here.

Hope you find this article useful in starting up with Mobile App Remarketing. I will follow up with advanced guide on App remarketing in weeks to follow. Feel free to drop in your comments.

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