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Retargeting is Gaming’s Biggest Missed Opportunity

Shivkumar M Shivkumar M has over 20 years of experience shaping technology product and GTM strategy. With B2B SaaS expertise across industries, he leads product launches, adoption, and GTM as Director of Product Marketing.
Retargeting is Gaming’s Biggest Missed Opportunity

When was the last time you stopped playing a mobile game and received a notification or email prompting you to return? Or perhaps searched for a game on your app store, tapped to purchase, changed your mind, and later saw an ad for that same game on your social media feed?
This process is retargeting and remarketing, which could potentially bring users back to your gaming app and lower your overall churn. And yet… it’s a channel that many casual mobile games appear to be underutilizing.
According to AppsFlyer, ecommerce apps have a retargeting adoption rate of anywhere from 50 to 72% depending on region. In comparison, casual games have only a 7% retargeting adoption rate. *
Here’s why you may be missing a tremendous opportunity if you’re not using remarketing for your app.

Retargeting vs. Remarketing

Before we get caught up in the details, let’s first define the terms we’re using.

What is Retargeting?

Retargeting is about using paid and owned channels to drive better engagement. But the typical usage of the term refers specifically to online display ads sent to users who have interacted with your site or app but without converting. These highly targeted ads bring them back to complete a purchase and convert into a paying customer.

What is Remarketing?

Remarketing shares the same objectives as retargeting, but is the term more typically used when you re-engage people via email instead of via display ads. It’s still a subset of retargeting however, as it deals with user engagement via email, which is an owned channel. Even if you use an email provider, you still own the email list and your email content.
Here’s how these tools are being used in the gaming space.

Retargeting in the Gaming Industry

A 2020 report on the State of App Retargeting* shows:

  • Casual gaming (e.g., word games, puzzles, trivia, sports games, and many more hypercasual games) showed a decrease in retargeting share per app across regional markets.
  • Midcore gaming (e.g., action, arcade, racing games) showed the most marked increase in APAC, with a 15% rise.
  • Hardcore gaming (e.g., strategy and role-playing games) has decreased in retargeting share in all geographies since 2018, except for Asia Pacific where it ended with an increase of 32%.

The report defines retargeting share as the percentage of retargeting conversions among all combined non-organic conversions — both installs and retargeting. And a retargeting conversion is counted when a user clicks on a promotion sent via retargeting and actually opens the app.
Gaming apps marketers have increasingly been using retargeting as a channel. In fact, there was a 10% rise in the percentage of apps running retargeting between 2019 and 2020. *
And right now, almost one-third of apps with a marketing budget are including retargeting in their marketing toolbox.

What’s the Missed Opportunity?

Well, only 2% of online shoppers convert on their first visit.* Retargeting helps bring back the remaining 98% that you initially lose on that first visit.
And 35% of all app marketing conversions in early 2020 were the result of retargeting efforts.*
In fact, according to Appsflyer data,* the average revenue uplift among paying users who were exposed to a retargeting campaign was over 50% in gaming apps, more than double the industry average.
The long and short of it is: retargeting can result in a tremendous improvement in your bottom line if used correctly.

How to Improve Your Retargeting Efforts

While push notifications and emails have long been effective strategies for getting mobile users back, these may still not reach those who have uninstalled your app. This is where app retargeting can be useful in driving engagement and retention.
But how can you make your retargeting more successful? Several tips below:
1. Personalize
Personalize your retargeting ads
Our post on 5 simple ways to improve ad personalization can start you off on the right foot. The most important takeaway from that article? Personalization must be focused on improving the user experience — not on making the sale. Use personalization to enhance your existing campaigns or even to show them areas of your game that might be new or delightful to them. Some ways you can use personalization in your retargeting campaigns:

  • Show them graphics based on the levels they’ve finished playing. Instead of showing them a newbie’s screen, use their last played level to create a connection and remind them what they’re missing.
  • Show users areas of the game they haven’t explored yet. Once again, this is based on user behavior within your app. Create curiosity about those easter eggs they missed, or specific areas within your game they never visited.
  • Show beginners the catchiest parts of your game. In a way, your retargeting ad serves as a way to further onboard them if they’ve spent very little time in your game. Show them unique features, the gameplay, get them curious, pique their interest.

2. Segment
Segment your retargeting audience
You’ve got to segment your audience properly if you want to get them back in your app or on your website. The more specific your segment is, the more effective your campaign. Our RFM Analysis function automatically segments your audience based not just on specific user actions but also how recently or how frequently they interacted with your app, allowing you to specifically target those segments at risk of uninstalling, or who need to be engaged in order to turn them into champions.
3. Sequence
Sequence your retargeting ads so they make sense
One simple way to enhance your retargeting ads is to design them as a sequence of ads that are part of a larger campaign. Instead of disparate, separate messages, a series of connected ads pushing one message or one promotion can result in a more unified, and therefore more delightful experience for your users.
4. Get Dynamic
Use dynamic content for your retargeting ads
Experiment with dynamic creative ads on Facebook. These tools allow you to upload multiple images or videos, multiple headlines or descriptions, even CTA button text and then let Facebook test and optimize for the best combinations.
5. Write Better Copy
Write better copy for your retargeting ads
The life or death of your retargeting efforts rests on the efficacy of your copywriting — your headlines, your descriptions, your CTAs and button texts. And you can’t write mobile-specific content unless you understand the motivations of your users. We’ve packaged all our best tips for mobile copywriting into The Mobile Copywriting Pocket Guide. Grab it now!

Get Retargeting Now

Retargeting for gaming apps serves a very direct purpose: to get inactive users back into the app by showing them what they’ve missed out on, and to get them hooked on your game. When done correctly, these campaigns will shorten the time to conversion and in-app revenue, and serve to turn formerly churned users into brand loyalists. For those gaming apps wanting to cash in on that potential success, it’s time to get your retargeting efforts under way.

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Last updated on March 29, 2024