Mobile App Measurement – How to Action the Data (Post 1 of 2)


Mobile app measurement helps us better understand which marketing tactics are most effective. But it also helps us better understand our users and customers.

We all know that more and more marketers are using customer behavior data to power their actions on the PC and mobile web.  But its use is less developed in the app space, in part because app data are harder to collect. As you likely know, we cannot use third party cookies for data collection, so app marketers must rely on mobile app measurement companies like Apsalar to collect that data, using SDKs that clients embed in their iPhone and Android apps.

These SDKs actually provide data that are far more accurate than third party cookies do for the PC and mobile webs. Every mobile app attribution platform provides insight on the relative effectiveness of marketing channels. But at Apsalar we’ve focused much of our app tracking development efforts on creating a platform that develops specific anonymous profiles for app users, enabling us to associate all the actions they take in an app with an individual user.

The foundation for these profiles are the Apple IDFAs and Android Advertising IDs that are unique and semi-permanent to every device. Our mobile app SDK is currently installed on more than 2.3 billion mobile devices, in more than 45,000 different iOS and Android apps. This SDK enables us to track the effects of mobile app ads, while simultaneously building up valuable customer profiles.

So how can you take the mobile app measurement data we intuitively know is so important and put it to use? What I’d like to do today is talk about 7 different ways to do that – ways that are real and tangible and relevant for virtually any app business.


Here are seven different ways you can apply segmentation and targeted marketing to radically improve the conversion metrics for your mobile app business:

  1. Basic mobile retargeting
  2. Cross-device retargeting
  3. Activation of users that abandon shopping carts
  4. Lapsed user/customer reactivation
  5. Powering engagement vehicles for a variety of purposes.
  6. App cross-marketing
  7. Lookalike modeling


Apsalar develops rich customer profiles based upon the action people take, or don’t take using the apps on their Android or iOS devices.

So imagine your entire pool of app users. Some have taken a conversion action like “made a purchase.” Some have done so multiple times. But most probably haven’t converted yet. Basic mobile retargeting refers to segmenting large groups of app users – like nonbuyers – and delivering targeted marketing to them to get them to take that conversion step. Such creative might be a reminder or an offer targeted specifically to that type of user.


We identify the mobile advertising IDs (IDFA for Apple, Android Advertising ID for Android) of the people who have never purchased within your mobile application, and deliver the ad only to those individuals, on Facebook, Twitter, or other media partners that can target by ID. We make it possible to do that targeting across all of your app users, not just those that were delivered by one media partner, and we ensure your data stay under your total control.

We also enable you to examine data from across more than a 30 day window from the data of an app install, unlike some other partners or solutions providers. Controlling your mobile app measurement data is absolutely critical here, and you need to ensure that the folks you work with give you the sort of granular data controls you need to do so.


At Apsalar, we work with several cross-device matching companies to connect people’s PC web and mobile web actions with those same profiles. So we can understand each customer on a variety of levels and then segment our pool of users in order to deliver more specific or targeted messaging. That means we can look at traits that may have been expressed on the web versus in-app for targeting.

So, to return to our never purchased example, you could target people who haven’t purchased on a site or in app, and reach them on multiple devices with your specific offer. What can you expect from such forms of basic retargeting? Well, we’ve seen, and third party data sources corroborate…

  1. Response rates vary by category, target, mobile platforms, time since engagement
  2. Within app analytics data that we have seen, retargeting drives 3-18X higher CTR
  3. Extremely effective tactic to drive app relaunches/re-engagement (versus purchases)
  4. Cross-device retargeting ads (as distinct from app install ads is best for re-engagement, IAPs, and goods available primarily/only through the app
  5. Where you have a combination of a strong ecommerce and a strong mcommerce business, cross-device attribution is valuable


Let’s move onto to the third use case, cart abandons. Mobile app analytics data show 80-99% cart abandon rates for apps, with rates in the 90s most common. A couple of other insights:

  1. Higher average basket size (like say airline tickets versus impulse good) tend to lead to more abandons.
  2. More considered purchases show higher abandon rates in mobile app tracking reports.
  3. Abandons are much higher for would-be first purchases than would-be repeat purchases.

Now, a few things to note. Consumer concerns about transaction security remain significant. Some suggest that they are higher for Android devices than iOS devices, though we haven’t seen that in our app tracking data. 65% of consumers say mobile properties are not doing enough to protect credit card security (Bizrate) and 35% say they have never made a mobile transaction because of security concerns (Internet Retailer).

Better payment systems are appearing to lower these barriers, as is growing comfort level with the app stores. But before you retarget, there’s a couple things you should do first. Identify and measure EVERY EVENT in your transaction process and determine if there is a systemic problem that is driving your rate? Difficult interface? Slow response time? Failed transactions? If so, fix that first.

Targeting cart abandons is also retargeting, but the segment is obviously much smaller than with “basic” retargeting. Basic retargeting might be for half your audience while cart abandons are just a sliver. The key here is to find a partner that can identify on a trigger basis individuals and deliver those IDs to vendors in near real-time. And one that can help get you the critical mass of IDs by enabling targeting of individuals obtained by all media vendors, not just one.

Tomorrow: More Ways to Use Mobile App Measurement Data to Improve Your App Business Results.


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