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Is your user data at risk? Check your retargeting partner’s priorities

With the arrival of iOS 14.5, everyone in the industry is searching for new opportunities in performance marketing. Adikteev is no different, and we’re rolling out a number of new offers and tools to help app marketers continue re-engaging their users and driving revenue. But for all our new services, one thing you won’t see us running is UA campaigns. Here’s why we think it’s best to stick with what we do best.


Very different domains

The worlds of UA and retargeting may seem tangentially related, but the rules are quite different for both. UA is about acquisition. It’s in the title: finding users who are interested in your app. App retargeting is concerned with retention: ensuring that users keep coming back to your app and don’t churn.

In order to run a successful app retargeting campaign, partners must be familiar with deep links, specific attribution (retargeting windows, inactivity windows) and many more details that aren’t necessarily a requirement for UA.

Strategy is also of key importance for app retargeting. Before starting, it’s essential to define campaign goals and which audience to target via an app analysis. For UA, the most important aspect is finding the right sources for acquisition and optimizing along the way. Fewer preliminary analyses and strategic briefings are required for UA, although they’re critical for retargeting success.

User Acquisition vs Retargeting
User Acquisition vs App Retargeting

As only attributed data is required to be shared for UA, it can usually be started in just a few days. App retargeting requires more planning and preparation. Publishers must open their organic data to their app retargeting partner and wait for a few weeks until it populates.

Finally, app retargeting is about identifying individual user value and bidding appropriately for their impressions. In light of the changes to iOS, UA is actually about context. It requires identifying contextual factors such as app publisher or device model to determine which types of users will be most relevant to your app, and spending as little as possible to acquire them.

Because the two domains are so different, expertise in one area doesn’t equate expertise in the other. Running UA campaigns as an app retargeting expert is a bit like calling a plumber when you need an electrician.

As experts in app retargeting, we know the ins and outs of user re-engagement and feel confident in our ability to serve our clients custom strategies and algorithms. We understand the importance of UA, but we’ve spent years building up our expertise in app retargeting. Pivoting to UA campaigns at this point would do our customers a disservice as we would no longer be focusing 100% on retargeting, and instead stretching our resources into unknown territory. Our time is better spent searching for creative solutions within the realm of retention.

Risk of data being used for app retargeting and UA

Retargeting partners running UA campaigns with device IDs cannot transparently guarantee that they are not using the data collected for other partners’ acquisition campaigns. As mentioned before, UA typically requires that you share only attributed data. This means your UA partner only sees the users they actually brought to your app.

But in the case of running re-engagement, you open your organic data stream or share your user list with your re-engagement partner. Thus your partner will have access to the details of who your best users are, how to monetize them, which actions they perform, etc. This data carries an enormous value, and you must have full trust in your partner that they will prevent it from being leaked.

As long as the partner only runs re-engagement, you are safe. Why? because your partner is working with you as a closed ecosystem. Your user data can only be deployed to re-engage users within your app, under very specific parameters. Because the purpose is to re-engage users from app A in this very same app A, by design your user data is not at risk.

But when a re-engagement partner starts running UA, there is always a risk that data from your users can be used to improve your competitors’ campaigns. A great UA campaign starts either with a good lookalike list or a great list of publishers to buy from, and nothing can guarantee that your user data from your app A will not be used to either build a lookalike for your closest competitor, or to identify on which publishers they should be buying.

In this situation, there are fewer parameters in place to prevent this from happening, as the goal with UA is to just get users to install the app. There is also no way to independently verify if your retargeting partner is using your data to optimize for your competitors; you just have to take their word for it.

Stick with the experts

Our priority is to maintain complete transparency and deliver the highest performance possible for our clients. The best way to do this is to focus on our expertise: user re-engagement. We’ve become experts in the field of user re-engagement, and we plan to keep it that way. There are too many conflicts of interests and uncertainties involved when retargeting partners begin running user acquisition campaigns, and we want to give our clients peace of mind when entrusting their data to us.

That being said, we’re well aware that Apple’s ATT framework has cast a shadow over the future of retargeting as we know it. We’re in the process of developing tools for app publishers to continue re-engaging their app audience without the use of IDFAs, helping them maintain in-app revenue and boost user retention in the wake of reduced user ID collection. Our goal is to leverage our expertise in data handling and machine learning technology to improve performance marketing outcomes without entering into a domain that may create conflicts of interest or transparency questions. Keep an eye out for news from Adikteev, and contact our experts to learn more about our custom app retargeting solutions.

CTA app retargeting partner