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How to Sell App Retargeting to Your Boss, Like a Boss

Working in performance marketing, we’ve all had to have some tough conversations with our bosses from time to time. That quarterly performance review when all of your work is dissected and picked apart, or the phone call at the weekend when your campaign starts overspending for some unknown reason. But there’s perhaps no conversation more dreaded than the inevitable “pitch”. You know the one. You’ve finally found a solution to a problem you’ve been struggling with on a near daily basis and now all you need to do is convince your boss of its value.

Convincing your boss of the benefits of something as technically complex as app retargeting can be an uphill battle and often times, the solution won’t get the green light, which is bad for everyone. We miss out on new business, you miss out on some much needed support in your marketing team and your boss will miss out on a chance to take your app to the next level.

So how can you effectively get buy-in from the top? In this post, we’ll break down some tips to help you sell app retargeting to your boss, like a boss.

Explain The Concept in Simple Terms

App retargeting can be complicated, especially compared to user acquisition and other forms of marketing that you and your boss may have more experience with. You need to be tracking specific events with your attribution partner, deep links are a must, and the metrics you’ll use to measure success will look different from your UA campaigns. But before diving into all the technical requirements, it’s important to start with the basics and explain the app retargeting process in a simple way.

Ask your boss about their experiences with app retargeting and if the concept is new to them, or their experience with retargeting is mainly from the desktop world, try to explain it using your specific app as an example. Your boss will know your app’s user journey well and be able to understand how app retargeting can benefit your marketing efforts if they can picture exactly how the process works. When explaining the concept to newbies, we tend to break it down as follows:

1. A user downloads your app, uses it but then leaves before completing a specific action like a subscription, order, or purchase

2. The user gets a message and starts engaging with another app

3. The user’s device ID is identified and they are shown an ad for your app

4. The user clicks the ad and is brought back to the specific page in your app to complete the desired action

Focus on the Business Benefits

Retargeting has more benefits than just retention. In fact, depending on your strategy and your business model, marketers can see an uplift in engagement, number of IAPs, ARPU, subscriptions, and even an increase in user LTV. But if you’re taking that crucial step to convince your boss of the benefits of app retargeting, reciting off a whole load of AdTech jargon and acronyms is more likely to be met with bewilderment and scepticism than instant fanfare and unlimited budget. To sell any idea to your boss, you have to speak their language.

Try to understand the most important metric for your business to really help explain the value of retargeting to your specific market/business model. Identify a specific need or existing problem area you have and how app retargeting can resolve it.

Your best approach with key decision-makers like this is to present meaningful data showing exactly how and where the business is wasting time, resources, and finances — and how this solution can fix those issues. Don’t simply position this platform as a “nice-to-have”; rather, explain how it will create efficiencies.

Case studies are great for this purpose as they show more clearly the real world impact that app retargeting can have. A quick Google search will draw up hundreds of case studies from apps across all verticals who have used app retargeting to drive value in their business. If you can’t find a case study to present to your boss, consult with your potential partners to find some examples of apps in your vertical who have benefited from app retargeting, and remember to focus on the real-world results like an increase in the number of orders, subscriptions, IAPs, or bookings.

Do Competitive Research and Present the Best Option

Before you present app retargeting to your boss, you’ll have to sift through the weeds to identify the best technologies that can help your app. Sometimes that means you’ll need to consult with trusted colleagues and experts in the industry. It also means you’ll need to be a student of mobile marketing trends and make a daily habit of reading relevant reports, articles, and reviews.

There are a number of highly experienced app retargeting platforms and managed services on the market — all with varying degrees of expertise in a number of areas, but the partner you choose will depend on your app’s unique needs. Would you prefer a managed service to help you with your campaigns or you want to have full control and manage campaigns yourself? If you’re not sure where to start with your research, there’s a plethora of sites out there that compare app marketing partners and provide reviews and insights from industry experts.

Appsflyer Performance Index
Business of Apps — Guide to DSPs
Thalamus — Ad Vendor Database

If you’d prefer to do more in-depth research, most partners worth their salt will be happy to walk you through a non-committal product demo or overview so you can explore their offering and decide if it fits with your needs and expectations. Present an overview of the main solutions you are considering to your manager so they can see the due diligence you’ve put in and incite confidence in your ability from the get-go.

Understand Loss Aversion

One of the main things managers look for when hiring marketers is innovation and creativity. So why then, when we present our bosses with an innovative new solution are they not more willing to explore it and dedicate some budget? The reason for this and perhaps the key to being able to sell these solutions more effectively, is loss aversion.

Loss aversion refers to people’s tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains. The people who tend to be most affected by loss aversion are the decision-makers and senior managers in your organisation who have the most to lose if a solution doesn’t end up delivering as expected. This aversion can be challenging to overcome, but you can use this to your advantage by showing how your company will actually be losing money by not dedicating budget to app retargeting.

Explain to them that what is working today, simply won’t work tomorrow and a change of course is needed. In most cases, this type of argument will have a greater impact and create a sense of urgency because it shows a need for change, rather than a desire.

An easy way to frame your argument with this in mind, is to present your boss with the spend of your UA campaign and to compare the number of installs you managed to achieve with your budget with the current Daily Active, or Monthly Active Users of your app. With this argument, your boss will understand clearly why it’s increasingly important to protect your acquisition investment and retain users throughout their lifetime.

Know How to Report App Retargeting Campaign ROI

Once you’ve decided to run a test or kickstart your campaign with an app retargeting partner, you’ll need to think about how to prove the ROI of your campaign to your superiors. It’s part of the day-to-day work of a mobile marketer, to be able to dig deep into campaign data and provide insightful analysis of marketing spend and its results to a diverse internal audience of creatives, executives, and developers. Your boss will be interested in a completely different set of metrics than product managers or BI.

Being able to present a view of data that is relevant for each audience ensures not just that you’re showing spend and ROI transparently, but shows respect for your peers’ time by delivering a customised view of the metrics they care about.

Content is critical. What aspects of the campaign worked well and what didn’t? Was there a particular creative that stood out as a shining star that month? Call it out and share the “why” and how you intend to replicate that success month over month. Executive summaries are your chance to tie all the metrics together with your team’s hard work and show how you can articulate what the data means — your most valuable skill as a marketer and how you grow trust and secure additional budget!

If you need any more help convincing your boss of the value of app retargeting, shoot an email over to

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