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What I Learned My First Two Months Running Mobile Re-engagement at Smule

By Sam Szczesny-Dale | May 12, 2016

As the Director of Marketing at Smule, I invest a lot of money into user acquisition for our Smule apps. Acquiring new users is an important part of continuing our growth. But to make the most of our investment in user acquisition, we need users who actively engage and spend in the app.

One of our most popular apps is Sing! Karaoke. Sing! is a social entertainment app allowing users to engage in Sing performances with people all over the world.

To increase user activity, we began seriously investing in mobile re-engagement for Sing! about two months ago. With research showing that re-engagement increases post-install actions by as much as 60%, it seemed like a no-brainer to start experimenting with our own campaigns.

This blog post shares what we have learned about re-engagement tactics and analytics so far.

Push Notifications

Smule has seen a significant lift in user engagement as a direct result of push notifications. We use notifications in a few ways, utilizing personalized and segmented push notifications.

With personalized push notifications, we keep our active users engaged by letting them know when other users invite them to sing a song together or send a chat request. The response from Sing!ers who receive the notifications has been great.

We also send push notifications to large groups of users when new songs or artists are available. Smule bases these segments on user activity to ensure relevancy, so users who frequently sing Britney Spears songs will get a push notification if we add a new song from her library. We see high engagement with these notifications because it adds a lot of value to the user’s app experience.

Mobile Retargeting Ads

Mobile retargeting is a powerful and cost effective tool for increasing app engagement at Smule. Similar to push notifications, retargeting ads help us move users through all stages of the funnel, starting from the install.

We target different segments of users: people who completed a free trial but are still on the fence about subscribing, people who have unsubscribed, and people who have played several songs, but never started a trial. Smule sees a significant increase in users who subscribe to our VIP service after finishing a trial when we serve retargeting ads encouraging them to subscribe.

Additionally, we serve retargeting ads to lapsed and uninstalled users and see a surprising number of them return to become active Sing!ers once again. Given that Sing! Karaoke was released 2012, it’s only natural that some formerly engaged users become less active over time, but mobile retargeting has proven to be an effective way to reactivate these dormant users.

Tracking Re-engagement Campaign Performance

To understand how re-engagement impacts user acquisition, it’s important to meticulously track user actions. At Smule, we carefully monitor user actions and ad spend from both app install and re-engagement campaigns to determine return on investment. In the first two months of running re-engagement, our analysis shows that by using push notifications and retargeting, we successfully increased the number of VIP subscribers in the Sing! Karaoke app while reducing our average cost per conversion.

Mobile re-engagement has been an ROI-positive experience for Smule, and with a detailed approach, you might find that re-engagement campaigns help you increase user activity and revenue with your app as well.