Just 53% of users open their apps within the first 7 days of installing them from an on-device campaign. By day 30, that number jumps to over 90%, according to ironSource Aura. That wait may seem long compared to most other marketing channels, but the long-term value of on-device campaigns is worth the wait. 

When a user installs an app the moment they unbox their phone, they might not open it immediately, but eventually it will become their app of choice. The user, for example, won’t open the travel app on their phone until they plan a trip - but for every trip after that, they know exactly which travel app to use. That’s why on-device campaigns, by nature, generate higher ROAS over time, resulting in a longer LTV curve. So when measuring on-device performance, it’s essential to give the campaign at least 30 days to mature.

What’s happening during the on-device campaign for those first 30 days, and what should you, as the advertiser, be measuring? Let’s dive in.

Day 1: The unboxing

Let’s set the scene. It’s Christmas and someone just received their new device and can’t wait to start setting it up with their favorite apps. Since the device is equipped with the latest app recommendation technology, Aura, setting up their new phone will be a breeze.

The user sees the setup wizard, which recommends a bundle of apps to choose from. It’s based on contextual information, so the apps are tailored to them. For example, a young person living in New York City is recommended social media, dating, and food delivery apps. On the other side of the country, when a middle aged person living in San Diego unboxes their phone, they get suggestions for their favorite news, sudoku, and sports apps.

From here, the user makes their choices and downloads the apps they need for their new device - social media, food delivery, fitness, transportation, shopping, dating, travel, language-learning, and news. 

Behind the scenes, the campaign starts to collect delivery data - impressions, how many users chose to install your app, install success, CPI, and more. Eventually, once the user opens the app, the campaign starts collecting data about in-app events (e.g. how many people are using the app). Soon, with all of this combined data, you start comparing this campaign with your preset goals and KPIs and begin optimizing your campaign.

Day 2-7: Starting with the basics

Once the weekend rolls around, the user realizes they’re out of groceries, which is a great reminder to open the food delivery app they installed on Day 1 for the first time.

As they plan this year’s New Year’s resolutions, they decide to get back into their fitness routine. Thankfully, they already have their fitness app downloaded and ready to use. That weekend, their friends invite them out, but they’re running late - they remember that they downloaded a rides haring app during device setup so they call a cab. Travel apps tend to pick up nicely within the first 7 days and thanks to their usability, they continue to have long-term usage. 

During the user’s spontaneous life moments, there’s an app for it - rather than needing to download competitors’ apps, the user already has all the apps they need, ready to be opened. 

During this early period, the campaign is still collecting initial delivery data and starting to collect in-app data for the apps that were opened. By now, 53% of users have opened an app. Patience is key here - this percentage will continue to grow as the campaign continues. Additionally, the campaign needs to gather enough data to understand user conversion patterns (e.g. what percent of users started using the app). 

Day 7-15: An app for everything 

After the first week, the user is still finding reasons to open apps they downloaded during device setup. For example, maybe their mom’s birthday is coming up, and they want to send her a new dress. They decide to use their favorite shopping app downloaded during setup and ship her new dress to her house. 

At this point in the on-device timeline, the user probably receives some notifications to open their apps for the first time. These gentle encouragements help boost the app open rate by reminding the user what’s already on their phone. In fact, by day 14, 66% of users have opened their pre-downloaded apps - a 25% boost from the week before. 

Once two weeks have passed, the on-device campaign has collected enough data to start seeing user trends. For example, to quickly understand your app’s popularity, you can see its take rate (how many users downloaded the app), or just see how quickly users downloaded it. To have a relative understanding of how your app is performing in this campaign, you can now compare these metrics to the original goals you set.

Still, it’s early in the device lifecycle, so if you start to make conclusions too soon, you might think your campaign is underperforming. It won’t be long - the campaign still needs more time. The longer you wait, the more installs you’ll gather, and the higher your LTV will be.

Day 15-30: When opportunism strikes

At two weeks in, the user is naturally re-engaging with the app, and is really starting to understand its long-term value. For example, once they’ve successfully used a transportation app to order one taxi, they’ll happily continue using the same app to order more taxis. This acceleration in engagement across apps is reflected in the post-install metrics - accounting for the steepest increase in the LTV curve. 

At this point, the numbers speak for themselves - by day 30, the usage rate jumps by 22%, so 81% of users have opened their apps. Since you’ve allowed the campaign time to mature, now only has ROAS boomed, but you can also start using campaign data to determine how to optimize. On the Aura dashboard, for example, you can view delivery and in-app data, and analyze performance by country, campaign, and more.

To start optimizing, you can compare take rates between countries, comparing them to ideal benchmarks. If one country has a high conversion rate, it’s worthwhile to focus on that campaign. If data from another country seems promising, but you don’t have enough to get a conclusive result - you can focus your campaign to get the full picture. 

"The natural discovery process with on-device campaigns ensures a gradual engagement process. Since the apps are well-trusted and already installed, that natural engagement grows beyond day 30"

Day 30+: Keeping the door open

Even after 30 days, there’s always opportunities to open new apps. In fact, 2 months into the campaign, the number of apps opened grows to 90% and beyond. 

Users are equipped with the apps they need to live their life - maybe not to use immediately, but likely within the first 30 days after unboxing. By waiting 30 days, you’ve had time to fully understand the campaign’s long-term value. In fact, after being patient, we can see that the campaign is likely beating the expected goal. 

It might have taken a user time to open this app, but now, once they’ve started using it, they will continue to use and engage with it and its value will continue to grow. 

At this point, one month later, you’ve got ample data about delivery and post-install events to adjust their campaign goals and KPIs as needed. You can understand which apps perform best in which circumstances and just how to fine-tune your campaign to ensure continued success - far past 30 days.

As we’ve seen, the natural discovery process with on-device campaigns ensures a gradual engagement process. Since the apps are well-trusted and already installed, that natural engagement grows beyond day 30 - which is when you could see your LTV and ROAS grow even more than traditional channels. 

Learn more about running an on-device campaign with Aura today. 

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