According to App Developer Magazine, it’s becoming more common for users to unlock their devices with no predetermined destination in mind. Think, how many times have you opened your phone just because? As this is a common habit, on-device campaigns that engage users directly through their OEM or carrier are becoming a lucrative way to acquire new users. 

However, as this is a relatively new user acquisition channel, it can also be harder to get an on-device campaign perfect on the first try, especially considering many advertisers do not fully understand this channel yet. You may be segmenting accurately but not reaching the audience effectively, which is common, or your segmentation strategy, itself, may be focused on the wrong audience, which is leading to low acquisition and/or performance.

Whatever the issue may be, we want to offer ways you can scale up your on-device campaigns and reach your goals. Here are 3 tips from the growth managers at ironSource Aura themselves that you can implement today:

1. Make sure your attribution window is set for 30 days

Many app install campaigns have a 7 day attribution window, which is well suited for measuring channels that focus on immediate engagement. But, attribution doesn’t work the same for all channels - “it’s not all apples to apples,” says Wendy Chen, an Account Manager for ironSource Aura. For on-device campaigns, most app downloads occur when a device is newly activated, with users only intending to open the app at a later date. Ultimately, according to ironSource Aura analysis, only 53% of users open an app within the first 7 days of download, while 81% of users open the app within 30 days. 

A 30 day attribution window for on-device channels will ensure that you’re measuring performance accurately and not over-inflating organic attribution methods. In fact, ironSource Aura estimates that moving to a 30 day attribution window from a 7 day attribution window, while leaving everything else the same (the bid, the targettings settings, etc.), can lead to a 166% increase in attributed installs.


Aside from accuracy, a 30 day attribution window also maximizes the scale of your campaign. This has to do with your campaign’s eCPM, which increases with the number of installs or conversions that are attributed to your campaign. The ad waterfall for on-device channels prioritizes campaigns with the highest eCPMs. Ultimately, the longer the attribution window means the more installs accredited to your campaign, which leads to a higher eCPM and a better placement in the waterfall.

A long-term approach may seem like a waiting game, but it can be vital in improving your campaign’s overall performance down the line. While you’re waiting, you can take a look at your targeting settings.

2. Don't restrict to device model

Some say that if you target everyone, you actually target no one. In fact, restricting yourself to certain settings, such as device model, limits how many people you can reach - resulting in less scale. With multiple targeting parameters available, targeting by device model alone prevents you from truly reaching your audience. 

There are ways to open up your targeting settings past device model with little risk. Start small by opening up geos. For example, a UA manager for a social app may think that people in the US are their most engaged users - but only after testing outside the US, would they see their campaign performance accelerate. At the end of the day, when it comes to targeting a new audience, it’s always best to expect the unexpected - you never know who will love your app. 

"Identify the best performing targeting settings and bid higher on those, while cutting down the fat that isn’t working well"

- Kasey Geist, Account Manager for ironSource Aura

If you don’t want to spend budget experimenting on the unexpected, implement a multi-bid strategy and offer a lower bid or lower segment cap and compare performance over time to ensure revenue is increasing. With this data transparency, "you can identify the best performing targeting settings and bid higher on those, while cutting down the fat that isn’t working well," says Kasey Geist, an Account Manager for ironSource Aura.

At the end of the day, the list of targeting settings you’re dead set on may be what’s hampering your campaign’s success. "Consult your account managers, because they are experts in recommending the best plan of action for your app’s growth, and start looking into ways you can broaden your reach," says Natalie Kirsch, an Account Manager for ironSource Aura.

Once your targeting settings are opened up, start running on all the placements available to you - which brings us to our next point. 

3. Utilize all the placements available to you

"By using one targeting placement, you’re restricting your campaign from reaching its full potential," says Shelby Peszek, an Account Manager at ironSource Aura. As an advertiser, it’s important to know what your goals are, whether it’s scale or quality, and find the placements that reach your users at the right moment in the device lifecycle to reach those goals. It’s not one size fits all, and some placements will be better suited for what you’re trying to achieve. 

"By using one targeting placement, you’re restricting your campaign from reaching its full potential"

- Shelby Peszek, Account Manager at ironSource Aura

Aura, for example, offers five different on-device placements for you to test, according to your goals. The preload placement uses contextual triggers to put your app directly on the devices after they are activated for the first time, while fullscreen offers can be customized to provide images and texts, making it good for quality and KPI goals. 

Whichever placements you go with, creativity and innovation is crucial to scale and quality. A/B testing is one way to get the most out of your creatives, and seeing real performance for your budget. For example, ridesharing and food delivery apps often offer promo codes as full screen offers, which can improve scale and engagement.  

If you're working with a partner that offers multiple on-device placements, such as Aura, it’s valuable to test out all contact points in the device lifecycle. This way, you can rest assured knowing that you’re setting up your campaign for success. 


It’s never too late to make changes to improve performance, whether through targeting settings, the attribution window, or placements. Take it from the experts who helped flesh out the points above. 

Let's put these tips to good use

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