Winback Campaigns vs New Customer Acquisition

One thing I’ve been pushing hard in my conversations with entrepreneurs, CEOs, and management teams I work with is the efficacy and capital efficiency of winback campaigns vs new customer acquisition campaigns.

Every company wants to grow their user base and increase retention.

As mobile becomes a more difficult environment to grow in (maturing market, more competition, growing dominance of the leaders), we see companies spending more and more money on new customer acquisition. While that is necessary, it is not likely the most capital efficient way to grow. Winning back churned out users can be a lot more cost effective if done right.

I like to ask these questions:

  • how many downloads have we had on our app in total?
  • how many of those users who downloaded our app are still active every month?
  • how many of those apps are still on a user’s phone?
  • can we notify those users?
  • can we email those users?

Generally speaking, an app that has been in the market for 3-5 years will have an active user base that is 10-30% of the total downloads. There are a few exceptions where that number is a lot higher, but those are exceptions (and great apps).

So that means that 70-90% of the people who have downloaded your app are not using it.

Some of them will still have the app on their phone and can be notified.

Most of them will be reachable via email.

So that is the winback opportunity.

You can’t just spam those users with notifications or emails that say “hey, try out our app again.” That won’t work and will lead to users quickly uninstalling your app if they haven’t already done that.

But you can look for targeted opportunities to tell these churned users something useful to them and invite them back to get more useful stuff.

This could be an offer for a big discount if you have an e-commerce related app. This could be a geotargeted offer/insight if you have an app that is location oriented. This could be the fact that a close friend is active on the app and an invite to join them.

These winback campaigns, if done properly, can be incredibly effective.

If you aren’t doing winback campaigns, you should be.

If you are doing them, think about how you can do them better and do them more frequently.

This is about the lowest hanging fruit out there in the mobile app growth landscape.