(otherwise known as "burst campaigning") is driving a lot of incentivized installs (installs by people who are incentivized with a reward to download and open an app) in a short period in order to drive the app up the app store charts, and get a lot of organic installs... or so the theory goes.
A blitz campaign in the US typically lasts two to four days over a weekend and costs between fifty to over one hundred thousand dollars. Once the budget is exhausted and the chart position is reached, masses of people are expected to discover the app and install it. Expected… but let me share a secret: it rarely happens.
In a more typical scenario, organic installs fail to show up sending the app in a tailspin down the chart. Users acquired cheaply as incentivized installs don’t come back leaving the buyer with nothing to show for the spent marketing budget.
In this respect, blitz campaigns can be compared to
that one gets after consuming a large amount of sugar. One briefly feels happy and energized, but very quickly mood and energy level drops, leaving one feeling drained and down.
are at the core of the blitz strategy, and they are much like
Sugar is not essential for your nutrition (glucose is). Sugar calories are “empty” calories. Incentivized installs are not essential for your growth strategy. Incentivized installs are “empty” installs that deliver zero value. Incentivized users do not engage with the app, do not come back and certainly do not monetize. Moreover, most of them un-installs your app upon collecting their reward
Food manufacturers will tell you that agave, honey and other sweet products are better sugars than pure sugar. Maybe a tiny bit better, but they are still essentially sugar and you will not get your nutrition there.
Incentivized installs Companies that sell incentivized installs will tell you how theirs are better than the other guy’s. Not true. Maybe some incentivized users have return rate have return rate of a couple percent versus zero percent from another source, but it makes no difference.
Sugar Sugar is addicting. Although the addictive nature of sugar is milder compared to drugs, eating sugar every day and multiple times each day can definitely turn into a real addiction.
Incentivized installs Driving volume with mostly incentivized installs is an oddly habit-forming activity. Low CPIs and high download numbers are so seductive that many executive teams close their eyes on the fact that retention plummets and they contribute nothing to the actual growth (as growth requires good “stickiness”).
The Budget Dilemma
Many families in poor communities cannot afford fresh produce and instead rely on processed junk food and sugary sodas. Incentivized installs Many developers fond of blitz campaigns think that they simply cannot afford
paying over $2 for high quality installs when their LTV is around or below $1. Growing your business by a series of burst campaigns when you can’t afford quality acquisition is like putting your kids on a diet of sugary drinks because you cannot afford fresh produce and vegetables. You have to stop and ask yourself: am I doing more harm than good? If your LTV is low, the last thing you should be doing is taking chances with your limited marketing budget.
Sugar If you want to lose extra weight, be healthier and have good teeth, eliminate sugar from your diet. Incentivized installs
If you are looking to improve lifetime value of your users, if you want to generate positive return on your marketing, you need a clear picture of what your users are worth. Go on marketing cleanse: start with eliminating incentivized traffic from your acquisition mix to get a true picture of your KPIs. Fix your retention by eliminating the user drop off points – you’ll need good analytics for this. Find lower cost sources of quality installs like direct deals. Get creative and feel free to talk to us about it.
Is a Blitz Campaign Ever Worth It?
So, when is a blitz campaign justified? Surely some of them must succeed or otherwise why would anyone do it?
Many factors need to align in order to create favorable conditions for a blitz. First, it must be an iOS app. Next, the app has to have mass appeal; a niche app will generate low to no organic installs no matter how high it is up the charts. Second, the retention has to be good in order for the new installs to translate to a lasting increase in DAU. The monetization has to be good enough to generate a positive return on the campaign. If your customer lifetime value is below $2, it would be very difficult to achieve even with a good organic rate during the burst. Finally, you much have an attribution solution (like MobileAppTracking, Ad-X or Kochava) in order to be able to work with multiple ad partners without integrating many SDKs, track paid and organic installs and avoid paying for duplicates. And even then there is no guarantee that your blitz campaign will succeed.
Oh, and did I mention that blitz campaign is a totally losing strategy for Android apps? Google algorithm punishes for low engagement and un-installs which is what you get with incentivized traffic.
Try it and you will get the Googleplex-suplex (like a regular suplex it will hurt, but much nerdier).
To simplify the matter, here is a decision diagram on bursting: