Mobile ad targeting

5 Metrics to Use to Improve Your Mobile Ad Targeting

One of the simplest ways to improve the effectiveness of your mobile ad campaign for your app is to make sure that you are targeting the right users. Effective targeting leads to higher click-through rates and higher conversion rates, and it will increase the likelihood that the users you are targeting will become loyal users (essential to any long-term app strategy!)

But, how do you decide what metrics to target? Try breaking down your targeting into 4 main groups: demographics, device, time, and local.


The most basic targeting that you can do with your mobile ad is demographic targeting. Demographic targeting includes metrics like age, gender, marital status, education level, and income level.

Before you even start designing the creative for your ad, make sure that you have analyzed your current user base and isolated the major demographics of your users.

Once you have isolated this information, you can designate the demographics targeting through whichever ad network you may be using. Once the demographics are set, the ad network will incorporate it when they serve your ad to users.

So, if you designate that your app is meant for preschool-age children, it will be advertised in other apps which are targeted to parents or teachers (most laws forbid advertising directly to children). Or, if your app is meant for middle-aged women, the advertisement for your app will be placed inside other apps with user bases made up of women.


This targeting metric is especially important for developers wishing to advertise their mobile apps.

Device targeting allows you to show your advertisement only on certain mobile devices. Most ad networks will allow you to specify a device type, such as a tablet or a smartphone.

Others may become more specific, allowing you to target specific brands (LG, iPhone, Nexus, etc…) or specific smartphone models (iPhone 4, iPhone 5S, Nexus 4, Samsung Galaxy S5).

This is helpful because you can serve advertisements only to users with phones that can support the functionalities of your app. If your app utilizes features only available on the iPhone 5S, for example, you wouldn’t want to advertise your app to users on older iPhones that don’t have those features. If your app is tablet-only, you wouldn’t want it served to users on 5-inch smartphones.


Time segmentation allows you to designate what time of day you want your ad served to users. This isn’t the most important metric, but it does have some uses.

For example, if a majority of your current user base is located in a foreign country, you could target your ads to be served at an appropriate time for that time zone.

This way, your ads won’t be running when a majority of your potential user base is asleep. Or, if you are running a time-sensitive promotion for your app, you will want to advertise that promotion within the correct time frame.

For the most part, however, you will probably just want to set your ads to run around the clock so users across the world will be exposed to it.


Since most ad networks don’t have access to GPS location data, it can be difficult for them to serve hyper-local advertising.

However, it is possible for ad networks to have basic location such as the country that the user is in. Knowing the general location of your potential user base can help you create localized ads that reflect the language or slang of the users you are trying to target.

For example, if most of your app’s user base is in Japan, you should create a localized ad that has been translated into Japanese. Ad networks can then make sure to show your ad within other app’s which are targeted to Japanese users.

Have a big following in Russia? Translate your ad creative into Russian and tell your ad network to serve that ad in other Russian-based apps.

As a final rule of thumb, start your advertising efforts with very broad targeting metrics. Start with using the basic demographic data, and then slowly work up to device targeting or local targeting once you have time to evaluate the success of your ad campaign.

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