Measuring performance is key to success as an advertiser. No matter what the product is, it‘s important to know whether your advertising campaign has accomplished your goals.

Here at Bunndle, we help our software and application advertisers acquire users and installations through advertisements shown in our network. End users are presented with an advertisement that offers them the opportunity to install an application while downloading another app.  Our metrics and reporting typically stop after the user has installed the product. But there are other events and metrics that help our customers build their businesses. One of which is called “activation.”

In our business, we define “activation” as the act of an end user “activating” or “using” the product. This step occurs after installation. The steps required to trigger activation can vary from product-to-product but overall advertisers are looking for the end user to activate the product by using it.

Some examples of how various products might trigger and measure activation include:

  • Opening or launching a product
  • Clicking on a particular button, link or feature in the application
  • Performing the first search in a search box
  • Launching a particular webpage or url linked to the product
  • And many, many more…

Because activation is a lead indicator of whether or not a user will continue using the product, has ever used a product or will convert into a paying customer, it is important that application advertisers optimize for this metric. Below we’ve summarized a few key points that we’ve learned over time that have helped some of our customers.

1. Keep the Installer Size Small

Installers should be under 5MB in size if possible.  Heavy installers may introduce breaks in the installation process. These breaks can interrupt what should be a smooth installation process for the user. Examples of such may include: the installer freezing up, the computer crashing, or a temporary drop in bandwidth.  Minimizing the size of the installer minimizes the chance of installation disruption and speeds up the process.

Also, it’s important to recognize that international users may be limited when it comes to download speeds.  While in the United States bandwidth is not a common issue, overseas it could pose potential problems.  A smaller installer will limit dragging out the installation time for international users, and improve the user experience by minimizing download time.

If you can’t reduce the size of the installer to less than 5MB, then consider using a stub or shell installer to call the full install. These are easily built and very common.

2. Trigger the Launch After Install

Don’t expect users to know how to launch your product. Even if it seems natural and intuitive, it doesn’t hurt for you to help initiate the action.  After users accept the advertising offer to install your product, they may be in “trial-mode” and discovering exactly what your product is. It is important that you give them quick and easy access to getting the application launched, whether that is through an automatic launch, a shortcut on the desktop or a splash-screen or launch page that tells them how to use it. You own the user experience and flow. This is your storefront. Give the user a door to open and invite them in. Otherwise, they will just walk by.

3. Remove the Sign-Up/Terms of Service Upon 1st Use

Mandatory logins and terms of service screens can be an intrusion to the flow of opening a product. A user has already completed the installation process. Adding a login or terms of service up front only adds additional effort by the user to activate the product.  The less effort it takes for a user to open a product, the more likely they are to actually use it.

And while the login and terms of service may be important, trigger the acceptance or creation of these things in different ways. For example, the terms of service link could be placed at the bottom of the app somewhere. Similar to how web pages disclose legal terms, this format allows for the user to automatically agree to the terms of service by simply using the app. You might also consider a drop down menu with all of the important legal terms included so that this is easily referenced. Check out some other apps that have done it differently. It’s not always necessary to require users to accept this up front and it could help improve usage of your product.

Users will be more likely to use the product if they understand exactly how they can use and benefit from it. Why not include that upfront instead of a mandatory login? Asking users to enter in personal information or create additional login credentials lowers the chance that they continue through the process.  Keep it simple up front. And down the road when they are already engaged and using the product you can request that information later.

4. Target properly

Advertisers need to know their audience.  Who currently uses the product? How do they use it? In what context? Are their environmental considerations during use that should be considered like time of day, region, or system information that helps to determine whether your product can be used?  For example, if your mobile product is focused on enterprise and business users, are they likely to use your product on the weekends? Probably not. So don’t show ads on weekends either. Or if your users need .NET to make the installer work, you probably need to have the installed up front or they can’t use it. If most of your users are using Firefox as a browser in the US but Chrome in the UK, target in that way.  Understanding this basic information up front will help you target properly. If you don’t know this information already, do small tests with various targeting criteria to help figure it out.

Bunndle’s platform gives our advertisers a number of ways to target users: by platform, browser type, mail clients, by category, region and more. In some cases, we even let our advertisers come up with their own targeting because their requirements are unique!  The better your tools, the more specific you can be when targeting your audience and that results in a much better chance of activation.

By no means is the above list everything that can be done to help improve the activation of your product. At the end of the day it comes down to building something that end users want. But helping convert them along the way to discovering why they would want to use your product in the first place can be extremely useful and help you reduce your user acquisition costs.

Have more tips for us? Please send them in so we can add them here. And check back soon for Activation Help Part Two.