The typical mobile user has over 26 apps on their home screen. And only 5 percent of consumers are still using a mobile app they downloaded six months ago. So what’s a brand to do? How does a retailer get a customer who bought a pair of shoes through its app get her to buy another—or the pair she looked at but didn’t buy? The answer is retargeting–the hottest word in marketing since sale. Just because someone leaves your app doesn’t mean you can’t go with them! Advertisers have been following you around in Web browsers for a while now (there are no coincidences in what you see online). But apps, being closed systems, have presented a problem for the brands that want to tug on your sleeve. Companies like New York start-up company TapCommerce are figuring it all out though, serving customized ads across all devices and platforms and using “deep linking” (according to a spec developed and promoted by TapCommerce and its competitors Criteo and ActionX ). TapCommerce claims that more than 40 of the top 100 apps use its service, and its campaigns make it as easy as possible for that customer to buy the shoes she has shown interest in.
It’s a crowded space–in fact every time there’s a spot to show an ad, the retargeting companies bid for it in real time. But life is good at TapCommerce, which has all the hallmarks of a youth-oriented ping-pong table start-up. With $10.5 million from a new round of funding from Bain Capital Ventures and RRE Ventures, the company is expanding and creating a fun work atmosphere with a new office in NYC. Employees have stocked the kitchen shelves with Nutella snacks and amp’d the zany by recently commissioning an oil portrait of TapCommerce CEO Brian Long (see below) to him for his birthday. A company to watch–after all it’s watching you.