Web2App (web to app) campaign is an alternative way to acquire users on top of classic UA channels. We will dig deep into this topic and see all the benefits, challenges, and findings.
Web2App: User Journey
The process is simple: Unlike traditional app-install campaigns, traffic is first directed to a landing page and then to the App Store page, where the users download it. These can be all kinds of landing pages, from the very basic to the more complicated ones like web onboarding.
Web2App: Data and Measurement
The overall work is getting the audience from Google and Facebook. And this audience is getting on the funnel. In the beginning, it’s random. Then Google or Facebook algorithm starts to learn about your audience, and they start pushing traffic towards the one that works the best.
You can feed the algorithm with signals, and the higher your conversion rate on the funnel is, the better signals you will give back to Google and Facebook to optimize further.
How the “tracking” happens: the ad network has the URL of the landing page/web onboarding with the Urchin Tracking Module(UTM). The extended call-to-action(CTA) on the landing page/web onboarding has Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP). OneLink is an automated script with the entry URL and exit URL working together.
You will get no SKAN, no view-through attribution, but full event & cohort from it.
Web2App: How to Set It Up?
Below, you can see an illustration of the setup steps for the web to app campaign.
Web2App: Main Types
Web to app has three main types, which we will cover in the following sections of this article.
1. Landing Page or Instant Page
“Instant page” (they load within Facebook, TikTok has the same). Instant Page is a landing page that loads very quickly, several times faster than standard mobile pages, giving the ability to tell rich stories.
Keep it simple:
- One social proof (reviews, stars, etc.)
- An immediate button that leads people to the target destination.
2. Retargeting Campaign
User Web2App retargeting campaign to use the discount and provide more info to give context to users.
3. Web Funnel/Onboarding
Use this type of web to app campaign to ask users for basic information. Below you can see things to keep in mind.
- Use personalized questions.
- Add time limitation.
- No product availability is needed.
- After purchase, informs users to download the app.
This is a powerful way to convert people. People are more likely to stick to it by investing more time into answering questions.
You don’t need an available product. After purchase, you can just tell them to download the app. In the funnel, you shall put a summary about the app + personalized questions, based on which potential users will feel that you personalize for them and their needs and will be more engaged.
The people usually get engaged while answering the questions, and they are more likely to buy the product in the end.
The user onboarding funnel is usually a win-win for those situations while asking users for basic information.
Web2App: How to Test for Your App?
To see if the Web2App campaign is beneficial for your app, you can start testing within the limited geographical scope (1 country or even 1 state in the case of the US).
The initial plan of execution might be:
First, you can try several simple landing/instant pages, then a web funnel w/o signup and paywall development to see if this is going to work for you. If Web onboarding is successful, you can move forward with a full web funnel with signup and paywall. Only if the test is successful can you continue the full rollout.
- Escape the app stores commissions. Initially, the purpose was to avoid the 30% App Store commission when acquiring users.
- Broaden the audience. The web audience is a bit different. For instance, older users are more on the mobile web vs. app, etc.
- Get insights and A/B test. It provides many insights allowing access to very granular data, which is not the case for mobile ads after the UAC campaign became automated. You don’t need an app release for that.
- Track users easily. Because of IDFA deprecation and SKAdNetwork, we can’t do that anymore via mobile ads.
- Pre-onboarding why your product is cool. You can explain your value proposition: what’s going on, what are the benefits on the web to delay the potential users’ drop off on the App Store.
- Personalized experience. You can personalize messages, questions, and content around the user‘s needs.
- Protect your brand. You can develop a search on a specific keyword via the landing page.
- Unlock additional inventory. You can expand your audience for ad networks where app campaigns do not work, like Taboola and Outbrain, and where the potential to get a new audience is big as they have a very large audience. Also, via Pinterest which removed paid app campaigns after IDFA removal and uses only ads via landing pages.
- Affiliate Program, which is not possible with apple payments.
- Easy Cancellation. You can build an experience where users just tap “Cancel,” and it just cancels their subscription right away.
- Easy Refund Process. From the customer support point of view, you can just refund customers on the spot when they pay through a web payment tool like Stripe.
- Higher retention level. The retention rate of web subscribers is higher than an app.
- Additional step in the funnel. You add a step into the user funnel, which will be the reason for higher churn or drop-off until visitors download the app. To balance that, you can offer lower prices via a landing page, etc.
- The issue is to convert from mobile web views to installation. It’s very hard to switch users on the web to move to the app, as people on the web are not keen to go to app stores, and vice-versa as it is a very different experience for users.
- Poor UX & Chargebacks. The deep link might break, people might forget the password, and login is not an easy experience. Users hit the landing page, sign up, and put in their credit card, and then some of those people don’t have iPhones or Android devices. They decided not to download the app after they put in their payment information. In that case, they just end up on the landing page. People will jump right to charge back instead of contacting support.
- Lack of trust during Payment. Luck of trust from the potential user side to enter the credit card information. Apple has this trust with the customer and is convenient in terms of payment.
- Payment after trial. Many credit cards get declined. Sometimes payment methods won’t get approved once the user’s trial expires.
- Taxes. The app platforms (Apple/Google) do a great job of collecting and remitting taxes for your app in the different geos vs. web. Payment via Stripe and Valara implementation for taxes or via Paddle.
- Localization. Restrictions of web payment tools vs. Google/Apple. If you’re in the respective stores, you are available in a large number of local currencies.
- Hard to compare the flows. It’s very tricky to compare the app, and web user flows.
- Additional resources for development. Too complex for a small team. You need trained customer support, a full-stack web developer (front end+back end), infrastructure development for an accounting system, and a Web dashboard where users can log in—also an additional budget allocation for testing and rollout for paid user acquisition.
Web2App: Findings and Insights
- Relevant mostly for non-gaming apps. Many non-gaming apps, mainly in the Lifestyle, Health, Fitness, and Language Learning categories, are using Web2App. It’s very unusual for gaming as people’s behavior in gaming is different: they want to experience the product as soon as possible. For game apps, Web2App might be better for retargeting.
- Channels to use: all except gaming networks.
- Low efficiency of single Landing Pages. Simple landing pages are not as efficient as an onboarding funnel, as there, you can’t show a full pre-onboarding. Simple Landing Pages have low impact, and dramatically improving something there is complicated. If they scroll on a single page, they will usually drop to the first page.
- The Web Onboarding funnel is usually a win-win because the people usually get engaged while answering the personalized questions, and they are more likely to buy the product in the end.
- Use Localization & Personalization. You should have adapted languages based on where users are coming from. You have to adapt the funnel based on the gender (female or male) as well, but just the images in the background.
- The best is the simplest one. Focus on simplicity. You need to provide users with content that won’t distract them, with something immediate for them. People are unmotivated when they need to be convinced. They need convincing on the checkout page and the sales page. These are where you need to convince them with a lot of information like cash back and cancel anytime. Before that, you have to try to remove any kind of distraction.
- A/B tests any option. A/B tests wild options, test completely different versions, and a complete redesign of the landing page.
- Try Discounts. Offer 10%, 15%, 20% discount, and more for those who are going to sign up via the web onboarding funnel.
- Too complex for a small team.
- Supplementary tool. It’s not a replacement for main paid UA channels or in-app purchases. It’s more of a supplement. It’s a tool that can be used to offer additional experience.