Re-engagement FAQ

Learn about retargeting, re-engagement, and Singular's re-engagement attribution process. For more about Singular attribution, see Understanding Singular Mobile App Attribution.



Why does a report show new installs (and not just re-engagements) for a re-engagement campaign?

While it's true that re-engagement (retargeting) campaigns are aimed at existing users of your product, your reports may show that the campaigns resulted in some installs (i.e., new users) as well.

This is due to the technical definition of "re-engagement event" vs. "install" in Singular. When Singular receives a first user session from a device - i.e. a session from a device is not listed in the Singular database as having the app installed on it - it is counted as an install, even if the campaign type is re-engagement/retargeting. 



What is re-engagement?

In general terms, re-engagement with a mobile app is a renewed use of the app by a user who has already installed the app in the past. 

Re-engagement is the result of successful retargeting. A retargeting campaign is one that targets existing users of a product, aiming to get them interested in the product again.

In Singular, re-engagement is defined as the user's opening of an app that they have already used before, following a period of inactivity and then a click on a retargeting ad.

In other words, Singular counts a re-engagement event if the user:

  1. Used the app in the past,
  2. Stopped using it for a certain period of time,
  3. Clicked a retargeting ad, and
  4. Has now opened the app.


Once Singular recognizes a re-engagement event, it triggers a process of re-engagement attribution to credit the partner network that caused the engagement. Re-engagements are tracked as a metric in the same way that Singular tracks app installs, and you can see their numbers in your reports.


What are retargeting campaigns?

A retargeting campaign is one that targets existing users of a product, aiming to get them interested in the product again.

Usually, re-engagement is the result of successful retargeting.

How do I measure the performance of my retargeting campaigns in Singular reports? How do I view re-engagements in Singular reports?

To track your retargeting campaigns' performance, include the following fields in your reports:

  • The Retargeting dimension: Lets you know whether each campaign was defined as a re-targeting campaign or not.
  • The Re-engagements metric: Contains the number of re-engagement events attributed to a campaign.

Note: Sometimes you may see re-engagements attributed to non-retargeting campaigns (see Facebook example).

Conversely, you may see new installs attributed to retargeting campaigns. This is because when Singular receives a first user session from a new device (i.e., a session from a device that is not listed in the Singular database yet) it is counted as an install, even if the campaign type is "retargeting".

What's the difference between re-engagement and retargeting in Singular reports?

In Singular, "retargeting" denotes a type of campaign that targets existing users of the app.

Therefore, Retargeting is a dimension (breakdown) you can add to your report to have it broken down by whether each campaign was configured as a retargeting campaign or not.

In contrast, Re-engagements is a metric that shows the number of re-engaged users (per app, campaign, source, etc.) in the given date range.

How long does a user have to be inactive before a new session counts as a re-engagement?

The default (and recommended) inactivity period is 7 days, but you can change it per app. To set the inactivity window, go to the Apps page, open the desired app site, and change the inactivity window setting.


For example, setting the inactivity window to 4 days means that a user must be inactive for at least 4 days (and click a retargeting campaign ad) for the next opening of the app to count as a re-engagement event.

What is re-engagement attribution?

Once Singular recognizes a re-engagement event, it triggers a process of re-engagement attribution. This works similarly to install attribution. The goal is to credit the partner network that caused the engagement.

After Singular performs re-engagement attribution for a user, any following in-app events (such as purchases or level-ups) are attributed to the source of the re-engagement rather than the source of the original app install.

What methods does Singular use to perform re-engagement attribution? How is it different from the install attribution process?

The re-engagement attribution process is similar to the install attribution process, with some of the main differences being:

  Install Attribution Re-engagement Attribution
Trigger Triggered by the first user session on a device unknown to Singular. Triggered by a user session that follows an inactivity window and a click on a retargeting ad.
Attribution Methods Deterministic + Probabilistic Deterministic methods only. Singular performs re-engagement attribution only if device identifiers are available or the app was opened through a Singular deep link (see the Singular Links FAQ).
Conversion Type Supports click-through (click-based tracking links) and view-through (impression-based tracking links) Supports click-through tracking links only
How does Singular determine that a certain session is a re-engagement?

For every user session that is not the first session on the device, Singular performs the following process:

  • Singular looks at the inactivity window defined for the app and checks whether the user has been active within that period.
  • If the user has been inactive for the required period of time, Singular looks back in its touchpoint database to see if there has been a click on a retargeting ad from the same device. Singular needs the ad campaign to be marked as a retargeting campaign. You do this by enabling re-engagement attribution when you create the Singular tracking link. Note that not all partner networks support this type of campaign.
  • For Self-Attributing Networks (SANs), which do not support Singular tracking links, Singular just sends the session information to the network and receives back information on whether the user has clicked on a relevant retargeting ad in the network.

If Singular finds one or more clicks on retargeting ads prior to the session, it starts the re-engagement attribution process, based on the last-touch attribution model.

Note: SANs may have their own twists on whether a click counts as a retargeting click, and the nature of working with SANs means that Singular has to accept the partner's report. For example, Facebook has a user retention period of six months. This means that six months after an app install, Facebook forgets the install, and may target the same user again with user acquisition ads (not retargeting ads). If the user clicks on such an ad, and Singular later queries Facebook for retargeting clicks, Facebook will report that there has indeed been a retargeting click.

What's the difference between re-engagement and retention?

In Singular, retention is measuring how long your users keep using your product after conversion. For example, you can run a report to see "Retention 7d" for an app for a certain date range: this will show you how many of the users who installed an app in those dates were still using it seven days later.

A re-engagement event actually resets the retention counter for the user, as it is considered a new conversion for the same user.

See the Retention FAQ for more definitions and information.

What's the difference between re-engagement and re-install?

Re-install means installing the app again after uninstalling. This does not necessarily signify re-engagement. 

Like any user session, the first session after a re-install may or may not trigger a re-engagement attribution process, depending on whether the user has been inactive for the required period of time (the inactivity window) and whether this session is coming after a click on a retargeting ad. 

Note: Campaigns running on Apple Search Ads are an exception to this rule. Apple Search Ads reports re-installs and re-engagements together, so the number of re-engagements you see in Singular reports for these campaigns includes re-installs.

What do re-engagement postbacks look like?

Re-engagement postbacks to partners and internal BIs are based on the same templates as the install and event attribution postbacks.

In case of a re-engagement postback, the {IS_RE_ENG} macro can be used to differentiate between install and re-engagement attributions, and relevant timestamp fields would apply to the re-engagement event instead of the install event. For more information about the postback fields, see the Postback Macros and Passthrough Parameters.

What date is considered to be the date of re-engagement?

The date of re-engagement is the date in which the user opened the app after clicking the retargeting ad.

How many times can the re-engagement attribution process be repeated?

There is no limit on the number of re-engagements per user.

Configuration Options

How do I enable re-engagement tracking for a partner or a campaign?

For self-attributing networks (SANs):

In self-attributing networks, such as Facebook, Apple, Twitter, or Google, re-engagement tracking may be enabled by default. When you set up a SAN in the Partner Configuration page, you can deselect the Enable re-engagement option. Before you do so, make sure you are not running any re-engagement campaigns through that partner. 

Note: To track re-engagements for Apple Search Ads, contact your Customer Success Manager to enable the option for you.

For other networks:

You enable re-engagement per tracking link. When creating the Singular Link, expand the Attribution Settings section and select Enable re-engagement tracking.


For more information about configuring tracking links, see the Singular Links FAQ.

What is the inactivity window and how do I customize it?

The inactivity window is a setting that determines how long the user has to be inactive before they are eligible for re-engagement attribution.

The default inactivity window is 7 days, but you can adjust it for each app site. To change the inactivity window for an app, go to the Apps page, open the relevant app site, and use the Inactivity Window slider.


Note: Test devices (devices that you added to the SDK console) are exempt from the inactivity window as long as they have the eye icon enabled in the console. To learn more, see Using the SDK Console.

What is the attribution lookback window for re-engagement attribution, and how do I customize it?

When you set up your partner in the Partner Configuration page, you can customize the attribution lookback window. The same window applies to install attributions and re-engagement attributions. In the case of re-engagement, the window limits the time from the click to the relevant user session.

When you create a tracking link, you can override the default attribution window for the partner and set a different window for each individual link (see the Singular Links FAQ). 

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