Not all users are the same yet they often all receive the same experience. Is a user that's never spent money in an app likely to make a $99.99 transaction for their first purchase? Should a user in China encounter a 4th of July-themed promotion? Can a non-English speaking player read English? The answer's no.
Displaying the same content for all users leads to lost opportunity ("no way I'm paying $99.99 for this but I'd buy that for $1.99), worse user experience ("I can't read English!"), and may even turn off users ("They recognize the U.S.'s Independence Day but not the Chinese New Year!?"). Optimizing the content shown to users based on their context (e.g. location, hardware, language) and behavior (e.g. purchase history, time in-app, number of sessions) is critical to maximizing LTV.
Publishers define targeting rules on a per-content unit basis. Currently each dimension can only be used once and users must match all dimensions defined (e.g. location is in United States AND connection type is WiFi).
Location is determined based on IP-geo lookup at the country level. Multiple countries can be targeted in a single rule; however, region targeting (e.g. North America, Asia) is not currently available although publishers can optionally select every country manually in those regions.
Language is determined by the device's preferred language setting. Multiple languages can be targeted in a single rule.
Target users playing specific versions of your app (e.g. versions 1.5 and above). Publishers must first define app versions within the app settings.
Update Prompt - prompt users on older app versions to upgrade to the latest version with an announcement, linking to the App Store
Reward for Updating - give players an incentive for updating by offering a reward for launching the latest version of the app
Targeting is limited to WiFi or Non-WiFi. Note that older versions of the Android SDK before 1.11.0 do not send connection type information and will not benefit from this targeting.
Cellular Download Caps - Apple restricts app downloads over cellular networks to 50MB or less. Limit internal cross-promotions to users on WiFi that can actually download the promoted app.
High Quality Images - animated GIFs or high quality images can really make a promotion pop; however, the delayed loading may be prohibitive on non-WiFi connections. Target those on WiFi that can afford the bandwidth.
Target based on the device the user is currently using. The initial version of hardware targeting is limited to iOS only - Android support will be added in the future.
Hardware Limited Apps - some apps only support the iPad. Target internal cross-promotions for users on supported devices.
Hardware-Derived LTV Maximization - some publishers report iPad users to have a higher propensity to spend. Targeting promotions to meet the publishers' goals based on this information will ultimately lead to higher value-creation (e.g. show VGP content units to users on iPad who are more likely to convert).
Target based on the number of sessions a user has used the particular app for all-time. A session is recorded when the publisher sends an open request which should occur whenever the user opens the app to the foreground. Offline sessions are stored on the device and available for targeting when the user is online (SDK 1.12.0+ required).
Reward Most Engaged Users - the majority of revenue comes from a minority of active users. Target users with a high number of sessions with Rewards thanking them for their loyalty (e.g. "Congrats on your 1,000th game session. Here's a free coin. You're the best!")
Open New Re-engagement Channels - users that are invested may be more interested and likely to open up new channels of communication. Encourage them to sign up for the email newsletter with Opt-In Data Collection or prompt them to follow them on Twitter with an Announcement.
Suppress Ads for New Users - a majority of users leave after their first few app session. Providing the best user experience and keeping users engaged early on is critical to maximizing the overall funnel and long-term success in the app. Some new users are immediately turned off by ads, so suppress Content Units by targeting users that have a session count greater than X.
Welcome First Time Users - target users with number of sessions equal to "1" to display content to brand new users that are using the app for the first time.
Target based on the time since the user's previous session (e.g. last session was 1+ day ago, last session was 1 hour or ago or less). Offline sessions are stored on the device and available for targeting when the user is online (SDK 1.12.0+ required).
New Content Announcement Since Last Visit - show an Announcement to inform users of new app updates and content that they haven't seen since the last app update by targeting the last session is after 1/1/2012 (the date of the newest game release). Additionally, another targeting rule could be applied to limit to users on the newest version of the app to inform them of what's available in the version they're using.
Increase VGP Transactions - several games use farming mechanics to artificially delay how long it takes for certain things to finish (e.g. growing a crop of carrots, training an army). Players that frequently return to the game may be more likely to purchase time-saving, instant boosts to skip this delay. Display a VGP for "addicted users" that return to the app when the last session less was less than 20 minutes ago.
Target based on the amount of time a user has spent in-app for all-time OR within the current session. This allows publishers to target users based on their level of investment and engagement in the app. Offline time-in app will be stored on the device so that it can be accounted for. (SDK 1.12.0+ required)
Some of the use cases described in Number of Session targeting may also be applicable here. Publishers may define engagement by multiple dimensions.
Cross-Promote or Monetize Before Session End - many games are designed to be played in short time intervals, defined as game loops. Many intentionally restrict the amount of time per session to ensure players don't burn through all the game's content or become tired of the game too quickly. Farming mechanic games such as Farmville or more recently Clash of Clans, typically have 30 second to 2 minute game sessions before the player exits to the home screen or puts their device back in their pocket. Targeting users with a current session greater than X minutes (based on the average session length or game loop cycle) with an Internal Cross-Promotion or some other CTA before they leave.
Cross-Promote Users Before They Churn - similar to the above, users that have reached near the end of the app will eventually run out of content and stop using. Target users that have played greater than X hours for all-time with an Internal Cross-Promotion to another title.
Target whales, dolphins, minnows, and non-paying users based on their in-app purchase (IAP) behavior for all-time within that app. Integration of IAP tracking is required by the publisher. It is highly recommended that publishers validate purchases with Apple and Google receipt verification to protect against fraudulent transactions. Failure to do so may result in inaccurately reported IAP transactions/revenue and henceforth include users that did not legitimately purchase content in targeting rules. (iOS SDK 1.10.4, Android SDK 1.11.0+ required)
Convert Non-Paying Users - one of publishers' most important goals is to convert their non-paying majority (typically 99-95% of users) into paying users. Target users that have never made a purchase with a heavily discounted, one-time offer.
Increase IAP of Existing Payers - users that have made purchases in the past are likely more willing to convert in the future and at a higher price. Target paying users with additional IAP offers throughout the app experience. Make it contextual with a powerup after failing a level, exclusive item after leveling up, or heavily discounted currency bundle after leaving the store without making a purchase.
Optimize and Experiment IAP Promotions - although auto-optimization and A/B testing are not available, publishers can measure performance and optimize LTV by creating two different VGP content units targeted to (1) paying users and (2) non-paying users. Experiment with different price points between the two audiences and compare eCPM with other value-generating promotions.