AdAction’s Guide to CPI and CPE Campaigns for Online Shopping Apps

CPI and CPE Campaigns Online Shopping Apps

Online shopping apps provide convenience for shoppers and high engagement for retailers. Migrating shoppers from your mobile or desktop website to your app can be a challenge. You can use various strategies, and CPI (cost per install) and CPE (cost per engagement) campaigns are at the top of the list.

As retail app marketing experts, we have an abundance of options. Our CPI and CPE inventory can drive installs and retain users.

What Is a CPI Campaign and a CPE Campaign?

CPIs are advertising modes that charge you when a user installs the app from the ad. CPEs work similarly, except you only pay when the person completes an action or activity.

Both are critical for UA (user acquisition) and long-term engagement. Let’s look at the opportunities we provide for online shopping apps.

CPI Campaigns for Online Shopping Apps

There are lots of ways to configure CPI campaigns to increase downloads. Some options will drive quantity over quality. Your goals will determine which ones are right for you.

Keyword Campaigns to Attract Niche Searchers

Bidding on keywords can be a CPI campaign with the right setup. A user reacts to an ad after searching and installs the app. Shopping app keywords are very competitive. Being niche here can help you stand out.

  • Consider your target market and how they would search for an app like yours (i.e., demographics, preferences, behaviors).
  • Focus on specific products that are high margin and in demand.
  • Highlight shopping experiences that are unique in the app, such as AR (augmented reality) or in-app live customer service.

If you can find long-tail keywords and still have a significant amount of volume, CPI keyword campaigns can be successful.

CPI/CPE Hybrids Build Engagement

Another option for retail apps is a CPI ad with CPE copy. What does this entail? You’re using a CPI model, so you’ll pay after download. However, the language in the ad drives the user to complete an event with wording like:

  • “Install and complete…”
  • “Download and create…”

In our experience, ads like these can produce up to 10,000 installs a day!

CPI Campaign Takeaways

  • Keyword CPI campaigns will deliver the best return with long-tail targets.
  • CPI/CPE hybrids need to clearly define the ask of the user.
  • A diverse network is critical for scale.
  • In all of these CPI models, you can expect organic uplift. This occurs when paid installs help your app rank better. That visibility can lead to organic downloads.

cpi cpe retail apps

Online Shopping App CPE Opportunities

You can use CPEs to both acquire and keep users. In acquisition, they work with CPIs. For retention, you can align campaigns along the customer journey.

CPEs to Acquire Users with Offerwalls

Offerwalls are a favorite CPE framework for online shopping apps. They work for both acquisition and retention. Because they don’t look like ads, users are more apt to engage with them.

They offer scale and don’t incur costs until after the action is complete. With offerwalls for UA, you have options to target users based on data around CPEs. Find the most meaningful events that often trigger spending. To make them compelling, they should be limited-time deals, so users will act fast. You can test different rewards and deploy monthly promo specials.

After acquisition, you can use offerwalls or other delivery methods for CPEs throughout the funnel.

CPEs Across the Funnel

Something we know about time spent in shopping apps is that it increased 49% year-over-year in Q1 2021. That’s not a coincidence. Many factors impact session duration. The longer a person stays typically correlates to greater spend. So, how do you get users to stick around? CPEs are an excellent option.

One great thing about CPEs is their versatility throughout the lifetime of the customer. Here are some examples that increase engagement and time spent on the app.

Early funnel CPEs

These usually occur right after install. Thus, it has to be a simple, relevant event. They also come with a reward.

  • Create an account or sign in to receive a discount.
  • Set your preferences for item types or sizes to get free shipping.

These are small asks for the user, and they receive a buying influenced offer.

Mid-funnel CPEs

Launch mid-funnel CPEs after one to two days. Typically, the objective is retention, so these might work best for customers after they place their first order.

  • Add a payment method to your account for an exclusive free gift with purchase.
  • Leave a review of your last purchase for a promotion code.
  • Join the loyalty club and get bonus points.

These actions require a bit more work. The customer also must trust your brand and feel good about the product. If users complete these events, they are more likely to keep buying. And reviews or products build credibility.

Deep funnel CPEs

These campaigns are for those long-time users. You may segment this to focus more specifically on those that haven’t made a purchase in some time. By providing pre- and post-conversion data to your app marketing platform, you can further optimize these.

  • Apply for a brand credit card and get a discount on your first order using it.
  • Spend $X and get 2X loyalty points. (The dollar amount you set would be larger than their typical spend.)
  • Review the app to receive priority access to sales.

These activities involve actions that are relationship builders. At this point, you’re looking to lock in customers for life.

CPE Campaign Takeaways

  • CPEs deliver a variety of ways to engage users.
  • Placement of these is key, so work with an app marketing platform that has scale and quantity.
  • Not all solutions can provide CPE campaigns on iOS. AdAction can, so you can deploy tactics on iOS and Android.

AdAction CPI and CPE Campaigns for Retail Apps

The best way to reach your app marketing goals is with complementary CPI and CPE campaigns. By doing so, you attract higher-quality users that stay. In turn, you can see your in-app purchases rise while customers remain engaged and loyal.

You can accomplish this by partnering with AdAction. Our shopping app experts provide you with customized plans and unique ad options. Contact our team today to learn more.

Most Popular

Laravel Continuous Integration with GitHub Actions
12 minutes
Examining the State of Mobile App Fraud
10 minutes
Beyond the Click: AdGem’s Journey to 1 Billion Interactions
2 minutes
Innovating Privileges Governance: AWS CDK Constructs for RBAC
9 minutes
AdAction’s Fiesta Maya: A Staff Retreat in Paradise
2 minutes
Can’t Stop Chronicles: Matt Swim, Strategic Account Manager
3 minutes


Subscribe to the AdAction Connect blog for industry updates, UA tactics and best practices, and more! Get tips that you can apply to your existing strategy, and feel confident that we’ll never serve you ads.

Social Links