How to Use Targeting

Targeting helps you interact intelligently with the right customers, at the right place, and at the right time. This doc will get you started with Targeting, along with sharing Apptentive’s best practices for success.

Understanding Targeting

Targeting based on customer action is essential to success in any mobile marketing campaign. Through targeting, Apptentive makes your in-app efforts more impactful by helping you personalize campaigns based on customer behavior.

In this doc, you’ll learn the WHO, WHERE, and HOW OFTEN of targeting; why each point is important to your goals; and how to set up targeting within Apptentive.

Using Targeting

With Apptentive, there are three points to consider with regards to targeting: WHO, WHERE, and HOW OFTEN. Each of these attributes helps ensure you interact with your customers at the right place and time, and with the right frequency.

To understand the importance of these points better, think about your experience while shopping at your favorite retail store. In-store sales associates won’t interrupt you in the middle of a conversation to ask if you need their assistance, and they won’t ask you if you need a fitting room before you’ve picked out any items of interest. In the same way, targeting allows you to communicate with specific customers once they have engaged with your app at a time that will not detract from their in-app experience.

Let’s look at each of the three attributes individually.

WHO Interactions

The first decision you must make is WHO should be targeted. Apptentive allows you to target based upon a number WHO attributes, including custom person and device data, actions people have taken within the app (or Events), and which interactions they have or have not seen in the past


The first attribute, Person and Device Data and Custom Data, is defined as any attribute data that is collected within the app or by the customer’s device and can be passed through to Apptentive. Examples of device data are country locale or app version.


Examples of Custom Data are amount spent within the app or customer reward level.


The second attribute, Events, refers to specific times and places within the app that allow a company to see how customers are utilizing the app. Some examples of great WHO events are completed_purchase and completed_search. To read more about Events, check out our Getting Started Guide.

The final attribute, Previous Interactions, refers to whether or not customers have seen a particular interaction or interaction type in the past. Previous Interactions are tracked within Apptentive. For instance, you can choose to target a survey only to customers who have not seen any other survey in at least 15 days.

The different WHO targeting attributes can be used together to set different customer segments based upon AND and OR logic. For instance, you may want to choose to surface a Note offering a discount code to customers who speak English AND who have completed a purchase, OR to surface it to customers who speak English AND have seen a specific Interaction you’ve created (see example screenshot below). Both are possible utilizing Apptentive’s targeting capabilities.


WHERE Interactions

Once you determine WHO should be eligible for a particular interaction, you need to choose the place at which customers will see the interaction, which is a WHERE interaction.

A WHERE event should never disrupt the customer from using the app for their intended purpose. For instance, if you want to send a Ratings Prompt to someone who just successfully completed a purchase, you want to ensure the prompt does not interfere with the customer receiving the purchase confirmation number. In this case, a WHERE event such as purchase_complete_back_bustton would be a great option.


As is the case with WHO segments, you can also choose multiple events at which to surface a WHERE interaction. Once the WHO criteria is met, the customer will receive the interaction the next time they hit any of the applicable WHERE events.

A pro tip is to ensure you’re not utilizing the same WHERE location for multiple events as this will cause one interaction to take precedence over the other—and could prevent the second interaction from showing as expected.

HOW OFTEN Interactions

The last piece of targeting you’ll need to consider is HOW OFTEN to display the interaction. There are different options for this depending on the interaction type. Notes each only display to a customer once ever, and you can pre-set a start and end date for each particular Note.


Surveys also allow you to pre-set a start and end date, as well as a response threshold for the survey. If you set a survey to run for seven days or until you have 100 responses, the survey will stay active until the first threshold is hit, deactivating at that point. Surveys also allow you to decide if you would like to surface the same survey to someone multiple times and if you would like to accept multiple responses from the same person.

Ratings Prompts are shown, at most, once per device per app version. You can set additional parameters around the number of app launches a customer has performed in the installed app version and the number of days since they first utilized that version, as well as the amount of time that has passed since they last saw a Ratings Prompt.


Best Practices

Leverage Targeting to Understand Engagement

A pro tip is to rely on your WHO and WHERE segmentation to determine your customer’s engagement level with the app, not the number of app launches or number of days on the installed app version. Customer activity around high-value actions (i.e. completing or triggering a WHO or WHERE interaction) can be a better indicator of engagement than a customer simply opening up your app regularly. The more you learn about how customers use your app through WHO and WHERE interactions, the more detailed the rest of your engagement can be.


Don’t Overuse Interactions

Another tip is to ensure you’re not being overly communicative with interactions directed at customers. For instance, consider setting your Ratings Prompt to only display to customers once every thirty to forty-five days, and consider showing a Survey or Note to customers only if they have not seen more than one other Survey or Note in the current app version.

Video: Using Targeting

Looking for More Assistance?

Now it’s your turn to get started interacting with your customers, at the right place, and right time! If you’d like more guidance on this matter, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team is here to help answer any questions and assist you along the way. Please contact us at

Updated on August 19, 2020

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