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Pick the Right Audience with User Activity Targeting

user activity targeting

While setting up your campaigns, you might have noticed a new targeting option that has been implemented recently, and that seems to have confused many of you. We are talking about User Activity section, available for Push ads format.

To understand how and when you should apply this targeting, let’s first take a plunge into the theory of what user activity is.

UPDATE: User Activity Targeting for OnClick (Popunder)

user activity targeting

The theory behind User Activity targeting

Even though geo and device targeting options prove to be extremely useful and are perceived by the majority of marketers as a cornerstone of the campaign setup process, we can’t solely rely on these parameters. Why?

Now that’s a good question!

Geo (and even device) targeting doesn’t offer a clear picture of how a user is interacting with the ads: how often a user clicks? Are there any patterns in the user’s behavior?

Talking about behavior – it’s a very complex interplay of various components. For that reason, to be able to apply the knowledge of user behavior in improving advertising results, we had to monitor and analyze how our clients’ ads are performing. That led us to discover that all users, based on their activity level, can be grouped into 3 cohorts:

  • High activity
  • Medium activity
  • Low activity

But what is a User Activity level?

User activity level, if we put it simply, is a mathematical way to forecast engagement.

Vadim Kazakov, Head of SSP Business Development

Vadim Kazakov, our Head of Self-Serve Platform Development, explains: “Based on immense data, collected over the years, we can predict user activity level. It’s actually a very sophisticated algorithm that takes into consideration how “fresh” the user is, how often he/she sees ads, and how often he/she clicks the ads and a great many other variables that allow us to estimate how this specific user will interact with your ads.”

What options do you have?

Every user group has great potential (and 100% real users), no matter how high the expected CTR is, but it all comes down to strategy. Let’s discuss how you should approach this new targeting option to make the most out of user activity groups.

A quick notice, keep in mind that you can’t change this setting once your campaign is launched.


This group consists of users that have recently subscribed to Push Notifications on one of our publishers’ websites, or the ones that click the ads very often.

These users are the most active and engaged; they haven’t received that many ads and they are more curious about ad messages they are getting. All these factors together contribute to a very high CTR rate. Obviously, there are no massive traffic volumes in the High cohort, and the price goes slightly higher than the average.

So when should you opt for High user activity?

  • You are planning to test a new CPA offer or a product and want to get the maximum performance.


Users in this group have been receiving ads for a while, and after a certain time, the degree of novelty decreases a bit, dragging the CTR rate down. Yet the ROI remains unaffected because the number of users here is bigger compared to the High group, while the prices are slightly lower.

Medium is an excellent choice if you are looking for an optimal compromise between performance and the cost. Summarizing, here are the cases when it’s beneficial to use Medium target option:

  • You are looking to expand your successful campaigns that are already targeted at the “high” user activity group.
  • You want to reduce the costs and get cheaper clicks.
  • Reduce testing time with higher traffic volumes.


Users with Low activity have been seeing the ads for a while or are in general very selective about clicking online ads. Traffic volumes here are very high, CTR is rather low, and the prices are below average.

Does Low activity equal low-quality traffic? No, these users just need a different approach and powerful creatives to be motivated to click the ad.

When would you want to use Low activity option:

  •  You want to show your ads to the largest audience.
  • You don’t want to spend too much on traffic or clicks.
  • You have irresistible offers, bonuses, and discounts.


When you set the targeting to All users, your ads will be shown to a certain number of users in each group, depending on your bid. When will using this targeting be beneficial for you?

  • If your campaign proved to be successful and you want a broader reach.
  • The audience you defined by geo and device targeting is too small.
  • You have unique offers or exclusive content to share.

Strategies to try

New targeting option opens vast opportunities for optimization of your CPC campaigns.

Before we proceed, let’s mention that we at PropellerAds are strong believers in well-structured campaigns: it’s really so easy to optimize your marketing activities, when things are neat and organized.

Here’s how your campaigns were looking before we introduced User Activity targeting:

PropellerAds_Campaign structure

Now you can enrich this scheme with 4 possible scenarios to uncover deeper audience insights.

Have a look at how you could optimize your Push Notifications campaigns.

1 Creative / 3 Campaigns(Same bids)1 Creative / 3 Campaigns(Different bids)3 Creatives / 3 Campaigns(Same bids)3 Creatives / 3 Campaigns(Different bids)
What you do: Use the same creative and a bidding strategy. Test it on all user activity groups.What you do: Use the same creative, but test different bidding strategies for each group.What you do: A different creative for each user activity group with the same bidding strategy.What you do: You set a different bidding strategy and use various creatives for each user activity group.
What you get: You can understand if your creative is effective. If you don’t get decent results in any group – consider changing the creative or it’s time to test a different bidding strategy.What you get: If your creative doesn’t deliver results in any group – it’s a big red flag. Consider changing creatives.What you get: You can understand what user activity group is performing best, what approach pays off, and if your bidding strategy is effective.What you get: You are getting super-targeted campaigns, adjusted strictly to match your audience preferences. The downside – you might have to test more creatives for each user activity group.

As you can see, User Activity targeting can speed up the optimization process and let you A/B test creatives more efficiently. Have you already tried the new targeting option?

Enjoy experiments!

Test New Targeting


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