Note: This is part three of a three-part blog series. Part one is avail­able here and part two is avail­able here.

When I was in col­lege, I remem­ber con­duct­ing exper­i­ments in my chem­istry class, espe­cially on lab day. Dur­ing these ses­sions, I had to put on a white lab coat and gog­gles, and apply sci­en­tific prin­ci­ples. I would need to develop a hypoth­e­sis, or an edu­cated guess, which would then be tested in the lab. Would the hypoth­e­sis be true or false? Dur­ing that short 50-minute lab, I would be able to con­firm or dis­prove the hypothesis.

Today, the world of apps is like the sci­ence lab. The lead­ing orga­ni­za­tions are using the sci­en­tific method to test and con­firm their strate­gies. Gone are the days of the edu­cated guess and the gut instinct of the mar­ket­ing team. Now, through new tech­nol­ogy, we can sys­tem­at­i­cally pur­sue knowl­edge that sup­ports whether or not mobile mar­ket­ing strate­gies are impact­ing an organization’s bot­tom line.

Ques­tions being posed by mobile teams can be answered sci­en­tif­i­cally. Ques­tions such as:

  • Which vari­ables are mak­ing an impact on your customer’s mobile experience?
  • Which mobile screens or inter­ac­tions are result­ing in higher conversions?

But the ulti­mate ques­tion before us is this: Why is app opti­miza­tion impor­tant? It helps you make more money.

Ulti­mately, app test­ing helps you find a bet­ter app expe­ri­ence, which leads to increased rev­enue gen­er­a­tion. And what orga­ni­za­tion isn’t look­ing for that out­come? In today’s blog, the final install­ment in my “Mobile Mar­ket­ing Just Got Eas­ier” blog series (see part one and part two), we will dis­cuss the impact of app opti­miza­tion and tar­get­ing on your mobile mar­ket­ing strategy.

Small Screens, Less Mar­gin for Error

Since the debut of apps in 2008, many user expe­ri­ences have been based on someone’s intu­ition or belief that it’s a good expe­ri­ence (that some­one is typ­i­cally the app devel­oper or the prod­uct man­ager). While the app devel­oper is typ­i­cally bril­liant, he or she may not always have the cor­rect per­spec­tive of the end user, or the cus­tomer you are try­ing to reach.

As most of us know, there are mul­ti­ple ways to design mobile expe­ri­ences and many vari­ables that go into cre­at­ing the ideal app. How do you choose which ele­ments are pre­ferred by cus­tomers? In the case of mobile apps, the screens are small espe­cially on a smart­phone and there is less room for error, or less room to offer a bad experience.

Today, you can use opti­miza­tion tech­nol­ogy to sci­en­tif­i­cally test instead of guess, quan­ti­fy­ing which options the con­sumer prefers, not what our “gut” tells us is best.

Refin­ing Cus­tomer Path­ways via A/B Testing

Mobile users expect great expe­ri­ences – mak­ing it imper­a­tive that orga­ni­za­tions deliver apps that are extremely easy to use.

As cus­tomers move through your app, do you know what’s work­ing and what’s not? What path­ways to pur­chase do your cus­tomers pre­fer? With so many vari­ables (such as col­ors, pro­mo­tions, calls to action, lay­outs, etc.) within your app expe­ri­ence, is there any­thing that should be changed or eliminated?

With Adobe Mobile ser­vices, you have the abil­ity to define A/B tests to quan­tify the effec­tive­ness of app expe­ri­ences for a spe­cific screen or a loca­tion within the app screen.  You can also use app life­cy­cle data (launches, days since last use, mobile car­rier, etc.) to define audi­ences for test­ing and tar­get­ing.  And, we make it easy because with one-click, mobile mar­keters can select app ana­lyt­ics data to define cus­tom audi­ences for opti­miza­tion activities.

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Use GPS Loca­tion to Deliver a Rel­e­vant App Experience

A unique capa­bil­ity of mobile devices is loca­tion aware­ness via GPS posi­tion (lat­i­tude, lon­gi­tude).  Adobe Mobile ser­vices pro­vides the abil­ity for you to under­stand the GPS posi­tion of app users and their prox­im­ity to a Point-of-interest (POI).  If you are a retailer or have branch loca­tions, the app ana­lyt­ics pro­vided by Adobe Mobile ser­vices will show how many users are launch­ing your app near one of your stores.  With this insight, you can also pro­vide a highly rel­e­vant expe­ri­ence by deliv­er­ing in-app offers to users based upon their prox­im­ity to a POI.  By com­bin­ing loca­tion, time, and behav­ioral data, you have the abil­ity to delight your cus­tomers with per­son­al­ized app experiences.

Now let’s look at an orga­ni­za­tion whose best prac­tices have led to amaz­ing results.

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The Best Prac­tices of Ances​try​.com

Ances​try​.com is the largest online fam­ily his­tory resource in the world, serv­ing more than two mil­lion paid sub­scribers and man­ag­ing 11 bil­lion dig­i­tized records. They recently posed the fol­low­ing ques­tions: How can we engage younger audi­ences through mobile apps? How are our vis­i­tors inter­act­ing with the app? Are the fea­tures in our app right for our ser­vice and our sub­scriber base? Is a sim­ple login screen most effective?

They used app tar­get­ing and opti­miza­tion to test these hypothe­ses, or ques­tions, for their mobile app. The results have been phe­nom­e­nal. For exam­ple, test­ing revealed that a sim­pler login screen—with just one or two ele­ments instead of three—would be more effec­tive and pro­duced an eight per­cent lift in responses.

Also, when Ances​try​.com decided to sell sub­scrip­tions through its mobile app, they had to decide between two options: use Google Play mar­ket­place or redi­rect peo­ple to their own mobile web­site? The first option offered easy, one-click pur­chases, but entailed a loss of 30 per­cent rev­enue to Google Play. The sec­ond option required more time and effort from the cus­tomer as they would have to man­u­ally enter infor­ma­tion. Which option was best? Test­ing revealed that that Google Play gen­er­ated more orders, but it didn’t deliver the desired value. “We saw more trans­ac­tions through Google Play, but the addi­tional rev­enue gen­er­ated by send­ing vis­i­tors through our own mobile pur­chase flow far out­weighed the addi­tional trans­ac­tions,” said Bran­don Camp, Direc­tor of Con­ver­sion Marketing.

After sev­eral years of opti­miz­ing and refin­ing their app, today Ances​try​.com has a much larger per­cent­age of reg­is­tra­tions (new cus­tomers) com­ing from mobile. They have also achieved more than seven mil­lion down­loads of their mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Win­dows 8, as well as being named one of the top 12 apps in the Google Play Mar­ket­place in 2012.

Opti­mize that App Before Your Com­peti­tors Do

It is my hope that you have seen the immense value that app opti­miza­tion and tar­get­ing can add to your organization’s mobile mar­ket­ing strat­egy. There’s really no rea­son for orga­ni­za­tions to con­tinue func­tion­ing as if sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy don’t exist. They do. Now it’s time to opti­mize that app.

To learn more about Adobe Mobile ser­vices, click here.

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