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 Ancestry.com

Ancestry.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 Ancestry.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 Ancestry.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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