Although the customer journey may begin with a responsive or mobile website, we know that your most loyal and valuable customers prefer apps. At Adobe Summit 2016 in Las Vegas, several brands shared their best practices for acquiring, analyzing, and engaging app users. Let’s begin by looking at Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), a specialty retailer for quality outdoor gear.
REI: Acquiring High-Value Shoppers
Relative to their overall digital business, REI shared the following facts about their mobile experiences:
- Over half of all digital traffic comes from mobile devices.
- Apps are designed for their most loyal users and members.
- Apps generate a higher AOV (average order value) and conversion rate than mobile websites.
Since app users are more valuable, REI uses the following campaign tactics to acquire more of these folks:
- Smart banners that promote their flagship shopping app when visitors access their mobile website;
- Email messages to promote their app;
- Social-media campaigns to drive app awareness for Twitter followers;
- Sponsored ads with video previews to highlight their app on Facebook; and
- Display ads on various media networks to promote the app.
As a best practice, REI creates tracking links that can be used with the previous media so that app downloads can be measured across app stores. Adobe Marketing Cloud technology helps them to effectively understand which media campaign drove the highest number of downloads and the value of those users based upon their app usage and conversions. In addition, REI is now using “deep linking” capabilities to address use cases in which the customer already has the app installed. For example, they can direct the link to launch the app and display a specific product or category screen in the experience instead of launching the generic home screen or going to the app store. REI can provide better contextual experiences for users by implementing deep links to connect push notifications, emails, search ads, display ads, and more to the relevant app screen. Better experiences will lead to happier customers, and hopefully, more conversions.
Now, let’s take a look at a completely different industry: media and entertainment. Major League Baseball, Advanced Media (MLBAM) shared success from the 2015 season and activities to improve user engagement at the ballpark.
MLB: Understanding Engagement at the Ballpark
MLBAM provides two primary apps for its fans. First, the Ballpark app helps you with your in-stadium experience, including ticket management. Next, the At Bat app enables you to watch live games when you are at home or your team is on the road. One of the key questions faced by MLBAM is “How do fans use our apps when they are at the stadium?” To address this need, they decided to set up geo-fences around their stadiums by defining points of interest in the Adobe Marketing Cloud. After fans opt-in to providing their locations, MLBAM can collect data about app usage based upon their proximities to the stadium geo-fences. Now they can understand the following elements of fan engagement:
- How fans are consuming baseball content in-venue from their mobile devices;
- Which fans are attending road games;
- The basis for over three million visits to MLB apps from within the ballpark;
- The 74 percent of in-stadium app users who are watching video highlights; and
- The 85 percent of in-stadium app users who are checking scores for other games.
Based upon these metrics, they can optimize the app experience to address the needs of fans who are viewing content in the app and in the stadium. Ultimately, the insights help them to improve their business and drive more fan engagement.
Increasing Sales During the Postseason
To promote fan engagement with premium content, MLBAM used in-app messaging to trigger personalized messages for fans immediately after teams clinched a playoff series in 2015. These messages would congratulate fans on their teams’ successes and promote opportunities to purchase video subscriptions to capitalize on the excitement of the postseason. The in-app message campaigns:
- Drove 48 percent of in-app sales during postseason;
- Generated a 43 percent year-over-year increase in sales; and
- Produced a conversion rate 3X higher than from other tactics.
Can you achieve similar results for your business? I believe the answer is yes — as long as you personalize the mobile messages and deliver relevant content to the right audience at the right time.
Walgreens: Engaging Customers With Relevant In-App Messages
One does not typically think about your pharmacy every day. However, Walgreens has been innovating their app experience to help customers with healthcare needs and foster a loyal relationship.
Encouraging Users to Update Their Apps
Some of the most challenging aspects of app development include legacy support and the need to support multiple versions of your app. You want everyone to update to the latest version — and most will — but you can’t count on 100 percent coverage like you can on the Web. The mobile team at Walgreens can’t go back and change an older version of their app, and they know users on that version will face a broken experience if backend services like the shopping cart don’t support the old version. To address this challenge, Walgreens used in-app messages to alert users when newer versions were made available, and that they’re likely to experience something broken if they continue to use the current version. By presenting a relevant message, they were able to encourage 80 percent of users to upgrade to the latest version after they received the message.
Highlighting New Features
By using in-app messages, Walgreens was able to provide help and guidance to customers regarding features. After updating their app with a feature to earn loyalty points, the mobile team decided to create an in-app message to educate customers. For example, after launching the app, users would receive a message such as, “Earn points for the healthy activities you do every day. To get started, go to Prescriptions and Health and tap ‘balance rewards’.” Think about use cases that go beyond marketing promotions and help to drive usage of new features.
Driving Timely Feedback With Location-Aware Messages
Similar to MLBAM, Walgreens has defined geo-fences around their US stores to determine when users are launching their app from within a store. In the Chicago area, they are running a pilot to understand the effectiveness of “actionable” push notifications sent to users when they leave the store. The message basically says, “Really quick… How was your experience today?” If the user swipes through the message, they provide two emojis: a happy face or an angry face.
Happy Face: When a user taps the happy face, Walgreens records her sentiment, who she is, what location she shopped in, the date and time, and more. Data is captured in a single tap, and the user receives a follow-up notification right away, thanking her for the feedback — that’s it. Simple and with zero friction.
Angry Face: If a user taps the angry face, Walgreens launches a short survey experience in which they ask the customer a couple very simple questions: 1) What happened, and 2) Do you want to be contacted about your experience today?
If the customer answers “yes” to the second question, the customer care team reaches out to that user within two hours, and they do everything in their power to turn an extremely negative situation into a moment of true surprise and delight.
Discovering the Advantage for Your Company
As you can see, actionable notifications can help encourage two-way communications with customers so you can better understand their sentiments right at the time and place of engagement. Think about supporting this use case with your mobile app instead of requesting customer surveys at the bottom of the store receipt. Does anyone have the time to provide feedback via a website survey many hours after the initial store experience?
May these stories from leading brands inspire your organization to think about mobile engagement with apps and methods for improving the acquisition, analysis, and engagement with users. By leveraging data and insights to power personalized content and experiences, you can also achieve business success with your apps.