The world of apps continues to grow, if not dominate, the ever-expanding mobile ecosystem. The 2013 Adobe Digital Index (ADI) found that app users are more loyal to brands. Customers who love your brand are more likely to go directly to your app, instead of the mobile Web, to meet their needs. ADI found that apps are used for longer periods of time and more frequently than the mobile Web:
“Compared to those browsing Web sites, however, the app sessions are three to four times longer. Consumers use the average smartphone apps more than twice as often as they visit the typical mobile Web site. All combined, the app usage outpaces mobile Web visits by an average of 100 minutes per month.”
Today’s blog will explore opportunities for in-app communication with your customers, as well as introduce you to Adobe’s latest innovations in Mobile Services, which provide mobile marketing teams with greater agility and woo-ability in today’s app-centric world.
Do You Know What Your Customers Are Doing across Digital Channels?
First, let’s go back to the basics. Do you know what your customers are doing across digital channels, including your app? If you don’t, you need to figure it out. Altimeter Group’s “The 2014 State of Digital Transformation” report notes that, “Unfortunately, many companies don’t currently invest in journey mapping . . . only 17% of digital leaders are now in the process of studying the digital customer journey.”
This is a mistake. Mobile marketers, you need to think through your customers’ in-app journeys. Map them out. Go through every potential scenario in your mind. Lean on the data available to you for app measurement. Are there unexpected paths through your screens, in-app conversions, or crashes? As the Altimeter Group notes, you should always be answering this question: “What would my digital customer do?” Then ask yourself, “What services can I offer them to help, not hinder, their journey toward my end goals?”
Focus on the First Month: The Critical Period for App Users
Research indicates that the first month is a critical time period for app users:
“Examining long-term retention is especially revealing in a market burgeoning with free apps that has conditioned customers to download-try-delete, then repeat. In fact, our Good Push Index study of more than 2,400 apps and 500 million push notifications reinforced how critical the first month post-download is. Most apps see a steep initial drop-off, with much milder declines in following months.”
Consequently, mobile marketers should focus on new users who have just downloaded their app. What special messaging will you provide to retain and gain their loyalty? If they are new to your app, obviously their learning curve will be higher than the average user. What app features do you need to introduce to new users? How can you make your customer service team available if customers experience frustration, confusion, or simply have first-time user questions? Again, think through the customer journey for new users during the first month. Walk through the scenarios and come up with some in-app messaging use cases.
Adobe Mobile Services Helps You to Improve Engagement via In-App Messaging
Depending upon your specific industry, there are multiple use cases for in-app messaging. Let me discuss a few examples below.
- In a retail company with physical stores, the digital commerce team may seek to welcome customers who walk into their store with a “home screen notification” message on their smartphone. These messages can be defined by the marketer and triggered by iBeacons at the store entrance. In addition, after the user launches the retailer’s app, the marketer can promote items that are “on sale today” for the specific store using full screen messages with images.
- In a media and entertainment company, the advertising team may wish to promote new video content via a “banner notification” within the app after the user has watched videos from a specific category. These messages can help to increase time spent in app and improve video ad monetization.
- In a financial services company, mobile marketers may wish to promote new products or services (e.g., loan, credit card, investment services) to customers who use the mobile banking app and have a significant cash balance in their accounts.
- In an online retail company, the digital commerce team may want to offer a promotion for items that have been “searched or browsed” in the shopping app but not placed into the checkout cart.
- In a telecommunications company, your customers are most likely seeking information to troubleshoot a technical problem. Your organization can use this opportunity to provide help or two-way communication. Messaging might look something like this: “You’ve paused for 2 minutes. Do you need help?” or “Click here to contact our customer service center.”
To support these use cases, we have updated Adobe Mobile Services so marketers can tackle their chief in-app challenge: “deciding the correct cadence and content for these messages in order to avoid delivering messages that are impersonal, irrelevant or simply annoying.” In “Building Brand Engagement through In-App Communication,” Gigaom Research notes, “While a mobile app must fulfill its core function, it must also continue a dialog with its users to remain relevant.” Remember, in-app communications are permission-based, so your customers have essentially given you permission to communicate with them.
However, for many marketers, the need to personalize in-app communication requires deep involvement from app developers. Those days are now gone because Mobile Services gives the control back to the marketing team:
- Mobile marketers can create, manage, publish, and measure in-app messages.
- Messages can be triggered by analytics data including user behavior, lifecycle metrics, or location (GPS or iBeacons).
- Adobe provides prebuilt templates for message types including full-screen banners (that can be linked to custom Web content), alerts, and local notifications.
- Marketers can evaluate the effectiveness of messages in driving user engagement and conversion via standard reports and analytics.
- In addition, beyond installing the latest Mobile Services SDK, no additional implementation effort by app developers is required to use this capability.
Learn More about Mobile Services
With Mobile Services you can now create relevant messaging for your in-app customers. To learn more about the mobile marketing capabilities available with Mobile Services, please click here.