It’s no surprise that mobile has become a central means of our daily lives. Keeping a smartphone literally within hand’s reach signifies how much we depend and yet also love our smartphones. We’ve become the new “always-on” customers. And since we’re ‘always on’ our smartphones, there’s no other digital channel like apps where people spend most of their time.
“90% of the time is spent in apps while 10% of time is spent in mobile browsing sites” - Source: Flurry Analytics, comScore, Pandora, Facebook, NewMarketShare Note: US June 2015 In fact, “More than 235 billion apps were downloaded in 2015.”- Media Post, “235 Billion App Downloads”
However, many brands have haphazardly rushed to build an app and failed to succeed in this lucrative business. Why? Because they did not implement a successful mobile engagement strategy beforehand or have the right mobile app engagement solution. It’s simple. Users are quick to abandon apps if brand apps fail to engage with them. Especially, in a personalized and relevant manner.
Consequently, when brands don’t implement a mobile engagement centered approach. “1 in every 4 installed apps is never used.” Source: Google/Ipsos, Mobile App Marketing Insights: How Consumers Really Find and Use Your Apps (U.S.), May 2015.
That’s a huge loss. 25% of apps are never used again. For the most part, CIOs or CMOs take the blow and are left to blame. However, there are ways to fix your current mobile app strategy. Without further ado, here are 6 Things You Need in a Mobile App Engagement Platform.
1. Connect to Back Office Systems & Make Data Actionable
Managing big data from your Loyalty Programs, CRM or POS systems, and other systems with integration is crucial. At the same time, making data actionable into the mobile app channel and vice versa helps the CMO or CIO truly understand customers full view. Thus, the synchronization of data needs to stem from different systems and channels, both inside and outside an app, from weather data, social media data, location data (stemmed from beacons or geo-awareness technologies), commercial data, to in-app engagement data.
2. Be Persona Driven & Enable Precise Audience Segmentation
Let’s say you have initial data to work with and you begin to segment your mobile audiences. Can you set up a mobile personified journey for young guys like Dan who buys marked down sportswear? Actionable data needs to source from:
- Personal data like name, gender, job, city
- Hyper contextual data like his brand preferences, shoe type, color of a car model
- Location data like his closest store location, store revisits/time spent in aisles
- Engagement data like which assets* he engaged with, what time/day of the week he’s receptive to engaging, how much time he spends in the app, how many times he re-opened the app, what screens/products he most viewed in the app, etc.
- Commercial data like his purchase history, coupons used, etc.
- Social data like social media profile or sharing enabling and social profile metrics
Enriched customer profiles that contain actionable data aforementioned enables the CMO to segment mobile personas that Dan user profile falls into precisely. Then the CMO’s can start to create hyper contextual dialogues with mobile customers.
3. Empower Marketers to Engage with Customers Contextually, Relevantly and Personally
Engaging your mobile personas in a contextually relevant way (based on actionable data) creates better mobile experiences all of which is empowered by a mobile app engagement platform. Smart engagements decisions could result with users eager to play, keep motivated, revisit your app, make a purchase, etc. With in-app engagement data, it reveals what engagement assets worked well and what didn’t, where users explored inside your app and how long they stayed or if they revisited your store and used that app coupon. Learning from an intelligent mobile analytics and engagement platform shows the mobile marketer actionable data and valuable customer insights, and therefore, the mobile marketer can automate better engagements henceforth, and as a result, gain higher customer satisfaction and better customer insights.
In practice, let’s say you’re an FMCG brand. Your prospect, Mike needs to buy some razors. Wouldn’t it be more meaningful to engage with him with an array of rich assets such as surveys, invitations, vouchers, loyalty points, 3D product models, gamification and social sharing besides push messages alone in order to learn more about Mike? In theory, you could engage with Mike in different contexts, like times of the day, or locations. Depending on the scenario, the marketer sets up plan B engagement, C and so forth. Overall, the format, offer, engagement and sequence of events needs to determine how the customer experiences mobile.
4. Offer Exceptional Mobile Experiences
The mobile experience matters the second a user downloads your app. “On average, people spend around 30 hours per month in apps.” – Source: Nielsen, “Smartphones: So Many Apps, So Much Time,” July 2014.
The amount of time people spend in apps monthly is the equivalent of having another full-time job. However, despite the amount of time people spend on apps, 1 out of 4 apps are never used again as mentioned before.
#1 Major mistake CMOs make in their mobile app strategy. TOO MUCH FOCUS ON PUSH MESSAGES.
Every single engagement a marketer automates needs a fundamental reason why it should be sent out to customers. Don’t annoy your customers with irrelevant, spam-like push messages which are not contextually appropriate or relevant to the customers’ interest. In general, brands assume that mobile engagement equates to sending push messages. Many customers’ perception of push messages is not good due to the association of these with irrelevant, spam-like messages.
Of course push messages have their place, however the experience they deliver is very limited both from the interactivity point of view, as well as the visual appeal. The data collected by push messages is also very limited and lacks the rich depth of real interactive engagement. For example, Victoria, a twenty-something, won’t be interested in a Christiano Renaldo clothing sale push message. Her interest needs, at least, be involving women’s clothes and perhaps a push message wouldn’t be the most effective asset to start the mobile journey, but rather another asset to invite her to engage through a “what do you like?” poll, 3D product spin, loyalty points if she does XYZ in the app.
5. Drive Mobile Loyalty and Customer Satisfaction
First, let’s hear the bad news.
“Despite 87% of consumers wanting a customer loyalty program, only 11% of retailers will adopt one.” “Only 24% of loyalty programs enable mobile redemption [such as using a coupon or discounted offer] and only 14% have taken steps with gamification mechanisms.” source: Bandt, “Loyalty Programs haven’t adopted to the digital age.”
It’s a shame that brands have the big data and eager customers – who would be interested in a mobile loyalty program – but brands simply do not follow through. Why would a user return to your app and become a brand ambassador or fan if there’s no incentive? Do you offer a rewards system? Can customers play to win something? Can they level up a status so that they get rewarded with a perk or discount? Are they trying to accomplish a goal or learn something through your app to better themselves? What is it that you want to drive and ultimately convert in your mobile customers?
With a well-thought out mobile loyalty plan, the marketer needs to set a rule that automates a number of loyalty points per say, to the mobile customer. Therefore, according to how Victoria engages whether she filled out her customer profile, viewed a certain page, push message, entered a certain store location (hence, supported by beacon technology) watched a video, filled out a poll, wrote unique answers to a customer satisfaction feedback, redeemed a voucher or coupon, played a game, shared on social media, etc. Victoria needs to be rewarded with something.
6. Deliver Closed-Loop Customer Journeys and Constantly Refine Actionable Data
Now, we’ve come full circle, a closed-loop journey. In a sense, a persona-driven, closed-loop journey could represent a tree, with multiple directions and paths a user can take. Each brand represents each activity on they engage (or not) with certain assets/events along the way. When an intelligent marketer designs a journey with multiple scenarios at hand, the marketer increases the chances of driving customer satisfaction and in return, refining actionable data as they get to dig deeper in their understanding their mobile personas. In other words, where there’s a successful closed-loop journey, there will be captured, processed and constantly refined actionable data ensuring that the marketer always has information to draw from as they continue to create more mobile journeys henceforth.