It’s remarkable to think about how much marketing has evolved over the past decade. In-app messages, web push, and chat bots are just a few of the marketing channels that have developed in the past ten years, and it seems like more channels are popping up all the time.
In the scramble to embrace these new channels and capabilities, many brands have fallen short on engaging with their customers in a way that actually drives business value.
The fact is, results matter more than tactics. A marketing message is only successful if it moves your business forward. This very belief powers everything that we do at Localytics and it’s why we’re so concerned to see the industry place heavy emphasis on cool new capabilities and channels without stopping to consider if these features actually move the needle for your company.
The rise of these new channels has put pressure on marketers to launch omnichannel strategies that reach customers everywhere. And many mobile engagement solutions are touting their ability to help you do this, implying that engaging customers on more channels is the cure to all your marketing woes.
Omnichannel is certainly important and necessary, but focusing only on the channels means marketers will inevitably fall short when it comes to delivering a great experience. As Steve Dennis at SageBerry Consulting notes in his recent Forbes piece, “The problem is somehow thinking that customers care about channels. Customers care about experiences, about solutions, about shopping with ease and simplicity. ‘All channels’ never suggested a meaningful consumer benefit. And it never will.”
At the end of the day, it’s about the content and the experience you are delivering to your customers. An irrelevant, unhelpful message will still underwhelm a customer, even if it’s sent on the newest channel.
Focusing on vanity metrics (like views or clicks) or just sending messages via a channel without the right level of insight into who the right audience is or how things are performing is a recipe for disaster.
This is why we believe that when it comes to mobile especially, it’s the results that matter. And, it’s why from day one we’ve built a platform centered around mobile -- getting it right and driving results requires its own disproportionate focus. We know this because when we look across our customer base, those companies with dedicated cross-functional mobile teams are outperforming their peers by nearly 50% when it comes to monthly active user growth. A focus on results makes campaigns stronger, it fosters growth, and it makes customers happier.
Today we announced that our customers have achieved year over year growth of 40% when it comes to monthly active users (MAUs). This growth was achieved despite an industry-wide decline in the number of apps that consumers are using, and despite our own data showing that 24% of people abandon an app after one use. Our customers are also seeing 4% higher retention rates during a user’s first two weeks, as well as 16% higher opt-in rates for push notifications, compared to brands using other mobile engagement platforms.
We’re extremely proud of these numbers, and they help validate our founding principle and philosophy that data must be at the core of every action (or inaction) in order to drive positive customer experiences and business results.
Our customers are outperforming their peers because they are able to better understand their users, more precisely target their messages, and benefit from insights into how messages are working or not working that aren’t available anywhere else. All of this adds up to our customers engaging their users with the most relevant and compelling messages possible. The outcome is our customer’s apps lead the pack when it comes to user health.
Recent research from analyst firms has centered around mobile engagement automation solutions, including ours. This reporting is great validation that mobile engagement is a fast-growing space and that more enterprises are in need of these solutions to help them deliver great mobile experiences.
While there are plenty of positives represented by this research, it’s also a good example of why we believe that two major shifts need to happen in mobile marketing:
This research places a lot of emphasis on “in-the-moment” engagement. Unfortunately the way we see this manifests with brands is often in the form of one large, interconnected campaign that hopes to deliver on these moments based on significant up-front planning. For example, triggering a message after a user performs a specific action in a specific channel is an important capabilitiy, but it has bred a mindset that focuses on creating a standard path that opens brands up to sending irrelevant messages (check your inbox or recent push messages for plenty of examples of this).
In reality, marketers will only get a certain number of tries to gain attention share with things like push notifications, so getting it right is critical. The secret behind our incredible customer growth numbers isn’t so much the product as much as the “process” it enables. Localytics enables a message, measure, learn methodology that is “experiment-driven,” not based on a single “grand campaign.” The results are what matters. We recommend starting these campaigns, and quickly learning from them in order to tune them to work more effectively. This can be done manually or with machine learning depending on the scenario, but the key is putting more weight behind the initial results, and optimizing for the best outcome.
If you trigger a message to a user after they view a product twice, they have similar characteristics to other buyers, and you’ve learned that more aggressive offer content worked in early tests, then you can feel confident that the user cares about the subject and you’re sending a message that is going to be well received. You’ll feel even more confident if you measured the results of your efforts to ensure you were using the right tone and content, and weren’t annoying users and causing them to uninstall or abandon the app. This way, you aren’t leaving conversions on the table because you’ve learned and tweaked your approach to drive the optimal experience for the customer. This data-driven feedback loop goes under appreciated by many in our space, but it’s an approach that is proven to work.
Brands can’t afford to get mobile wrong. Mobile is unique because it enables companies to collect a lot more data about their users and have real-time, interactive communication with those users. Because of this, mobile marketing is unforgiving. Send one irrelevant message and a user might be turned off forever.
All the cool features in the world mean nothing if a platform can’t deliver the results that your team needs. Sending messages to users on every channel is meaningless if those messages don’t drive positive changes in user behavior. So as you’re evaluating mobile engagement platforms, keep in mind that results matter and pick the platform that is proven to deliver those results.
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