During 2018, mobile app marketers attempted to figure out how to take advantage of dynamic mobile marketing campaigns while staying hyper focused on personalization. Both of these initiatives centered around capturing the right user insights and putting them to work for them.
And just as mobile marketers finally got their footing with how to effectively accomplish the above, along came GDPR.
Data, and how you go about using it, was one of the biggest challenges businesses faced in 2018. Gaining access to personal information about your users is a privilege, and it’s imperative that all user data collected is protected and held to the highest privacy standards. Though this new law only impacted European countries, GDPR forced everyone to do a gut check with their data practices and we are all better for it.
Now that we can all breathe a small sigh of relief that we made it through the first wave of GDPR challenges, it’s time to get back to business and look towards the future of mobile.
We’ve rounded up the 4 biggest mobile app marketing insights that happened in 2018 so that you can be ready to take on 2019 with a solid strategy for the preferred first-screen of the modern day consumer – mobile.
Finding #1: User Retention Improves As Daily And Weekly Engagement Both Trend Upward
For obvious reasons, retention is the king of KPIs when it comes to mobile app marketing. The entire mission of mobile app marketers is figuring out how to create long term, valuable customers.
The good news? You’re getting better at it. In 2017 we saw mobile retention increase across the board during a user’s first 3 months, hovering at 26% after month 3:
That’s an increase of 28% YoY after three months. The story here is that mobile app marketers focused their campaign efforts around retention rather than just acquisition, and it’s paying off.
App acquisition is still very important, but you’ve learned to take advantage of targeted ad campaigns to ensure you attract the right users to your app – also leading to better retention.
Finding #2: Mobile App Marketers Get Personal With Push Notifications And It Pays Off
The positive lift in user retention and engagement above plays right into the next insight: personalized push notifications prove they’re worth the effort in a big way:
Talk about a compelling chart. What happened in the span of a year and a half to create such a dramatic lift in engagement? You guessed it, segmentation and personalization:
As personalized push notifications increased, so did the overall engagement rate.
Let’s take a step back and understand exactly what we mean by a “personalized” push notification:
Personalized push notifications are messages that rely on key user attributes and behavioral insights. This can be information about the user like their location, favorite sports team, or behavioral information such as ‘left item in cart’ or ‘purchase history’. In our mind, there are 2 types of personalized messaging campaigns:
- Broadcast campaigns that use dynamic messaging – campaigns that, while sent to an entire user base, are catered to the users’ interests and demographic profile. These are often curated using simple attributes such as first name, last name, birthday, city, etc.
- Segmented campaigns that use dynamic messaging – The best of both worlds. These are campaigns that take into account complex attributes to deliver a great experience for users.
To understand the engagement impact of your push messaging campaign, you would take a look at how many times a user launched your app following your push. When you take advantage of dynamic/segmented push campaigns, the engagement rate is more than double any other campaign type:
The compelling story doesn’t end there. Open rates for dynamic/segmented push campaigns are drastically higher than their counterparts, nearing a whopping 9%:
If you can edge close to provoking a response from 10% of your entire user base, you have done your job as a mobile marketer. Especially when you consider the response rate of broadcast messages, which were sadly the industry standard just a few short years back.
The last but certainly not least part of our personalized push story centers around location based messaging.
Location based push notification campaigns convert 3x more often:
If you think about the very nature of these campaigns, the above results shouldn’t surprise you. The very purpose of mobile is realized with location based messaging. It’s all about hitting a user with the right message at the right time, when it matters to them most.
To succeed in 2019, double down on dynamic/segmented and location based push notification campaigns.
Finding #3: 21% Of Users Abandon An App After Just One Use
We started off this eBook with on a positive note, but now it’s time to get real. App abandonment is still a major challenge when we look at the overall percentage of users, but the good news is that it’s on the decline:
The above chart tells an interesting story. Push notifications really took off in 2015, which caused a rapid rise in app abandonment. Why? Because mobile marketers weren’t smart with their push strategies. They heavily relied on a batch and blast (or broadcast) approach, much like we see with email. The problem is that push notifications are far too personal to users – coming directly to their phone’s home screen. Mobile users expected more from this exchange, so were quick to abandon apps who abused the technology.
Thankfully, we finally righted this ship during 2018. App abandonment rates should continue to improve directly alongside personalized mobile messaging strategies. It’s a worthwhile investment given that nearly 50% of users will use an app 11+ times if they opt in to push:
Finding #4: In-App Messages Continue To Boost Retention
Push notifications may get all the love in the mobile app marketing world, but in-app messages deserve some credit. They’ve proven their value when it comes to user engagement, boosting retention by 75% in the second month:
Perhaps one of the most notable ways to take advantage of in-app messages is by using them for onboarding. App onboarding is a chance to clearly depict your app’s value to new users through a series of welcome screens. Mobile marketers who utilize app onboarding see a significant lift in retention over those who don’t:
What push notifications do to attract users back into your app in-app messages do to keep them there. You should take advantage of in-app messages to help keep users informed, engaged and moving along the funnel towards conversion.
Creating A Winning Mobile Strategy For 2019
During 2018, mobile app marketers had two main focuses: ensuring their user data was secure and making all campaigns personalized to the end user. The data indicates these focuses are paying off. App engagement and retention are at at their highest in years as mobile marketers start to find their stride in terms of what works for their user base.
In addition, GDPR forced all companies to take a hard look at their data collection practices and ensure they met the rigorous standards. Both businesses and consumers can move into 2019 knowing that their data is well protected and will be used for good.
For mobile app marketers, using that data for good means using the tools at your disposal to create powerful, 1:1 user experiences:
- Rich push notifications
- Location based messaging
- In-app messages
- App inbox
Start off 2019 by evaluating every mobile campaign you run and ask yourself how you can optimize each one so that they’re even more personalized and engaging to your users. Then set up a reminder to do this evaluation every quarter during the year to make sure your strategy is up to date with the quickly evolving mobile industry.