In today’s environment of cut-throat competition across app stores, creating a differentiated brand identity while driving higher user acquisition and retention is a perennial challenge.
Mobile marketers need to identify the right channels to engage with your users in the most personalised, contextualised, and timely manner possible – at every stage of the app user lifecycle.
Creating a mobile marketing mix that takes into account your app’s target audience, diverse user behaviours and activities, campaign objectives, and marketing budgets is critical to set the ball rolling.
Set in this backdrop, the two most significant weapons at your disposal include mobile push notifications and in-app messages.
What are in-app messages?
In-app messages are messages that you can build and deliver directly to your users when they are active within your mobile app. This enables you to engage with your users in real-time, taking advantage of the time they spend live within your app.
Think of in-app messages as the mobile equivalent of web messages that brands deploy on their websites.
In fact, in-app messages help you add another onsite engagement dimension your entire multi-channel marketing machinery, along with other important channels such as email and SMS.
How effective are in-app messages?
In-app messages when used across diverse industries such as travel, food delivery, media OTT, and gaming:
- Elevate user engagement by 4X
- Produce response rates that are more than 6X when compared to mobile push notifications
- Enhance user engagement rates by 30-40% when used together with push notifications
What are some use cases that in-app messages can address?
Here are 5 different use cases that the smart use of in-app messages can help marketers address:
#1: Improve the first time user onboarding flow:
You’ve worked incredibly hard to drive app awareness and have managed to secure user acquisition through app downloads.
Why not greet new users with a welcome in-app message, on first time app launch?
This is an opportunity to deliver your users’ first in-app Aha! Moment during the onboarding process. By sending customised messages with short instructions on how they can navigate across your app and highlighting key app features, your first time users can begin exploring your app at the earliest.
Such campaigns, that aim to establish an instant emotional connect with first-time users, have proven to reduce app uninstalls by almost 20-25% within the first 30 days alone!
You can also send messages encouraging first-time users to opt-in to receive push notifications, login, complete registration, or update their profiles.
Such in-app messages need to clearly outline the value that users would get by opting to enable push notifications. The idea must be to strike two birds with one stone.
#2: Drive higher conversions on first time app usage
While welcoming new users is important, it is even more important to empower this user segment enough to nudge them towards a first conversion event.
Triggering in-app messages offering a promo offer, referral code, first-time purchase discount, etc. goes a long way in incentivising purchase.
This is especially true in the case of e-commerce, travel, ride hailing, food delivery, and payment wallet apps.
Your objective in such a scenario is to quickly convert a new user into a transacting customer that is delighted with a satisfactory first-time user experience (FTUE). This also lays the foundation for you to work on maiximising your Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) in the future.
You can make such campaigns more effective by also automating the delivery of an email to all those users that don’t respond to the in-app message.
The idea is to maximise the chances of conversion through a multi-channel marketing automation approach without coming across as a brand that is trying too hard.
#3: Send promotional marketing content
These in-app message campaigns that determine the difference between monetisation and app usage drop-offs.
Such messages can be used to pitch relevant offers, discounts, time-bound flash sales, new cross-sell/upsell deals, etc. either to your entire user base or targeted at specific user segments based on their previous browsing behaviour, purchase history, geolocation, and/or resident time zone.
Traditionally broadcast campaigns might produce mixed results. You are in a better position to improve user engagement and resultant conversions by laser-focusing your campaigns at relevant user segments.
These campaigns are most relevant to e-commerce, online grocery, travel, food delivery, ticketing, telecom, and media OTT players.
The objective must always be to contextualise the in-app message so as to personalise the entire end-to-end app usage experience. And, the better you understand your users’ behaviours, personas, and preferences, the better you can tailor-make such campaigns.
Also, one size never has and never will fit all. You need to experiment with your message copy and other rich elements such as images, GIFs, audio, and video. Effective A/B Testing helps you optimise your campaigns accordingly.
This helps you make the entire campaign far more visually appealing, attractive, and immersive.
Having said that, you should never go overboard with rich elements. These need to be used only when absolutely necessary, embedded in the look and feel of your app.
#4: Draw attention to certain app/product features
In-app notifications can be used to highlight new or under-utilised app features, new services introduced, products added to catalogue, content added to library, etc.
Think of in-app messages as directional markers in such cases.
The objective is to educate, inform, and empower your users with enough relevant information to better leverage your app platform, open up monetisation opportunities, increase content consumption, and average session lengths.
Such campaigns can be crafted and run for multiple app categories such as e-commerce, banking, travel, productivity, media OTT, music, gaming, fitness apps, etc.
Care needs to be taken to ensure that such messages don’t interfere with the app usage experience but instead add actual value. The last thing you want is for your users to get turned off and close the app due to your incessant in-app communication.
#5: Make timely recommendations
Picture a scenario where if you happen to be a media OTT app that offers a live sports streaming section as part of your content library, you want to encourage a specific user segment that watches only cricket highlights to consume more content.
You could trigger an in-app message encouraging this user segment to subscribe to your annual live sports viewing plan for a nominal sum to enjoy the action in real-time!
If you happen to be a travel app, using an in-app message, you can suggest a cheaper flight at a more convenient time to a user who often books tickets off your platform to a particular destination.
All these recommendations are made on the basis of your users’ historical and real-time in-app behaviour and activity. That’s the surest way to contextualise your campaign communication.
Such campaigns work best for e-commerce, media OTT, news, travel, food delivery, payment wallet apps, etc.
Relevant recommendations play a massive role in simplifying your users’ decision-making process by giving them options to exercise that are meaningful.
Parting thoughts: In-app messages for the win!
Your mobile marketing strategy is incomplete without in-app messaging in the mix. Marketers need to leverage this channel of engagement effectively to supplement the overall multi-channel marketing efforts so as to deliver the most personalised, contextualised, and timely communication possible.
Not only do in-app messages help you move the needle on key mobile app metrics, but also continue to improve the overall app usage experience, if used wisely!
[Written by Pradyut Hande, Senior Growth Marketer & Product Evangelist at Netcore’s Smartech]