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Mobile marketing professionals have seen the numbers too many times to count: there are millions of apps, all competing for the same eyeballs. Most mobile apps are deleted within 30 days, usually much sooner.
What to do to ensure optimum app engagement?
First, you need to understand your users: who are they, how and when are they using your app? Analytics tools that track both aggregate and individual user engagement, and that segment users by behavior, location and personality are critical. You also need a means of effectively acting upon all this data, even as it spans thousands of downloads and millions of user sessions. CleverTap’s SDK provides real-time analytics by segment and on a per-user basis. With the SDK, you can deliver personalized messages and even make on-the-fly changes to your app based on the data flow.
You simply can’t achieve acceptable levels of mobile app engagement without a capable analytics platform.
Ready to do even more? Great.
As you optimize app engagement, it can also be useful to envision how to break your app down. It seems counter-intuitive, but a useful effort is to view your app not as a singular product but a series of functions, some static, some evolving. These features include notifications, content, and transactional services, all of which can change based on your need — and on the needs of each of your users. As you analyze the data, you see how the humble app is undergoing a radical transformation. Mobile marketing needs to embrace these changes. Consider these examples of how apps are jumping across platforms, linking up with other services, and becoming much smarter.
1) BE EVERYWHERE
Apps are now everywhere, on your PC, your TV set-top-box, on smartphones, watches, and soon in cars. They aren’t stopping there. Apps are leading the charge to transform homes into smart homes. These apps will not necessarily be copies of your smartphone app, for example. Consider Amazon’s intelligent Alexa device, a smart home hub masquerading as a Bluetooth speaker. Your app can go inside Alexa. In fact, Amazon has launched a $100 million “Alexa fund” to spur gadget makers and app developers to build services that work with (or inside) the Echo. There’s no touchscreen, nor a remote. It’s all voice-powered.
Can your users access your app while they are washing the dishes? Can they access any of your app’s content or services? They can if your “app” works with Alexa.
“Alexa, what’s tomorrow’s weather?”
“Alexa, how much is in my checking account?”
2) GO DEEP
Users want your app, they download your app, only, they may not access what’s inside your app by actually tapping on your app. For example, iPhone users can now swipe left on their phone to access Spotlight search — bypassing not just Google but every app on their phone — and discover exactly what they are looking for.
Again, developers and marketers should remember that users want what’s inside their app, not necessarily the app itself.
What content of yours should show up in an iPhone user’s Spotlight search? The hours of a nearby restaurant? The location of your local branch? The personal contact for their insurance broker? Is it easier for users to access this information via Spotlight, rather than your app? Should it be?
3) MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE
Popular messaging apps like WeChat and Facebook Messenger are morphing into fully-fledged platforms on their own, just like Android and iPhone. This is a big deal. Facebook Messenger already has over 700 million users, mostly young, and Facebook wants its users to never need to leave their walled garden.
When will your app be ready to go inside?
Facebook has recently provided select developers with access to “Chat SDK,” the Messenger toolkit that allows developers to build ‘app-like’ services and transactions within Messenger. Users can text a message inside Messenger, such as “new Chucks,” and an app “bot” will instantly respond with product information, store locations, prices, even images and a buy button. Users can even use Facebook’s built-in payment system to complete the purchase — then instantly share the news with all their friends.
Ask, buy, share — for almost anything — without ever leaving Facebook. This approaching new reality is not only critical for app developers. Retailers and mobile marketers will need to craft a plan to effectively engage Messenger’s millions of users.
4) PUSH NOT PUSHY
Users want what they want when they want it, where they want it. However, they don’t want to be bothered and they especially don’t want unrequited appeals or messages of little value. Apps that have higher, longer-lasting engagement numbers are more likely to provide effective notifications on the user’s terms.
What notifications can you provide? When? Where? How granular can these be? Make it so users have full control over the entirety of your notifications. But be certain to analyze the data to see which notifications are viewed, where and when.
5) EMBRACE SOCIAL
Mobile users are social. They love to share what they are doing, who they are with, where they are. Only, many app developers think of social media as just a means of registering users, and think of sharing only when asking users to leave a review.
Make it easy for your users to share your content across multiple social media platforms. Let the user have full control over when and if they leave a review.
THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
Apps will soon be everywhere people are engaged with a computing or communications device — meaning, everywhere. In parallel with this, apps are being transformed, some deconstructed into distinct bits of content, some of which is meant to live independently, and some meant to team up with information from other apps, other sites, other devices. To maximize app engagement, mobile marketing must change just as apps are changing.