June 6 2019

Mobile Marketing Automation Masterclass: Part Three

In our previous lessons, we talked about what mobile marketing automation is and how to use it for better user engagement. Mobile marketing automation (MMA) clearly has a number of benefits. But more often than not, most app marketers and developers restrict the use of automation to sending only simple periodic push notifications. That’s why we pulled together different types of engagement campaigns that you can put in place with automation and how you can measure their impact.

Examples of mobile marketing automation to boost user engagement, retention, monetization and acquisition

1. Welcome notifications

You have heard it time and time before that the first impression is the last impression. More than 75% of users abandon an app after just one use, so you have just one shot to impress new users and convince them to come back.

So how well does your app make that first impression stand out? By setting up an automated push notification campaign to welcome users who have just downloaded your app. It’s a great way to make them feel like they’re in for a good ride and they have made the right decision choosing your app.

You need to ensure your welcome message sets a personal and conversational tone and highlights the key benefits of using your app i.e. the value it brings to their daily life.

Tip: To target new users, set up a user segment where the session count is 1.

2. Onboarding notifications

App abandon rates continue to decline, where retention drops to 11% by the first week. So you need to ensure that you onboard your users effectively to maximize your retention rates.

After you have welcomed your new users, start onboarding them with automated push notifications to ensure they complete your targeted onboarding steps i.e. completing their profile, setting their preferences, using key features in the app, etc. Based on where they are in the user lifecycle, send out messages that assist them in getting to the next step. During the onboarding phase, you need to send notifications frequently, at least once a day.

Tip: To onboard new users, track custom events like profile_completed and set up a user segment where the first session was less than a week ago and profile_completed event count is 0.

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3. In-app conversion notifications

Nudge users to make in-app purchases with automated push notifications. With app marketing automation, you can recommend purchases based on their in-app activity and behavior. You can also use predictive analytics to segment users that are most likely to convert and recommend items they are most likely to purchase.

Additionally, to encourage the first-time conversion, offer users with promotion or discounts.

Tip: For the first-time conversion, create a segment of users where the number of purchases is 0 and send them regular notifications with promo codes and discounts.

4. Encourage users to refer their friends

The quickest and organic way to grow your app is through word-of-mouth marketing. Use push notifications to reach out to your most active users and request them to refer their friends. Users that are highly engaged with your app are most likely to refer their friends. You need to reward them for referring their friends to get more participation.

On the other hand, you can also send regular notifications to users who have never referred their friends tempting them with in-app offers and reminding them of the benefit they get when their friends also use your app.

Tip:  To encourage users that never referred their friends, create a user segment where the invite sent event count is 0 and send them notifications once a week. Limit it to 2-3 notifications max.

5. Reward users for referrals

With referral rewards, you can either setup simple rewards flow when users get rewarded as soon their friends install your app through their invites or you can set up action based rewards where their referred friends need to complete certain actions before they are rewarded e.g. users get a reward when their referred friends subscribe to premium.

Tip:  When users trigger event subscribed_to_premium (or any other custom action that you identify), send a reward notification to the user’s referrer

6. Re-engage inactive users

As we discussed in our previous article, users often become inactive and need an incentive to get back to your app. Tempt these users to come back to your app with personalized offers and coupons.

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7. Gamification notifications

Gamification is an effective and sure-fire way to boost app engagement. If your app leverages gamification like leaderboards, achievements, badges, daily login rewards, etc you can use mobile marketing automation to encourage participation. Notifying users when they unlock an achievement or a badge, or when they climb up the leaderboard or beat their friend’s score, is a great way to hook the user’s interest again.

Tip:  When users trigger event achievement_unlocked (or any other custom action that you identify), send them a notification to claim it.

8. Rating and review notifications

Based on where a user is in the lifecycle and their in-app activity, use automation to reach out to active users to ask for ratings and reviews. Active users are more likely to give you positive ratings and reviews, improving your app store ranking too.

Tip: Create a segment of users who have been active for more than 20 days in the last 30 days and send them an in-app notification asking for a review. Optionally you can narrow down the target audience to only paying users or users with at least a certain number of sessions.

9. App update notifications

Every app releases new features to bring additional value to their users or bug fixes to improve user experience. Therefore, you need to ensure every user updates the app from the app (play) store to get the maximum value out of our app.

Tip: Create a segment of users who app_version is older than the current one and send them daily or weekly reminder notifications to update the app to take advantage of new features. The notification action should have an Open URL action to open the app store or play store according to their OS

10. Social notifications

The best way to keep your users engaged is to leverage their own network for it. Whenever a friend or other app users mention them, like, or comment on their post, send out a quick push notification about it. With smart app marketing automation tools like GetSocial, you can automate this process entirely.

Tip: When leveraging social automation, make sure you also include campaigns that encourage in-app activity. If a user hasn’t posted an update on their feed in a long time, send them a quick message that nudges them to do so to either stay in touch with friends or earn an in-app benefit.

11. Reminder notifications  

Another way to re-engage your users is to remind them of what they have left behind or what they were doing last. For instance, a user might have left items in their shopping cart and got interrupted. Send a reminder notification to guide them back to the shopping cart and complete the checkout. Additionally, you can provide them with an incentive like a 10% discount if they checkout within an hour.

Tip: You can use GetSocial promo codes to create time-bound and limited use offer i.e. discount promo code that expires within 24 hours and can be claimed only once.

12. Loyalty and thank you notifications

Reach out to your most active and loyal users with automated push notifications offering them rewards for being loyal or simply thanking them.

Tip: Create user segments based on different criteria like users with app lifetime of more than 1 month, number of sessions greater than 100, total purchases greater than $100 or any other metric that defines a higher engagement and loyalty to your app. Then target these users with push notification and update their user property with some loyalty status tag which you can leverage within the app or outside the app when providing customer support.

13. Educate your users

When onboarding new users you don’t want to overload them by providing a tutorial that educates them about each and every feature in the app hoping they will remember everything. Rather you should provide contextual tutorials and regular articles educating them about your app and as they make progress in their journey.

For example, if you have a fitness app and you see the user logging in their daily calories. Send them a push notification sharing content like ‘10 tips to lose weight’.

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There are numerous ways you can keep your users’ engagement with app marketing automation. That’s why you need to also measure the impact each campaign has and continually optimize them for better results. But what metrics should you be looking at?  

Mobile marketing automation metrics to measure

Retention and churn rate

Mobile marketing automation for user engagement is to improve your app’s retention rate. Retention is typically calculated as the percent of new users who come back on a specific day, aka Classic retention. Churn rate is the opposite of retention and can be calculated by subtracting your retention rate from 1. So if you have retained 40% of your users, then your churn rate is 60%

Daily and monthly active users (DAU and MAU)

You have multiple engagement campaigns in place. But what use would app marketing automation be if users don’t come back to the app? This metric is simply a count of how many users are interacting with your campaigns and coming to your app every single day. MAU, on the other hand, is simply a count of the number of users who have opened your app in a period of 30 days.

Average sessions per DAU

A combination of two metrics, the number gives you an idea of how often users come to your app in a single day. This is calculated by dividing the total number of sessions in a day by the total number of unique active users in a day.

App stickiness

Stickiness is representative of whether your app has become a part of the user’s break time and how often they come back to it. It can be calculated by dividing daily active users by the monthly active users.

Cost per acquisition (CPA)

Better engagement rate means loyal users and that leads to more referrals and word-of-mouth, bringing down the cost per acquisition. This is simply calculated by dividing the amount you have spent on acquiring users, by the total spend.

Lifetime value (LTV)

Lifetime value (LTV) is one of the most important metrics to measure for every company. It helps you understand how much revenue you can expect a user to generate over their lifetime in your app.  The longer a user continues to purchase from your company, the greater their lifetime value becomes. And by measuring LTV against the cost of user acquisition (CAC), companies can determine how long it takes to recoup their investment required to earn a new customer.  LTV is calculated by multiplying the average value of a conversion, the average number of conversions in a specified time frame (let’s say a week) and the average customer lifetime (in weeks).

The average revenue per user (ARPU)

The end goal of user engagement is to be able to drive more in-app conversions and start getting revenue from the app. The ARPU is calculated by dividing the lifetime revenue of your app by the total number of lifetime users of your app.

Return on investment (ROI)

Like other marketing avenues, it is important to measure the returns that app marketing automation brings you. You can calculate this by subtracting the cost of investment from the gains of investment, and dividing it by the cost you invested for automation.  

If your app marketing automation strategy follows a data-backed approach to personalize user engagement, the results can lead to improvements across the board.

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Make mobile marketing automation work for you

As the last lesson of our mobile marketing automation masterclass, we wanted to share user engagement campaign ideas that have worked for apps across different industries. But that doesn’t mean you hold back from experimenting. Based on what your app does and who your users are, ideate, explore and test other types of automated campaigns. But remember to measure the impact each one makes to ensure you’re drawing maximum ROI from app marketing automation.

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