May 20 2019

Mobile Marketing Automation Masterclass: Part Two

Right from looking into how many users your app has acquired to how they are engaging with it, are they exploring the right features and preventing the users from churning, there is a lot that an app developer and marketer needs to take care of.

According to the latest 2019 Digital Trends report published by Econsultancy, 55% of marketers say “Better use of data for more effective audience segmentation and targeting” is a priority in 2019. That’s where mobile marketing automation (MMA) comes into play. It enables marketers to make effective use of data for building user segments and setting up automation to effectively personalize their marketing at scale.


In part one of the mobile marketing automation series, we explained what it means for apps to automate their engagement and why it is so important. In case you missed the post or need a quick recap, you can read it here: Understanding mobile marketing automation for better user engagement.

If you’re up-to-date with what mobile marketing automation is, and why you need it, let’s look into the types of automation you can set up to boost your engagement and retention rates. We will look into three types of mobile marketing automation:

  1. Audience-based automation
  2. Event-based automation and
  3. Prediction-based automation

Types of mobile marketing automation

Every app has different target users. Every user has a different way of interacting with an app. That’s why there is no one-strategy-fits-all approach when it comes to app marketing automation. You need to analyze your user data, understand them and put that data to use to keep them engaged.

Here are the different types of mobile engagement automation that you should set up:

1. Audience-based automation flows

This type of mobile marketing automation refers to setting a flow that automatically gets triggered when users enter or are part of a defined user segment. The campaign runs on a given schedule for a pre-defined Audience – which is your user segment dividing your total user base into a segment based on data attributes like app sessions, purchase behavior, or any in-app event.

The schedule to run the campaign can be set to anything from ‘every hour’ to ‘on the second Sunday of every month at 10 am’. The minimum frequency to run a mobile marketing automation flow is an hour – after all, you don’t want to lose your users to spam!

This type of marketing automation is useful when you need to segment your users based on historical data such as users whose last session was over a week ago, or users who last purchase was a month ago and the purchase value or count was greater than a specified amount, etc. In our 3rd masterclass, we will share several examples which are used by marketers to accelerate their engagement.

Let’s look at some campaigns that you can build with audience based flows.

I. Re-engaging inactive users

As we shared in our 1st masterclass on MMA, a smart app marketing automation platform like GetSocial will help you identify and segment inactive users and enable you to set up campaigns that are targeted to win them back before they churn.

If you notice that a certain segment of your users hasn’t interacted with your app for 7 days or more (duration can be shorter or even longer as per your needs), it is time to jump in and prevent them from churning. These are either users who don’t see any more value in what your app offers, have found an alternative to it,  or simply have forgotten about your app. You can narrow this segment down further for e.g. by filtering users who have made at least one purchase and live in the US.

Reach out to them with a quick reminder of their last activity on the app or offer them a discount on an in-app purchase that they were considering during their last session.


You can also use gamification to re-engage these users. For instance, sending a push notification that tells them about a friend’s progress in the app or how their score was just beaten in a game is a great way to spike their interest again.

Or call in the help of email newsletter software to bring them back to the app, with a (daily or monthly) leaderboard update, invites or social happenings like birthday events similar to social channels like Facebook and LinkedIn do. The frequency of the messages should be adjusted to suit your app users. You want to maximize engagement, while not overloading them with constant messages.

II. Rewarding users to keep them motivated  

Everyone needs a little motivation. Pretty much similar to how a little nudge from friends go a long way when it comes to following a fitness regime!

Use mobile marketing automation to continually keep your users motivated to come back for more app sessions. And sometimes, when gamification isn’t enough to achieve higher engagement rates, you need to make an offer that your users cannot refuse. That’s where you should use a rewards program in your app marketing strategy. For example, let’s take users in your audience that haven’t interacted with your app or a certain desired feature after they failed repeatedly at a certain game level.

Reach out to these users with a notification that offers them a privilege or access to an in-app item that lets them complete that level – but in lieu of a small action. It could be inviting 5 of their friends to the app (using GetSocial Smart Invites) or asking their in-game friend to gift them with such in-app item (using GetSocial Consumable Notifications).


The trick here with audience based app marketing automation is to understand your users, their needs, what’s stopping them from coming back for more sessions and what are they more likely to convert on.

2. Event-based automation flows

This type of automation is set up when you want to trigger your engagement campaigns as soon as an event occurs in your app. These mobile engagement automation campaigns are triggered in real-time where you don’t have a need to act on historical data.

You define the event that triggers the automation in realtime and filter it by event and user properties that are tracked along with the event. For example, when a user makes a purchase above a certain amount (say $100) send the users a discount coupon for their next purchase thereby encouraging repeat purchases.

A few ways of using event-based mobile marketing automation flows are:

I.Rewarding referrers for every invited user completing the onboarding (delayed rewarding)

Apart from just letting them know of the rewards they get for completing an action, you can combine the campaign with your referral program for better engagement and conversion rates.

As part of your referral campaign, you inform your users what they gain for successfully inviting their friends to your app and when their friends complete a certain in-app action. For example, “Refer a friend and receive a $10 account credit when your friend makes their first purchase”.

To achieve this use event-based marketing automation flow which gets triggered the first time any user makes a purchase and reward the referrer of that user. Since GetSocial already knows the referrer the setup is relatively straightforward.

In addition to this, you can keep them motivated to send more referrals, by letting them know how many of their invited users have signed up and how many more they need to reach the next reward point.

This way, you’re ensuring two things. First, you’re keeping the existing user engaged and encouraging them to send more invites. Second, you are gamifying the process and letting them do the nudging required to get you new installs, improving your referral to conversion rates.


Read more about verified or delayed rewarding and how you can implement it, here.

II. Rewarding users for performing certain in-app actions

Another example of an event-based mobile marketing automation flow is rewarding your users for their in-app activity or the milestones they achieve.

Let’s say your data analyst has discovered that users who follow 5 or more friends are retained better than users who haven’t.  As a marketer, you want to ensure that such data are actionable and you want to encourage your users to follow at least 5 friends in lieu of in-app rewards. You set up an event-based marketing automation flow where users are rewarded as soon as they follow their 5th friend.

What you set as their in-app activity can be anything. Completing their profile, posting on the in-app Activity Feed, making their first purchase, completing level 50 or inviting their third friend.

III. Notifying users of their friends’ activities

So far, you have been putting a user’s data to use for setting up an automation flow to keep them engaged. Now it’s time to experiment with using their friends’ data for the same.

With event-based automation, you can notify a user when a friend completes a certain action like when they finish watching season 1 of “Stranger things” on Netflix. With this, you have essentially built a social recommendation system. This type of marketing automation campaign focuses on using human psychology. When we see our friends doing something, we get intrigued by it and are nudged to do the same.  All it requires is someone telling us what they have been up to!

3. Prediction-based automation flows

Having gone through audience based automation that looks at historical data, and event-based automation that looks at current real-time data, let’s get futuristic with prediction based automation. This is where you can leverage platforms like Yokozuna data, which provides a thorough understanding of player behavior and predicts accurately their actions in order to develop amazing data-driven games. You can understand the player dynamics of your games,  what makes your players churn, when and at which point are they churn, etc. Using these predictions you can proactively target users who are about to churn with marketing promotions.

For example, as soon as a player is predicted to churn, thus becoming part of the “potential churners” segment, they can be targeted with a promotion.

Have you automated your user engagement?

Considering the increasing number of apps available to an average smartphone user, it is safe to say that user engagement is the real growth hack.

Your existing users are the key to getting new ones, without increasing your user acquisition budgets endlessly. But just like every marketing strategy, using app marketing automation needs to be data-driven and your flows need to be user interest driven.

CTA mobile marketing automation

Not sure what automated flow will get you maximum user engagement and need ideas? Don’t fret, we got it covered.

In part 3 of the mobile marketing automation masterclass, we will be sharing different campaign ideas that you can implement to boost user engagement. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog to be notified!