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Last update: August 2020

6 mins to read - 2020/08/26

Mobile Marketing User Journey Stage 2: Marketing Engagement

This article on marketing engagement is Part 2 of our ongoing serialization of the OpenBack Mobile Marketing Best Practices Playbook 2020. Read Part 1 here: Mobile Marketing User Journey Stage 1: Onboarding

Download the full Mobile Marketing Best Practices Playbook here, plus bonus content:

Once your user has made it past the 7-day danger period, most of them are likely to stay on as active users of your app. Then is when your mobile engagement campaign shifts to become more like a marathon than a sprint. If you have a quality app that does what it’s supposed to do, most users in this stage of the lifecycle should be regularly engaging with your app – with some nudging from push notifications. 

When used for marketing engagement, push notifications act like a stimulus to your mobile app ecosystem. They encourage a steady flow of app usage, conversions, and revenues. Engrained usage habits don’t just appear out of nowhere. Most apps will need to train their users to engage in frequent, regular use on a per-day basis. Engage your user with push notifications at least 3–4 times a day during their first week to 10 days after installing. Once they start to open your app unprompted, then you can count on your app being a firm, entrenched habit that they will open automatically.

(Note: this doesn’t count for apps that organically require the user to check in regularly, such as a monthly utility bill tracker. Apps like these can afford to be less heavy-handed with their notification campaigns.)

marketing engagement mobile updates

Objective: Get Users to Install App Updates

As an app and its community evolves, bugs get fixed and new content added, and the app will have to update periodically. It is to everybody’s benefit to move on to new versions of the app as quickly as possible; users get to take advantage of new benefits and features. Plus, developers no longer have to support old versions of the app. However, some users drag their feet when it comes to updates, and they may need some prodding. 

For those users who are holding the rest of the ecosystem back, encourage them to catch up. Send them a push notification explaining the new features of the update. Include a deep link that will direct them to the update in the app store, for easy installation. Continue to send them reminders until they download the upgrade. Using OpenBack, you can target users based on which version of your app they’re using. So you can rest assured that only users with older versions of the app will get your update message.

WhatsApp actually issues users a deadline, for when they must install the updated version or lose access to the app. However, it’s best not to try this tactic unless you’re confident that users won’t churn.

Objective: Get Users to Open App Daily Through Habit-Building

The best marketing tactic to recommend daily engagement with your app can be force of habit. For many users of the top 3 social media apps – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – reaching for their phone and clicking on the app is the first thing they do after waking up in the morning. Once a user has built up the habit of using your app at a certain time each day, they will open it automatically. 

marketing engagement push notification duolingo
Image Source: Duolingo screenshot

Duolingo is famous for sending push notifications that toe the line between encouraging and aggressive. By setting an automatic schedule for their notifications, it reinforces the habit to open the app at a set time each day. Not only does the strategy spur users to open the app on a daily basis, but the notoriety has worked to their advantage. Duolingo owl has become a meme, thus generating even more publicity for the app.

Objective: Upsell Users to Higher-Tier Subscriptions With Loyalty Rewards

This is a key monetization strategy for free to play (F2P) games. Inform users of increased perks and rewards for higher-tier statuses via push notifications. For example, Fortnite’s hugely popular Battle Pass offers different tiers of battle modes, skins, sprays, and other accessories, depending on how much the user pays. If your game is F2P, most players will likely be satisfied to continue playing in free mode. Thus, the onus is on your end to communicate the benefits of a premium subscription.

This is also where the personalization capabilities of push notifications can help you target users according to what they will most likely be swayed by. Invite them to engage with different loyalty program opportunities, depending on which rewards they will find most valuable. Then keep VIP users updated on their status change. A/B test various rewards (e.g. bonus points, upgrades, special abilities, frequent flyer miles) to see what they respond best to. 

Even if users aren’t paying, incentivize their engaging with your app by rewarding them for milestone achievements. Send a notification to inform them of complimentary discount codes or bonus currency, as a reward for their 20 hours of gameplay or beating the 100th level. Rewards don’t even have to be monetary. High levels of engaging with the app can be rewarded by bonus content, such as the bonus phrases Duolingo unlocks once users complete their foundation lessons.

marketing engagement feedback request

Objective: Elicit User Feedback

Push notifications tend to be a one-way communication line between an app and its users. In most cases, when you do hear from a user without prompting them, it will be from a very vocal minority who don’t represent the opinions of your main user base. If you want user feedback, you have to be proactive and reach out to them first. An easy way to do this is to send them a request to rate their experience of the app. If they say yes, direct them via deep link to the app store, where they can leave a starred review. If they say no, direct them to a customer feedback page, where they can leave a more detailed response. 

Send a measured, automated campaign of feedback requests, spaced out by a few weeks, so users don’t feel spammed. This can be an effective way of gauging shifts in customer emotions over time. You can also send out custom HTML forms via in-app messages.

Bonus Objective: Supplement Push Campaign With Cross-Channel Outreach

As much as we are in favor of push notifications being the primary channel for mobile engagement, a two-branched marketing campaign will achieve stronger results. For example, combine your push strategy with marketing emails, or Google ads. The more ways you have of reaching out to your user, the better results you will get. You can then combine data from your push notifications with that of other campaigns, to see what resonates most positively with users. The aim is to keep your brand at the top of users’ awareness, without becoming a nuisance. 

To learn more about how to use push notifications to turbo boost your mobile marketing and user engagement campaign, get in touch with one of our experts.

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